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Clinical IT leaders propose digital academy

Monday, 16 September 2019  
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Return to home page editor Rebecca McBeth


A group of clinical IT leaders is developing a proposal for a digital academy to upskill health sector chiefs to drive a digital transformation in the New Zealand health system.


Clinical Informatics Leadership Network advisory panel member Steve Earnshaw says a group of CiLN members is working on the proposal and includes representatives from universities, the Ministry of Health and working clinicians.


The recently released Health and Disability Service Review interim report says increasing digital literacy and skills across the existing health and disability workforce is essential and requires investment.


It gives the example of the NHS Digital Academy which takes clinical and business leaders through a postgraduate diploma in digital health leadership.


Earnshaw, who is chief clinical information officer at 3DHB ICT, says CiLN is keen to develop something similar and has made good progress in developing “the basics of what an academy might look like in New Zealand”.


This involves using papers available at local universities in health IT, leadership and transformation to create a postgraduate qualification, with a combination of distance learning and residential blocks where participants work together and build connections.


The initial cohort would likely be chief information officers and people in chief clinical information officer or similar roles at both DHBs and PHOs, with plans to extend it to others in the future.


“There’s a need for upskilling at multiple levels, but the leadership level is critical for getting things up and running,” he says.


Earnshaw hopes the proposition can attract government funding and would like to see the first cohort of 40-50 people start in 2020.


“We need to develop a clear statement of what problem we are trying to fix, who we are trying to fix it for and how are going to go about doing that,” Earnshaw explains.


The Health and Disability Service Review panel observed that across the breadth and depth of the sector, the level of understanding of what digital means and its likely impacts is low and digital leadership is often diffuse.


“Leaders lack either digital literacy or the authority or ability (that is, funding and other resources) to execute any digital strategy,” the report says.


“Although there are pockets of excellence, the health workforce on the whole – clinical, administrative, and IT – appears to lack the capability, capacity, and readiness for digital transformation.”


CiLN is a NZ-based, multidisciplinary and responsive health network for people with a clinical background and interest in data and/or digital. It has more than 230 members nationwide. Read CiLN's Mission Statement or apply to joinCiLN is supported by HiNZ.


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If you would like to provide feedback on this news story please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.


Read related articles:

Waitemata develops digital academy

Health and Disability Review report

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