Plain language about Digital Leadership and  Governance of Information Technology for Executives and Directors  
● Strategy
● Acquisition
● Performance
● Conformance
● Human Behaviour

Health IT is evolving.

The CCIO (Clinical Chief Information Officer) role is important.

CCIO's will play a vital role in effective governance of Health IT.

ISO 38500 offers important guidance that is relevant in health as it is in all fields of endeavour.

Infonomics can help CCIO's understand their role and develop their capabilities.

Effective use of information technology in health care is essential.  Yet deployment of IT-enabled change in the health arena can be problematic.  In Australia, the Victorian Government's HealthSmart initiative has been called into question.  In the United Kingdom, the new government has finally cancelled the National Program for IT (NPfIT) in the National Health Service, after some 12 billion pounds have been expended.

The NPfIT case will probably become one of history's all-time great stories of how NOT to do IT-enabled change.  Already there are many volumes of public documentation on the project, available from the UK National Audit Office.  Even a very high level skimming of these documents reveals that the NPfIT violated several, if not all of the principles for good governance of IT set out in ISO 38500.

Shortly before the formal termination of the NPfIT, a UK health industry news service known as eHealth Insider launched a campaign for creation of a new role in health organisations - the role of the Chief Clinical Information Officer, or CCIO.

Infonomics sees the concept of a CCIO as one of bringing strong “business” leadership to the use of IT in health – something that was patently missing from the NPfIT, and was clearly missing from the HealthSmart project in Victoria.

Appointing a CCIO would be very consistent with the guidance presented in ISO 38500 under the first of its six principles for good governance of IT.  The Responsibility Principle seeks to ensure that responsibility is not only clearly assigned, but that the assignment is appropriate.  When fully understood in the context of the overall standard, the Responsibility Principle also encourages organisations to clarify the responsibility for USE of IT as being separate from responsibility for the SUPPLY of IT.

The CCIO role can be expected to help health organisations adopt a much more effective approach to their future use of information technology - where the drive comes not from the IT supplier, but from the clinicians and operational and strategic managers who seek whole-of-system advances, and in doing so identify the proper role of information technology.  This includes identifying opportunities where advances in information technology capability open new avenues for effective and efficient health care and health services. 


Organisations adopting the CCIO role will benefit from deepening their understanding of ISO 38500.  They should discover how the guidance in the standard will help them to ensure that:

  • The strategies and plans for their organisations are geared to making appropriate use of IT and that all plans for supply of IT are properly aligned to the overall plans of the organisation (Strategy Principle);

  • All expenditure on current and future investment in IT is focused on delivering an appropriate health outcome (Acquisition Principle);

  • There are well-defined and measurable outcomes for every current and future investment in Health IT, and that measurement arrangements are giving an accurate and meaningful picture of what is happening (Performance Principle);

  • Relevant legislation, regulation, policies, standards, codes of practice and other instruments are in place to enable effective exploitation of information technology in the health arena, while maintaining the proper balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of society as a whole (Conformance Principle);

  • IT-enabled change is planned and delivered in a way that ensures understanding and respect for the needs and behaviours of all people involved in health, ranging from the planners and administrators to the current and future customers of the health services and all those who will be touched by or involved in the evolving health system (Human Behaviour Principle).

Infonomics believes that advances in effective and efficient use of information technology in health should be underpinned by a sound understanding of the guidance on governance of information technology presented in ISO 38500.


To learn more about how such guidance may be applied, please contact Infonomics now.