An overwhelming 93% of respondents to The Big EPR Survey say that every NHS trust should have a chief clinical information officer.

The figure was 10% higher than support for every trust to have board level chief information officer, still a resounding 83%.

Many trusts do not have board level IT directors or CIOs, with information often being a responsibility of the finance director.

Asked what steps should be taken to accelerate the adoption and use of electronic patient records, there was a strong call for greater clinical leadership, engagement and involvement at both a national and local level.

At a national level there was a call for leadership from the Royal Medical Colleges. “There should be a clear statement from the Royal Colleges supporting the role of IT in health care," wrote one respondent.

Another said the key to local EPR adoption was to: “Engage with influential local clinicians and commissioners, and demonstrate in a practical way how their lives will be made easier…”

EHI launched the EHI CCIO Campaign in the summer of 2011. It called for NHS organisations to consider appointing a chief clinical information officer to lead on IT and information projects. 

Chief medical information officers have been credited with contributing to the success of big IT projects in the US.

But EHI chose the CCIO title to emphasise that nurses, allied health professionals and other staff could be clinical leaders, as well as doctors. 

The campaign rapidly gained the support of government, and last May EHI launched the CCIO Leaders Network to support those CCIOs already in place and to encourage more to come forward. 

Around 20 trusts and other NHS organisations now have clinicians using the CCIO title.  

Further comments in The Big EPR Survey, which EHI ran as part of The Big EPR Debate, stressed accountability and focus: “Make clinicians and nurses accountable for using IT," one suggested.

“Appoint, on a short term basis, a dedicated clinician who reports to the board and has one key objective; to make it work for clinicians," wrote another, adding: "Do not tag this onto the medical or nursing directors’ roles, they don’t have the time.”

A variation on the same theme was: “There should be a clinical IT team within each trusts with representative sion each area.”

Another respondent said: “The biggest impact would be to ask clinicians, nurses etc. what they want and not to have Parliament dictate what is to be delivered, when they clearly have no expertise or experience in the matter.”

The thumping backing for the CCIO role comes just weeks after chair of the CCIO Leaders Network Dr Joe McDonald wrote to all NHS hospital trust chief executives in England, Wales and Scotland asking them to identify their most senior clinical information leader.

The Big EPR Debate Survey