Specific to the healthcare industry, this role is quickly become a necessity within the NHS. The idea is to have a designated individual who is responsible for enhancing the use of technology within a given organisation, in order to benefit both patients and clinical practice. This means that a Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) needs to be familiar with IT, complementing the medical expertise that is required for their day job.
If they are suitably equipped with this knowledge, then they can act as a link between disciplines. For example, they will be able to articulate the IT needs of clinical staff, draw attention to specific requirements, and highlight any issues. Whilst they do not need to understand the intricacies of things like coding or programming to do this, they should be able to appreciate what is practical from an IT perspective and spearhead any necessary developments.
An Acute Physician, working at Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) and Bassetlaw Hospital, Dr Whiteside is undeniably a perfect fit for the role. He will be working alongside the Trust’s IT team in order to ensure that technology is meeting the needs of clinicians.
Mr Sewa Singh, Medical Director for DBTH, said: ‘’I am very pleased that Dr Whiteside is taking on this important role within the organisation and I expect that he will make a valuable contribution to bringing clinicians and IT systems together for the benefit of patients. Dr Whiteside has a wealth of knowledge at his disposal which, coupled with his keen interest in IT, will improve care as well as the patient experience.’’
Dr Whiteside is similarly enthused about moving into the position, having said: ‘’This is an amazing opportunity as for too long there has been a disconnect between what healthcare professionals actually need and what IT thinks we need. So, I am really looking forward to collaborating with our remarkable team and coming up with new ways to advance the services that we provide to the public, by making things safer, faster and more user-friendly. In the few weeks I have been in role, the understanding from both sides as to what is achievable and practical has been a revelation.’’
‘’We live in truly exciting times, as IT continues to evolve at such a rapid pace. There are so many new avenues to explore when it comes to emerging technology, so we need to investigate them. More importantly though, I am thrilled to have this chance to use data and digital ways of working to enable better and more efficient patient care.’’
Dr Whiteside is likely to be very busy in the coming months, as he balances his CCIO commitments with his role as a consultant.