South Australia's Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS), a not-for-profit community healthcare provider, has appointed Jodie Rugless as CIO at the tender age of 34.
The RDNS has been around for 115 years and making more than 15,000 visits into Adelaide homes every week.
Describing IT as a “male-dominated area”, the service said Rugless’ gender and age make her a “standout” among her peers and her speciality is in health IT.
“Women bring great skills to IT,” Rugless said, adding a combination of men and woman working together makes IT operations successful.
“It’s good to see orgs getting women into IT leadership positions. I have been focused on women in business groups as CIO skills need to know more than just technology, they need business acumen.”
Rugless describes herself as having “gen Y and gen X attributes”, but believes ascending to the level of CIO is more about the skills of the individual, not their age.
“I don’t think I was appointed to the role because I was 34, but because I had the skill set,” she said. “And RDNS encourages people to work through the ranks regardless of age and gender.”
Rugless says people her age need to understand the business and aligning the work they do to that objective.
“What I aim to provide is better health service outcomes and the more I focus on that the more successful I will be,” she said.
Rugless said good health technology is all about enabling quality care coupled with “ease of delivery” for health professionals.
“With more than 200 of our nurses and allied health professionals already able to use mobile technology to access client records, amend visit schedules and work without paper,” Rugless said.
“I am looking to expand our mobility solution to enable clinicians to access real time clinical information.”
Rugless has more than 10 years of IT experience, including nine in the health sector specialising in information management and mobile technology.
She was previously business information and performance manager at RDNS and joined the organisation as a systems analyst in 2001.
Rugless said it is exciting to see telehealth on the national agenda, a technology RDNS has been using with its clients for two years.
“The results for client health outcomes and care are impressive,” she said. “Extending our e-health application is another area my team will be concentrating on.”
Rugless holds a bachelor's degree in information management (information systems) and an MBA.
She is certified in project management, program management and IT service delivery and is a member of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian Computer Society.