17 November 2020

Virtus Health's Chief Digital Health Officer named in the 2020 CIO50

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Virtus Health

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The CIO50 is a coveted list. It recognises the 50 best technology and digital executives in Australia, and celebrates their innovation and leadership. Jorge Silveira, Virtus Health’s newly appointed Chief Digital Health Officer, was named in this year’s top CIO50.

Describing the role of technology in healthcare, Jorge sums it up simply: “digital health is not about disrupting the services we deliver – it’s about complementing and enhancing the way we work, so that we can focus on better things.”

And that’s exactly what Jorge’s CIO50 listing recognises - his work in north-eastern Victoria, where he implemented a Victorian-first remote digital ECG program using scalable technology that enabled the health services to onboard quickly and extend the program to other parts of Victoria. This work led to a reduction of unnecessary ambulance transfers to regional hospitals and allowed patients to be treated closer to their homes. As Jorge explains, it was a program of work that came about thanks to the collaboration and dedication of clinicians and technologists.

“The work grew out of a community need. There was a group of doctors that had identified the issue around the cardiac program and we teamed up with them to work out a solution. We designed something that was scalable, secure, sustainable, and easy to maintain. It was a low-cost, high-value solution, and it was great to see the good that it delivered to patients, the workforce and partner health services.

“What this work reconfirmed for me was that if you attempt to implement any digital programs, you need to make sure you understand the strategic direction of the organisation and their community needs so that you can design appropriate solutions to enable the workforce to deliver what they need to deliver to their patients,” he said.

Now, as Jorge completes the first draft of the digital health strategy for Virtus Health, he says there are a lot of synergies between this work and his achievements across Victorian health.

“There is a common denominator,” Jorge explains. “And that is the desire to provide the best possible care.

“Virtus has had some technology challenges. However, our direction now, under the new organisational strategy and new digital health strategic plan, will allow us to deliver digital solutions that will make things easier. Digital health will deliver benefits for the entire Virtus eco-system - our workforce, our patients and our partnerships.”

With his attention firmly focused on delivering the digital health strategic plan, Jorge knows there is an art to successful execution.

“Moving from our current state to our future state, there are some things we need to do to evolve and change. I understand how busy healthcare workers are - it is challenging to implement new things, especially technology. Our digital health strategy is designed to support the workforce - and the organisation as a whole - by implementing fit-for-purpose, cutting-edge technology. It won’t be drastic changes either, we are talking about incremental steps that will improve the digital maturity of Virtus and align with our business strategy of One Lab, One Clinic and Virtual Clinics.”

For Jorge, he says the CIO50 accolade has reconfirmed his beliefs and strengthened his resolve to achieve as a team.

“The earliest observation I had coming into Virtus six weeks ago was how there is a willingness for continuous improvement, and a willingness to leverage from digital technology to support that improvement. It was wonderful to discover that we already have people’s minds and hearts in the right place.

“Being named in the CIO50 list, I felt reassured that I am on the right track. I'll keep doing what I am doing and learning from our workforce to improve every day. But more importantly, what it reminded me of is how crucial it is to have a strong and committed team - no one is an island. We need to collaborate and work together towards a shared vision,” he explains.

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