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Insider Insight: Liz Ashall-Payne, ORCHA

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Liz Ashall-Payne, ORCHA

Liz Ashall-Payne is the founding CEO of ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps.

ORCHA is one of the world’s leading digital health evaluation and distribution organisations. In the UK, it reviews digital tools for NHS Digital and NHS providers in 70 per cent of regions.

1) What is your morning routine?

My mornings are a complete juggling act. I’m trying to be a wife, a mum, a dog owner and a CEO. It’s all mashed together.

Sometimes I’ll be dealing with work that’s come in from another country the evening before whilst also making breakfast and sorting out the dog. (My cockerpoo, Buddy, is my third child. He’s like a teddy bear – he just wants to cuddle you all day).

By 8.15am the house is quiet and I have my coffee and breakfast.

2) Which technology could you not live without?

I can answer that question quite literally as I’m a type 1 diabetic. I would not be alive if I didn’t use my diabetes monitoring tool.

3) How do you relax?

As a family we do lots of walking and we have beautiful countryside around us to enjoy. Other than that, I love reading and having a long soak in the bath. During COVID I got into the habit of creating a spa at home, with candles and music. It’s so relaxing.

4) Which quote resonates with you?

Mark Twain said that if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first. It means, simply, start with the hardest task first. That approach really resonates with me.

5) What is the best thing about your job?

There are so many good aspects to my role – including working with amazing people – but probably the best is the fact that no two days are ever the same.  I used to do a lot of travelling, which I enjoyed, but since COVID I have a better balance between travel and home working.

Next week I’m in London, Helsinki and Liverpool and then at home for the second half of the week. It is great to be energised by being amongst people but I love seeing more of my family.

6) If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be and why?

I’m not sure you can be totally empathetic if you’ve not walked in someone’s shoes.

As an NHS clinician, I used to work with children with complex health and care needs and severe physical disabilities and I often wished I could experience life from their vantage point, to really be able to understand.

I’d also like to spend a day at ORCHA as a coder. I don’t have a technical background, so it’s hard for me to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.

7) What is the one thing that we are not talking about?

Globally, we tend to talk about problems not solutions. It’s understandable but frustrating.  We talk about what we don’t want. We don’t talk about what we do want. We need a Paradigm shift.

If I said to you, what do you want to eat, and you answered that you don’t like digestives, I’d be none the wiser. Let’s be bolder. Let’s say what we want.

8) Would you rather travel 100 years forward or back in time?

I’d probably go back as I’d love to meet my ancestors. I’d love to meet my grandma as a little girl. In 1922 she’d have been eight years old. I spoke to her so much about what it was like growing up.

Her dad sold fruit on a trolley in the road and there were six siblings sharing one room. It is so different now and we take so much for granted.

9) What advice would you give to 18-year-old you (and would you have listened to you!)?

My advice would be: be completely yourself. And be the best version of you rather than trying to be someone else. Would I have listened? Probably not.

10) What is your biggest regret?

I have no regrets. They are all lessons learned – and I’m grateful for them.

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