Lisa Emery, CIO at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, talks to Digital Health News about the importance of resilience and why she hates jam doughnuts.
Why did you become an NHS CIO?
At the time, it was a relatively new role generally, and the first time this trust had a CIO post. It offered the opportunity to lead change and make a difference.
Within your organisation, what is the most significant digital achievement of the past 12 months?
We are very much in the early stages of our transformation programme from a digital perspective. The last 12 months have focused on getting the basics right – putting the building blocks in place by overhauling our IT networks, data centres, telephony and devices. This has included installing free wifi throughout the trust.
What will be the most significant of the next 12 months?
Implementing our electronic medical records tracking and new PACS and image storage projects.
What’s the biggest barrier to being a more effective CIO?
Leaving aside the obvious funding challenges, I think you need to work really hard on clinical engagement and leadership, particularly when the competing day to day operational challenges are so great.
What’s the biggest barrier the NHS faces overall in achieving digital transformation?
Finding a way to effect and support change across all trusts, be they digitally mature/exemplars or those at a lower starting point in digital maturity terms.
If you have one piece of advice for other NHS CIOs, would it be?
Keep communicating. Find ways to translate the digital vision into language that is meaningful and preferably non-technical. And resilience is key, because good and transformative IT often gets less focus than unplanned downtime.
Who in the NHS do you admire the most and why?
Our frontline teams, from all services and disciplines.
If you were given £30 million to spend on digital transformation within your trust, where would that money go?
There are plenty of schemes in our strategy that this would support, such as electronic document management, e-prescribing. However I would want to use it to invest in our system-wide interoperability plans to really effect change right across our healthcare economy.
What is the most over-hyped digital innovation in health?
Jumping to complex solutions when simple ones will do. We talk about telehealth, telemedicine, big data and often all our clinicians need right now is something simple like access to GP records in the acute setting, for example.
What is the most under-rated digital innovation in health?
Using simple solutions to bring information together for our clinical colleagues.
And a few non-digital questions, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why?
A Saturday job filling jam doughnuts by the dozen. Put me off them for life!
If you could invite three people, alive or dead, to dinner who would they be?
I’m not mad on this question as you feel like you should have a really profound answer! I’m going to go with friends who have now moved to other parts of the world, for an evening to catch up on old stories and hear about their new adventures.
What’s the background image on your home computer?
A panorama of a favourite holiday spot, in Portugal.
What’s your favourite piece of technology at home and why?
My wireless, portable Bluetooth speaker – goes everywhere, including on holiday.
If you could have any other job, what would it be?
I’d go back to the lab to satisfy a fascination with science, and microbiology in particular.
In a film of your life, who would play you?
Crikey! The Duracell bunny?