In response to the news that NHS England will be creating a role for a national CCIO, Professor Michael Thick, CCIO for IMS MAXIMS said,
“NHS England’s plans to appoint a national CCIO that will work with the new CITO, provides reassurance that the significant role technology has to play in delivering the Five Year Forward View will be sustained under the leadership of Matthew Swindells. It also sends a clear and important signal about the need for informatics and clinical expertise in delivering these service transformation plans. There are great examples of CCIOs driving forward change in the NHS, our own experiences at Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trust is a prime example. The CCIO has been fundamental to ensuring clinicians, who are pivotal to the success of a project, are engaged from the outset and throughout. Appointing someone that will bring this clinical expertise and outlook to national policy development and implementation can only be a good thing.
There are however, a series of considerations about the position that are not yet clear, but will determine if the new CCIO can achieve the role’s full potential. First and foremost, the candidate needs autonomy – the freedom to positively challenge the status quo and deliver the change that might be needed. This can only be achieved if the candidate also has the infrastructure (resource and budget) to create opportunities to engage with, and garner support from, the different clinical communities. And finally, they need accessibility, to be a prominent voice at a ministerial level, as well as a local and regional level.
Without these, there is a risk that it will become a notional rather than a functional role, and miss a unique opportunity to recreate the success that has been achieved by many CCIOs in the NHS, at a national level.”