Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions which have been asked about registration with UKCHIP.

If you have a question about any aspect of registration with UKCHIP, please email admin@ukchip.net and we will try to anwer it.

 

What is professionalism and why should I need to be concerned?

In our domain, the safety of patients relies very heavily on the information that supports clinical and management decision making, and therefore on the informaticians that handle and process it.

A professional takes responsibility for their own actions, adheres to good governance that directs behaviour, meets entry and ongoing competence standards, abides by ethical and moral principles and whose practices contribute to leadership in their profession.

Health Informatics is challenging, multidisciplinary field; clinical professionals require registration and because informatics is now fundamental to the care team, health informaticians should similarly be required to demonstrate their professionalism and competence to protect patients and the public.

I am not in direct contact with patients and health clients, so do I really need to register?

By registering you are supporting effective and efficient operation of your organisation whether, for example, healthcare delivery, staff training, academic teaching or research, or commercial solution and service provision to those in the health domain. Your actions do (even indirectly) have an impact on the health of the public; so registration is very important.

Where does UKCHIP sit relative to other bodies in the domain?

UKCHIP addresses registration and entry is via application, assessment and declaration of continuing professional development. UKCHIP may also act as an agent for the management of other registers, for example -of holders of vocationally-recognised awards, relevant academic courses and recognition of NHS in-house Health Informatics Service organisations.

I am already a member of BCS ASSIST or a BCS Health Specialist Group. What is different about UKCHIP?

UKCHIP is an independent voluntary regulation body, the only organisation in the UK that has set standards of conduct and professional competence for the the Health Informatics profession.

Taking the medical model, UKCHIP is akin to the General Medical Council which provides regulation and the licence to practice medicine, whilst BCS ASSIST is akin to the British Medical Association which provides professional support and representation.

UKCHIP exists to assure the safety and quality of informatics, through the registration and accreditation of health informatics professionals against defined standards of competence, including an annual requirement for Continued Professional Development.

BCS ASSIST aims to support health informatics professionals and their continuing professional development with a national programme of events and networking opportunities, and by independently representing their views in national consultations and in dealings with DH and other agencies.

BCS ASSIST strongly supports the aims and operation of UKCHIP (both have on several occasions issued joint press announcements) while the BCS ASSIST and UKCHIP Councils have members in common.

However, there may be confusion with other bodies that are active in the domain:

  • The British Computer Society (BCS) can award post-nominal letters and chartered status (e.g. CITP, CSci, CEng) to appropriately qualified and experienced members;
  • BCS Health provides a focus within that learned / professional society and leads, both across the UK and on behalf of the UK, on all matters of informatics and technology in the health domain;
  • BCS ASSIST is a member group within BCS and plays an active part in the BCS Health;
  • Other bodies operate in focussed areas; some may be appropriate as specialist alternative professional societies (for example the Royal Colleges, IEEE, IET, IPM, IHRIM and CILIP).

Why is it not mandatory to be UKCHIP registered?

There are various requirements that must be in place before mandatory or statutory registration will occur, including a critical mass of representative registrants in the community, well-defined career paths and demonstrable processes for assessment of standards and operation of the Code of Conduct. Some of these requirements are well established, some are in the process of development, and others will take more time. However government currently has a policy of less statutory regulation, with a move towards voluntary registration as promoted by the Professional Standards Authority and the accreditation of voluntary registers. UKCHIP will be applying for accreditation shortly.

I work outside England so UKCHIP does not apply to me.

The Health Informatics community to which UKCHIP is relevant spans all the UK home countries. It can also include anyone based outside the UK, particularly those with aspirations to work in Health Informatics for a UK-based care deliverer, academic institution or supplier to the domain.

Is UKCHIP the trade union for Health Informaticians?

A trade union, through its leadership, represents its members in discussions with the employer. The most common, but by no means only, purpose of these organisations is "maintaining or improving the terms and conditions of their employment".

In comparison UKCHIP's objectives are:

  • To promote, advance and encourage the study and practice of the application of informatics in the promotion of health, well being and dying with dignity;
  • To establish, uphold and improve the standards of qualifications, training, competence and conduct of Health Informaticians in the United Kingdom;
  • To establish mechanisms for the benefit and protection of the public;
  • To collaborate with official bodies, societies and professional associations on matters relating to the above.

UKCHIP is not a replacement for any existing organisation; it works in collaboration with others wherever appropriate.

What are the real benefits of registration?

BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION TO INDIVIDUALS:

  • Provides independent evidence that demonstrates you work to a professional code of conduct;
  • Demonstrates, by independent assessment against industry standards, your competence as a health informatician;
  • Shows your employer that you are a professional with commitment to developing yourself;
  • Indicates that you warrant being treated as a professional, in situations like job grading, promotions and job security;
  • Your accredited registration can set you apart from others when applying for jobs and progressing through your career.

BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION TO EMPLOYERS:

  • UKCHIP provides employers with a standard for recruitment and selection when initially evaluating candidates;
  • UKCHIP registration gives an independent indication that candidates have been assessed as having a mix of qualifications and experience to work at the given level, have agree to work to a code of conduct and that they will carry out continuing professional development;
  • UKCHIP registration assists employers and their HR staff in choosing individuals with appropriate experience and competences;
  • UKCHIP registration can be used in role profiles / candidate specifications and job adverts to indicate the calibre of candidates sought;
  • Knowing the goals, targets and aspirations of employees will help in development planning and costing;
  • Stated support of UKCHIP shows an employer's commitment to developing the professional status of Health Informatics staff helping to attract candidates for advertised posts and retain  good staff.

I am involved in Health Informatics but not (yet) able or prepared to register for accreditation.

You can commit solely to operate at a professional level and to the UKCHIP Code of Conduct without being formally accredited at a specific Level commensurate with your experience and position. You may register as an Affiliate but this will not explicitly recognise your competence and may not satisfy employers' requirements where specified.

I have an academic Health Informatics qualification, why do I need more?

Academic qualifications recognise your ability to understand the underpinning theory of the discipline of HI but say little, even if a part-time course, about your actual practical experience in the field. UKCHIP registration assesses both at initial application and at the annual renewal of registration and recognises developmental progress through the level of registration.

Qualifications like ISEB, MSCE and professional society registrations are enough aren't they?

Whilst contributing, these qualifications do not reflect the necessary context and understanding to operate in a sensitive domain like health, where the safety of patients is paramount.  Increasingly, employers' and standards specifications are being expressed in terms that are domain-specific, and more frequently as ‘UKCHIP registered'.

Why is the registration process so long and complex?

Although people often think this is the case, it is not really that complex.

Many professionals embarking on UKCHIP registration are well into their careers and often did not follow a ‘traditional route of entry' into Health Informatics.  We therefore have to capture the richness of their experience, qualifications, job role and vocational time working in technology, whether or not in or for the NHS. We have to be able to accommodate many development paths and starting points to be able to assess all who are actually already working in the domain.

We make no apologies for wanting to capture all relevant employment and achievement history in order to confirm the appropriate level for registration: a ‘pay to play' registration would patently not indicate quality or professionalism.

I am stuck in the registration process!

There are various helpful alternatives to sort this out - local mentors from within the UKCHIP Council, telephone support or guidance and checklists on the web. In the first instance contact the Administrator by email on admin@ukchip.net.

Does my line manager have to be my sponsor or referee?

Your line manager should be best placed to confirm what you do. However, you can approach other persons to vouch for your claims being realistic for a particular registration level.

I cannot re-register because I missed CPD targets I set for myself last time.

Pressures and changes both inside and outside work mean that best laid plans do not always come to fruition. You can use the CPD Diary to record details of whatever you have done to keep up to date, reflecting on reasons for the variations and setting goals for the future also

What does the registration fee cover?

The fee covers administration costs for the registration and renewal processes, for the standards developments, maintenance of the registers and for promotion of UKCHIP to potential registrants and employers.

UKCHIP is a not-for-profit organisation.

Does UKCHIP Continuing Professional Development require expensive attendance on courses and at conferences?

The answer is ‘not necessarily', although these events can be useful in setting your work in the context of others in similar areas. UKCHIP recognises CPD in many other day to day activities that you can describe as evidence.

Why do some events appear to have UKCHIP recognition for CPD purposes and some not?

It is up to any organisation putting on events to request their recognition by UKCHIP as contributing to CPD; if successful they can display the UKCHIP logo on their marketing literature and UKCHIP will alert the registrant body via its website and monthly newsletter to the event taking place.

Why is UKCHIP registration not recognised for tax purposes?

In March 2009 UKCHIP applied to HM Revenue and Customs for recognition as an approved body under S344 of the Income Tax (Earnings & Pensions) Act 2003.  In September 2009, the application was rejected on the basis that registration is voluntary, there is not a requirement for the profession to be practiced, and that health informatics is not a regulated profession.

UKCHIP continues to lobby stakeholders and promote health informatics as a recognised profession.