Bruno Holthof has been appointed as the new chief executive of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and listed the use of new technologies among his priorities for the organisation.

Holthof joins from his role as chief executive of ZNA, a network of hospitals in Antwerp, Belgium. He replaces outgoing chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael on 1 October.

Sir Jonathan served as managing director of BT Health for three years before joining Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals as chief executive in April 2010. Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals became Oxford University Hospital in November 2011.

Under his leadership, the trust developed its position in healthcare IT, installing Cerner’s Millennium electronic patient record in 2011 as part of the revamped Southern Programme for IT in the NHS.

It has since signed an individual deal with Cerner to provide an EPR, as the national contract is due to expire in October.

Earlier this year, the trust reached the top of Digital Health Intelligence’s Clinical Digital Maturity Index, after completing the roll-out of e-prescribing across all directorates. The CDMI is a ranking of how advanced digital services are at NHS trusts in England. 

Despite this, Holthof said in a statement issued to mark his appointment that bigger changes lie ahead. "Over the next decade we will see unprecedented change in the way healthcare is delivered, through the application of digitalisation, robotics and personalised medicine,” he said.

“Together with colleagues at Oxford University Hospitals, the University of Oxford and other partner organisations, I look forward to ensuring these technologies are used to support the trust as we continue to provide compassionate and excellent care to our patients and service users."

Holthof has spent the past ten years in charge of ZNA, which Oxford University Hospitals says is “one of the best performing healthcare systems in Europe.”

His career includes a long spell as a partner with McKinsey's global healthcare practice, as well as board member positions at UZ Leuven hospital in Belgium and technology firm Barco. He is also current chairman of the supervisory board health and care fund at Gimv, a European investment company.

In a video for a Nuffield Trust event, ‘The Future of the Hospital’, Holthof explains that when he became CEO of ZNA the organisation was bankrupt, losing about €50 million on a yearly basis.

After taking control Holthof restructured the network of hospitals in ZNA, impacting the way physicians and nurses worked. “Too many change programmes are focused just on cost efficient and financial metrics,” he says.

“That doesn’t make any physician feel warm. It has to be about the quality of care provided to patients. That can motivate a lot of professionals to work on changing the way they deliver healthcare.”