Wednesday, May 30, 2018

PARCA certification bootcamp prepares S. Africa PACS admins for the future in medical informatics

PARCA and In2pacs bootcamp participants
PARCA eNews – May 24, 2018 – In2pacs Academy, the leading PACS administrator training organization in South Africa hosted a bootcamp with PARCA founder Herman Oosterwijk April 24-26 at the Hotel Verde in Cape Town. The bootcamp was capped by a proctored exam for CPAS certification.

In2pac Academy principal Clive Daniell said the bootcamp was a great success.

“There were 20 candidates who did the bootcamp and 18 wrote the exam,” Daniell said in a Skype interview with PARCA eNews. “Of those, 10 were certified from S. Africa and 1 from Zimbabwe.”

Professor Richard Pitcher
of the University of
Stellenbosch served as
proctor for the exam.
Daniell said the idea for the bootcamp came up a year ago when Oosterwijk was in S. Africa to conduct training for a company there. The two met and discussed training and the challenges of taking PARCA exams online in S. Africa.

“One of the reasons for choosing PARCA for S. Africans is that you can write the exam online,” Daniell said. “But having done that myself, I found that it isn't that easy due to Internet connectivity issues in S. Africa. So I asked Herman to get permission from the PARCA board for doing it on paper. They agreed with the stipulation that there be an appropriate, independent, credentialed proctor.”

To ensure the integrity of the exam and scoring, Ootserwijk took the exam in a sealed envelope, which was given to the proctor, and then carried the results in a sealed envelope from the proctor back to PARCA for grading and certification.

“We tried to keep a strict firewall between me (OTech), Clive's company on the training side, and PARCA on the exam side,” Oosterwijk said.

Daniell who has been working to promote the value of PACS certification among companies and institutions in S. Africa for some time approached Professor Richard Pitcher, head of the Department of Medical Imaging at Stellenbosch University to serve as proctor. Dr. Pitcher shares Daniell’s vision of building a knowledgeable and recognized African PACS community. He agreed to act as proctor and the bootcamp was scheduled.

Daniell says that PACS administrators in S. Africa and elsewhere suffer in terms of recognition for their profession because it crosses the IT domain and the clinical domain. He sees a rigorous certification process as one way to change that, but points out that it will also take getting organizations to recognize the value of certified PACS administrators.

Asked if it the bootcamp will be repeated, Daniell said absolutely they will do it again. The only question is whether it will be done annually or bi-annually depending on the constraints of the parties involved. He says advancing the education of PACS administrators and engineers is critical if the profession if it is to remain relevant in the coming informatics age.

“Imaging informatics and health informatics will be merging more and more in the future and we need people with the skill sets that will be required to be prepared for that challenge,” Daniell said.

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