Sanjeev Taneja has been CCIO at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust for a year, where he is also a consultant urological surgeon. During his tenure, the trust has become one of only three Midlands trusts named a global digital exemplar. Taneja reveals to Digital Health News what he would do with £30 million and which A-lister would play him in the film of his life.
Why did you become an NHS CCIO?
To act as a bridge between the clinicians and the IT department, and to ensure health IT systems are designed and implemented to work for the need of clinicians and patients.
Within your organisation, what is the most significant digital achievement of the past 12 months?
To be selected as one of the global digital exemplar (GDE) sites.
What will be the most significant of the next 12 months?
Implementation of different projects made possible by the GDE funding – designing and implementing a single portal to access various systems is perhaps the most important one.
What’s the biggest barrier to being a more effective CCIO?
Not having adequate time to devote to the CCIO role, and lack of involvement from clinicians in various IT projects.
What’s the biggest barrier the NHS faces overall in achieving digital transformation?
A lack of clear vision and not looking at the bigger picture, but instead focussing on isolated small projects.
If you have one piece of advice for other NHS CCIOs, what would it be?
Have a clear priority in your mind about the digital goals and how to enable digital technology to work for patients and clinicians.
Who in the NHS do you admire the most and why?
Volunteers who work in the NHS. They selflessly give so much to the service.
If you were given £30 million to spend on digital transformation within your trust, where would that money go?
Infrastructure and hardware improvement as this is the biggest source of frustration for most clinicians. I would also improve interoperability so that different health IT systems can be seamlessly integrated, not just within my trust, but across the providers in the region which will be the key in the imminent sustainability transformation plans scenario.
What is the most over-hyped digital innovation in health?
Healthcare apps which will allow patients to “take control of their chronic conditions”.
What is the most under-rated digital innovation in health?
PACS, it transformed the way radiology images are accessed, shared and manipulated sending the thick imaging folders and logistics of retrieving them for each clinic or theatre session into oblivion.
And a few non-digital questions, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why?
I have worked very little outside my own field of medicine. As a most junior member of the operating team, I once had the unenvious responsibility of cleaning the bowel specimen removed at surgery of all the contents before sending it to pathology lab. Thankfully it was only a short locum job!
If you could invite three people, alive or dead, to dinner who would they be?
Bill Gates for technology and philanthropy, Sachin Tendulkar for cricketing chat, Paul Merton for the humour.
What’s the background image on your home computer?
Singapore skyline from the shores of Marina Bay. One of the most iconic sites of the modern world.
What’s your favourite piece of technology at home and why?
My cordless headphones connected to either the Sky box or my phone. Music is very rarely listened to, it’s mainly it’s the news and news reviews from around the world. It is a must for a harmonious and peaceful household!
If you could have any other job, what would it be?
I admire creativity so anything creative– a successful writer perhaps? Being able to “spin a yarn” or write a “un-put-downable thriller”.
In a film of your life, who would play you?
Brad Pitt or my name sake Sanjeev Bhaskar – I can’t decide!