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Health Informatics

A fast-growing area of the healthcare sector, health informatics is a branch of science and engineering that applies information technology (informatics) to the medical sector, working to transform the delivery of healthcare for patients.

The wide health and care sector depends on information – the collection, management, analysis, application and sharing of data from department to department. Effective, seamless and prompt delivery of care to patients relies on this information flowing quickly and accurately, and this is where health informatics comes in, tackling a wide range of problems with the practical application of technology.

Explore some of the roles and applications (and guidance about entry requirements) within healthcare informatics below:

Clinical Informatics

Those working within Clinical Informatics are concerned with the capture and communication of data and clinical knowledge to other health professionals to support them to deliver patient care. This might also include creating and implementing digital tools to aid with this, analysing information, developing electronic records and more.

Specific roles within this area might include Administrative Assistant, Pathology Links Manager, Specialist Manager and PACS Administrator. These kinds of role are sometimes taken up by established, qualified health professionals (eg, with a background as a doctor, nurse, or AHP) but some junior roles exist that do not require this level of experience.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and course – some roles may require clinical qualification (medical or nursing degree)
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are very advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • Apprenticeships are also available in this area of specialism
  • The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates in a relevant subject

Education & Training

Staff within education or training roles within informatics are integral within the healthcare sector, ensuring that all staff have access to, and know how to use, the latest technology, in turn enabling them to better deliver patient care. In these kinds of roles, you may be involved with training other healthcare staff in computer literacy, clinical systems and software and more – including the latest diagnostic or preventative developments within IT to ensure the workforce have the right skills to succeed. Roles within this area include Training Administrator and Training Manager.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and course
  • Some senior posts may require an undergraduate or even a master’s degree, or QCF Level 3 or above
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • Apprenticeships are also available in this area of specialism
  • The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates in a relevant subject

Information & Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) staff are responsible for the management and development of the IT infrastructure within healthcare organisations, including supporting staff with their email and mobile communications, computers, software, networks, WiFi and more. If you have a natural skill in computing, this could be an ideal area of work; very hands on, tasks might include diagnosing and fixing technical faults, developing improvements and helping staff. Specific job roles might be Network Manager, Systems Developer, Support Technician or Test Analyst.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and course
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • A background in web development or IT support would be beneficial
  • Apprenticeships are also available in this area (including a Level 3 apprenticeship for digital support technicians)
  • The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates in a relevant subject

Information Management

Information Management roles include retrieving, analysing and interpreting data within the health sector, to allow better planning and delivery of patient care. This might include clinical audits, understanding patient confidentiality and data protection guidelines, and performance measurements. Specific roles within Information Management could cover Information Governance, Information Analyst, Clinical Coding and Auditing, and Planning and Performance Management.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and course
  • GCSEs or equivalent qualifications are advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • A background in web development or IT support would be beneficial
  • Apprenticeships are also available in this area (including a Level 3 apprenticeship in clinical coding)
  • The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates in a relevant subject

Library, Knowledge & Information Services

Staff within Library, Knowledge and Information Services deal with information in a variety of formats, working to support patient care and treatment decisions by ensuring that relevant records and resources are accessible wherever and whenever other healthcare staff and trainees require them. This work may also involve issues of funding, policy, research and more, could involve some elements of training (such as providing online resources) and may be done virtually or in person.

Roles might include Librarians, Library Assistants or Knowledge and Library Services Management.

Typical entry requirements:

  • Requirements vary based on specific role and course
  • 5 or more GCSEs (including English and maths) or equivalent qualifications are advantageous for entry-level posts or courses
  • A background in library services would be beneficial
  • Some more senior roles may require a post-grad qualification in library or information science, or similar
  • Membership to the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) may also be necessary for certain roles