Meet the CIO Advisory Panel: Lisa Emery

Chief Information Officer (CIO) at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and chair of the London CIO Council, Lisa Emery, is our next Advisory Panel member taking part in our profile series. Lisa talks about why she believes communication is key when it comes to being an effective CIO and what her favourite piece of technology is.

Why did you become an NHS CIO?

At the time, it was a relatively new role and the first time the trust had a CIO post. I decided to take on the role as it offered the opportunity to lead change and to influence at a more strategic level.

Within your organisation, what is the most significant digital achievement of the past 12 months?

We’ve agreed investment in our strategic digital programme, refreshed our delivery approach and re-branded the IT department. There is a huge amount of excitement in the trust for the transformation that lies ahead.

What will be the most significant of the next 12 months?

Creating a digital workplace for our staff, including rollout of Office 365 and single sign on, refreshing our IT infrastructure and beginning the implementation of a new electronic patient record.

What’s the biggest barrier to being a more effective CIO?

Leaving aside the obvious funding challenges, I think you need to work really hard on clinical engagement and leadership, particularly when the competing day to day operational challenges are so great.

What’s the biggest barrier the NHS faces overall in achieving digital transformation?

Finding a way to support change across all trusts, be they digitally mature/exemplars or those at a lower starting point in digital maturity terms. There’s a need to bring everyone up to a good level at the same time as supporting innovation.

If you have one piece of advice for other NHS CIOs, would it be?

Keep communicating, find ways to translate the digital vision into language that is meaningful and preferably non-technical and resilience is key, because good and transformative IT often gets less focus than unplanned downtime.

Who in the NHS do you admire the most and why?

Our front-line teams, from all services and disciplines.

If you were given £30 million to spend on digital transformation within your trust, where would that money go?

There are plenty of schemes in our strategy that this would support, such as electronic document management, e-prescribing. However I would also want to use it to invest in system-wide interoperability plans to really effect change right across our healthcare economy.

What is the most over-hyped digital innovation in health?

Jumping to complex solutions when simple ones will do. We talk about telehealth, AI, big data and often all our clinicians need right now is something simple like access to GP records and the ability to view documents and images in one place.

What is the most under-rated digital innovation in health?

Using simple solutions to bring information together for our clinical colleagues.

And a few non-digital questions, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why?

A Saturday job filling jam doughnuts by the dozen. Put me off them for life!

If you could invite three people, alive or dead, to dinner who would they be?

I’m not mad on this question as you feel like you should have a really profound answer! I’m going to go with friends who have now moved to other parts of the world, for an evening to catch up on old stories and hear about their new adventures.

What’s the background image on your home computer?

A panorama of a favourite holiday spot, in Portugal.

What’s your favourite piece of technology at home and why?

My wireless, portable Bluetooth speaker – goes everywhere, including on holiday. And of course the obligatory power bank!

If you could have any other job, what would it be?

I’d go back to the lab to satisfy a fascination with science, and microbiology in particular.

In a film of your life, who would play you?

Crikey! The Duracell bunny?