Information management is the retrieval, analysis, interpretation and presentation of health data and information. This enables the planning, improvement and delivery of patient services and care.
This page has information on the roles available in information management and links to further information.
Understanding how patient data is generated and captured by health professionals is just as important as the analysis itself. This means clinical audit, data protection and patient confidentiality are all crucial areas for information management staff in health organisations.
Information management staff are also able to encourage evidence-based practice, measure performance and improve access to patient records through their work.
Roles in information management
Explore some of the roles in information management:
- audit facilitator
- information analyst
- clinical coding roles
- clinical audit roles
- information governance
- planning and performance management
Audit facilitators analyse patient information to see whether or not types of treatment being provided by a health organisation are effective. These staff may work in a particular specialty, such as mental health or renal dialysis, and analyse the cost benefit of a treatment.
Information analysts are usually statisticians who help managers and healthcare professionals to plan service and improve performance by measuring trends in delivery and performance, for example a population's health needs or hospital waiting times. Analysts in health organisations, such as NHS trusts, constantly review patient care as well as the staff and resources at the trust’s disposal. They do this through monitoring activity data and formal research projects into specific areas of concern.
Clinical coders are responsible for making a full and accurate computer record of a patient's stay in hospital. They translate diagnoses and treatment into alphanumeric codes. They liaise with clinical professionals, including doctors, nurses and other staff to ensure that patients' diagnoses are recorded accurately. They will also be involved in reviewing data. Some will work as tutors and deliver training to staff on using clinical coding.
Staff working in clinical audit facilitate and undertake projects to measure the clinical effectiveness and governance of specific services and make recommendations on how they can be improved. Depending on the post, duties could include:
- making a full and accurate computer record of patients' stays in hospital
- translating patients' diagnoses and treatment into alphanumeric codes
- liaising with doctors, nurses and other staff to ensure diagnoses and treatment are recorded accurately
- reviewing quality of data
Information governance manager
Information governance managers ensure information systems in an organisation comply with national rules and standards about how information is captured, stored and shared. This would typically involve the legal requirements of the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.
Planning and performance manager
Planning and performance managers analyse information to monitor current services and plans for the future. They help to ensure that key performance targets are being met, for example on waiting lists for treatment.