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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust CIO Dr. Zafar Chaudry explains 'paper-lite' strategy

Thomas Macaulay | Sept. 5, 2017
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recently became the first healthcare organisation outside of the US to be named among "Health Care's Most Wired".

"Physiotherapists will help people exercise when their rehabbing patients," says Dr Chaudry. "And then, when the patient goes home, the patient is supposed to repeat those exercises, and come back to the hospital, and show the physiotherapist that they've been doing those exercises. But the reality is, is you could actually do that in a virtual world, and measure that in a virtual world."


Securing the future

Cyber security is of paramount importance in the NHS, where leaks of patient information can cause major financial and reputational damage.

CUH limits the risks through a range of tools and practices, but education remains the most crucial component of its defences. As Dr Chaudry puts it, "your internal customer is usually your biggest culprit of losses of data".

The benefits of an enhanced understanding of IT extend throughout the organisation. Dr Chaudry reports directly to the medical director, who has a seat on a board that is heavily invested in digital developments at CUH.

Dr Chaudry's own experience as a medical doctor boosts their mutual understanding. Every month he gives the board an update on the progress his team is making.

"I think it's the CIO's responsibility - whether or not that person has a board seat - to win the hearts and minds of the board over," he says. "I spend lots of time working with board members, to keep them informed as to what we are doing within the department."

Dr Chaudry's own experience as a medical doctor boosts their mutual understanding. He uses time talking to nurses and doctors on the wards to ensure that the digital strategy is fulfiling the needs of staff on the frontline.

"Nurses are actually probably the best source of information any CIO can get," he says. "If you walk around the wards, and speak to the nurses, they will give you more information than you can ever get sitting in your office. They're quite vocal, and they're quite open."


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