New PRSB member spotlight: CIO Network

PRSB is delighted to welcome the CIO Network as a new member. The organisation brings together chief information officers to support their development as clinical information leaders, and promote their involvement in advancing health and social care services.

Lee Rickles, Yorkshire & Humber Care Record Programme Director and CIO Network Advisory Board Member, perceives standards as pivotal to achieving integrated care: “If we didn’t have standards, how could we measure whether we are compliant, and how could we understand variability? They help us achieve assurance in what we do.”

Imagine storing and sharing data from across 74 organisations, including 22 acute trusts and over 700 GP practices. Under Lee’s guidance, that’s exactly what the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record achieved. He sees the implementation of standards as key to this connectivity: “Standards allow us to understand how the information can be shared and linked together. Without consistent standards explaining what we mean by the clinical information, we would have struggled to join everything up.”

Chief information officers are the ones that initiate a journey towards a more integrated health and care data system – and the PRSB can support them in doing so. “The reason why I think CIOs should be involved in the development of standards is that they are the glue that links clinical services operations, governance teams and technology together. Operational clinical colleagues aren’t necessarily aware of the standards that relate to technology – it’s the CIO community that is generally more aware. When somebody wants to change the processes, introduce new systems or carry out a data aggregation of a digital twin, CIOs are the leaders in these types of conversations. We are involved in how standards will work in practice and how they will fit into the operational process. Being a PRSB member gives the CIO Network an early insight into how standards should be adopted.”

However, the successful adoption of information standards does not rely on one party, but a multifaceted collaboration between health and care professionals, national bodies and systems suppliers. “The reality of implementing standards jointly is complex. I think that the upcoming legislation mandating use of the Personalised Care and Support Plan standard will help enable implementation”, says Lee. Another way to accelerate this adoption is communicating the value of standards and how they are designed to improve lives.

In order to ensure that the use of standards is consistent across different settings, and that they help achieve integrated care, we need interoperability. “Yorkshire & Humber Care Record is a federated system – we don’t have loads of data about everything in a big new database. We hold information in EPRs, social care systems and GP systems – what we need to be able to do is find it and then present it. This is quite a complex operation with nearly every different type of software supplier. Standards around interoperability are absolutely key for our success”, explains Lee.

Speaking about the benefits of the PRSB membership, Lee highlights that it enables him to have meaningful conversations with specific communities, such as pharmacies, when it comes to implementing standards. The current challenge for him at the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record is to make sure that there is always consistent information, with the right person, at the right time, using the right standards – and the PRSB can help facilitate all of this.

Find out more about becoming a PRSB member.

Lee Rickles is a fellow of the BCS, FEDPI Leading Practitioner, CHIME Certificated Health Chief Information Officer and alumnus of the Digital Academy. He has three decades of transformation and programme management experience. His first decade focused on UK military aircraft projects and for the last two decades, he has focused on digital transformation in the NHS. He is currently leading the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record development to provide an open platform shared care record and population health systems. He is the Senior Responible Owner for the mental health digital transformation of Humber & North Yorkshire ICS. He is also the CIO of Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust who have been award the status as a project innovator as part of the NHS digital aspirant plus programme. Lee likes to read, is a keen runner and a children’s football coach and referee.

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