Module information

Module details

Introduction to Health Informatics Science
Module code

Aim of this module

This rotation will provide trainees with the basic informatics knowledge and understanding of the skills and tools needed by all professionals in modern healthcare systems to provide safe, secure, high-quality, effective patient-centred services. Learning will be developed and applied in the work based training and contextualised to patient care and patient safety. This module will provide the trainee with the basic informatics knowledge and understanding of the skills and tools needed by all professionals in modern healthcare systems to provide safe, secure, high-quality, effective patient-centred services. This module will provide the trainee with the basic informatics knowledge and understanding of the skills and tools needed by all professionals in modern healthcare systems to provide safe, secure, high-quality, effective patient-centred services.  

Work-based content


# Learning outcome Competency Action
# 1 Learning outcome 1 Competency

Apply information governance principles and best practice in the workplace and pass the national Information Governance training module.

Action View
# 2 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Design and carry out clinical audit with relevant supporting information.

Action View
# 3 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Analyse and interpret the data from a clinical audit and prepare a written report, including an action plan.

Action View
# 4 Learning outcome 2 Competency

Present the findings from a clinical audit to an audience of peers.

Action View
# 5 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Create and use patient-related data, applying data and information security best practice in a clinical context, and advise and support peers and colleagues about data and information security best practice related to patient information.

Action View
# 6 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Store, manage and share records and patient information appropriately, safely and securely with others, including patients/clients.

Action View
# 7 Learning outcome 3 Competency

Provide advice and guidance to patients/clients and citizens regarding access to and ownership of personal health information/records.

Action View
# 8 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Map the information flow between different sectors of health and social care.

Action View
# 9 Learning outcome 4 Competency

Locate and access sources of clinical knowledge and decision support and write a short report to explain how these resources can be used to improve patient care.

Action View
# 10 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Send, and receive and manage information from other professionals, in written or electronic formats according to security and confidentiality requirements.

Action View
# 11 Learning outcome 5 Competency

Critically review available evidence to identify common breaches of security and confidentiality and propose ways to reduce these errors.

Action View
# 12 Learning outcome 6 Competency

Carry out an initial assessment of a local IT-based clinical system for compliance with safety and security best practice.

Action View


You must complete:

  • 1 case-based discussion(s)
  • 1 of the following DOPS/ OCEs:
Critically analyse the application of information governance principles to a local clinical database or information system DOPS
Critically analyse data from a clinical audit, summarising key findings and indicating areas for future development improvement of similar audits DOPS
Advise clinical colleagues about information security related to patient information, distinguishing between identifiable, anonymised and pseudonymised data OCE

Learning outcomes

  1. Successfully complete the national Information Governance training module (with a score of more than 80%).
  2. Perform a clinical audit and produce an audit report.
  3. Advise peers and colleagues on best practice in data and information security, patient confidentiality, record sharing, information sharing with patients/clients and records access by patient.
  4. Access local and national clinical knowledge bases and care pathway guidance.
  5. Send, receive and store communications containing patient/clinical information safely and securely in accordance with policy, protocols, legislation and codes.
  6. Perform a review of a local clinical IT system for patient safety and security compliance.

Academic content (MSc in Clinical Science)

Important information

The academic parts of this module will be detailed and communicated to you by your university. Please contact them if you have questions regarding this module and its assessments. The module titles in your MSc may not be exactly identical to the work-based modules shown in the e-portfolio. Your modules will be aligned, however, to ensure that your academic and work-based learning are complimentary.

Learning outcomes

  1. Discuss and justify the legislation, regulatory guidance and national and local protocols relating to the security, confidentiality and appropriate sharing of patient information.
  2. Explain the information governance implications for individuals and organisations of information sharing and communication between professions, with patients/clients and across organisations.
  3. Discuss the principles and purpose of effective quality control and validation of data, and the impact of poor-quality data on management and healthcare outcomes. Identify the range, purposes, benefits and potential risks of sharing, integrating and aggregating clinical data and information.
  4. Discuss the role of informatics in clinical governance.
  5. Describe and evaluate the purpose, structures, use and storage of health and care records.
  6. Discuss the implications of patient access to records and clinical information for interprofessional practice and multidisciplinary care.
  7. Discuss the basis and application and evaluate the limitations of the different clinical coding systems in use, and the importance of high-quality coded clinical data in communication and to patient safety.
  8. Explain the use of clinical terms in record keeping and the role of terming on reporting and analysis.
  9. Discuss the importance of ICT in supporting clinical practice and new ways of working in healthcare, drawing on examples from national and local policy strategy.
  10. Discuss the risks in clinical IT systems and mitigations.
  11. Discuss emerging information and communications technologies and their application in health and care.

Indicative content

Information governance: data and information quality, security and confidentiality

  • Acts of Parliament, other legislation, Codes of Practice
  • Dealing with requests for information about patients/clients
  • Information commissioner
  • Paper-based versus electronic records
  • Patient identifiable data and information
  • Secondary uses of data
  • Audit and research
  • Caldicott Guardians
  • Consent
  • Smart cards/records access
  • The well-informed patient, the expert patient
  • Encryption (principles)
  • Safe havens
  • Relationship and differences between data and information
  • Qualities of good data
  • Information system risks to patient safety
  • Cost of data entry errors
  • Secure information exchange between professionals
  • Sharing and communication with patients and carers 

Uses of clinical and health data and information

  • Patient identifiable and non-patient identifiable data and information
  • Health research applications
  • Public health
  • Service planning
  • Cross-sector care
  • Patient/client-centred service,
  • Information flows between health and social care and public health, third sector and private sectors
  • Systematic approaches to improving patient care: secondary uses service (SUS); Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) and related initiatives
  • Patient-focused systems versus specialty, disease, or procedure-focused systems
  • Big Data
  • Transparency
  • Information intermediaries
  • Clinical audit
  • Information for patient choice 

Health records

  • Paper versus electronic records
  • Patient-held records
  • Structured and coded records – free text in records
  • Consent models
  • Confidentiality and security
  • Impact of patient access on professionals and relationships, behavioural issues
  • Record sharing – with patients and between professionals
  • Summary Care Record or equivalent
  • Electronic health records
  • GP/primary care records

 The language of health: clinical coding and terminology

  • Terminologies versus classifications
  • Coding systems – nature, clinical applications, limitations
  • Accident and Emergency Coding Tables
  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
  • NHS dictionary of medicines and devices, Office of Population Census and Surveys (OPCS) Classification of Interventions and Procedures, Read Coded Clinical Terms, Systematised Nomenclature of Medical Terms (SNOMED CT)
  • Coding quality issues and risks
  • Coding and patient-accessible information
  • Coding for management – importance of coded data for supporting business workflows and administration, e.g. Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF) 

ICT systems for clinicians, patients and the public

  • eHealth, telehealth, telemedicine
  • Assistive technologies – applications, risks and issues
  • Clinical and decision support systems
  • Map of Medicine
  • National Laboratory Medicine Catalogue
  • Online guidelines and knowledge bases
  • National infrastructure, e.g. SPINE, NHW Wide Web (NWW), NHS Choices, patient portal(s)
  • e-Prescribing
  • Mobile working
  • System design, system reliability, interoperability
  • ‘Good informatics’ versus ‘bad informatics’

Clinical experiences

Important information

Clinical experiential learning is the range of activities trainees may undertake in order to gain the experience and evidence to demonstrate their achievement of module competencies and assessments. The list is not definitive or mandatory, but training officers should ensure, as best training practice, that trainees gain as many of these clinical experiences as possible. They should be included in training plans, and once undertaken they should support the completion of module assessments and competencies within the e-portfolio.


  • Take up a project (or part of the project) endorsed by the Chief Clinical Information Officer or other informatics lead in assisting in managing and developing local approaches to informatics strategic planning and implementation, and reflect on how the new and emerging technologies, the information and intelligence analysis, and the capacity, capability and composition of the workforce (including the specialist health informatics science professionals) will play an important role in enabling the healthcare provider to respond to a range of challenges, such as:
    • safety (avoidance of adverse incidents)
    • effectiveness (evidence-based treatment and care)
    • patient-centred approach and equity (reduces variation in care provision based on individuals’ traits)
    • efficiency (reduction in delays in care and avoidance of waste (underuse/overuse) of resources (including money, people, equipment, supplies and energy).
  • Observe other professionals inputting, retrieving and sharing information with patients and supporting patients to access clinical information and/or their own records and discuss your experience in relation to two of the areas identified below:
    • response to illness
    • patient and carer perspective
    • diversity of the patient experience
    • disability, including learning disabilities
    • potential health inequalities
    • self-care
    • impact of life-threatening and critical conditions
    • patient involvement in decisions regarding their healthcare.            
  • Review opportunities for the application of e-health* in the host organisation and reflect on the impact of this on your practice as a Clinical Scientist:
    • changing demographics, disease patterns and types of household
    • better informed and expert patients with higher expectations related to both outcomes and experience
    • the Wellness paradigm – with responsibility for wellbeing shifting into patients’ hands
    • reorienting of healthcare services (e.g. moving from secondary care to community care)
    • requirements for affordability and sustainability of services for all who need them
    • the implications of tele-health applications for patients and clinical staff, clinical practice and communications.

*The term e-health can encompass a range of services or systems that are at the edge of medicine/healthcare and information technology, including electronic patient records, tele-medicine, consumer health informatics, m-health and virtual healthcare teams, to name but a few.