CiLN open letter to Dr Bloomfield
We represent the Clinical Informatics Leadership Network (CiLN), a NZ-based multi-disciplinary health network for clinicians with an active interest in data and/or digital. Created two years ago, it has over 360 clinicians across the health and disability sectors of Aotearoa-New Zealand. The network supports discussions, practical problem solving and collaborative, boundary-spanning leadership
The recent Clinical Informatics Position Statement states that:
“Clinical informaticians add value to the health sector by bringing technical expertise and practical experience, engaging widely in the design and introduction of clinical systems, championing digital literacy, and providing clinical leadership.”
We were delighted to hear you speak recently about the need to capture and amplify the digital changes that have occurred in the health and disability system due to COVID-19. We agree that it is vitally important to start working now on these gains, before people and organisations slip back into old ways of working.
COVID-19 and the rapid changes in our health system have exposed what clinicians have said for years, that our large technological debt is hindering care for our patients. This is acknowledged in the National Asset Management Programme report and is in line with the Interim Report of the NZ Health and Disability System Review. CiLN agrees with the direction of both of these reports.
Our technological debt is, at least in part, secondary to a continued lack of clinical informatics partnership, on top of inadequate investment in our health system’s data and digital infrastructure. CiLN notes that the focus of the Asset report is on equipment and maturity of information systems, with little reference to the people (soft assets) who use them. CiLN is adamant that digital literacy and effective use of information systems are also influencing factors.
To achieve sustained changes arising from the last few months requires collaboration with all levels of clinical informaticians and specific investment in clinical informatics roles alongside the equipment and infrastructure outlined in the NAMP report.
In our call for action, outlined in our Position Statement, we emphasise the need for:
- Recognition of and investment in clinical informatics roles at all levels of the health and disability sector, as they are fundamental to digital and data infrastructure success
- Development of a digitally literate and capable health and disability workforce
We seek your endorsement of this call to action. CiLN members are skilled, available and enthusiastic about what we have to offer to leverage recent changes and transform the health and disability sector.
We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health and our health services on developing a response to the recent reports and our call to action.