WannaCry attack exposed trusts’ ‘negative return-on-investment syndrome’, hears UK e-Health Week panel

NHS trust boards tend to overlook the need to continually examine their basic technology infrastructure when weighing up investment decisions, UK e-Health Week delegates heard today (15 May).


[London, UK] The WannaCry cyber-attack exposed the 'negative return-on-investment syndrome' of NHS trusts, Luke Readman, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the East London Health and Care Partnership, said during a panel at UK e-Health Week on Tuesday (15 May).

Mr Readman said: “Boards only want to look at things that produce positive ROI going forward. They don’t always realise what is in the infrastructure that needs to work routinely well just to keep an organisation working.

“[If] they don’t do that right then they expose themselves very significantly.”

Mr Readman spoke as part of a HIMSS Future 50 leadership panel discussing the challenges health technology leaders face in getting change at board level within organisations.

The Future 50 is a list of the top 50 healthcare IT leaders in Europe, working alongside HIMSS Europe and partners to overcome current and future systemic health challenges.

Also speaking on the panel Angela Velkova, Communities Manager for HIMSS Europe, outlining the results of a survey the organisation had conducted in the United States into the experiences of women IT leaders within healthcare.

The research had identified an average gender pay gap of 18% within the sector, with this gap widening as women would progress towards more senior positions within organisations, Ms Velkova said.

Meanwhile, an ongoing survey covering women healthcare IT leaders in Europe has so far found that 95% of women surveyed feel that there is a definite lack of recognition of the contribution that female executives have made to the industry, Ms Velkova also disclosed.

A third speaker on the panel and senior lecturer in MSc Health at the University of Brighton, Dr Theofanis Fotis, added that many leaders within healthcare IT fear taking risks because of the impact these may have on patients’ lives.

He added: “To become a leader (...), you need to have a vision that people will follow. We always have the same debate about whether we are born leaders or whether we become leaders.”

Nick Renaud-Komiya

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