Interview with David - Implementation and Integration Manager
After studying Computing at University, David entered the NHS working in the Child Health Directorate as a Systems Analyst and Software Engineer where he designed and developed all sorts of clinical systems.
After 12 years at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, David moved to Intouch with Health. As the Implementation and Integration Manager at Intouch, David has a direct hand in deploying the software that NHS staff and patients are using in the 53 NHS Trusts that utilise the Intouch Patient Journey Platform.
As David approaches 10 years with Intouch with Health, we sat down for a quick Q & A.
Hi David. Can you tell us a bit about your background in healthcare technology?
It started straight out of University, with 12 years working for the NHS at Northampton General Hospital as a Systems Analyst and Software Engineer. I developed patient / appointment administration systems for disparate Paediatric services. I worked closely with clinicians, so it was a great insight to how clinical departments work. It also served as a great education into their IM&T (Information Management and Technology) needs.
Can you explain how your role supports Intouch with Health customers?
As Implementation Manager and Integration lead, I am usually the one carrying out or co-ordinating the install of the Intouch with Health applications. Therefore, I have a direct hand in deploying the software that NHS staff and patients are using.
Integrating the Intouch applications with hospital clinical systems is a key part of my role. Our applications are reliant on those interfaces to the main ‘Patient Administration System’ (PAS) but also other systems used in departments such as Radiology.
What do you think the future holds for integration within the health-tech sector?
Hopefully, we’ll see a rapid take up of more advanced real-time API (Application Programming Interface) or messaging solutions. We’ve moved away from the need for RPA (Robot Process Automation) which is good. Most NHS Trusts now have HL7 messaging or API capabilities, but I think we’ll see an uptake of the enhanced real-time API technologies.
It has been a challenging year for healthcare since the outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in the need for rapid digital transformation. How has Intouch reacted and supported its customers?
It’s important to offer solutions that customers need. Because of that we have to understand our customers.
With COVID-19 changing the way the NHS needs to deliver care, we needed (and were well placed) to react quickly by accelerating the development and rollout of solutions that supported social distancing, infection prevention and remote care.
These rollouts included;
- virtual consultations for patients who didn’t need to physically attend hospital for an appointment
- remote / mobile patient check-in and calling for patients who did need to attend hospital – supporting social distancing measures and capacity management
- enabling patients to complete their pre-op health questionnaires from home – supporting the restart of elective surgery without requiring every patient to attend hospital ahead of their surgery
As well as the rapid development of those new solutions, we supported our existing customers with the challenges they were being presented with which was also really important.
What is the biggest change or development you have seen in the industry during your career to date?
The take-up of more real time messaging technologies and APIs has been important, and a big (and sometimes challenging) step for the NHS; especially considering the industry as a whole found it challenging to move to more modern clinical systems. Most of our integration projects when I started required the use of RPA (Robot Process Automation) tools. known at the time as ‘Screen Scraping’. As powerful as those technologies are in the right environment, it is nice to have moved away from them for the Integration use-cases that we have.
What do you think makes for a great relationship between health-tech providers such as Intouch and the teams using the technology on the front line?
The personal relationships. The work that Operational Team (Project Managers, and Chris our Training Manager) carry out is brilliant. The staff in the departments know that the software they’re using hasn’t just been dropped in. Our team do such a great job at curating a solution that meets their needs. It’s underpinned by wonderful relationships that our customer facing staff have with the staff using software. You have to have that as a provider, especially in the market we operate in.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their career in health-tech?
Dedicate time to personal learning and growth. The technology moves quickly, so embrace new technologies and working methods. Try not to isolate yourself in a ‘bubble’ with the tools and approaches that you adopt. It’s easy to fall behind, but learn from colleagues. Speak to your colleagues about how they do things. Do not be afraid of change.
How do you define success?
It’s not something I really think about. I have a happy home life and wonderful family, so in that sense I feel like I’m successful. I don’t feel like I have to achieve ‘such and such’ in order to have some kind of measure of success. There might be personal or career goals that I’ve set along the way, some work out and some don’t. However, there is no strict definition of success in my mind.
What do you enjoy most about working at Intouch with Health?
The day-to-day interactions I have with my colleagues, and the feeling that the work I’m doing is actually appreciated and having an impact.
Which one word best describes the way you do things?
What word best describes Intouch?
What do you think makes Intouch stand out from its competitors?
To be honest I focus more on our own strengths. I really do believe that the quality, and working relationships, that I see through all departments within our business would be hard to match! Sales, Developers, Support, Projects, Accounts, Marketing etc; it’s a privilege to be working with such talented and driven people, that have such pride in what they do and the solutions we offer.
When you are not at work, what are we most likely to find you doing?
Running! If I’m not on the injury bench (which is becoming more common as I get older) I’ll run most days. There’s nothing better than clocking off for the evening and clearing the head with a run around the village. I’m a bit of a fair weather runner, but I love it! Keeping up with the running means I can enjoy more of another thing I love… food! 😊
If you were not part of the Intouch team and could have any job in the world, what would it be?
Wildlife photographer and filmmaker. I barely know how to work a camera, but in another life, I’d probably have dedicated more time as a youngster to learning how to use one. I’m in awe of the experiences that these filmmakers have.