Dr. Jimmy Courtney
With 40 years’ extensive experience as a senior clinical leader in Northern Ireland’s Health & Social Care economy operating at political, strategic, programme, project, senior management and director levels, Jimmy is uniquely qualified to provide eHealth advice and guidance to a wide variety of public and private eHealth organisations.
Jimmy graduated in 1981 from Queen’s University Belfast. He trained as a general practitioner and held a variety of hospital posts before completing his training in Saintfield, Northern Ireland (NI). Jimmy has been a GP partner, responsible for technology and finance in a large practice in Holywood, County Down, N.I. for the past 30 years, serving 15,550 patients. He has extensive experience of general practice and primary care in general. He has a special interest in dermatology and minor surgery performing roles in the practice in these specialties before retiring from clinical practice in 2015. Jimmy has had a long-standing interest in the use of technology to improve health and wellbeing and to drive change in Health and Social care. He has been involved in many initiatives over the years, including the introduction of a Call and Recall System in the practice for childhood vaccination and the introduction of a Patient Management System for clinical information and appointments. Jimmy has been involved with many of the systems which have been introduced and now underpin the delivery of general practice care in Northern Ireland. He has been Chairman of the North Down Total Purchasing Pilot, Secretary of the Eastern Local Medical Committee, and member of the N.I. GP Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA). He has been a member of the N.I. Privacy Advisory Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for Borderline Substances (DoH).
Jimmy has been involved in the development of services through working with the commissioners to help to improve the delivery of services to patients. He was a lead partner during GP fundholding which gave him an interesting insight into how the delivery of services could be improved. This project delivered successful outcomes for patients by reducing the waiting times for treatment and providing many community based services for patients including dermatology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy and podiatry. The fundholding project provided an opportunity to examine the current processes and identify areas which required improvement. The control of the commissioning budget provided the tools to identify issues with current processes and re-engineer the delivery of services which provided better outcomes for the practices’ patients. This evolved into an area wide total purchasing pilot which allowed a much greater degree of flexibility to plan and deliver services.
Jimmy has been Chairman of N.I. British Medical Association IT Sub-Committee and Chairman of the N.I. General Practitioners Committee (GPC) IT Sub Committee. He has been a member of the N.I. Health & Social Care (HSC) ICT Strategic Board since 2004 and Chairman of the N.I. HSC Primary Care ICT Strategic Board from 2014 to 2016. In 2013 he was appointed as Clinical Advisor to the N.I. HSC Board eHealth Strategic Planning & Investment team. He is the Chairman of the Information Governance Committee of the N.I. Electronic Care Record (NIECR) and a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Health Informatics Group and the Joint GP IT Committee (BMA London).
Strategic Oversight Experience
Jimmy has had extensive experience working with different sectors of the health and social care economy in Northern Ireland. He has an excellent understanding of the inter-relationships and information flows between different parts of the patient/client journey through a care system.
Understanding How to Establish and Run eHealth Programmes
Jimmy has been involved in the strategic planning and commissioning of a variety of ICT projects and programmes within the N.I. Health and Social Care system. He worked as the eHealth Clinical Advisor to the N.I. HSC Board from 2012 to 2016. Programmes he has been involved with include the planning and introduction of a new unique health and care number for each citizen to replace the previous numbering system. This was one of the essential building blocks necessary to begin to build a joined-up care delivery system in Northern Ireland. He was also involved with the introduction of the electronic delivery of laboratory and radiology results directly into GPs in N.I. He was the chairman of the programme to plan and implement electronic referrals from GPs to secondary care and was involved with the planning, procurement and implementation of the N.I. Electronic Care Record.
Understanding of How a Health Economy is Governed and Funded
Jimmy has worked as part of a team involving other clinicians and IT professionals to identify potential solutions to deliver patient information to clinicians at the point of care in such a way as to improve the decision-making process and improve patient outcomes. This resulted in the decision first to pilot and then subsequently to roll out the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR). This required liaison with clinicians, senior managers, civil servants and politicians to ensure that the programme objectives were agreed by everyone and that implementation considered clinical and government priorities. He played a key role in developing the business case and influencing senior clinical and political leadership to support the investment in the national NIECR programme.