Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 06 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:S3-7184

The new NHS information strategy recognised the skill deficit that exists for dealing with the new vision of universal networked health information throughout the NHS, and training for health professionals is a nettle that will have to be grasped. As a step along the road, the NHS Executive has produced a Learning to manage health information: a theme for clinical education, which is in essence a statement of the new competencies required for work in this environment. All professionals are expected have a clear understanding of the position of the patient/health record with regard to the law and health service policies and procedures, and as a source for data derivation and analysis. The document also sets out a scheme of “expectations for learning” that includes competence in the organisation of electronic information locally (file systems, spreadsheets, databases) and on networks (setting up a modem, sending and receiving email, searching the web). Newer graduates familiar with posing questions as part of problem based learning - such as “What information do I need to explore this problem, and how do I access it?” - will probably adapt more readily to the new environment, the report claims. It also recognises that “many senior staff have not had an opportunity to gain experience in health informatics,” and that “special considerations on the style of learning may need to be considered for them.”

Severs M, Pearson S. Learning to manage health information: a theme for clinical education.Bristol: NHS Executive (South and West), 1999.

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