CCIO: Crossing the Chasm

In summer 2011, E-Health Insider luanched the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) Campaign. It called for NHS organisations to consider appointing a CCIO to champion Information Communication Technology (ICT) projects and the use of information to improve healthcare.

On the first of September 2013, I took off my cloak of clinical manager to don a new set of responsibilities under the title of CCIO. I have crossed the chasm and decided to explore relatively unchartered territory in my organisation. In my first month in the new role, I have noted that the role of CCIO is still shrouded in a veil of mystery due to its infancy in UK healthcare.

I have therefore created the below infographic to hopefully give a flavour of what I am tasked to achieve:

CCIO Infographic Sarah Amani.001

I have also spent my first month in the job trying to get an understanding of what people inside and outside my organisation understand of the role. There is a large range of expectations, which is somewhat assuring as it signifies the thirst to have someone connecting the various functions of the organisation, with the role of  information technology. I have found the clinical workforce to be most excited and full of wish lists for what information technology can do for their practice.

I met one clinician who left a real impression on me. He more or less beamed throughout our conversation. Despite having no 3G in his work area and having to work around regular network downtimes, he told me he is absolutely committed to making his service more digitally enabled so that he can provide the best possible care to people he and his team serve. In turn, I am going to be spending at least 5 days a year with his team to ensure that the IT problems are resolved and that he and his team can realise their ambitions.

Unfortunately, his is not an exceptional case. Throughout my visits, I have met staff who problem solve every minute of every hour of every day, often with very little resource and little time to understand the wider context of healthcare IT. I have met some deeply dedicated and creative people who have many ideas that would make a real difference to people who access services. Some of their ideas relate to measuring the experience of services, improving clinical efficiency and clinical outcomes.  Information Technologies remain an elusive lynchpin in their plans for more efficient working. So one of my biggest tasks, as the infographic suggests, is to keep curious and keep asking questions about the current state of play and how we can move things to a better place.

My visits have highlighted several different mindsets when it comes to IT, innovation and change in general:

  1. Fix and maintain: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” The individuals who I have met with this attitude are generally waiting for something to be broken before they can fix it.
  2. Build and develop: These folk are open to innovation but only if it’s gradually introduced and implemented.
  3. Transitional: These guys want to stay current. They are willing to try new things although they still remain very loyal to tradition and what is familiar.
  4. Transformative: This group is willing and often very eager to try something totally different to what they have always done. They crave a radical shift from incremental to radical change.

I will have to design and adapt my approach to the four different mindsets as  illustrated very broadly above.  I will try to update this blog monthly to keep you posted.

One thought on “CCIO: Crossing the Chasm

  1. Hi Sarah

    I see you have hit the road running which is not a surprise to me of course, and have already identified the five main key drivers. You are quite right to pick up the fact that people in general do accept change providing it is at a pace that suits each group or individual . The real problem is perhaps finding a technology which is not only acceptable to the budget allocated; but also can implemented/understood and adapted to the individuals/groups requirements.
    To counteract the above issue one might consider the proposition of having a peer led member of the front line user.”team” who not only thoroughly understands the product, but can provide quick access to training and problem solving basic issues. The conduit to the project managers who designed-brought the software or systems must be clear and direct too. One can use the beauty of today’s instant communicative culture that we live in today to achieve this quite easily.
    Regarding the software chosen or systems for that matter it is again crucial that checks and balances are put in place,and acted on as and when needed to ensure the objectives and budgets are still being achieved. But all the above means nothing if the end user (the patient ) is not also involved each step of the way in the decision making process. Reason being,as you and I know Sarah, each community has different needs and cultures;and if people are on board early it can make the process of integration and understanding of a new technology far easier.
    The more we encourage clinical and public to communicate and work together can only be a positive driver for all involved.

    If I can in anyway Sarah be of assistance,well you know were I am 🙂 I shall follow your challenge with interest and support;and certainly will be highlighting this project to movers and shakers on the good old Isle of Wight.

    Kindest Regards


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