The role of the health informatician will be formally recognised with the launch of Australia’s first certification program in health informatics.
The certification program has been developed by a committee of representatives from the Health Informatics Society of Australia, in collaboration with the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) and the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA), which includes leaders in health informatics academia and the health and IT sectors.
HISA CEO Dr Louise Schaper said the certification would address the lack of formal recognition for health informatics skills in the Australian health workforce, and would target professional health informaticians including clinicians, allied health professionals, health information managers, nurses and ICT professionals.
Participation in the program will be via directed self-learning and health informaticians will be required to sit an exam to successfully complete the certification, which is valid for three years.
The core competencies examined cover internationally agreed areas of expertise and knowledge, and closely model international certifications developed by the International Medical Informatics Association, Canada’s Health Informatics Association and the American Medical Informatics Association. HISA is also currently working to have the Australian certification recognised internationally.
Dr Schaper said there was significant demand for the training and recognition of health informatics skills from employers who say it is increasingly difficult to hire and retain health informatics staff.
“Engaging clinicians and health informaticians early in the business case, design, implementation and evaluation of e-health initiatives has proven positive outcomes, yet too often we continue to see these initiatives treated as ‘IT projects’ that don’t have health informatician involvement,” she said.
To participate, candidates must have an undergraduate degree, plus experience in health informatics and associated health fields such as clinical information systems or e-health.
The learning streams for the Australian program are ICT, health sciences, information sciences, management sciences, human and social context, and core principals and methods.
The Certified Health Informatician Australasia (CHIA) will be officially launched on 16 July 2013 at the Health Informatics Conference in Adelaide and first exams will take place in October this year.