Today we are talking to Yvonne Goff, chief clinical information officer at Health Service Executive (HSE). She reveals a national electronic laboratory record as the most significant digital achievement of the next 12 months, tells us what digital transformation she would spend £30m on and why her tractor lawn mower with a mulcher and headphones is pure bliss.

Why did you become a CCIO?

My background working in Radiology and my Informatics training allowed me the opportunity to become one of the Clinical Leads on a programme (NIMIS) that transformed diagnostic services across 63 hospitals in Ireland. In this role I saw first-hand the fundamental role clinical leadership plays when implementing change enabled by technology, when the opportunity to become the National CCIO came along, I saw an opportunity to promote and ensure clinical leadership becomes standard practice for all eHealth Initiatives, both nationally and locally.

Within your organisation, what is the most significant digital achievement of the past 12 months?

If I may cheat and add a month, the first fully digital hospital has been delivered into one of the busiest maternity hospitals in the EU and has been implemented into two others and eventually will be in every maternity hospital in Ireland. This solution has been brought into the most complex of care delivery systems effectively, saving lives through real time information analysis and the implementation of digital workflows across a whole care pathway. This is led through both clinical and technology leadership in true collaboration.

What will be the most significant digital achievement of the next 12 months?

The MedLIS Project will ensure Irish healthcare providers have 24-hour access to complete and up-to-date accurate laboratory data across all sites ie a national electronic laboratory record.  The National MedLIS project will improve the delivery of diagnostic laboratory medicine, healthcare quality, efficiency and outcomes for patients in the Irish healthcare system. The project will replace all of the laboratory systems throughout the country and is being supported by the MedLIS and HSE national technology teams. It will be a significant milestone on our National EHR journey.

What’s the biggest barrier to being a more effective CCIO?

The role and concept of CCIOs remains quite new. There still remains the perception that CCIOs are nice to have but that they are not a must-have. Organisations not only need to appoint CCIOs but also give them appropriate authority to become more effective. The cyber-attacks this year highlighted the need for IT and clinical leadership to encourage the uptake of innovation and technology at scale across the HSE.

Yvonne would like Jennifer Lawrence to play her in a movie of her life.

What’s the biggest barrier Ireland faces overall in achieving digital transformation?

Funding and resources is a significant challenge. It is crucial that we develop a workforce of trained clinicial informaticians and give them the appropriate resources and authority to deliver credible strategies, which minimize the disruption to service delivery. It is important to organize digital learning networks that can support the implementation and improvement of our services, leading the readiness to go digital.

If you have one piece of advice for other CCIOs, what would it be?

Strengthen and grow your CCIO network with clinicians, others trained in clinical care and informatics, and other health IT professionals. I think the best thing you can do is spend time understanding the current and future state workflow and processes, not just on paper but walk them out – refer to them throughout the project lifecycle. Communicate, communicate, communicate, and finally the devil is indeed in the detail – ignore it at your peril.

Who in the HSE do you admire the most and why?

Recently I had the pleasure judging the HSE excellence awards, it was truly one of the best few days of my career this year, I sincerely admire the amazing work my colleagues are going really thinking outside the box to deliver care. In addition Mr Tony O’Brien, the Director General of the HSE for continuously steering a very complex organisation with true calm and measured leadership at the core.

If you were given £30 million to spend on digital transformation within the HSE, where would that money go?

Roll out of a single sign-on solution. This would improve clinical workflow efficiency allowing clinicians to spend more time on patient care, improve the user experience of clinicians using IT systems, and eliminate human sources of information governance breaches like password sharing.

What is the most over-hyped digital innovation in health?

If anything, I think we need to talk more about digital health innovations and increase public understanding and awareness of the multitude of technologies available to them. Likewise, it is important for us to hear from the service users on the innovations and technologies that they are using and that are making their lives easier.

What is the most under-rated digital innovation in health?

The innovators and the entrepreneurs who are passionate and take the risk developing these innovations.

And a few non-digital questions… what’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why?

My worst job would have to be packing bags in a supermarket over the Christmas holidays, the constant queues was unbelievably disheartening.

 If you could invite three people, alive or dead, to dinner who would they be?

-Roy Keane

-Meryl Streep

-Stephen Fry

What’s the background image on your home computer?

Sunny Spain- really bright full of colour.

What’s your favourite piece of technology at home and why?

Tractor lawn mower with a mulcher, with headphones, pure bliss…Acre and a half lawn and three children.

If you could have any other job, what would it be?

I love being CCIO. If I wasn’t working in healthcare I think I would like to be a zookeeper or a hairdresser.

In a film of your life, who would play you?

Jennifer Lawrence ….I asked my husband!!!