MSc/PGDip/PGCert Health Informatics (UCL/UoM Joint Award) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Health Information Systems

Course unit fact file
Unit code IIDS61001
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


Health Informaticians need to be able to support the development and procurement of health information systems for use by clinicians; patients, public; other professionals and researchers. They will provide oversight and understanding of the functionality of health/clinical information systems and applications. These clinical systems do not stand-alone: they increasingly interoperate and exchange data with other systems that not always sit within the traditional clinical ecosystem. In this rapidly changing landscape, health informaticians are required to rethink (or think innovatively around) the methods and techniques used in system development and analysis, while taking into consideration the standards and guidance relating to medical devices, infrastructure/software development; data security and network management in a range of scenarios.

This unit will cover the following indicative content:

•       Overview of health information systems and technologies, including electronic health record systems, mobile apps and cloud-based systems;

•       Underlying technologies – networks; architecture design; data storage

•       System development life cycle and methodologies - agile; waterfall

•       User requirements analysis

•       System testing, performance and quality assurance

•       Planning and evaluating system implementation.


The unit aims to:

•       Provide an overview of health information systems and technologies and their impact on the delivery of healthcare;

•       Give insight in the technologies that underlie health information systems;

•       Improve understanding which stakeholders are involved and what their role is in designing and implementing systems;

•       Improve understanding of different approaches and methodologies for system development, and how and when to apply them;

•       Improve understanding of the issues surrounding the introduction or change of a health information system and/or technology;

•       Teach how to critically appraise system design/development/delivery and make suggestions for improvement.

Learning outcomes


Category of outcome

Students should be able to:

A. Knowledge and understanding


LO1: Critically appraise health information systems and technologies and use this knowledge to support future decision-making around system design and implementation

LO2: Evaluate the different approaches to system development and how they fit in the broader cycle of development, deployment and maintenance of healthcare systems.

LO3: Assess issues surrounding system quality assurance and be able to address them

LO4: Critically appraise the range of technologies available to produce and store data/information

LO5: Critically appraise the role of different stakeholders in the health information system development and assess their needs.

B. Intellectual skills


LO6: Determine the likely impact of introducing a (change in a) health information system and use this knowledge to plan the implementation

LO7: Critically review a plan for system design/development/delivery and make suggestions for improvement

LO8: Apply systems methodologies to a healthcare context. 

C. Practical skills


LO9: Conduct a system requirements gathering exercise and communicate the results

LO10: Employ skills to introduce new technologies/systems into the healthcare system

LO11: Apply system methodologies to design a technological solution to a healthcare problem.

D. Transferable skills and personal qualities


LO12: Work collaboratively within a team

LO13: Present ideas and work in a verbal and written format

LO14: Understand how to allocate resources and plan a project

LO15: Work through a problem-solving cycle. 

Teaching and learning methods

This unit will be delivered in a blended format: e-Learning preparation material will impart basic and core knowledge whilst the face-to-face lectures and open discussions will introduce concrete examples and encourage attendees to draw upon their own reading and experience. Group, problem based learning will show a deeper understanding of the area and encourage collaborative working. Example case-studies will be drawn from University of Manchester (HeRC) and University College London research-driven projects and current NHS projects. The F2F teaching will be delivered as 1 x three day block of workshops covering a key section

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 80%
Oral assessment/presentation 20%

Feedback methods

Formative assessment and feedback to students is a key feature of the on-line learning materials for this unit. 

Regular presentation of results to tutor and staff to elicit feedback and develop ideas/work.

Recommended reading

A systems development life cycle approach to patient journey modeling projects.

Curry JM, McGregor C, Tracy S. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2007;129(Pt 2):905-9.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sabine Van der Veer Unit coordinator

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