Penn Medicine is a Philadelphia-based $3.5 billion enterprise consisting of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which includes three hospitals — the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Recently, HCI Associate Editor Kate Huvane had a chance to chat with vice president and CIO Michael Restuccia, who was named to his dual role at Penn Medicine in March, 2008 after serving as interim CIO for a year.
KH: How many beds are based in the University of Pennsylvania Health System?
MR: There are 1,527 in-patient beds. We’ve recently purchased Graduate Health System from Tenet Health, which had Graduate Hospital associated with it. Those beds are coming back online in July of this year, but they’re not coming online as inpatient beds. Instead, the facility will consist of a long term acute care unit, a major rehabilitation unit and a hospice unit.
KH: That’s a pretty-good-sized system.
MR: Yes. Our primary challenge surrounds the breadth and depth of services provided by the health system and the information systems support that is required. Tied to that, the health system moves at an outstandingly fast pace, so our information systems (IS) organization needs to match — if not exceed — this pace across all segments of the health system.
KH: Now, you were recently promoted to CIO after spending time as interim CIO under a consulting contract. How did this process unfold? When and how did you initially begin the consultant role, and how were you promoted to CIO?
MR: I started in December of 2006 in a consulting role to perform IS leadership activities. The former CIO was an individual by the name of George Brenckle. George announced he was resigning in February of 2007 and departed in March of 2008. At that point, the health system asked if I would step in and become the interim CIO because there were so many projects that were in a state of flux and needed guidance. In June, the health system embarked upon a national search for a permanent CIO. In March of this year, they announced that I was their selection.
KH: Before you were asked to serve as interim CIO, had you had an association with Penn Medicine?
MR: Not as an employee — but I had worked for First Consulting Group in the mid 1990s, and had been working with the health system then. In 2001, I formed a consulting firm (MedMatica Consulting Associates). Through MedMatica, I had the opportunity to serve as interim CIO of one of UPHS’ previously owned facilities, Phoenixville Hospital. Based upon that effort, and some recent needs at the health system, I was asked to assist at UPHS in an independent manner.
KH: So things worked out, and when the opportunity presented itself you felt that it was the right move for you.
I’m not sure about the other candidates that were considered by UPHS, but I know that with any position, trying to uproot your family and relocate — with new schools, new friendships, and activities — is a lot of strain on families. This was keeping it all the same for me, so it was great fit all around.
KH: But you had served as interim CIO previously, correct?
MR: As mentioned, I was interim CIO at Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville, Pa., and at that time, the University of Pennsylvania Health System owned Phoenixville Hospital. But while I was there, the health system sold off Phoenixville Hospital to Community Health Systems. I remained with Phoenixville Hospital to transition the IT activities to Community Health System. This experience did give me a bit of exposure to the health system back then. I say a bit of exposure because when you’re the far-out suburban hospital in a predominantly center city-based health system, you don’t get a lot of attention out there; particularly if things are going well.