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Six Signs Your Vendor’s Not That Into You

April 25, 2017
by Dick Taylor, M.D., executive vice president, MedSys Group
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Feeling neglected? Feeling as if everyone but you has a great healthcare information technology (HCIT) vendor? Concerned about the state of your relationship? Here are six signs your vendor is just not that into you.

The new “upgrade” looks suspiciously like a brand-new system. One you can’t afford. Does the “upgrade” share anything with the “old” system other than a name? A “forklift upgrade” isn’t an upgrade. It’s a brand-new system; one which should be chosen in an open and thoughtful process.

This is especially true if it’s expensive. Don’t be fooled by cheap or discounted licensing. Implementing the “upgrade” will cost a lot more than the license. Working around deficiencies can be worse. If your vendor can’t manage to maintain a rational technology strategy or if they want you to pay enormous costs so they can catch up, they’re not that into you.

They can’t get you off Windows XP. A popular alternative to the “forklift upgrade” is the “baling wire and duct tape” upgrade. Are you on current infrastructure and endpoints? Have they adopted virtualization, web services, cloud, and SDN? Does your vendor know what that is?

Technology moves really quickly. HCIT vendors should too. It doesn’t mean they’re obligated to adopt the fad of the week, but you are paying them to know this stuff – to plan it and put it on the roadmap. What else are they doing with your maintenance dollars? Relationships aren’t just about the high points. They’re about slogging through the mud together. If they’re into you, they will be there through the down years too.

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You have only interacted with the sales rep this past year. You are a recurring revenue stream, but are you just a recurring revenue stream? Or is your vendor trying to understand your issues and help you?

One good way to know is to recall who you’ve talked to over the past year. If you’re a CIO, you should know the sales staff. Who else have they brought? Have you talked to R&D lately? Support engineering? Implementation?

If you’re not on their schedule, you’re not on their radar. Given you are paying them to care, you should know they do. Are they into you?

They don’t have any engineers left. You can’t write or maintain software without engineers, which means your vendor must have engineers. Does yours? What is the ratio of engineering staff to sales staff? If it’s not at least 1:1, they’re spending more time selling than building what they’re selling.

This is particularly important when your vendor has acquired part or all of the solutions they sell. If they’ve laid off the old staff and believe the source code will maintain itself, it will not end well. Engineers are expensive and challenging, but they are the crown jewels and seed corn of software development.

Your vendor will need those people to meet the ever-changing needs. Nothing says “I’m not that into you” like getting rid of them.

They don’t have any customers like you left. Do you regularly go to annual meetings of your vendor’s customer base? You should, if only to make sure they actually have a customer base. The worst thing in the world is to be the last rat off the sinking ship. Early rats get their choice of destinations. Late rats are swimming. Avoid swimming!

It’s not total customers. It’s customers like you. Are you a large multi-hospital entity and you’ve noticed the segment meetings only have your people? Are you a multi-specialty group practice and realize the entire audience for the keynote speech is comprised of government officials and contractors? If your vendor doesn’t have anyone else like you, they don’t have anyone else representing your interests in development, testing, bug-fixes, and product roadmaps. Do you want to carry the load yourself?

An eroding customer base makes a vendor very nervous. Nervousness can encourage short-sighted cost cutting, gimmicks to keep sales propped up, and “triaging” the features or modules you desperately need. The one thing it doesn’t encourage is a focus on your problems as opposed to theirs. If you’re the last customer left, your vendor isn’t into anybody, including you.

They’ve moved on to greener fields. Annual HCIT conventions always have a “flavor of the month.” Meaningful use, interoperability, population health, risk sharing, and ICD-10 are just a few past one-hit wonders. This is fine, but is your vendor still paying attention to your day-to-day problems? Or are they doubling down on something which looks profitable and forgetting what matters to you?

Inattention and lack of focus are bad signs. If your vendor seems to be wandering around somewhere else, they can’t possibly be into you.

 

Dick Taylor, M.D., serves as executive vice president and chief medical officer for MedSys Group, a Frisco, Texas-based healthcare information technology consulting firm. In his position, Dr. Taylor focuses on integrating IT efforts with the clinical and operational ownership needed to capture permanent and positive changes within healthcare institutions. 

 

 


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Ed Kopetsky Named CHIME-HIMSS CIO of the Year

January 7, 2019
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Ed Kopetsky, CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, has been named the 2018 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year award recipient by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The award—named after John E. Gall Jr., who pioneered implementation of the first fully integrated medical system in the world in El Camino Hospital in California in the 1960s—is given annually to a CIO who has shown significant leadership and commitment to the healthcare industry during his or her career. The recipient is selected jointly by the boards of CHIME and HIMSS.

“I have had the great fortune to work with and learn from many healthcare executives and IT leaders, and to have talented teams working alongside me throughout my career,” Kopetsky said in a statement. “I am honored to have been nominated, and to have CHIME and HIMSS select me for this award.”    

Kopetsky’s career has spanned the industry, from CIO of three prominent healthcare systems to partner in a consulting firm specializing in healthcare IT and process improvement. He joined Stanford Children’s as CIO in 2009, after working as a partner at the professional services organization Healthlink, which was acquired by IBM in 2005. He was senior vice president and CIO of Centura Health from 1996 to 2000 and CIO of Sharp HealthCare from 1986 to 1996. Under his leadership, Stanford Children’s received the HIMSS Stage 7 Acute Care and Ambulatory Awards, Most Wired recognition from 2015 to the present, honors for having one of the best healthcare IT departments in 2016, and the international HIMSS Davies Award in 2017 for improving patient outcomes and care processes using health IT and analytics.

Over the decades, Kopetsky has helped launch and sustain numerous initiatives that have helped the industry grow, according to officials from the two associations. He was a founding member of CHIME in 1992 and has been an active member of HIMSS since 1987. He started and chaired a HIMSS chapter in San Diego in 1988 and three decades later joined the HIMSS Executive Institute. His contributions to CHIME include board member (1996-1999) CHIME chair (1998) and CHIME Foundation Board member (2002-2005). After losing his son to an accidental opioid overdose in late 2017, he helped launch the CHIME Opioid Task Force in 2018, which he co-chairs.

“Ed is one of the most courageous people I know,” Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME, said in a statement. “Ed has turned a personal tragedy into a mission for CHIME and our members that already is saving lives. He has a vision of what can be achieved when healthcare IT leaders work together, and with his leadership we are making inroads against this devastating opioid epidemic.” 

“Ed Kopetsky epitomizes the values and traits that all in health strive to achieve,” Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS, said. “Mission driven, technically innovative and highly respected among his peers. A longtime HIMSS member and contributor, Ed has focused his personal passions into improving the lives of countless individuals. It is a privilege to honor Ed as our CIO of the Year.”

As a CIO, Kopetsky has successfully led several large-scale projects and mentored many staff members, according to CHIME and HIMSS officials. At Sharp HealthCare, his team completed implementation of one of the first integrated patient care systems supporting a multi-hospital and physician network. At Stanford Children’s he oversaw the implementation of enterprise systems, including an integrated electronic health record across Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health. He is credited with developing top-notch IT teams and serving as a role model and mentor throughout his career.

Kopetsky will be honored on Feb. 11 at the 2019 CHIME HIMSS CIO Forum in Orlando, Fla. He will officially receive the award at the HIMSS19 conference that runs Feb. 11-15 in Orlando.

 

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Providence St. Joseph Health Hires Microsoft Exec as CIO

January 2, 2019
by David Raths, Contributing Editor
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Health system continues to draw from Seattle-area tech giants
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Renton, Wash.-based Providence St. Joseph Health, the nation's third-largest health system, has hired Microsoft executive B.J. Moore as its chief information officer effective Jan. 28, 2019. 

Moore joins several other executives that 51-hospital Providence St. Joseph Health has hired away from Seattle-area tech giants. Other additions have included Chief Digital Officer Aaron Martin, previously of Amazon, who joined in 2014, and Chief Financial Officer Venkat Bhamidipati, formerly of Microsoft, who joined in 2017. Moore will report to Bhamidipati.

In a statement about Moore’s hiring, Providence St. Joseph Health President and CEO Rod Hochman, M.D., explained why the health system is targeting tech executives such as Moore. "With data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence poised to enable and improve the way care is delivered, health systems need leaders who are well versed in the technology fields. B.J. has the depth and experience to guide our organization through this period of transformation, which will include collaborating with technology companies, as well as adopting enterprise-wide solutions that will modernize healthcare operations."

Moore spent close to 20 years at Microsoft, where he served as Vice President, Enterprise Commerce and Compliance, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence and Vice President, Enterprise Commerce, Windows and Devices Group. 

Besides its 51 hospitals, Providence St. Joseph Health has 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services. The health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 people across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Formed in 2016, the Providence St. Joseph Health family includes the founding organizations, and in Texas, Covenant Health and Covenant Medical Group; California, Facey Medical Group, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare; Washington, Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Pacific Medical Centers, and Swedish Health Services.

 

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Rasu Shrestha Leaving UPMC to Join Atrium Health as Chief Strategy Officer

December 18, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
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Industry thought leader Rasu Shrestha, M.D., formerly Chief Innovation Officer at the vast 40-hospital University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), is leaving Pittsburgh to join Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health has the new executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

For the past 11 years, Shrestha has held various roles at UPMC, including, most recently, executive vice president and chief innovation officer, responsible for driving UPMC’s innovation strategy. In addition to leading innovation at UPMC, Shrestha also served as executive vice president of UPMC Enterprises, the venture capital arm of UPMC.

According to a press release from Atrium Health, a 40-hospital health system previously named Carolinas HealthCare System, in his new role Shrestha will lead enterprise strategy, including planning and tactical direction for Atrium Health’s strategic roadmap. In addition, he will spearhead a renewed focus on innovation, launching new healthcare inventions, discoveries and ideas to benefit Atrium Health patients and the communities it serves.

Shrestha will officially join Atrium Health in February 2019, reporting directly to President and CEO Eugene Woods. He will take on the position formerly held by Carol Lovin, who was promoted to executive vice president and system chief of staff.

“It is our honor to welcome Dr. Rasu Shrestha into the Atrium Health family,” Atrium Health president and CEO Eugene Woods, said in a statement. “As Atrium Health looks ahead to how we can reimagine a brighter and bolder future for care, Dr. Shrestha will help us develop the strategy and innovation to bring health, hope and healing to more people.” 

A respected thought leader and visionary in the field of healthcare information technology, Shrestha was recognized as one of the “Top 20 Health IT Leaders Driving Change” and as a “Top Healthcare Innovator” by InformationWeek, according to the Atrium Health press release. In addition, he is chairman of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Innovation Committee, and co-chair of Health Datapalooza.

“I am awestruck by the ambitions of Atrium Health to fulfill their mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all,” Shrestha said in a statement. “I look forward to working with this incredibly talented team to forge ahead with meaningful strategies, partnerships and opportunities – and to support this organization’s commitment and dedication to its patients and communities.”

Shrestha announced the move to Atrium Health via Twitter Tuesday afternoon and also posted several comments on LinkedIn. “I find myself in a reflective mood, as I contemplate leaving the many teams I’ve had the honor of making an impact in, the culture that I’ve had the privilege of being able to help craft, and an organization I love, in a city my family and I have called home for the last 11 years since moving here from Southern California. I am humbled with the honor of having worked with some of the most brilliant leaders and doers I have met, and proud of the many accomplishments we have made as a team here at UPMC and across the industry,” Shrestha wrote. “It is this purpose-driven passion that will be a recurring theme, as we continue to cross paths and push ahead through the many challenges and opportunities.”

He remarked that he was drawn to the “human ambitions” of Atrium Health to “improve health, elevate hope and advance healing - for all.”

“What a remarkable place to start my next chapter forward. I know that when we put our hearts and minds together, anything is possible,” he wrote.

Shrestha received his medical degree from CCS University in India, completed his fellowship in informatics from the University of London and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California.

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