Friday, April 3, 2009

New Career Matrix to Support Health Informatics Human (HI) Resources

April 2, 2009: Canada now has a new resource to support recruitment and retention of information workers in the health sector.

The COACH Health Informatics Professional Career Matrix, will categorize and align typical HI professions and occupations based on common skills and competencies, mastery levels and specialization. Sixty-six jobs in seven competency areas are shown across five levels of “mastery” –

1. Emerging Professional
2. Competent
3. Proficient
4. Expert
5. Master.

The development process included mapping 500+ job descriptions to the COACH HIP Core Competencies – outlining the knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgments required to work effectively in a broad range of practice settings – and forecasting future jobs by examining emerging roles in leading-edge implementations of the electronic health record (EHR).

Neil Gardner, Chair of COACH’s Health Informatics Professionalism Committee, anticipates that the Career Matrix will play a vital role in advancing health informatics as a profession in Canada.

HR Planning, Career Development
The matrix is designed to help identify HI roles, skills, education and career paths required to support the roll out of Canada's electronic health record (EHR). The listing will also serve as a career development tool for students and anyone else thinking about a career change to HI.

According to COACH the matrix will be used to set the scope for the HI roles to be studied in the upcoming national Health and Health Information Management Sector Study – a fundamental starting point for addressing the capacity issue.

The Career Matrix is published with the updated COACH HIP Core Competencies - Version 2.0. The document and matrix can be downloaded from

A cross-section of organizations employing or training HI professionals, including national agencies, provincial governments, regional health authorities, hospitals, consulting firms, vendors and universities contributed to the matrix as members of the COACH task force that developed it.

Future Plans
COACH will field test and evolve the matrix, as the association develops career and organizational planning tools to address the expanding deployment of eHealth services in Canada. Related future plans include:

  • Illustrating vertical, horizontal and diagonal career paths within the matrix for those now working in the field as well as transition paths into HI for individuals outside the field;
  • Links to educational programs to fill competency “gaps” identified through self-assessment to enable those working in the field to continue to develop their skills;
  • Developing self-assessment tools for individuals and organizations;
  • Creating job profiles for a number of key HI roles.

About COACH: Canada's Health Informatics Association
COACH is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the use, practice and profession of health informatics – the application of communications and information technology to better clinical and administrative practice – within the Canadian health system. COACH does this through information sharing, networking, education, conferences and communication. Founded in 1975, COACH has a diverse and multi-disciplinary membership of 1,550+ individuals with common interests in sharing ideas and efforts. They can be reached by email at