- Posted by Admin GIT
- On June 17, 2019
- 0 Comments
In September 2019 Australia will celebrate 70 years since two State associations, one in New South Wales and the other in Victoria, were formed. The medical record profession in this country was born. Prior to this, dedicated medical record clerks, without formal education in medical record procedures, worked diligently to ensure that medical records were available when needed for patient care.
In 1949 Edna Huffman, from the USA, was recruited by the Australian Hospital Association to advise on the development of medical record services at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. During her stay Mrs. Huffman organised a program of special lectures for medical record clerks and at informal meetings spoke of the American Association of Medical Record Librarians, established in 1928. During these sessions she encouraged medical record clerks to take the initiative and form an Australian association. With her support and the support of a number of hospital administrators they set about organising two State associations and establishing the medical record profession in Australia. A national association was needed, but although the desire to set one up was strong, both State associations were keen to maintain their individuality.
In 1949, while consolidating their associations, each Association was invited, by Elsie Royle from Manchester, England, to send a delegate to the First International Congress on Medical Records to be held in London in 1952. Seven Australian Medical Record Librarians (MRLs) attended and participated in both the Congress and the Business Meeting. The need for a national association became paramount if Australia wanted to continue to participate on an international level. This gave the MRLs the momentum they needed to go ahead and form a national organisation. With two State associations and six signatories as members, the Australian Federation of Medical Record Librarians (AFMRL) was formalised in December, 1955. Their subsequent application to the International movement was successful and Australia joined Canada, the UK and the USA as the 4th member nation on the Interim International Committee.
In 2019, IFMRO/IFHRO/IFHIMA will celebrate 70 years since the international movement began. It was not until 1968, however that the International Federation of Medical Record Organizations (IFMRO) was formed, although there had been four congresses since 1952. At the Fifth International Congress on Medical Records in Stockholm, Sweden, Betty James, Australia’s National Director was elected first President. Australia also won the bid to host the 6th International Medical Records Congress in Sydney in 1972. The strong link between the development of the medical record profession in Australia and that of the International Federation was apparent. The Health Information Association of Australia (HIMAA), has continued to participate in IFHRO/IFHIMA activities over the years with a second Congress, the 11th, held in Melbourne in 2000. In addition, Australia has had a National Director on all, but one, of the IFMRO/IFHRO/ IFHIMA Council/Boards since 1968.
I have had the good fortune to be involved with both associations now for over 50 years and look forward to more years ahead and hope to meet many old friends and new international colleagues in Dubai in November at the IFHIMA Golden Jubilee celebration!!
Professor Phyllis J Watson, AM
IFHIMA Past President