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CiLN Media Release – 19 May 2020

Clinical informaticians are vital to ensuring the positive digital changes in the health system are sustained beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

New Zealand’s Clinical Informatics Leadership Network, which has more than 360 members nationwide, has published a Clinical Informatics Position Statement defining the role and value of clinical informaticians to the health sector.

It says clinical informaticians enable the evolution of health care by combining their clinical experience and understanding of health outcomes with their knowledge of information and technology.

They add value to the health sector by “bringing technical expertise and practical experience, engaging widely in the design and introduction of clinical systems, championing digital literacy, and providing clinical leadership.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen unprecedented change in the health system, with GPs and hospitals switching to provide virtual consultations for patients. Systems to enable clinical and administrative teams to communicate and work remotely have also been deployed at speed.

CiLN co-chair and head of clinical informatics at healthAlliance Karen Blake says the release of the position statement is very timely as the health system begins to look towards what new future will emerge in the wake of Covid-19.

“Covid-19 highlighted many of the deficits in our fragmented and legacy landscape,” she says.

“The role of clinicians working across all sectors of health information technology is vital to ensure that the data and digital systems meet the future needs of our patients and clinicians.”

Fellow co-chair and clinical director information services and virtual health care at Waikato DHB Ruth Large says the health system has traditionally invested in the things it can see, such as hospitals, medicines and direct to patient technologies. This has meant that the digital tools to support health care delivery have been left behind.

“We have seen what can happen in just a few weeks of working collaboratively across the sector and enabling rapid digital change. In order to capture this effort we must make it sustainable and prove its value,” she says.

The position statement calls for investment in clinical informatics roles at all levels of the health and disability sector; a clinical informatics career framework that recognises and encourages professional achievement and advancement, and supports research; and recognition that clinical informaticians are fundamental to thesuccess of data and digital initiatives.

Also, clinical scopes of practice that include the use of data and information, technology, and clinical information systems; and a digitally literate and capable health and disability workforce.


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