A tertiary nursing education and years of clinical experience combined with a Masters in Business Technology helped prepare Ann Larkins for the CIO role at Barwon Health.
Larkins was appointed to the role in November 2007 and is partway through the implementation of a Cisco thin client virtualization platform to improve workflow and collaboration for the organisation’s staff.
She sat down with CIO Australia to discuss what her average day entails and why she not ashamed of her favourite gadget.
Read more on CIOs to watch. What does an average work day involve for you?
Most days I will be found working actively with senior team members, to monitor clinical systems, projects and progress. Keeping teams motivated and energised to push through the daily issues that hold up workflows.
There are always lots of meetings to be across! I am always working to reduce the number and increase the efficiency of them so that I can be more visible and actively involved in clinical areas; I find by absorbing the talk that is going on amongst staff in their working environments we can come up with ways to improve and add value through information and data integration. Fortunately my clinical background allows me to be the conduit/translator between the language and culture of IT and healthcare.
What are some of the major challenges you face in the role of CIO?
Keeping on top of what clinicians are asking for from the systems they use. I want to be able to provide them with elegant tools and systems that match their workflow so that their time to care is enhanced and enriched with data and relevant information. Safety and quality is core to our success as an organisation, and information is a key enabler for this.
What are some of the recent projects you have been working on?
We have a number of projects on the go, but the most significant is our converged thin client telephony project with CISCO which will see some portability of session and workflow matching with device capacity that we have not been able to achieve to date with our current ageing PC and Sunray thin client fleet. This is our major project for the current financial year and once this is rolled out Medications management becomes a much more achievable from a change management point of view.
What are the three biggest issues facing CIOs today?
1. Effective and robust business continuity planning a challenge more than an issue.
2. Incorporating decision support and business intelligence to workflows within organisations — whatever the industry.
3. Having the vision and means to capitalise on emerging technologies, integrate them and support staff in mobile technology and devices on that platform ubiquitously as tools of the trade.
Unashamedly it is my iPad 2 which allows me to work any time anywhere to help me maintain a work life balance that is sustainable. I'm also fascinated by social media platforms and exploring inventive ways of working with it across our organisation to improve consumer engagement, which is the next big frontier for us in improving the patient experience of our care.