Interview with Lisa Riley at VitalHub UK

Lisa Riley began her career with the NHS over 20 years ago. She worked in community care for several years before joining the National Emergency Care Intensive Support Team (ECIST). Lisa has supported some of the most challenging emergency and emergency care systems in England, driving the delivery of patient flow improvements that result in safer, faster and improved patient care. With an extensive “total system” background flow, Lisa has become synonymous with dismissal for assessing pathways and specifically as the creator of the nationally recognized Medway Home First model.

Why do you support Computing’s Women in Tech Excellence Campaign?

As a woman who started her career as a nurse, helping patients on the ground and working her way up in healthcare to a leadership role in health technology, I think it is extremely important that women are recognized and rewarded for the role they play in the Improvement and diversification of the technology industry.

How did you get into the IT industry?

I spent the first few years of my career in the hospital but soon realized that acute care is only a very small part of a much bigger picture and that I really wanted to feel like I could make a difference, which I wanted to experience as other pieces of the puzzle . Working at NHS Improvement I’ve come to appreciate how complicated ‘we’ make things and that there is actually a lot of technology out there to support teams, often during some of the most stressful times they will ever face. As healthcare goes digital, 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 at the forefront of improving data integration and visualization, and I agreed to join their team to bring my clinical experience to their technology world. Since then I have helped grow and guide the company to a successful deployment across 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, particularly in technical and managerial roles?

I think historically there has been gender bias in most industries and especially leadership positions and I think it’s an old issue I’m happy to say I think we’re seeing changes especially in technology. When I started nursing it was back when nurses were female and doctors were male and I was taught never to question a doctor! After the first few cases of seeing that doctors aren’t always right and that they make mistakes, I started speaking out because it was the right thing to do for my patients and protect them personally. Respectfully challenging the culture and breaking down prejudice so that people are judged on their ability and not some other label they hold is beginning to make a difference, and I’m excited to be part of a new cohort of female ranks leading the way and inspire the younger generation of women who want to work in the technology industry.

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

Don’t be afraid to be a rebel; speak, show yourself out there and recognize 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 who want to take on leadership positions?

  1. You don’t have to be a technology expert to be a technology leader
  2. Have the confidence to thrive in a male-dominated industry
  3. Don’t be afraid to bring passion to the tech world – every tech needs the human element as well