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Abstract

Background The health system in Qatar is going through a digital health technology transformation. Along with upgrading its facilities and medical equipment, Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of Riyals in health information systems specifically deployment of an integrated Electronic Medical Record (EMR) across its national hospitals and primary health care centers. This has introduced the age of health informatics for Qatar at a national level. Health informatics is the systematic application of information, computer science, and technology to practice of health care and research. A specialized workforce will be required to operate and manage these systems. Objective The primary objective of this study was to understand any constraint on national capacity development in the area of health informatics. Methods We reviewed Qatar’s national health and development strategy reports and interviewed 23 health care professionals with a mix of physicians, nurses and allied health practitioners. Results 82% were aware of the health informatics technologies deployment in Qatar. 78% of the interviewees had limited understanding of health care informatics as it relates to national capacity strategy. None of the respondents were aware of any educational programs specializing in health informatics. Conclusions Currently, there is no degree awarding health informatics programs in Qatar. Developing the workforce to support health care informatics requires multiple actions. Comprehensive curriculum and workforce analysis is necessary to provide information about the degree gaps as well as baseline competencies. Developing health informatics competencies that complement other competency sets i.e. medical training, advanced IT training for the existing workforce; establishing coursework and degree programs in conjunction with clinical and IT awarding institutions; and developing institutional training/mentorship programs.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.HBPP1195
2014-11-18
2020-12-01
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