BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, the UK Council of Health Informatics Professions and the Institute of Health Records and Information Management are working together to create a new federation for the informatics profession.
The collaboration, announced today at the HC2014 conference in Manchester, aims to ensure that UK health informatics is recognised as a valued profession.
BCS Health chair Justin Whatling said technology has an "immense and profound impact" on people's health and wellbeing and it is time for the profession to mature to meet the increasing demand on its skills and capability.
“We want health to be an attractive place for informatics professionals from other sectors to come and work, and we want to provide a clear career path and professional development opportunities to retain those already working in health. The federation will help us to achieve this,” he said.
The federation will be open to all other informatics professional bodies, the private sector, the home countries and lay representation.
It will provide leadership of the overall profession with a single professional register and point of entry for professionals, oversee an agreed regulatory framework with a common code of ethical practice and coordinate access to resources providing a unified set of capabilities for all professional areas of practice.
Gwyn Thomas, chair of UKCHIP said it is time to bring informatics professionalism to the mainstream.
“For any profession to be credible, it needs to be independent, inclusive and self-sustaining; founded on a strong set of values constructed from codes of conduct and ethics, professional standards, voluntary registration, accreditation and regulation,” Thomas explained.
“This initiative is very much in line with the approach to partnership working that UKCHIP announced with NHS England in 2013. Our aim through this federation is to promote the values of professionalism in informatics to help to maintain public trust in the NHS’ ability to handle personal health and care information securely and confidentially.”
The federation will launch a governance board, which will run in shadow format from April this year.
There will be a number of vacant seats on the board for NHS informatics professional leaders and a consultation will run over the next six months to decide how these will be filled.
Isabel Chevis, IHRIM chief executive, said that the three bodies together will have a louder collective voice “that will be heard and heeded”.
“To do this, we need to know what health informatics professionals want and think; this is the beginning of our consultation period where we are very much looking for feedback from across the entire informatics profession beginning at BCS’ health computing conference HC2014.”