From frontline nursing to health tech: an interview with VitalHub UK's Lisa Riley

From frontline nursing to health tech: an interview with VitalHub UK’s Lisa Riley

Lisa Riley started her career over 20 years ago in the NHS. She spent several years working in community care, before moving to the National Emergency Care Intensive Support Team (ECIST). Lisa has supported some of England’s toughest emergency and emergency care systems, driving the delivery of patient flow improvements that lead to safer, faster and better care for patients. With a vast “whole system” flow in her background, Lisa has become synonymous with discharge journeys to assess, and most notably as the creator of the nationally recognized Medway Home First model.

Why are you supporting Computing’s Women in Tech Excellence campaign?

As a woman who began her career as a nurse, in the field helping patients, and having worked her way up in health care and into a leadership role in health technology, I believes it is extremely important that women are recognized and rewarded for the role they play in improving and diversifying the tech industry.

How did you get into the computer industry?

I spent the first years of my career working in the hospital, but I quickly realized that acute care is just one small part of a much bigger picture and that, for me- likewise, to really feel like I could make a difference, I wanted to experience other parts of the puzzle. Working at NHS Improvement, I realized how complicated ‘we’ make things and that in fact there are many technologies to support teams, often in the most difficult times they have ever faced. By digitizing healthcare, we are able to give people the tools they need, when they need them. I was introduced to a research and development company, called Transforming Systems, which was leading the way in improving data integration and visualization and agreed to join their team to bring my clinical experience into their technological world. I have since helped lead and lead the business to successfully roll out to over 66% of the NHS in England and now oversee nine other healthcare software companies in the UK.

What do you think is the main reason why the IT industry is predominantly male, especially in technical roles and leadership positions?

I think historically there’s been gender bias in most industries and especially in leadership positions, and I think that’s a legacy issue that I’m happy to say, I think we’re seeing some changes, especially in technology. When I started nursing, it was still at a time when nurses were women and doctors were men, and I was taught never to question a doctor! After the first two cases where I saw that doctors weren’t always right and they made mistakes, I started speaking up because it was the right thing to do for my patients and it protected them personally. . Challenging culture with respect and breaking down bias so that people are judged on their abilities and not any other labels they might wear is starting to make a difference, and I’m excited to be part of a new cohort of women’s echelons, who are leading the way and inspiring the younger generation of women who want to get involved in the tech industry.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Don’t be afraid to be a rebel; speak up, get out there and know your worth.

What are your top three tips for women looking to start a career in IT?What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?

  1. You don’t have to be a tech expert to be a tech leader
  2. Have the confidence to get ahead in a male-dominated industry
  3. Don’t be afraid to bring passion to the tech world – all tech needs the human element too

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