Posted by: Tony Shannon | June 30, 2013

Clinical Leadership: Time to Take a Stand

Further to some recent posts on the challenges in healthcare, thought it may be useful to outline some steps that I’m personally involved in towards tackling some of those very challenges.

Since finishing my training in Emergency Medicine and Informatics, in one form or another I’ve ended up in positions of Clinical Leadership.

What does “Clinical Leadership” mean to me? Its a term that has gained increasing traction in recent years…
Simply put I believe its applying the principles of leadership to improving the healthcare systems of this world, by those who I believe should be leading that change… the clinicians.

In writings elsewhere I explore the complexity of the healthcare system and the simple rules that need to be applied.
Clinicians need to lead the change in healthcare. (People)
Improving the process of healthcare should be an important focus of our efforts. (Process)
Information is key to understanding and improving healthcare. (Information)
Technology, in the sense of 21st Century Information Technology is therefore an essential part of the change. (Technology)

Thankfully the NHS in recent years has matured in its understanding of the value of Clinical Leadership in general and the role of Clinical Leadership in Information Technology in particular.

The role of Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) has recently been understood as a useful role in leading healthcare change.

In recent years as part of my role as CCIO in Leeds (aka Clinical Lead for Informatics/Chief Clinical Information Officer), I’ve ended up taking a stand on several aspects of healthcare IT that I believe need it, esp the role of open standards and open source in healthcare. The key aspects of our strategy here, via the active Leeds Clinical Portal and emerging Leeds Care Record work incorporate those important  elements for the future of healthcare.

Over the next week important landmarks for NHS CCIOs and NHS & Open Source are expected.
I’m looking forward to attending a workshop later this week to meet other fellow CCIOs for an inaugural CCIO summer school.
Within the week further announcements on the role of  open source in the NHS are also likely.

Will these two agendas will come together..?
Who will lead this change…?
I believe that clinicians need to be leading fundamental change across the healthcare sector, including the health IT market which underpins its reform.
Certainly it feels like the time has come to take that stand.

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