This page contains further useful resources to help you make the most of the HICF.
The User Guide is now available for further information.
How can the HICF help me as an individual?
The HICF and organisations
The HICF provides a structure for careers within Health Informatics (HI). It contains around 130 job roles arranged by career framework level and discipline. Career framework levels are not the same as NHS Agenda for Change levels - they are unique to the HICF and the wider Skills for Health Career Framework to which the HICF is linked.
The HICF is designed to help individuals to think through career opportunities and progression. It provides an indication of the competences, skills and qualifications that are required in particular job roles. It also shows potential career progression opportunities that individuals may not have otherwise considered.
The HICF provides organisations with an overview of the wide range of job roles that are required to deliver a full health informatics service to inform workforce planning, modelling and service redesign.
Individuals in the health sector may often view their own work within the context of one particular discipline or department. The HICF promotes the ‘bigger picture’ of Health Informatics and encourages individuals to see themselves as part of a wider HI workforce which is about the effective use of data, information, knowledge and technology to support and improve health and health care delivery.
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How can the HICF help me as an individual?
There are several ways you can use the HICF to help plan your career
Illustrating career opportunities
The HICF shows career opportunities across the whole of health informatics. Some career opportunities may be well-known and traditional while others are emerging and less traditional. Within each of the job roles there are links to National Occupational Standards (NOS) and other professional competences / frameworks and these provide a greater indication of the knowledge and skills that different roles have in common. By looking at this detail, individuals will be able to see the full potential for career progression across health informatics.
Read a case study about someone who entered health informatics through an apprenticeship route
Aiding career planning
The HICF can help individuals to think through where they currently sit within health informatics and the possibilities open to them for progressing their career. It is best to do this by looking at the overview of the HICF to identify two / three possible routes through the HICF levels and across the disciplines that might be of interest. Once these routes have been identified, then you can look at the competences in each of the roles and what would be needed to progress, and from that look at the possibilities of developing these competences either within the workplace or by undertaking specific learning programme. The learning activities database will help you with this.
Read a case study about someone who entered through the NHS HI graduate training scheme
Supporting movement in all directions
There is a tendency to think of career progression as only going ‘upwards’ through the levels of the HICF. However, there are many cases where individuals move ‘sideways’ from one area into another, as can be seen in many of the case studies. This helps people progress further and also often provides greater job satisfaction. It might also be a means of seizing opportunities that are available at the time and through this developing your own competence. As the HICF shows a number of disciplines in an overall framework it facilitates understanding of knowledge and skills across the whole of health informatics.
Providing a skills escalation concept based on competences
Underpinning the HICF are a set of National Occupational Standards (NOS) that have been brought together to show the competences required in each of the identified job roles. The referencing of these competences throughout the HICF provides an indication of how skills need to be developed in order to progress in HI. In other words, individuals can consider their current competences, as well as the types of competences they will need to further their careers.
Planning career progression
To use the HICF for planning career progression you will need to:
- Identify where your current job is best placed on the HICF
- Consider the type of traditional and non-traditional routes that may be open to you
- Identify a couple of career pathways that you are interested in taking
- Review the content of the HI role that best describes the work that you do and consider the types of competences you have
- Review the content of the subsequent HI role(s) in the career pathway you have identified
- Consider how you can develop your own competences to meet the requirements of the career pathway you have identified
- Conduct some simple research to find out more about your potential career pathway – ask colleagues/members of staff, review relevant journals and
newspapers, visit relevant websites
- Identify useful sources of information for making your career move and set yourself a workable timetable for your career progression
- Revise your CV to reflect the skills and competences that you have that are relevant to the career pathway you have identified
- Apply for relevant posts within the area of work you have identified for progression
- Keep an open mind to hybrid and related roles that may assist you in taking an alternative route to where you want to be.
The HICF and Organisations
How can the HICF help us as an organisation?
The HICF can be used as a tool to help organisations with workforce planning, service redesign and development and succession planning.
The HICF can support workforce planning by helping to identify the health informatics roles that are required across a department or organisation. It is important that strategic objectives are already in place in order to carry out such planning. A departmental or organisational chart can be drawn up based on the HICF and the strategic objectives. This will provide a clear indication of the types of job roles that are required, and the ways in which individuals in these jobs will support the strategic objectives.
The detailed content of the job roles can be used as the starting point for defining competence-based job descriptions. It may be necessary to create new or hybrid roles and you can use two or more of the HICF job roles and job descriptions as a starting point to help do this. Once this work has been completed the outputs will provide a clear indication of the types of jobs, competences and skills that are required across the team. The next stage will be to move into recruitment and selection of the right individuals for the various roles.
Service redesign and development
The HICF supports service re-design and development as it can help managers and planners to consider the implications of change for the workforce. Alternative approaches to putting together teams of HI practitioners can be modelled. The models can then be used to consider the implications of recruiting, developing and retaining individuals with the relevant skills at a local and national level.
Read how one organisation used the HICF to develop consistent job roles and titles as the result of a service re-organisation
To use the HICF for service development you will need to:
- Identify the strategic objectives for the service
Consider the types and number of HI job roles that will be required to achieve the
- Identify the HI job roles as far as possible from the HICF content
- If necessary, create new or hybrid HI job roles that support the achievement of
- Draw up an organisational chart that shows how the HI job roles fit together to
achieve the strategic objectives
- Use the HI job roles you have identified to create relevant job descriptions
- Consider the implications of the organisational chart and HI job roles for recruiting,
developing and retaining individuals, and make any necessary adaptations
structure as a result
- Keep an open mind about ways in which individuals can be developed for future roles
as well as what they are capable of at the present time.
The HICF can be used to inform managers of where their future workforce may come from as well as where individuals may progress in their chosen careers. Given the mobility of individuals in the HI workforce it is important to work through issues of succession planning. The HICF helps to identify where individuals may come from in the future to fill the different job roles in a team or service. The individuals can then be encouraged and supported to develop in certain ways hence building organisational capacity and capability particularly in areas of skill shortage. This is a more proactive approach than simply advertising job vacancies and hoping the right person can be found for the job through conventional routes.