Core Competencies Project

Consultation on phase 1

Foreword – our clinical informatics journey


The UK health and care system is changing dramatically. This is a response to meeting the health challenges of an ever-increasing chronic disease epidemic (1 in 4 people in the UK, around 17 million, have more than two chronic diseases); an elderly population (18% over 65yrs); new technologies; and financial pressure (only 9.8% of GDP is spent on health in the UK).

NHS service delivery paradigms are shifting as well, with focus changing from hospital to community, patient to population (primary care networks/GP clusters), curative to preventive The ultimate goal is to keep alive the values on which the NHS was established, namely universal, high quality healthcare, that is free at the point of delivery and based on clinical needs.

Established health and care systems across the globe are investing heavily in informatics systems and routinely collect huge amounts of health information and data to improve quality and efficiency. Three things are key for effective informatics systems – People, Processes & Platforms (IT). A skilled workforce (people) is paramount to this and the health and care workforce is no different. If staff want to play a pivotal role in changing the DNA of health and care in the age of data and informatics, they must equip themselves with the relevant clinical informatics competences, for example datascope rather than stethoscope. I firmly believe in this and highlighted it in my interview with British Medical Journal (BMJ). A well-equipped workforce will lead to improved NHS quality (safety, effectiveness and patient experience) and change population and patient outcomes with the ability to develop and utilise health intelligence/data and other digital innovations in the NHS and care settings.

The UK Faculty of Clinical Informatics (FCI) has embarked on a journey with a clear mission and aims, which are: to develop professional competencies for clinical informaticians and provide accreditation for informatics-based training programmes in the UK. This is a ‘must-do’, but it is a challenge to create an effective clinical informatics workforce, to develop and monitor professional standards and to establish informatics as a clinical speciality in its own right in the UK. There might be learnings from the UK Faculty of Public Health, which started in 1972 and achieved similar goals for its specialist workforce in due course. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is also a very good example of how to achieve such aims successfully over the years. There are other examples of applied aspects of clinical informatics and informaticians across the globe – and hopefully one day other countries will look to the FCI and learn from us.

The first milestone on this journey is to develop a consensus on definitions for clinical informatics, informaticians and professional attributes of clinical informaticians in the UK for establishing output competences required by health and care professionals in this field.

With that in mind, the FCI initiated the Core Competencies Project (CCP) and their hard work to date has resulted in two reports:

  1. To develop and define the professional attributes of a clinical informatician
  2. A Validation Study and draft Output Competences for a clinical informatician

Now is the time for you to reflect on this work and give your opinion on 7 statements drawn from the reports, by completing the online questionnaire developed by FCI for wider consultation. It is very important to have your views, which will be of enormous value in shaping the Faculty’s work and development of the clinical speciality for years to come.

This is a novel mission and I have no doubt that by sharing your knowledge and experience you are going to help on this journey to a new tomorrow – a tomorrow where clinical informatics and informaticians are going to play an effective part in providing high quality efficient health and care to 67 million people in the UK and beyond!

Prof Mahmood Adil | MPH, DCH, CerHEcon, DipHInformatics, MHSM, FRCPE, FFPH, DipIoD, FFCI
Medical Director | Information Services Division (Scotland) NHS National Services Scotland
Clinical Data & Intelligence Lead | Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Introduction

The Core Competencies Project (CCP) provides a methodology for the development of core knowledge and skills-based competencies for Clinical Informaticians (CIs) and the mechanism by which these competencies can be mapped to educational and professional developmental initiatives for accreditation.

Evidence that an individual has achieved these core competencies should qualify that person for membership of the FCI.

Project Aims

  1. Develop core knowledge and skill-based competencies required for UK based CIs.
    1. Develop, test and define the output core competences required of a professional clinical informatician (phase 1)
    2. Define the core skills, knowledge and traits that constitute the core (input) competencies to enable an individual CI to do the job. (phase 2)
  2. Develop a process for accrediting informatics educational applications through the FCI. (phase 3)

Phase 1 of the CCP was undertaken directly by the FCI project team and is presented as two linked reports:

  1. Develop and define the professional attributes of a clinical informatician – final report (v1.1) [Report A – on project website]
  2. Phase 1 Report Validation Study and draft Output Competences for a Clinical Informatician (v1.1) [Report B – on project website]

Method

The key task of phase 1 of the CCP was to define the output competences [1] we expect of care professionals working as clinical informaticians in the UK. Drawing on the expertise of the multi-professional membership of the FCI we used a mix of qualitative methods to derive and refine the list of output competences. Outputs from this phase of the project will then be used in phase 2 of the CCP to define the skills, knowledge and traits that are required to enable the individual clinical informatician to develop their careers and do their job – the core input competencies, testing and developing these with key stakeholders as we go [2]. This framework will be used to develop a systematic mapping process which the FCI can use to accredit educational CI applications (phase 3)

Findings

In our two Phase 1 reports (A & B), we present, describe and discuss a set of principles, areas and professional attributes which we test alongside definitions of clinical informatics and clinical informaticians. We suggest that together these cover the set of output competences needed to describe the landscape of clinical informatics in UK health and care, presented as a set of statements to be tested and developed further through a consultation exercise.

We are inviting key stakeholders, members of the FCI, the wider informatics community and the public to provide feedback on the CCP Phase 1 findings in this consultation exercise, which will run from 3 December 2019 – 20 January 2020.

Consultation – your responses

Please complete the consultation via this link:

https://www.surveygizmo.eu/s3/90190620/FCI-Core-Competencies-Project-Consultation-on-Phase-1

Thank you

Dr Alan Hassey | CCP Project Director

[1] Competence may be defined in terms of what the individual brings to the job (the input), what the individual does in the job (the process), or what is actually achieved (the output).

[2] ‘Core’ in this context denotes the minimum knowledge base that all CIs must have to be eligible to become members of the FCI and excludes further sub-specialist avenues of education.