Building health service management workforce capacity in the era of health informatics and digital health – A scoping review

Mark Brommeyer, Maxine Whittaker, Mark Mackay, Fowie Ng, Zhanming Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Health informatics and digital health, two rapidly growing disciplines, are becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of health service provision, highlighted especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. To maximise the benefits of the adoption and growth of health informatics and digital health, health service managers play a critical role in leading and managing the implementation and transformation of the system, both strategically and operationally, whilst still needing to manage ‘business as usual’. 

Objectives: The objectives of the paper are to present and discuss the findings from a scoping review identifying: 1) competencies required for health service managers leading the implementation and transformation of informatics and digital technology in the health sector; and 2) factors that are critical to building the management workforce capacity in the era of health informatics and digital health. 

Methods: A scoping review of the literature was conducted in 2020 focussing on identifying empirical articles published in the English language since the year 2000 using a number of keywords such as ‘health informatics’, ‘digital health’, ‘electronic health’, ‘competencies’, ‘capability’, ‘proficiency’, ‘qualification’, ‘certification’, ‘health manager’, ‘health executive’ and ‘health administrator’. The literature search was guided by a PRISMA approach searching within eight databases: Scopus, ProQuest, Web of Science, ACM Digital Library, CINAHL, PubMed, Google Scholar and ProQuest Dissertations. 

Results: After duplicates were removed, 941 publications were included for title screening as the result of an initial review. Title screening selected 185 articles to be included for abstract screening by two reviewers confirming 19 papers relevant to the focus of the current paper which were included in data extraction and content analysis. The analysis identified the additional competency of ‘information and data management’ be included as a core competency for health service managers. The analysis also confirmed additional elements for the following four core management competencies that are important to health service managers working in the digital health context, including: 1) leadership; 2) operational and resource management; 3) personal, interpersonal and professional qualities, and 4) understanding the industry and environment. Factors that are critical to developing the system and organization capacity in the use of health informatics and digital health technology, and leading and managing the adoption in the healthcare organizations were identified in three categories: 1) policy/system; 2) organizational structure and processes; and 3) people factors. 

Conclusions: This paper has taken an important step in confirming the competency requirements for health services managers that are relevant to leading and managing in the health informatics and digital health space, consequently indicating the directions for developing a competent workforce in meeting the existing and emerging healthcare delivery challenges, both now and in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104909
Number of pages10
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INFORMATICS
Volume169
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Capacity building
  • Competency frameworks
  • Digital health
  • Health informatics
  • Health service managers
  • Health workforce

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