The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to repeal the Health Records Officers (Registration) Act and establish the Health Information Practitioners Council of Nigeria.
The bill, sponsored by Rep Muhammad Usman (APC, Kaduna), states that the council will provide effective and efficient health information management, regulate the training, practice and management of health information system in Nigeria and related matters.
Stating the objectives of the bill, Rep Usman said it would usher in a good health records system, which is key to achieve goal number 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provides that all nations must ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.
He said the bill would bring the Act in line with current realities in information management so that the old system of record keeping is changed to accommodate Information Communication Technology (ICT) compliant-system of information keeping and archiving.
When established, he said, the council would perform functions such as determining the standard of knowledge and skills to be attained by a person seeking to become a member of the health record management profession.
Besides, the council would facilitate the establishment of a register of persons registered as health information practitioners as well as facilitate the conduct of examination in health records management and award of certificates and diplomas to successful candidates.
The council shall also provide guidelines and minimum qualifications for persons seeking to be members of the Information Management Practitioners and has the powers to approve any course of training for intending members of the profession.
Additionally, there would be a disciplinary committee of the council, which is vested with the responsibility of considering and determining any case referred to it by the disciplinary panel established in the bill.
Supporting the bill, Rep Istifanus Dung Gyang (PDP, Plateau) said it would help Nigeria to transit the management of health records from the analog to the digital era and that the staff in the health sector would be more efficient.
On his part, Rep Jimoh Olajide (APC, Lagos) said "this is a very good bill for various reasons. It’s a welcome development for technological advancement. It will improve access to patients’ data and efficiency in health services."