Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 outbreaks as a global pandemic on March 11th  2020, the number of COVID-19 cases continued to increase globally at an alarming rate. As of April 21st 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia was around 10,484 and over 2.4 millions worldwide.

As healthcare professionals and scientists around the world are fighting the pandemic, the role of Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIM) professionals is very crucial for the understanding and containing the spread of COVID-19. Access to high-quality data can speed up the process of knowledge and scientific discovery. It is extremely important to document and code COVID-19 cases in a consistent, accurate, and complete manner” said Abdulrahman Jabour, PhD, the chair of the Saudi Health Information Management Association (SHIMA).

At SHIMA, we are committed to increase awareness and improve the practice among HIM professionals and the healthcare community. Our approach is to provide the support and education related to Clinical Documentation and Coding” Said Hussain Albishi, SHIMA president.

In response to the pandemic, SHIMA is working on advancing the HIM and Health Informatics professions through advocacy, communications, education, and research, by disseminating knowledge and information to accurately document and code COVID-19. Also, SHIMA announced launching an email for answering coding inquiries. SHIMA also conducted a live webinar about Influenza surveillance systems and coding standards of COVID-19 delivered by Abdulrahman Jabour, PhD and Nasser Al Balawi. This came as a part of a series of free webinars planned by SHIMA featuring experts discussing various HIM and Health Informatics topics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Link to the webinar: