Reena Cole, Interim Head of Clinical Systems, Information Technology

I have worked at St George’s Hospital for over four years now, and I’m responsible for managing a wonderful team who provide technical support to the organisation for a number of our critical systems including: iClip our main electronic patient record system; Electronic Document Management (EDM) – the main platform for storing electronic documents; and the Trust integration engine(TIE) which provides the link between iClip and our downstream and external systems to allow the integration and sharing of patient records across a variety of platforms.

What do you and your team do?

My team play a crucial role in ensuring all of our systems are up and running and available at all times for both our staff and our patients.

Not only are they responsible for ensuring our electronic systems are available – they are also tasked with ensuring that the systems remain current and up-to-date.

How has it changed as a result of Covid-19?

Pre Covid-19, the majority of the team were based on-site, however we had to mobilise the team during lockdown, whilst at the same time ensuring we maintained the level of support we were providing.

We have now established a new working arrangement such as rota shifts which provide flexibility for the team.

Some of the team are working a combination of one week on-site and one week offsite, and some have chosen to do a split shift whereby they have an office presence every week.

This is a great compromise as it means we still get an opportunity to interact with other ICT teams who also deserve acknowledgment. They too, worked tirelessly to deliver a remote working solution to suit the needs of the organisation, and ensure patients are being looked after in the ever changing and fast paced environment we are all working in.

I have also become more tech savvy during my time at home and have been taking advantage of all the tools available to interact remotely with my team and boost staff morale.

Tell us a bit more about boosting staff morale remotely?

We have found so many ways to communicate including using MS teams, and although I may be sat hundreds of miles away from my team, I don’t feel isolated or out of touch with what my team is doing. This is has been made possible thanks to all the ICT solutions we have put in place to reduce face-to-face contact where possible.

Working remotely has encouraged me to think of new ways to keep the team engaged and connected. I am very passionate about making sure that everyone in my team feels engaged and has a platform to share good news and also raise issues and concerns. Some staff are working from home due to shielding purposes, so it became really important for me to make sure that they do not feel isolated, or out of touch with the rest of the team.

We now hold regular team quizzes over Zoom calls which have been fantastic, and has given us the opportunity to maintain the social aspect of work.

I am also exploring other activities such as online bingo and karaoke, and may even extend it to cooking contests! We love food and would often bring in food to share with others and enjoy social lunchtimes together so I’m sure I can convert that into a virtual gathering somehow.

We even have other ICT teams joining our social activities as we work so closely together which is great for team morale.

What has most impressed you about the response of staff/colleagues?

I am really proud to work at St George’s.  It’s amazing to see the great work we can do when we put our minds to it and none of this would be possible without the talented individuals we are surrounded by!

ICT have done a brilliant job with delivering solutions to allow our clinical colleagues to care for our patients and provide outstanding care during this unprecedented time.

I am looking forward to returning back onsite in the near future with a box or two of samosas!