Healthcare statutory body, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), will be implementing a web-based system to verify the credentials of practitioners who obtained their basic medical qualification outside of South Africa.

The Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) will replace the current Educational International Credentials Services (EICS) paper application process.

EPIC is an innovative, on-line service that practitioners can use throughout their careers by building a digital career portfolio of the primary-source verified credentials related to their medical education, training and registration.

According to the council, EPIC’s web-based process will provide the regulatory body with the same rigorous primary-source verification of medical credentials that it has been receiving through EICS, while also offering practitioners an advantage not available through EICS.

As of 1 August 2016, new applicants will be required to create an EPIC account and upload their credentials for verification. Until then applicants must continue using EICS, and applicants who have already started the process through the latter must continue with that option.

Applicants can use EPIC to request reports verifying the authenticity of their credentials to be provided to any organisation in the world, including medical regulatory authorities and potential employers, such as hospitals and academic institutions.

All foreign-qualified practitioners must ensure that the HPCSA has received their full compliant verifications before submitting their applications for registration. All applications received without this documentation via the EPIC portal will be considered non-compliant and returned to the applicant.

The HPCSA regulates the education, training, registration and practice of health professionals in SA. All individuals who practise any of the healthcare professions incorporated in the scope of the HPCSA are obliged by the Health Professions Act to register with the Council.

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