The UK health secretary has launched a network of information officer leaders to support healthcare professionals about to take charge of IT within their specialty.
The Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIO) Leaders Network is a professional network designed to support doctors, nurses and allied health workers who are stepping up to take the lead on IT and the use of information in healthcare.
Andrew Lansley promised a profound shift of decision-making to the UK health service (NHS) within the local area with clinicians leading change in information technology and ensuring its freedom to innovate.
The CCIO Leaders Network was formed following a successful campaign by healthcare IT news portal, eHealth Insider, to encourage all NHS organisations to consider appointing a CCIO.
Speaking at the launch hosted by the Royal College of Physicians in London, Mr Lansley said: “In the past, doctors and nurses have had to bend over backwards to fit in with the needs of the systems introduced to their workplaces. They were shackled with rigid, expensive IT contracts that failed to deliver as intended.
“We are now putting local clinicians in the driving seat, able to reap the benefits of the explosion in information and technology which is re-shaping the world beyond the NHS.”
He also made clear that it was intolerable that clinicians who regularly use a smartphone to video chat with colleagues across the world, have to spend weeks waiting for patient information to be sent by post. The gap in utilising modern technology was to be closed by the leadership of those with their patients in mind, not by central decree from government.
Alongside focusing on clinical involvement to drive change, the Health Secretary reiterated the need for clinical systems across the country to talk to each other, exchanging information safely in the interests of patients. The NHS Commissioning Board will lead on championing the national standards that are required to underpin local innovation and choice.
So far, six CCIOs have been appointed in the NHS and feedback suggests that the issue of clinical leadership in IT has risen significantly up the healthcare agenda. A total of 11 royal colleges have backed the campaign along with over 70 healthcare IT companies and numerous individuals.