LONDON, June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
EHealth Insider - http://www.ehi.co.uk - the online UK NHS IT and information management news service, has today launched a major campaign calling for every NHS provider organisation to consider appointing a clinician to act as their clinical information champion.
The EHI Chief Information Officer Campaign is backed by the Royal College of Physicians and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, two of the key professional bodies for clinicians and informatics.
The campaign goal is simple: for every NHS provider organisation to consider appointing a dedicated, chief clinical information officer to ensure clear clinical leadership on IT and information projects to support improvements in the quality of care.
We believe that the development of this role is the most effective way to cultivate the expertise and skills needed to achieve a step-change in clinical involvement in IT projects and to realise the potential of information to improve services for patients.
The campaign has been launched with the publication of an open letter to Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, urging him to recommend that every NHS trust in England consider appointing a CCIO and that, as a first step, they should identify a local clinical information champion.
The letter warns that the promised NHS Information Revolution, which aims to foster far more effective of information to measure and improve clinical quality, is at risk unless it is clinically led from the ground up.
"We need far greater clinical engagement in the design and delivery of information and technology programmes than has occurred to date. To secure it, we believe there is a need for a new type of clinical information champion," the letter says.
"The new CCIO role will build on the skills of existing NHS IT professionals, and help NHS organisations ensure that high quality information is at the heart of everything they do.
"We believe that this important new role will appeal to a wide range of clinicians, many of whom have already worked on IT and information projects, often in addition to their 'core' job. We believe that with appropriate support, today's local informal clinical information champions have the potential to become the NHS's first CCIOs."
EHI co-founder and editor Jon Hoeksma said: "EHI has written about NHS IT for almost ten years and a hallmark of almost all successful projects is that they have strong clinical leadership or engagement.
"We believe that NHS information projects need to be designed and led by clinicians; and that means NHS organisations need to invest in high profile, capable people to do the job. It is to secure that investment that we are launching the EHI CCIO Campaign."
Dr Justin Whatling, vice chair, strategy and policy, BCS Health, said: "BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, endorses this campaign, which aligns with our own recent recommendations calling for a chief clinical information officer role to be created in NHS organisations.
"It is a critical role that firmly unites informatics and clinical practice, ensuring the successful use of information and IT systems in the transformation of healthcare."
Professor John Williams, director of the health informatics unit, Royal College of Physicians, said:
"The Royal College of Physicians is pleased to support this campaign.
"Clinical leadership is essential if the benefits of information technology and management are to be harnessed to deliver better, safer, patient care in the NHS.
"The appointment of a chief clinical information officer in every trust or health board will bring this leadership, and ensure greater focus on patient benefits, while undoubtedly improving the quality of the information used to manage both patients and the service."
Professor Williams added: "As a national initiative the potential for UK wide collaboration between CCIO's brings the opportunity for additional benefits such as the universal implementation of professionally endorsed clinical standards for the structure and content of patient records."
The EHI CCIO Campaign briefing document is available at: http://www.ehi.co.uk/img/News0254/CCIO/CCIO_briefing_paper.pdf
The full text of the open letter to the Secretary of State is available at:
Jon Hoeksma, editor EHI, +44(0)7771-657983 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyn Whitfield, managing editor EHI, +44(0)779-3007538 email@example.com
SOURCE Ehealth Media Ltd