For me, when we talk about the workforce, we should talk about training. I heard that there are many programs in health informatics already in Thailand, especially in Mahidol. Besides the program we are doing here, there are other programs which have the same field as in health informatics and could be considered as tier 3 training, for example, at Faculty of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi, and Faculty of ICT.
In terms of the real workforce, I don’t know much about numbers or sufficiency of health informatician or related staff in the healthcare setting, especially in the public sector. But in the private sector, the informatic position has been increasingly recognized. As I know most of the global/national corporate has either newly appointed or newly designated as, for example, Chief Information Officer (CIO). The C-level executive is a sign showing the needs of specialist running the vital part of the new architecture of the company and to raise awareness on the application of informatics for development and improvement of the business. In healthcare, as I know, there are already some private hospitals has appointed this kind of position and it’s been improving their quality and services more effectively. Designation/appointment of position is important, as most people think health informatics is only about using IT at work and most of the organization already have IT, staff. We should think about recognizing health informatician as a dedicated position/required profession in the public health setting to speed up the development of the field in improving health care. It must be recognized by Law, the same as Physician, nurses, pharmacist and others.
Key factors of health informatics are involvement and understanding of healthcare worker, of the application of technology to improve health care. Most importantly, in addition to continuing education for health professionals as we are doing here, basic health informatics sciences should be also available in health science education curriculum at all level. That’s because not all health professionals would like to get their career development in health informatics but they are expected to get familiar with and have the capacity and understanding to take apart in the new way of working smoothly in the future. This may help improve the burn-out of the healthcare worker in the real work setting.