FCI Webinar, "Why We Must Share Knowledge More to Allow Digital Transformation” with Ben Bridgewater, Thursday 14th January 2021

Angus’s Blog - @WAngusWallace

This FCI Webinar focused on an interview by Sue Lacey Bryant, National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services at Health Education England, with Professor Ben Bridgewater, in which they briefly discussed his climb up the ladder as a Consultant Cardiac Surgeon within the NHS and interested in Informatics, and then leading the programme to collect, analyse and publish data on cardiac surgical outcomes in the UK, as well as running an active research programme. This dramatically influenced his career when the work he was involved in resulted in a 50% risk reduction of risk adjustment mortality for cardiac surgery in a decade. Having spent some time outside the NHS working for a global tech giant, Ben is now Chief Executive at Health Innovation Manchester, the integrated Academic Health Science and Innovation System that supports the NHS and Social care in Greater Manchester.

Their interview includes perspectives on the use of technology in the NHS, describes some mechanisms for knowledge sharing and how to provide public awareness of health quality and delivery and the messages that came through are listed below:

  • Ben found that leaving the NHS to work outside the health service taught him how much he had to learn to catch up with adding business value to customers and using technology in all its manifestations (cloud, big data and analytics, digital transformation consultancy etc)  

  • Through Health Innovation Manchester he has placed a high priority on the integration of primary care, secondary care and social care records and its use for pathway reconfiguration

  • He feels digital transformation starts with you as a member of the health care team – upskill yourself - focus on the user experience – do all you can to make it intuitive at the point of care to allow easier rollout and create ‘stickability’

  • A mantra he strongly supports is – invest across people; process; culture; tools and tech

  • He recommends reading some good books! (Leading Digital, Black Box thinking, Rebel Ideas and Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson)

  • The best is the enemy of the good – don’t let extreme ambition hold you back from overcoming smaller scale interoperability issues collaboratively at scale and achieving co-creation to deliver short term value

  • Digital is at the heart of everything 

  • He describes a maxim from Sir Howard Bernstein “Collaboration is a contact sport”

  • To maximise the benefits, focus on clarity on the problem you are trying to solve


I came away from the webinar understanding that I can do better, perfection is not achievable so try to deliver what is practical and functional and never stop trying to do it better. We now have tools we never had before – learn to use them to maximise your effectiveness. 

What a great webinar to attend – thanks to Ben and Sue. 

Prof Angus Wallace

Chair, Event Organising Committee, Faculty of Clinical Informatics UK (2019-21)

Emeritus Professor, Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma & Sports Medicine, University of Nottingham

In March 2013, Ben was appointed as the Director of Outcomes Publication at the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, to deliver the publication of clinical outcomes for 12 surgical specialties and interventional cardiology on behalf of NHS England. In 2016 Ben left the NHS to join CSC (now DXC.technology) as their Director of Healthcare Strategy in UKI and the Netherlands and subsequently took up his current appointment as Chief Executive at Health Innovation Manchester in early 2018. He is a national leading expert on health informatics, clinical audit, clinical governance, healthcare transparency, patient experience measurement and digital transformation in healthcare.

Watch the recording of the webinar below, and visit our webinars page to watch back previous sessions.