The new NHS information strategy says that every health care organisation needs to appoint a ‘board-level’ chief clinical information officer, or equivalent senior clinical leader, to be its local information champion.

Published today, the strategy cites the CCIO role, which has been campaigned for by eHealth insider for the past year, as a model for how a clinically-led “information-led culture” of health care can be developed.

‘The power of informatation’ strategy notes that a number of trusts have created CCIO posts; and mentions the establishment of the EHI CCIO Leaders Network – launched by health secretary Andrew Lansley at the end of March – as an important step.

It stipulates that every organisation should identify a CCIO, or other senior clinician such as the medical director, to be that organisation’s clinical information leader.

“A clinician, care professional or other relevant lead responsible for organising information in support of better care should be identified in every organisation. We are starting to see this happen.

“Some organisations are creating new posts of chief clinical information officers on the boards and a CCIO Leaders Network has recently been launched.”

In the past year, ten CCIOs have been appointed by a range of primary care trusts and NHS trusts covering primary care, secondary care and mental health.

The strategy also recognises that some organisations have existing clinical leads fulfilling some, or all, of the envisaged CCIO role.

“For example, most general practices already have a clinical lead with responsibility for their clinical systems," it says.

Crucially, the strategy says that the post should be at board level: “Confirmation at board level of the importance of clinical and professional leadership in informatics will help ensure that organisation deliver safe, effective, evidence-based and accessible services and systems.

“A nominated lead at board level will also help improve accountability and strengthen governance around the quality of an organisation’s data," it states.

The strategy goes on to stress that information and informatics training and professional development are both essential for clinical staff, both pre and post-registration. Actions are promised to build education programmes and resources.

Further actions are promised to strengthen the status of informatics professionals through encouraging the development of career pathways that provide opportunities for them “to realise their full potential as leaders."

A commitment is made to work with the National Leadership Academy “to make sure our leaders of today and leaders of tomorrow can make the best use of informatics as a tool to develop excellence in both care delivery and business performance.”