New Health Informatics Primer Developed by Clinicians for Clinicians!

The COACH Health Informatics PRIMER for Clinicians (thePrimer) is intended for new clinicians as well as those newly arrived to the world of health informatics (HI) through COACH. Published by the CCF: COACH Clinician Forum, thePrimer was written by clinicians for clinicians. If you are a healthcare provider considering a career in HI, this is the primer for you!

The Primer provides an introduction to COACH as well as the CCF, along with an overview of the principle stakeholders, interest groups and key topic areas in HI. Much of the information provided is drawn from COACH’s wide array of guidelines, white papers and other information collateral. In particular, it draws substantially from COACH’s CPHIMS-CA Canadian Health Informatics Review and Reference Guide.1

Key HI Subject Areas & Contemporary Topics

The Primer covers the key subject areas and contemporary topics for current and future clinicians working in the HI space. The opening section on HI and the COACH Health  Informatics Professional (HIP®) Core Competencies defines HI and provides an overviewof the competencies, detailing the particular skills, knowledge, attitudes and capabilities necessary for healthcare practitioners to work effectively as HIPs. The section on the basis of Canadian healthcare describes the key systems, legislation and means of delivering healthcare, with a profile of the key national organizations such as Canada Health Infoway, the Canadian Institute for Health Information and others, all working to advance and enhance HI in the design, delivery, analysis and management of healthcare.

Clinical & Health Services

The Clinical and Health Services section, noting that healthcare is one of the most information-intensive industries, describes how HI is working to facilitate access to clinical information to improve and enhance healthcare delivery across the continuum of care. Particular benefits achieved through the adoption and implementation of technologies are identified, including improvements in patient safety, clinical workflow  and communications; trends such as patient engagement, health promotion, interdisciplinary care and analytics are also recognized.

For IM and IT, an array of the ‘core’ health information systems as well as emerging applications are recognized for facilities, communities and individuals. The architecture of these systems and applications, informing how such information systems can be arranged, composed and inter-connected is also discussed, with a focus on the Infoway ‘Blueprint.’ The Primer identifies key health information standards such as HL7, SNOMED-CT and DICOM, which are fundamental to health information definition and structure.

The Primer’s section on organizational and behavioural management notes the importance of understanding the concepts of organizational and human behaviour in everyday clinical practice and the particular tools by which change can be effectively managed when eHealth technologies and innovations are undertaken. The Primeralso covers the collection, analysis and evaluation of healthcare data and how this is crucial to informed strategic planning, health system performance and the improvement of healthcare delivery in Canada.

The COACH HI Primer for Clinicianssupports the overall COACH mission through advancing the adoption, practice and professionalism of HI by clinicians. Through COACH, members, including clinicians, are dedicated to realizingtheir full potential as professionals and advancing HI through access to information, talent, credentials, recognition, programs and a broad range of services and specialized resources.

In this context, the Primer’s final careers section outlines the numerous roles and domains on the COACH HIP® Career Matrix, and notes the opportunity to earn the COACH CPHIMS-CA credential as a mark of professional competence in the HI community.

For More Information

The Primer is available at no cost to COACH members, and for $19.95  to others. Please visit the COACH Store at for more information!

1For more information on the CPHIMS- CA Canadian Health Informatics Review and Reference Guide (2013), please visit the COACH Store at

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