Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI)

Since 1978 the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity has been educating those who work as medical transcriptionists and making positive contributions to the overall field of medical billing and coding. Today the AHDI specifically focuses on improving patient safety by advocating excellence in healthcare documentation. The job descriptions of a medical transcriptionist and a medical billing and coding professional often overlap, and in many situations one person will be responsible for these combined areas.

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Originally known as the American Association for Medical Transcription, the AHDI changed its name in 2012 to reflect the broader role professionals in this field play. Importantly, the AHDI offers two credentialing programs that can be of value to medical billing and coding professionals. The successive certifications are:

  • Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS)
  • Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)
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Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist (RHDS)

To become a Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialist candidates will need to pass the RHDS exam. Anyone can take this, although the AHDI recommends only the following four categories of candidates sit for the test:

  • Recent graduates of a medical transcription program
  • Those who work extensively with healthcare documentation and have been doing so for less than two years
  • Those who work extensively with healthcare documentation in one particular area of specialization
  • Those who are interested in eventually becoming a Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)

The RHDS exam is comprised of 130 questions that are in both multiple-choice and audio-transcription format. Questions will be taken to assess knowledge in the areas of:

  • The field of clinical medicine
  • Transcription style and standards
  • Technology and health information systems

An RHDS credential is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing a re-credentialing course offered through the AHDI.

Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)

Unless a candidate can show competence at the RHDS-level, it is recommended that only those who have had two years of experience as an RHDS should take the Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) exam. Qualified candidates will have the option of taking both the RHDS and CHDS exams in a combined format. The exam is comprised of 120 multiple-choice and audio-transcription questions, as well as a section where candidates must correct errors in a document that has been generated with speech recognition technology (SRT). Topics covered on the exam include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Diagnostics and treatment
  • Medical terminology
  • Instruments and equipment
  • Electronic health record
  • Technology in healthcare
  • Diseases
  • Standards and industry measurements
  • Speech Recognition Technology (SRT)

The CHDS certification expires after three years. Before holders can renew this, they must complete 30 continuing education credits.

AHDI Resources

Candidates do not need to be members of the AHDI to gain these credentials, however the association does offer a members-only discount. If a credentialing exam is failed, candidates must wait at least six months before they can retest. To help prospective RHDS and CHDS candidates prepare for these exams, the AHDI offers an online study guide. The AHDI offers the following memberships:

  • Student – $55 per year
  • Postgraduate – $85 per year
  • Individual Professional – $135 per year
  • Educational – $200 per year
  • Corporate – $400 per year
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