EHealth Insider has formally launched the EHI CCIO Campaign to encourage every trust to consider appointing a chief clinical information officer.
More than 70 people from the NHS, royal medical colleges and IT suppliers gathered at the BT Tower in London yesterday to hear why the campaign matters, who is supporting it and what the next steps will be to take it forward.
Jon Hoeksma, EHI’s co-founder and editor, reminded his audience that the campaign started four weeks ago with an open letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley, urging him to support the campaign to help make his promised information revolution a reality.
At the time, the campaign had the launch of The BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and the Royal College of Physicians, and backing from Cerner and BT, who have both provided invaluable logistic support.
Since then, a wide range of individuals, companies and organisations have added their endorsement.
They include health minister Lord Howe, NHS medical director Bruce Keogh, Dr Charles Gutteridge, national clinical director for informatics, three further royal colleges, Intellect, UKChip, Assist, many more IT suppliers and numerous EHI readers.
EHI readers can show their support for the campaign on its dedicated web pages. The wide support showed that the CCIO idea was an idea whose time had come, Hoeksma said.
In its ten years of reporting on the NHS IT scene, EHI has found that the most successful projects involve clinicians from the outset. “Those that fail to engage clinicians often fail overall,” he said.
“For the full potential of IT to be realised requires clinical leadership. The CCIO is a new role that should appeal to many health professionals. We are calling on NHS organisations to identify their local champions.”
But despite the high level of support, there was a long way to go, he added. “There are still plenty of sceptics. Sometimes there is tension between IT professionals and clinicians.
“Many IT professionals believe that problems stem from unrealistic expectations from professionals. Clinicians too often view IT in the NHS as doomed to fail.”
Others need practical help to turn support into action. Over the summer, BCS Health will work up job descriptions, person specifications and models for CCIO career pathways. It expects to make the result of this work available later this year.
Hoeskma said: “EHI can get the message out but the detailed work required to establish CCIO posts needs partner organisations such as BCS Health. Our aim now is to build on the partnerships we are forming.”
He added: “This is a long term and ambitious campaign and I think it will be five years before we will really start to see the results. We have a long way to go but every journey must have a beginning.”
© 2011 EHealth Media.
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