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Clinicians network to address IT in healthcare

19 Mar 2019
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A group of New Zealand clinicians have set up a network that focuses on IT issues in healthcare.

The Clinical Informatics Leadership Network provides an online forum for members to share expertise and ideas based around IT-related topics. It will also run networking events.

The network already has 74 members from a range of healthcare professions, including medicine, nursing, allied health, and pharmacy. 

“There have been lots of failed IT projects in health and there’s enough evidence now to demonstrate that clinical leadership is absolutely fundamental to the success of these projects,” comments network organiser and regional manager for health informatics at healthAlliance, Karen Blake.

“Our IT solutions need to be clinically led to solve clinical problems, as it’s not about solving more and more IT problems.”

The UK and Australia also run similar networks – in the UK, NHS trusts generally have a chief clinical information officer. There is also a national CCIO for Health and Care.

Network organiser and Waikato DHB clinical director of information services and virtual healthcare, Ruth Large, says there are a number of ways DHB information services use a clinical reference point. The problem is, there is no consistent clinical IT role in DHB leadership models.

“There has been a gap in terms of clinical leadership around the development of our digital technologies,” comments Large.

She adds that CILN members do not need to have IT qualifications or a role involving informatics, but an interest in driving change, efficiency and good patient outcomes with technology.

“We need a cohesive and supportive voice for clinical IT, otherwise we are just going to get the technologies we are given,” Large says.

She also wants to help New Zealand healthcare avoid problems like the United States faced. The widespread implementation of electronic health records led to many US clinicians becoming ‘disengaged’.

US clinicians believed they were entering patient data into computers to ‘feed the machine’, rather than to improve patient outcomes.