Innovation in Health Informatics/eHealth Education

By Hélène Clément, BScN, RN, MHA, CPHIMS-CA, ROI (pending), Independent Consultant, eHealth/Health Informatics and a member of the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors

Launched in 2013, the Digital Health Canada Core HI Education program was initially architected and developed to prepare HI professionals for the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information Management and Systems – Canada (CPHIMS-CA) exam. The demands for knowledge development and enhancement by the membership resulted in expanding the scope and contents and making the program accessible to all.

Digital Health Canada HI Education is the first program to be developed by volunteer HI experts across Canada using a coordinated digital approach. Experts develop the curriculum, content and final product: 700 slides presented over 16-20 hours, either online or in a classroom setting. The program is aligned to the Digital Health Canada Core HI professional competencies: Health Services, Management Sciences, and Information Sciences. A reference guide written by volunteers complements the program.

Digital Health Canada Education is innovative and transformative. It includes the ongoing active collaboration of more than 40 volunteer members from across Canada operating in a variety of settings such as healthcare organizations, provincial/national government agencies, vendors, consultants, and academia.

Extensive HI Content

The program encompasses the Digital Health Canada HI Body of Knowledge (HIBOK) and the competencies required to succeed in this data-intensive and fast paced field. Topics covered include:

  • Canadian Health System: governance, national & provincial organizations;
  • Healthcare environment: healthcare delivery models, role, impact & relationships of organizations, governmental & regulatory bodies;
  • Clinical and Health Services: workflows, terminology, documentation, synoptic reporting, healthcare software applications in health IT, adoption, consumers & healthcare IT, eSafety;
  • Information Management: data sources, information governance, standards, interoperability, data quality;
  • Analysis & Evaluation: trends & issues, big data analytics, data secondary use, health indicators & metrics, meaningful use/information;
  • Organizational & Behavioral Management: strategy, workflow analysis, HIMSS analytics & adoption models, change management;
  • Operations Management: roles & responsibilities, vendor management, budget management, risks, stakeholder relationships;
  • Information Technology: infrastructure, privacy & security, selecting technologies, architectural relationships, trends & issues, IT best practices;
  • System Requirements and Analysis: lifecycle management, mapping needs & solutions, problem analysis, needs analysis, requirements, evaluation solution, cost/benefit analysis, gap analysis;
  • System Design, Selection & Procurement: business process management, RFP/RFI, evaluation, data management, infrastructure;
  • Project Management: project scope, risk management;
  • Implementation, Support & Maintenance: documentation, training & support, implementation approaches, downtime processes;
  • System Testing & Evaluation: methodology, medical devices;
  • Privacy & Security: PHI, legislations, CSA model, Digital Health Canada guidelines, PIA, TRA, business continuity, auditing;
  • Leadership: organizational roles, strategic planning, performance monitoring;
  • Management: policy & procedure, business principles, communications planning, educational strategies.

Innovative Program Delivery

Digital Health Canada Education delivery draws on a revolving volunteer faculty of more than 20 HI professionals delivering content in person or online, with each module presented by an HI professional with expertise in that area, who can share their experience and knowledge. The modular approach to information organization results in seamless content delivery; even if each module is taught by a different instructor, the information flows as if one person were delivering the content.

Digital Health Canada educates clinicians just entering the technology space, IT specialists moving into healthcare and seasoned healthcare professionals interested in expanding their knowledge base. Bridging the knowledge gap between professional groups and allowing for interaction during these educational seminars provides opportunities for collaboration and networking among HI professionals across the country. Program participants successfully integrate learned concepts and strategies to accelerate organizational project roll-out and initiatives. Newly acquired skills improve project delivery and ease introduction of new solutions. The program offers organizations nationwide an opportunity for improved integration, and gives employees a common knowledge base, supporting succession planning and individual career development.

In addition, the program empowers participants to successfully challenge the CPHIMS exams (International and Canadian) with results on par with international success rates.

Digital Health Canada HI Education has been delivered to individuals from more than 90 organizations across Canada. More than 500 healthcare, IT and management professionals have participated, representing more than 6,500 educational hours.

Now in its fourth year, the program is continuously updated to reflect changes in the eHealth/digital space. Digital Health Canada continues to advance Health Informatics professional education as a vital part of the evolution of a dynamic healthcare system. A new collaborative partnership with a leading academic institution will support migration of the program to an e-learning environment, offering another cost-effective and efficient opportunity for education delivery in a field where accelerating knowledge is foremost for organizational transformation and innovation.

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