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CIO Interview: Joanna Smith, CIO, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

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Joanna Smith, CIO at Royal Brompton Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, described her current priorities as consisting of skills, security and GDPR.

Speaking to Computing as part of its CIO Interview series, Smith said that it can be hard to attract the right IT talent.

“My biggest concern now is around skills shortages and skills capability,” said Smith. “Here in London in the NHS it’s quite challenging to attract and retain the best resources. We invest heavily in great new systems and technologies. It’s really important that I maintain the ability to support them moving forward.

“It’s important to have an understanding of our specialist systems though obviously we have clinical and patient administration systems, so it’s about having people who understand how our clinicians need to work, and who get the importance of supporting our clinicians so they can deliver great care. But it’s also about new technologies like Voice over IP, cloud, these sorts of things. It’s important I have folk who are familiar with that.

“And as part of taking on new systems it’s important that we do knowledge transfer to acquire the necessary skills. We use a lot of third parties to help us, to augment our existing staff. We move staff from business as usual to new projects, and transition skills to them so that when vendors move away we’re able to stand alone.”

Smith also discussed security, and the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR] from the EU.

“I’m also quite concerned also around cyber. Although we’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve been able to invest in some great infrastructure and we weren’t affected by WannaCry, obviously cyber moves at such a pace that it would be daft to be complacent so that’s very much at the top of the agenda.

“Also GDPR’s coming along next May, that’s got some significant implications and I want to make sure that I protect the trust as much as I can.

“The level of fines that the ICO is going to be able to impose next May is important. The NHS has the information governance toolkit. That stands us in good stead. I’m not complacent I’m cautiously optimistic that gives us a reasonable grounding, whereas some SMEs will have no idea about GDPR.”

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