The British Computer Society has launched the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) Health Unit course.
It is the first computer skills syllabus in the world specifically for users of healthcare systems, and will be made available by NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CfH) to its staff later this month.
The new ECDL Health Unit is the result of seven years collaborative work between the BCS and NHS CfH to develop a computer skills syllabus specifically for users of healthcare information systems.
It aims to provide them with the confidence and competence to use IT effectively when caring for patients.
The course unit, which has been trialled by 100 NHS staff across five NHS Trusts, covers the broad issues, challenges and benefits of using electronic patient information systems.
It has been designed for all staff working with healthcare systems, including both clinical staff and administrative workers.
Candidates do not need advanced computer knowledge to take the qualification, they simply need to be able to use a computer keyboard and mouse.
Carol Hulm, BCS Special Projects Manager said: "The new unit has been developed in direct response to demands for a syllabus which is specific to the health sector, and complementing the existing topic areas covered by the ECDL.”
She said the course provided candidates with an understanding of the key principles and policies relating to healthcare information systems and the practical skills needed by users.
As well as enabling users to read, retrieve, update and store patient records accurately, the unit also provides candidates with a thorough understanding of the key issues regarding patient confidentiality and data security, she said.
A pilot of the ECDL health unit showed that it took candidates an average of 10 hours to complete the learning section, and 90% of candidates passed the course-end test.
Claire Adams, NHS Connecting for Health, said: "The outcome of the English NHS pilot has been highly successful in validating the appropriateness and the importance of the core syllabus."
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