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Information management is the retrieval, analysis, interpretation and presentation of health data and information. This enables the planning, improvement and delivery of patient services and care.
Training and qualifications required
It is possible to start in an entry-level post without formal qualifications, but GSCEs or equivalent qualifications are an advantage. Apprenticeships in health informatics are also available. More senior information management staff will have an undergraduate degree in health informatics while a postgraduate qualification in information and library work might be necessary for very senior roles. The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme also has a health informatics strand for graduates with relevant degrees.
Expected working hours and salary range
Most information management jobs in the NHS are covered by Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay systems covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Information management staff in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week. Terms and conditions for non-NHS employers and contractors will vary.
Desirable skills and values
A knowledge of, interest in, or experience of statistics or mathematics is often sought for information management. Good IT, organisational and numeracy skills are important as well as an interest in examining health sector data. Excellent communication skills are necessary, along with a proven track record of working on their own initiative. Information management staff are problem solvers and enjoy sharing ideas and best practice.
There are opportunities to progress your career into senior management roles. Most NHS organisations now have chief information officers who lead the delivery of information systems locally, regionally and nationally. Courses in health informatics are also offered by some universities at undergraduate and masters level. The NHS has also developed training and courses to support you through your career. Many of these will count towards your continued professional development and may lead to a formal professional qualification. For example, those working in clinical coding are likely to undertake training courses and qualifications that work towards becoming an Accredited Clinical Coder.
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