Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust CIO Q&A

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust  is a London NHS foundation trust comprising of the Royal Free Hospital, Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, as well as clinics run by the trust at Edgware Community Hospital, Finchley Memorial Hospital and North Middlesex University Hospital.

In July 2014 the Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust was acquired by Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, making it one of the largest Trusts in the UK, employing more than 9,000 staff and providing services to nearly a million patients.

Will Smart is Director of Information Management and Technology

When did you start your current role?
August 2010

What is your reporting line?
Chief Executive Officer

Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?

Are you a member of the board of directors?

What other executive boards do you sit on?
Trust Executive Committee, Patient and Staff Experience Committee, Clinical Performance Committee, Finance and Performance Committee

Does your organisation have a CDO?

What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
Corporate Governance responsibilities as part of Executive Team, Reporting and Analytics, Performance Management

How many employees does your organisation have?
Circa 10,000

What number of users does your department supply services to?
Circa 10,000. The Directorate's services underpin the delivery of clinical service, research and teaching across thirty clinical sites in North London, Central London and Hertfordshire and support the delivery of more than 1.5 million care episodes per annum.

How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
As a member of the Trust Board and Executive Committee I have a good view of the strategic and operational issues facing the organisation and have the opportunity to engage in a senior level dialogue as to how informatics services can support the needs of the business – clinically and operationally.

My directorate is present at key business meetings from corporate, through clinical divisions to local service lines, which again provides an opportunity to engage with the organisation at all levels.  We also operate specific ‘user group’ meetings, including a Clinical Advisory Group, Operational User Groups and System Manager forums.  These provide the ability to share the forward work programme and progress against key milestones, and the ability to gain insight into user issues and requirements for new developments/enhancements. Junior Doctors are often the best source of intelligence of what is happening ‘on the ground, and we meet with representatives of this group monthly to address informatics issues impacting their ability to deliver care.  We have recently appointed a Chief Clinical Information Officer (and an equivalent nursing post is about to be recruited to), who will lead a Clinical Design Authority within the organisation. This group will review all proposed developments and changes to ensure that these deliver real improvements to services for users and ultimately patients. Where we have implemented patient-facing technology, for example check-in kiosks, we have run specific sessions with patients and carers to discuss the impact of these changes on them.

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