One of the business risks that come up time and time again in discussions about eHealth is the supply of people knowledgeable about both IT and health care. It seems that there are lots of one or the other, but few who understand both dimensions of a very complex business. Yet there is little effort being applied to increasing the pool of talent needed to address the demand for skilled human resources.
There are a number of university and college programs across the country (link here for a survey of HI programs across Canada published by the Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research
(WIHIR), but they graduate relatively few health IT practitioners... certainly not enough to fill the demand.COACH, Canada's Health Informatics Association
, has recently published a list of core competencies needed by Health Informatics Professionals (unfortunately its only available to COACH members), but again, there is no strategy to provide educational opportunities for those who need it.
The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) has recently implemented a certification program (Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS))
that is taking us in the right direction.
The University of Waterloo's Health Informatics Bootcamp
program developed and delivered by WIHIR is highly recommended because it addresses a critical need to quickly educate health care and IT professionals on the intricacies of health informatics.
If we are to succeed in driving out eHealth at the pace promoted by politicians and their instruments such as Canada Health Infoway (and other national equivalents), more investment is needed in the educational programs necessary to develop a competent health informatics workforce.