HSE’s interim CIO gives updates on Ireland’s digital healthcare journey

The interim CIO for Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has said one of her biggest challenges will be implementing the ideas of her predecessor.

Jane Carolan took on the extra responsibilities after Richard Corbridge announced his resignation from the role in October 2017.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Carolan said the handover actually started in September 2017.

“The handover lasted between seven to eight weeks, which was great,” she said.

“Richard is very much a visionary and had so many great ideas – now it is my job to implement them.

“The Irish government has announced it is investing €10 billion in healthcare over the next 10 years, so I will also be involved in how we spend that money.

Carolan will also look at how digital can help with the delivery government’s healthcare strategy as part of her role.

Since she took over the position from Corbridge, Carolan has been involved in the go-live of electronic patient record systems in two of the largest maternity hospitals in Dublin.

The Maternity and Newborn Clinical Management System (MNCMS) went live on 20 November at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, and at the National Maternity Hospital Saturday, also in Dublin, on 13 January this year.

As a result, 40% of all births in Ireland are now on MNCMS, meaning that children are being born with a digital health ‘footprint’ and health record.

Carolan said she hoped this meant there would be lots of “digital babies” being born in Ireland.

“There was some minor teething problems when the system went live, but there was nothing major,” Carolan added.

“You have to just look back and learn from your mistakes.”

On top of serving as the interim CIO for HSE, Carolan continues her role as the national director for Health Business Services, the shared services entity which provides back-office support business services to HSE.

When questioned about her potential replacement as the Irish CIO, Carolan said the “competition” had started and that an announcement was due this month.

“I am hoping to continue working closely with the department,” she said.

“I’ve really enjoyed the job and it has been really nice working so closely to something that makes a difference.”

Carolan is one of many women who hold senior positions within healthcare IT.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, Eve Roodhouse, director of implementation at NHS Digital, wrote a feature for Digital Health News on how we can close the gender gap in the health technology sector and promote a more diverse workforce.

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