Posted by: Tony Shannon | January 31, 2014

NHS Chief Clinical Information Officers: Vision & 12 Point Plan

Since the demise of the NHS National Programme for IT, there has been a significant shift in the approach to change in the NHS in England. 

While it is increasingly understood that healthcare improvement is intertwined with information and related technologies…. in this new era of Clinically Led, Managerially Supported change… moves to facilitate related innovation and change from the bottom up are being fostered. Supported by eHealthInsider, the UKs leading eHealth news channel an enlightened campaign began just a couple of years ago to promote the role of Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs) in the NHS. Over a short period of time a small but steady number of NHS CCIOs have already been appointed.

Within that rank, a chairman emerged, Dr Joe McDonald, Consultant Psychiatrist and Veteran of NHS NPfIT. With a combination of good humour and savvy politics, with the support of the rank and file he has helped to craft a NHS CCIO 12point plan.. .. so that this grass roots movement can advance a common cause..

Some of the key points from the 12 point NHS CCIO plan that has just recently been published;

  • The appointment of a senior responsible clinician for information should be seen as one way of an organisation demonstrating its commitment to information quality
  • NICE should produce a cross-cutting quality standard on clinical information, establishing core standards and metrics for the collection and use of information
  • NHS England should integrate these standards into the Standard Contract for NHS services. The Standard Contract should make clear that all clinical information supplied by providers should be overseen by a lead clinician with responsibility for information quality
  • NHS England’s work on the future of primary care and urgent care services should make clear the importance of clinical leadership on information, establishing core common standards across both sectors
  • Health Education England should establish clinical information as part of the curricula for all clinicians

A key excerpt from Joes Introduction to the Plan is worth a special mention;

“This is why the development of a cadre of professional CCIOs is so important. We must make it our task to ensure
that the NHS gets the systems it needs to deliver the information required to drive quality of care. In doing so,
there are certain truths we hold to be self evident:
• If a clinical information system is to serve patients well it must first serve clinicians well.
• Clinical information systems must involve users in their design and continuous improvement.

• The NHS needs a vibrant, open market in EPR systems which is transparent from the point of view of usability, functionality and crucially, cost.
• The use of standards to promote open and interoperable systems, enabling the sharing of patient data is essential. This commitment to openness must extend to collaboration and exchange of best practice. For many CCIOs the collaborative nature of open source software development is particularly attractive, being analagous to medical practice.
• Implementation of clinical information systems will not be successful if they make clinicians’ lives harder

Already this plan has attracted the support of UK Ministers at the Department of Health.

So herein is a great example of ;

Clinically Led..
effort to support healthcare change..
..with effective Information Technology

Growing from these early roots, no doubt this plan will raise the profile of CCIOs and their important stake in 21st Century Healthcare Change.

Great job Joe.


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