SmartPeople: Tracey Marriott
Tracey Marriott is director of clinical innovation adoption at the Oxford Academic Health Science Network. She thrives on change, is passionate about improving patient outcomes and is interested in any innovations that tick these boxes
I get up at 6.30am, prepare lunch, eat breakfast with my sons, put the washing machine on and load the dishwasher. And then after a pleasant country drive over the Chilterns I get into work at the Oxford AHSN at 8.30am. I start with a cup of coffee and then it’s onto emails and meeting with my team to discuss project plans and progress. I usually leave work by 6pm – though it depends on whether there are deadlines.
My work involves finding out about game-changing health innovations that are either out there already being successfully used or those innovations that need a helping hand to find their way into the NHS. Innovations could be medicines, how services are delivered, the use of new technology – any innovation that changes the way patient care is thought about and delivered. We look for these through contact with research bodies such as universities, the local Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, Small Business Research Initiative, international research publications, local NHS innovations and inventions that are already adopted within health, and of course the pharmaceutical industry. My team actively monitors innovations being developed.
Academic Health Science Networks are relatively new organisations and Oxford AHSN opened for business in September 2013. My role was created in December that year. A typical day includes conference calls and meetings to discuss innovations and advise on how companies may need to align with NHS requirements and needs.
Bringing about change is core business for the AHSNs. That means our objectives include meeting the health needs of the regional population, speeding up adoption, collaborative partnerships and wealth creation. My objective is to bring innovators and adopters together to reduce variation of care received across our region.
This involves a 10-step process that starts with understanding the clinical pathways, having a clinical champion and understanding how a particular innovation can contribute to improving patient care. We have found adopters to be very receptive if innovations are well evidenced and proven, with a clinical champion there to explain the benefits and give realistic insight into the adoption process.
The programme has already had a high degree of success. For instance, numbers of pregnant women attending gestational diabetes clinics are on the increase and a solution was needed to improve management and manage numbers without having to open up a large number of new clinics. The Oxford Biomedical Research Centre at Oxford University developed a solution for remote monitoring of patients and through the Oxford AHSN Clinical Innovation Adoption Programme we have implemented the solution at three Trusts within our region during 2014 and will continue to roll-out to other Trusts during 2015.
I have always been interested in how to improve systems – particularly with regard to health and leisure – and I successfully managed my own health consultancy for many years. This healthcare role lends itself perfectly to my NHS experience (both operational and commercial) and my keen entrepreneurial skills. I really enjoy working with people and I get a great deal of satisfaction from shaping and delivering improvement to patient care.
Health innovation is particularly important to the NHS because it can transform patient outcomes, safety and experience and can simultaneously improve quality and productivity – and it’s good for economic growth. But healthcare is also engaging at a personal and patient level. Everyone is interested in healthcare because it is important to all of us. I want to help my colleagues to deliver better care and the NHS to further improve on how we deliver care to patients.
How do you spend your evening?
I am fortunate to live next to a nature reserve so I take every opportunity to go for a bike ride.
How did you get to where you are today? What would you put it down to?
A combination of genuine passion and interest in patient care, health and business, and sheer determination to make a difference.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
An entrepreneur managing my own business.
If you had to swap jobs, what would you do?
Manage the next Olympics!
Who is your role model?
I have been very fortunate to have worked with some excellent female NHS CEOs who are the closest I can describe to being role models. Within industry, female high achievers such as Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! have to be admired for holding senior posts at such a young age. They have certainly broken the glass ceiling.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
You don’t have to be the brightest in class to be the most successful. You just need to be disciplined, hardworking and determined.
What is the worst career advice you have ever been given?
Don’t challenge the status quo – it’s too difficult to change. The truth is, everything changes so being part of it and influencing change is important. In my experience business is all about looking for people who can think outside of the box and who have a flexible mind to take on different and new projects.
What is your tip for a good work/life balance or meeting your career goals?
Focus on the most important tasks and learn how to delegate effectively.
What qualifications/personal skills do you need for your job?
I hold two degrees: BAHons and MBA from a top business college. You must have a network and be very good at networking, have a good business head and be an innovator at heart.
Why should someone join the “industry”?
It is extremely rewarding knowing that you can make a difference to people’s lives.