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One-on-One with Johns Hopkins Health System VP and CIO Stephanie Reel

July 21, 2009
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Stephanie reel

Stephanie Reel

Most agree that technology has an inextricable effect on clinical care, the workforce, and facility design. As such, Healthcare Informatics recently co-produced the X3 Summit, an executive-level, hands-on event that explored the unique challenges and considerations of integrating technology into healthcare facilities and care processes.

The X3 Summit, held in San Francisco this past June, brought together leaders in the fields of technology, design, and care advances within the context of real-world operations and structures. Participants opened a dialogue that explored this symbiosis with the goal of creating forward-reaching environments for care by maximizing their interaction with each other.

The opening keynote address, “Technology, Health Design and Innovation of Care - Why This Conversation?” was given by Molly Joel Coye, M.D., MPH, CEO, Health Technology Center (at press time, Coye had just been named president and CEO of California's HIE, CalRHIO). Highlights of day one included a Deep Dive session where participants drilled down into the perspectives and case studies posed by panel members. This open forum explored factors that enable success as well as roadblocks to avoid.

Day two's deep dives included panels on Technology and Infrastructure from the ECRI Institute, and Financing and Making the Business Case from Andrew Pines, managing director, Healthcare Finance Group, Citi, that spoke to capital financing for major projects. Other panels included Culture Change by Pete Rivera, MSCIS, MPM, Senior Healthcare Consultant, Hayes Management Consulting, (also an HCI Blogger - and Environmental Responsibility by Robin Guenther, Author, Sustainable Healthcare Architecture.

Case studies from the healthcare environment included southern California's Palomar Pomerado Health, the U.S. Navy and Johns Hopkins.

One of the case study panelists was Stephanie Reel, CIO and Vice-Provost for Information Technology for the Johns Hopkins University, and Vice-President for Information Services for Johns Hopkins Medicine. HCI Editor-in-Chief Anthony Guerra recently had a chance to chat with Reel about her impressions of the Summit.

AG: You were on one of the panels-what was your topic?

SR: We spoke about the fact that, as an institution, our number one priority is patient safety and patient/family-centered care. The commitment to patient/family-centered care has been a critical catalyst for the decisions we've made in the design of our new hospital buildings and also in the design of our new information systems.

AG: Was there anything different or unique about this conference - you go to so many.

SR: The one really fascinating thing about the conference is that we weren't just talking to ourselves. So many times when IT folks speak at conferences, anybody in the room could have delivered the exact same talk - we've all been through some part of what's being discussed. We may have a slight twist on it, but basically we're all coming with the same perspective and position. What made this conference unique is that the audience was diverse, the interests were highly variable, there were people there who were not technologists, but were very engaged in the conversation. They wanted to know how technology could make a difference and they wanted to know how buildings needed to be designed with technology in mind. It was just so different. There was lots of new thinking that went on, and the audience was incredibly engaged because it was stuff they hadn't heard before. And I think that was true for everyone in the room. We put our presentation together in such a way that it coupled information technology and new building construction at a grass roots level.

AG: Were there any comments that you found particularly interesting?

SR: Most of the feedback was incredibly positive and very complimentary. There was a gentleman who asked about patient choice and how committed were we to ensuring that our spaces and places were flexible so patients could somehow influence the environment in which they were being treated. And maybe that was as simple as picking the music that they heard, or maybe some flexible art work, something that allowed patients to have a little bit more participation in choice. We all agreed that we had never really considered that in any of the work we had done - by us, anyway. We all agreed to bring that back and talk to our colleagues about whether or not there were small ways to do that in the short run.

AG: Did you make many connections?

SR: For sure, and there was a lot of card exchanging. The best part was that it wasn't just CIOs exchanging cards, it was an engineer exchanging a card with an architect exchanging a card with a hospital administrator, or an operations person with an IT person. That was really kind of cool. And we weren't talking about the same old things.

AG: I hope your peers don't get offended that a conference without them was pleasant.

SR: I bet all my peers would have had the same reaction - it was just so refreshing to not just be talking to each other.

Healthcare Informatics 2009 August;26(8):30-31