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CCIO Leaders Network Launches 12-Point Plan to Improve NHS Clinical Data Quality

LONDON, January 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

New 12-Point plan will help drive up the quality of NHS clinical information

The Chief Clinical Information Officer Leaders Network has published a 12-point plan to help the NHS avoid errors and other serious problems that ensue when clinical information is wrong, poor quality or simply missing.

The 12-point plan calls for the appointment of a senior responsible clinician for information as a vital element of a robust new post-Francis regulatory regime, to ensure clear clinical leadership on information quality.

The plan sets out the steps that the Secretary of State for Health, NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence need to take to avoid clinical data problems.

The CCIO vision and 12-point plan says the CQC should include information quality measures in its inspection criteria for all providers of health and social care.  

NICE is urged to produce a cross-cutting quality standard on clinical information and establish core standards and metrics for the collection and use of information.

NHS England is called on to integrate these standards into the Standard Contract for NHS services.

The plan says it should then become mandatory for all NHS providers to report on the quality of their data and all accounts should be signed-off by a CCIO, or equivalent senior clinician, with specific responsibility for clinical information.

Dr Joe McDonald, consultant psychiatrist, chair of the CCIO Leaders Network and lead author of the CCIO vision and 12-point plan, stressed the central importance of clinical leadership in ensuring data quality.

"Either 2014 is the year when Francis two begins to drive a quantum leap in the quality of NHS care, or 2014 is the year that sees Francis two become just another report. The appointment of a CCIO in every organisation is a pre-requisite of the quality improvement revolution we need."

"The Royal College of Physicians welcomes this 12 point plan from the CCIO Leaders Network.  The importance of clinical leadership in transforming the information landscape of the NHS cannot be overemphasized.  This document sets out a bold vision for the future, and a pragmatic plan for delivery in England.  It demonstrates the key role that CCIO's in provider organisations must play in supporting this delivery, in partnership with, regulators and commissioners, and we strongly support it," said Professor John Williams, head of the RCP's Health Informatics Unit.

The vision and 12-point plan say clinical information and information systems, used effectively, have a critical role to play in improving patient safety, coordinating health and social care and supporting clinical professionals.  

"The NHS is in a unique position to collect share and apply clinical information to improve health. The information on one of us can help the health of all of us," says Dr McDonald.

The very process of collecting and publishing clinically relevant data, work pioneered by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh, is credited with reducing mortality rates following cardiac surgery by approximately one third.

"Fully functioning electronic patient records, used to their full potential, have the potential to deliver more health gains than any other intervention," says Dr McDonald.

Dr McDonald, chair of the mental health informatics network and a former clinical advisor to the NHS National Programme for IT, says CCIOs also have a vital role in ensuring the hard-won lessons about how to successfully implement clinical information systems are applied.

"Information is a clinical tool and should be treated as such. We need to ensure that people with the right skills are in a position to lead on clinical information and to maximise the benefit for patients," says Dr McDonald.

"This means ensuring that senior clinicians have oversight of information policy and implementation, as well as oversight of the systems used to collect the information which will be the cornerstone of modern care."

The CCIO Leaders network is an independent professional network of doctors and nurses with a special interest in information.

The plan can be viewed online here -

Editor's notes

Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs) represent a key new clinical leadership group for accelerating the drive towards a digitally-enabled NHS and ensuring NHS IT projects are clinically led.  

The new leadership role provides a vital bridge between clinical, management and IT professional communities, helping to ensure local clinical ownership of IT projects and achieving the changes in clinical practice needed to achieve the benefits of digitisation.

By the end of 2013 around 50 NHS hospitals, mental health and community trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups had appointed CCIOs or equivalents.

The CCIO Leaders Network grew out of a national campaign launched in 2012 by online industry news service Ehealth Insider  The CCIO Leaders Network is managed by EHI.

The CCIO movement has been underpinned by the establishment of a grass roots CCIO professional best practice network - the CCIO Leaders Network.  This has been achieved through a combination of health policy advocacy, national and regional events and the development of an online CCIO community of best practice.  


Dr Joe McDonald, Chair of the CCIO Leaders Network Advisory Panel, Deputy Medical Director NTW NHS Trust, Chairman British Computer Society Mental Health Group. [email protected], +44(0)7803040470.

Jon Hoeksma, editor and co-founder Ehealth Insider, [email protected], +44(0)7771-657983

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