Jonathan Ritchie

As a digital leader, Jonathan has an extensive career in the IT sector, most recently in the health industry. In his role as CIO at Mastercall Healthcare, he is involved in early solution deployment and nationwide pilots, working with national leaders across the NHS, as well as diversifying IT services and securing externally managed technical/support contracts.

How do you ensure diversity is included in your IT recruitment?

As a member of the Board of Directors, we took our role to ensure diversity very seriously and made significant improvements to cultural change and inclusion in IT/digital recruiting.

In our BI team we have a very talented member of the team who has hearing and speech difficulties and is now a manager – despite the challenges. Technology has enabled participation and continued teamwork, using tools to ensure communication is supported.

Team members participate in our accredited training program ‘Dignity & Care for all’ in which employees are informed digitally.

Within our digital strategy, we encourage remote working and have ensured that team members can clearly work remotely flexibly.

We are careful that our job postings are encouraging and not alienating or categorizing people.

What technology are you most excited about right now?

At Mastercall Healthcare, we are currently starting our journey using robotic process automation (RPA). We currently use two or three core systems and many are moving to an enhanced connected state (previously disparate) via integration plans, but there is also a need to replace manual data processes that are long and time consuming – such as ‘patient fusions’ for all services (when duplicate Adastra records are created for the same patient). This can happen when the call handler does not notice the patient’s name on the first list that appears after the date of birth is entered, when the initial information is entered incorrectly, or when there is a slight difference in the name or address and the patient/caller cannot inform Mastercall of the correct previous address.

Patients to be merged appear in a queue within Adastra. A staff member will open each patient, compare the information in Adastra and PDS, accept any changes, and then merge the patient. The RPA process will fully automate most patients to be pooled. Matters requiring further investigation or more complex decisions are referred to the team. This could be changes of address or when an NHS number is linked to two completely different patients. All very time consuming.

Currently, there are approximately 150,000 patients in the Adastra queue that need to be pooled. Each case takes about a minute for an employee to process, so it takes an estimated 1.5 years of work for a full-time employee to process the entire queue. This does not include new patients being added to the queue in real time!

We also have plans to use RPA for individual access requests, which is also a time consuming activity. We recently held a number of sessions through our digital program board, encouraging teams/users to submit ideas on how to replace manual processes through Blue Prism/RPA. This was incredibly encouraging as ideas were received from an energetic ‘think tank’ among our team, many of whom were previously uninvolved in IT/digital systems, but we encourage an open connected forum to share ideas. Due to the number of ideas, efficiencies, savings and improved use of data, we are incredibly excited about future applications of RPA at Mastercall Healthcare.

What do you do to relax?

I relax by playing golf, hiking, mountain biking and spending time with my family. I also enjoy traveling.

If you were an animal (different from a human), what animal would you be and why?

I would be an eagle: they have great agility, can hold a high position and are incredibly determined, courageous and represent freedom, wisdom and truth.

What makes you laugh?

Only fools and horses.

How did you end up in IT?

My brother brought home our first Windows computer when he was a freshman at Uni – I was 15, and from there I was hooked. I would take computers apart and put them back together, then get more involved in the software side, data analysis and then project management, before making the jump to lead management. What drives me: My main encouragement now is to enable and improve patients’ lives by continuing to transform our digital offerings. To build a culture and improve awareness and empowerment of IT/digital capabilities for our staff and patients. Mastercall is a smaller non-profit that has let a lot of the big Trusts down, so we’ve had to work really hard to get funding – but I’m excited to see how we’re evolving and being recognized as innovative nationally.

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