We often hear from the community that practitioners are interested in getting an insight into what other health and care informatics professionals are up to. So, we are delighted to introduce you to Owen Powell, one of our Leading Practitioners working at Central & North West London NHS Trust .
We asked Owen about his career so far and his views on the future of the profession.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey so far:
I’m currently working at Central & North West London NHS Trust. I have spent most of my recent career in NHS Digital leadership roles and am increasingly focused on the transformational outcomes of technology rather than the technology itself. As part of my personal development, I undertook an MSc in Occupational Psychology, along with various psychometric qualifications and I have recently completed an accredited coaching course. I find that an understanding of psychology in the workplace complements my digital experience, and hopefully makes me a more effective leader.
2. What is one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
People skills are more important than technical skills if you want to progress to a leadership role. Nearly all the technical skills I learnt are obsolete now!
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to advance in the profession?
Don’t neglect your continuing professional development, and build a network. It can be easy to just concentrate on getting the work done, but career advancement requires effort. If you can, find a mentor in a different business area.
4. What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
Networking events and interaction with peers has been immensely useful. Even if it’s just to recognise that we all have similar issues and to compare notes.
5. What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
That you need to be technical or geeky to work in IT. At CNWL we have a diverse team of people with a wide variety of skills and experience.
6. What do you think is going to have the biggest impact on health in the next 5 years?
Hard to know where to start, as there are loads of fantastic innovations in play at the moment. Probably a combination of AI, population health analysis and better understanding of health risk factors; I think there is huge potential for data to drive preventative initiatives.
7. How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your role?
Technology moves at such a pace it can be hard to keep up, so seminars, conferences, targeted sessions with key suppliers, and, of course, listening to what my team tell me!
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge for the profession and how should we overcome it?
I think that as we develop digital solutions, we need to consider inclusion & digital poverty. There is a real risk that we inadvertently leave people behind on our digital journey, so an inclusive approach is essential.
9. Fellow Leading Practitioner Lisa Emery would like to ask: What is the one piece of technology you just could not live without?
My iPhone; Teams, Email, Camera, iPod, Whatsapp, Signal, Audible, Gaming console, Newspaper, Social Media, Portable TV etc. How did we live without mobile phones?
We hope you find the insights into the various health and informatics career journeys interesting and will join us in thanking Owen for sharing some excellent advice.
We look forward to introducing you to more of our Leading Practitioners as the series continues.
If you are a Leading Practitioner (or perhaps you have had an interesting career path you would like to share with others!) and would like to be involved in the series yourself, please do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.