With an extensive background in Computer Science, Richard is a seasoned CIO. His career spans from Investment Banking to Internet Retail; and yet, the intricacies of Health and Care IT has proven to be his most favoured, enticing and exciting challenge above the rest.

What is your area of expertise at ETHOS? 

A key aspect of my career has focused on mastering the art of Information Governance (IG); I have had the opportunity to lead and work on some of the most complex and high-profile projects in the industry. IG is renowned for guising itself as an insurmountable barrier with a questionable reputation. But at its core, IG is primarily a matter of applying good governance, common sense and strong ethics.

Using these principles, I work with organisations to develop comprehensive and effective information governance frameworks that comply with regulations and support their business objectives. So, while IG may seem complex at first, it’s simply a matter of applying good sense to protect valuable information assets.

Information Governance is a complex area, what is the most common question you get asked?

As an Information Governance expert, I often get asked two questions: “Can I legally share this information?” and “Was that a data breach?” But at the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Patients and service users need to trust that their personal data is protected and used appropriately. So, when we’re dealing with these issues, I always try to shift the focus to the patient’s perspective. We need to put their needs first and consider the impact on them. By doing that, we can take the right steps to protect their rights and keep their trust in the healthcare system.

What would be your top tip to companies expanding their use of digital systems and platforms?

To win customers’ trust, especially in healthcare, companies must prioritise data security and ethical handling of personal information. One way to achieve this is to integrate Information Governance into their business model and not just treat it as an afterthought. By doing so, companies can show they care about users’ privacy and security, and comply with regulations. This fosters trust and protects against legal and reputational risks. Bottom line up front? Make sure to always put the user first and design products and services with their privacy and security concerns in mind!

How do they do that with limited resources?

Companies may face resource limitations when implementing Information Governance practices, but not doing so can result in loss of reputation or potential fines from regulators. That’s why it’s important to make IG an ongoing practice throughout the company instead of a one-time project.

Train employees on their responsibilities and the benefits of good information hygiene to ensure personal data is handled appropriately. To improve IG practices, perform regular audits, implement access controls, and establish incident response plans for breaches. By making IG part of daily operations, companies can protect customer data, avoid costly breaches, and show their commitment to ethical and legal principles. It’s worth the investment!

What is coming next in the world of Information Governance, anything interesting?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already making a huge difference in health and care settings, but its ethical and safe use is critical. In the context of Information Governance, we need to ensure that personal data is protected when AI is used to learn. This is an ongoing concern as AI becomes more integrated into health and care. To address these issues, we need to stay up-to-date on best practices for AI use and ensure that stakeholders are educated and trained on the ethical and legal implications of AI.

If you could give one gift to customers what would it be?

If I could give one gift to my customers, it would be peace of mind. I’ve found that all of my customers have had complex and concerning problems, and my goal is to use my skills in active listening, critical thinking, and domain knowledge to distil that complexity and provide clear solutions. By doing so, I aim to alleviate my customers’ worries and give them the confidence they need to move forward.

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