Foundation Examination Syllabus and Regulations [UK and Overseas]

 Examination Regulations

 Effective for Examination May 2019

  1. The Examining and Awarding Body is the Institute of Health Records and Information Management and the Examination is open to candidates in the UK and Overseas.

  2. Only candidates who have been officially accepted by the Institute for Student Membership and who meet all the regulations will be allowed to attempt the Examination. Examination candidates must be fully paid-up members of the Institute.

  3. Application forms for Student Membership may be obtained from the IHRIM Office. Applicants will normally have had 12 month's experience of Health Records practice or work in a related field for a period of 12 months.

  4. The Examination will normally be held on the fourth Monday of May each year.

  5. The Examination will be held in designated centres throughout the UK and Overseas. Every effort will be made to ensure the candidate attends an Examination Centre close to his/her home.

  6. The Examination will consist of one paper :
    1. Operational Health Records 2 ½ hour paper

  7. The pass mark for the paper is 60% but in order to achieve a Distinction the paper must be passed at the first attempt at 80%.

  8. Candidates applying to take the Examination MUST lodge with the IHRIM Office a completed Examination Registration Form, together with payment for the appropriate amount by 15 February each year.
    NB: Late registrations will not be accepted and any completed registration forms received without a cheque will be returned.

  9. Any candidate whose registration form is not acknowledged within ten working days of posting should advise the IHRIM Office immediately.

  10. If a candidate withdraws his/her name before the last day of entry to the Examination the fee will either be returned or carried forward for one year, however an administration charge of £25.00 +VAT will apply.  If a candidate fails to attend on the day of the Examination the fee will be carried forward for one year providing a medical certificate is submitted to the Associate Director of Education [Administration] within seven days of the date of the Examination.   Otherwise fees are non-returnable unless exceptional circumstances exist and then only at the discretion of the Director of Education.  The candidate will be responsible for any increase in fees which may occur between the initial payment and the date the Examination is taken.

  11. Any amendments to the syllabus will be published 12 months before the Examination date.

  12. The Examination paper will only be set on the current syllabus bearing the same date as these regulations.

  13. Any representation that a candidate may wish to make regarding the conduct of the Examination must be made in writing to the Associate Director of Education [Administration], using the Complaints Procedure which is available on the IHRIM Web Site, within seven days of the conclusion of the Examination.

  14. Candidates can expect to receive their percentage mark.  The Newsletter will only show a pass notification.   

  15. Candidates will be notified of the results of the Examination at the end of July of the year in which the Examination was taken. The names of successful candidates will be published in the Newsletter of the Institute.

  16. The Examination Appeals Procedure is available from the Director of Education of IHRIM.

  17. Candidates who fail to reach the pass standard in this paper may re-sit the paper on any two [2] subsequent occasions but within three years of the first attempt on payment of the appropriate fee and according to the syllabus which is in place at the time of the Examination.

  18. Successful candidates who pass the Examination will be awarded the appropriate Certificate and adopt the title 'Health Records Practitioner'.

 Examination Framework

0930 – 0935 Reading Time

0935 – 1205 Written Examination [2 ½ hours]

Operational Health Records:
Candidates must answer question 1 and then four others
Five [5] questions to be answered in total



Where relevant answer the questions as they apply to your home country.

Operational Health Records

Candidates should be able to describe and explain the methods of health records procedures for patient management from initial referral to discharge including:

Health Records Management

  1. Methods of filing e.g. terminal digit, sequential, alphabetical
  2. Practical application of retention, archiving and destruction policies (paper based and electronic)
  3. Storage media e.g. PACS, video, audio, optical disc, scanned images
  4. Understanding of the concept of Electronic Personal Health Records (EPHR)
  5. Understanding of the concept of Clinical and Patient Portals
  6. Retrieval and availability of case notes including systems for paper based and electronic records
  7. Case note tracking/tracering systems
  8. Alternative storage e.g. off site storage, secondary storage, fat folder file, digital
  9. Filing storage system for paper based records e.g. mobile racking, static racking, carousel, 'Lectrievers'
  10. Computerised patient management systems
  11. Personal Health Records architecture and clinical document indexing standards

Data Collection and Use

  1. Range of demographic details recorded on the Master Patient Index
  2. Data quality e.g. timeliness, accuracy and completeness
  3. Registration search techniques
  4. Elimination of double registrations
  5. Use of unique patient identifier [e.g. NHS number, Health and Care Number, Community Index Number]
  6. Positive Patient Identification
  7. Clinical Data Capture
    1. The use of coded clinical data at all stages of the patient journey
    2. Organisation of the department
    3. Source of data
    4. Classifications in current use e.g. ICD, OPCS, SNOMED

Emergency Department

  1. Patient registration
  2. Management of Clinical documentation
  3. Storage of ED documentation, paper based and electronic
  4. Principles of Child Protection
  5. Safeguarding vulnerable adults
  6. Major Incident procedures


  1. Clinic Booking rules
  2. Procedures for the management of Did not attend [DNA], Unable to attend [UTA]
  3. Waiting times [Government Initiatives] waiting time guarantees for your home country e.g. 18 week Referral to Treatment Standard, Cancer Waits etc
  4. Clinic Preparation (paper based, paperlite and electronic)
  5. New and Follow up Appointments, clinic outcomes and clinic reconciliation
  6. Discharge from Outpatient Care
  7. Awareness of local and national patient access contracts e.g. eReferral, Patient Focused Booking, Partial Booking


  1. The admission process involving collection of national dataset for your home country
  2. Methods of admission/transfer and discharge
  3. Bed management
  4. Management of Personal Health Records for Inpatients and Day Cases
  5. Booked elective admissions [Management of Waiting Lists and procedures]
  6. Awareness of waiting times [Government Initiatives] for your home country

Disclosure of Information, Security and Confidentiality

  1. Data Protection Legislation
  2. Freedom of Information Act 2000, Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
  3. Access to Health Records Act 1990
  4. Dealing with requests from Solicitors, Insurance Companies, Government Bodies, Police etc
  5. Consent to release information
  6. Understanding of principles for confidentiality and security of personal data
  7. Role Based Access Controls
  8. Physical Security of paper based and electronic data e.g. closed libraries, placing of computer screens, logging off
  9. Understanding of system and information audits
  10. Safe haven fax procedures
  11. Authentication of callers [in person and on telephone]
  12. Caldicott
  13. Understanding the overarching principles of Information Governance/Assurance


  1. Reception [General, Outpatient, Emergency Department, Departmental]
  2. Communication with patients
  3. Communication with General Practitioners
  4. Referral Management Service
  5. Patients with Special Needs (your home countries Accessible Information Standard)
  6. Communications with relatives
  7. Communication with other staff
  8. Communication with the Public

Health & Safety

  1. Corporate responsibility
  2. Personal responsibility
  3. Moving and handling techniques
  4. Safety in the workplace
  5. Risk Assessment
  6. Incident Reporting
  7. Role of Health & Safety Officer

Roles and Responsibility

  1. Ward Clerks
  2. Medical Secretaries
  3. Emergency Department Clerical Staff
  4. Health Records Manager
  5. Other Health Records Staff e.g.
    1. Library Staff
    2. Clinic Preparation Staff
    3. Disclosure Office [Medico Legal Office]
    4. Admissions Clerk
    5. Appointments Booking Clerk
    6. Receptionist
    7. Clinical Coder
    8. Document Scanning Clerk


There are 2 laptops available to ensure IHRIM's examinations are accessible. Allocation will be subject to meeting certain health criteria and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

PDF Download

pdf Foundation Syllabus 2019 [UK and Overseas] (130 KB)