The journey to work for so many people across the globe is a miserable experience. Heavy traffic, an alarm call just a little too early, and a squashed train or worse still a missing train. At least once a week I see friends on social media upset by the commute to work, wishing they didn’t have to do it, and that makes me feel quite sad.

I have always been the type of person who once they are awake are bright and sparkly. That irritating person who opens one eye, grins and says, ‘good morning world it’s a brand new day!’ Starting each day with that isn’t an attitude I have learnt, I think it is genetics!

Since moving to Ireland though I now have the joy of seeing the coast every morning. Watching the sun rise out of the sea as I journey to work has made life all that more special. However it’s not just the vision of beauty that is Dublin bay and the Irish Sea that is making the commute to work so great, it’s the knowledge of what we are doing every day that’s making the commute exciting.

Starting a new role in a new country has prompted more than the average number of people to ask how is it going, my reply is nearly always, ‘busy but exciting’ or a similar phrase. In reality though each day is important and unique; the delivery of technology to the provision of health for a whole country brings challenges, but as the crass management phrase goes, ‘don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!’ On the commute to work every day I am trying to bring a solution to myself rather than a problem, headline business management theory, applied to myself!

Every day feels more important than the last, from December to May we have had chance to put in place the foundations of what started as an IT Strategy and will now be released as a Knowledge and Information Plan. This plan describes in specific detail how and when the eHealth Ireland vision will be delivered and what the outcomes are that patients and clinicians will be able to bring to how they are involved in care.

There are five ‘pillars’ and a ‘roof’ to the knowledge and information plan these are;

  1. Care delivery enablement
  2. Electronic health records
  3. Cross setting information integration
  4. Health service insights
  5. National support systems

… and the roof is the Information and Clinical governance.

When I look back at those headings now I realise that some may find the wording a little overly grand, but, I hope they also represent the solutions and not the problems. Knowledge and information is a core requirement for the delivery of the health service we believe we are making clear. Good knowledge and information should be available for all areas of delivery, the electronic health record for Ireland will be the cornerstone for doing this. Once information is available it needs to be available across care settings and integrated into the systems deployed so access can be easily gained with a legitimate relationship in place. With all this in place the patient, clinician and manager will be able to access unique and care improving insights, whether this is something as technically advanced as adding genomic information to the electronic health record or simply insight into what happened in the hospital setting as the patient is placed into the care of a different provider need not be the issue.

Under all of this are two other solutions to problems. A suite of systems that deliver true capability to the management function of the health service, freeing up administration time to allow managers to be leaders and finally the positioning of Information and clinical governance enabling all of this to be delivered safely and within the acceptability of patients who the data is about.

So you can imagine planning the commute to work can be fun when there is all of this to be thought through. What eHealth Ireland has done though is put in place a new structure that creates ownership and space amongst the team, allowing them every day on the way into work the space to be creative with these ‘pillars’ and ‘roof. It hasn’t yet added a whole body of resource to the delivery capability, but by defining the team and restructuring the governance structure we have started to create some space for new thinking to take place.

In the middle of the first real summer month the eHealth Ireland web site will go live, its immediate function will be to make the Knowledge and Information plan available to anyone, for the team to have a conduit to receive feedback, react to it and ensure that what is delivered is enough to make everyone involved in delivering health in Ireland to be excited on their way to work.