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Headlines & Comment …..
UKCHIP supports the Vision and 12 Point Plan for Chief Clinical Information Officers
Chairman Dr Gwyn Thomas has expressed UKCHIP’s wholehearted support for the 12 Point Plan for CCIOs stating that its expressed purpose is very closely aligned to UKCHIP’s own long-standing vision for the enhancement of the reputation of all Health Informatics professions.
Dr Thomas points out that in his introduction to the plan, Dr Joe McDonald, quite rightly, highlights the ‘Three tribes (that) struggle for the soul of every electronic patient record project, the clinicians who need a way of recording things as convenient as pen and paper, the managers who need to count activity and the IT crowd who need to deliver the technology’ .
However, Dr Thomas also points out there are other interested tribes. For example, those who code the information, those who manage the record, those who oversee data quality, those involved in audit, those who use the information for decision making, researchers and academics, those who manage social care information.
And of course, there are patients themselves, the most important constituents of all in this tribal soul-struggle.
Health Informatics has, at times, been referred to as the ‘lost tribe’ mainly because it has never had as strong a common platform and as loud a collective voice as other professions. Tribal rivalries have played a part in allowing this fragmentation to develop and persist for too long. This has to change.
UKCHIP believes that the time for all professional ‘tribes’ to work together much more closely and collaboratively in the interests of patient care is long overdue. Dr Thomas has already begun to set out the case for moving in this direction and believes that every ‘tribe’ has something important to contribute to patient care and that there are many opportunities for collaboration. One in particular is to work together to promote the importance and value of a Health Informatics professional register which will help to unite all of the informatics ‘tribes’ though a single code of ethics and suite of compatible professional standards.
Professional registers are set up for the common good, with the main purpose of protecting the public through the application of professional standards and regulation of individuals who fall below them. Registration is a public expression of commitment that the profession as a whole and the individuals within it are prepared to face up to their ethical obligations to make sure that they apply their knowledge and skills in ways that, at the very least, ’do no harm’. Statutory and voluntary registers and independent regulation are firmly embedded in the values of clinical and other professions. Given the importance of information to the delivery of safe care, health informatics should be no exception.
Professional registers are open for all to see, so that anyone (public or employers) can use the information when they are making decisions about whether to employ individuals, procure and use services or to complain and highlight concerns. An open professional register is an essential component in building and maintaining public trust and in the world of informatics, this has now assumed even greater importance, with recent adverse events in the NHS, the declared intent to provide widespread access to, and sharing of, patient records and the intensifying public debates about personal privacy and data security in the digital age.
UKCHIP looks forward with enthusiasm to working with the CCIO Network on this important common and shared component of enhancing the reputation of all Health Informatics professionals, no matter to which tribe they feel they naturally belong.