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Meet Team OneLondon – Professor Louise Hicks

OneLondon is a partnership of so many amazing and talented people. Through this ‘Meet Team OneLondon’ feature we want to introduce some of them to you.

2 November 2022

In this first feature we introduce Professor Louise Hicks, Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) at Barts Health NHS Trust, London. Here Louise talks about her career, what motivates her and why the work of OneLondon matters.

Tell us about your nursing career?

This year marks my 40th as a Nurse. It’s gone so quickly but I’m as energetic and positive now about Nursing and the NHS as I was when I started. For me it has always been about outstanding patient care and improving the health of our communities. 

That’s why, as CNIO and Director of Development at Barts Health, the last few years have been especially satisfying. Being awarded the national CNO silver medal and the UK Digital Health CNIO of the Year in 2022 was beyond amazing, as was having the fantastically talented Barts Health team of nursing informatics leads being finalists at RCN team of the year 2022.

I am an ED and Trauma nurse by background and have also worked in Burns, Spinal Injuries and Trauma ICU. Early in my career I worked in pre-hospital emergency care with rescue, military and volunteer personnel. It taught me so much about collaboration, the importance of information and communication systems, adaptability and what can be achieved through amazing commitment, teamwork and positivity. I have also worked with clinical teams in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and across Europe examining outstanding practice and how we can apply that here in the UK.

As a qualified teacher I’ve led, designed and delivered under/postgraduate programmes and continuing professional development. All helpful skills in planning engagement, learning and adoption in clinical informatics. I am proud to continue my connection with City University of London as a visiting Professor and to also build on the skills of multi-professional teamwork; taking forward innovation and entrepreneurship within the Barts Life Sciences programme.

I’ve developed QI and transformation skills, am an executive coach and Advanced OD practitioner. This has proved really useful in my CNIO role when developing new aspects of digital transformation. Completing the NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship was enormously helpful in my digital skills development. In 2020 I was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Greenwich in recognition of my contribution to nursing and digital transformation.

This is all about teamwork and I am privileged to work with the wonderful ‘We Connect’ team at Barts Health taking forward clinical informatics each day.

What’s your role working with the OneLondon programme?

OneLondon is a phenomenal programme that provides so many digital opportunities to improve health and care. Thanks to the London Care Record Barts Health is able to share and view information across the whole of London.

In order to get great data and information out of systems like the London Care Record you have to put in high quality data, accurately and in a timely way. Developing a fabulous team of nursing Iiformatics leads who work alongside medical, pharmacy, midwifery and AHP clinical informatics partners has been key. We call this our ‘We Connect’ programme and it has been a fantastic team approach that has brought together IT, Clinical systems and Clinical Informatics expertise to deliver digital solutions.

Through this programme we are ensuring that the Barts Health electronic patient record contains top quality and clinically useful data that then feeds into the East London Patient Record and in turn the London Care Record.

How is this helping nurses and other frontline staff?

There are so many examples – here’s just one. Each month Barts Health Hospitals administer 800,000 medicines so sharing information like patient allergies is vital.

Thanks to the digital systems 100% of patients have a documented allergy status (compared to 12.5% with paper prescriptions) so that helps the patient and clinical teams in and out of the hospital. For example it helps us prevent more than 2,000 potential cases of dangerous drug interactions each month – just in our area of work.

Nurses are able to upload electronic observations into the patient’s records helping reduce the time taken (from several minutes to 12 seconds) and clinical teams can access and review the patient’s vital signs and detect changes far more quickly.

And thanks to the London Care Record key information is shared with other health and care staff across London.

How do you link up with other colleagues across London and beyond?

Doing the NHS Digital Pioneer Fellowship was incredible and helped me develop all aspects of the digital transformation and leadership role and enabled fantastic informatics networks to grow.

As a London CNIO I am part of a great London Region CNIO group chaired by Sarah Newcombe from Great Ormond Street Hospital – it’s a fabulous group of inspiring people doing amazing work across the Capital.

In 2021 I joined the fantastic Digital Health CNIO Advisory panel with colleagues across the UK, including Nursing, AHP and Midwifery representation. Look out for us on twitter @DHCNIO as this is a wonderful group of people leading NMAHP informatics and sharing best practice and ideas. We have launched a mentor scheme for CNIOs, developed a handbook and so much more that you can see here.

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