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Clinical thinking

Bill Vargas has been working for The Children's Hospital at Westmead for more than two decades. When he started, its use of IT was primarily concerned with corporate functions such as patient billing and demographics. Today, as the CIO of its Information Services division, Vargas and his team increasingly deploy solutions designed to improve clinical processes. He chatted with BRIAN CORRIGAN about the changing role of technology in the healthcare industry.

What keeps you personally engaged after 20 years?

I enjoy the constant innovation and change but am also motivated by working for this organisation. At one time people said we'd never get doctors using PCs; now doctors are asking us why they can't have access to everything in the same way as they do they do at home. You have technical people pushing the boundaries and they're open to ideas. The person I report to is Dr Ralph Hanson, who manages Information Services but is a clinician and was previously head of ED [emergency department]. Having that clinical input into how we think has been a huge benefit.

What's your biggest frustration?

Trying to get the funds for everything we are trying to achieve. We have a set budget and are competing with clinical services so we always need to demonstrate tangible benefit.

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