Dr Zafar Chaudry today confirmed he has stepped down from his role as chief information officer at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The highly experienced Dr Chaudry, who has been with the trust for just over two years, will be leaving at the end of October.

Chaundry confirmed to Digital Health News that he has chosen to return home to the United States.

“As a former Gartner director with years of experience advising leading healthcare organisations and working with global technology companies, I will be embracing a new opportunity in the US which further utilises my skills and expertise”, Chaudry said.

“I am very proud to have worked at Cambridge University Hospitals and with staff who are absolutely committed to embracing digital technology to improve patient care. It has been a pleasure and an honour to lead the Trust’s award-winning eHospital team and develop the Trust’s eHospital digital healthcare programme over the past two years.”

In a statement issued to Digital Health News, a trust spokesman said: “Zafar, who leaves a strengthened team, will continue to support CUH over the coming months with its technological advances through its award-winning eHospital digital healthcare programme.”

CUH is one of the highest profile NHS global digital exemplars, undertaking a highly ambitious ten-year £200m eHospital transformation programme.  The trust went live with electronic records in a big bang implementation in 2014.

Although US EPR supplier Epic has received much attention – Cambridge is Epic’s UK reference site – the prime contractor on the trust’s ehospital programme prime contractor is HP.  However, the trust is in the midst of an arduous reprocurement intended to replace HP as prime contractor midway through the contract.  A decision on the infrastructure re-procurement was expected this month.

In a recent Q&A with Digital Health News, Dr Chaudry applauded his trust’s most significant digital achievement of the past 12 months.

“From a digital technology perspective, over the last 12 months, our biggest achievement is to have our own private cloud running in excess of 350 systems that are all stable, protected, backed up on state of the art technology.”

He went on to say the biggest barrier to being a more effective CIO is not having a seat at the board.

“When you compare us to American organisations where I’ve worked, the CIO/CMIO roles are board level positions and have been for many years, and I don’t think that light bulb moment has gone off – for some trusts yes but for other trusts no.”

Prior to joining Cambridge, between 2012-15, DrChaudry held the position of global healthcare research director at technology research firm Gartner located in both the UK and US.

Between 2009-12 he was IT director at Liverpool Women’s and Alderhay NHS Trust, and previously worked in Chicago as a chief information officer for PDAdoc.

His advice for other NHS CIOs?

Get out and talk to your colleagues, and understand about their services, their problems, the way that they work, the way that they need to work.”