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What are Health IT’s Brightest Minds Looking to Learn?

November 6, 2017
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Some of the sharpest industry minds were gathered in one place last week. I asked them what they wanted to learn and share with their colleagues

Last week I was at the CHIME 2017 Fall CIO Forum, and for two days I spent a lot of time around some of the biggest and brightest minds in our industry. Every time I turned around, there was another CIO from a hospital or health system who had something interesting to say about how his or her organization was both evolving and struggling with technology.

Of course, CHIME’s forum isn’t alone in its ability to gather top health IT minds and have them collaborate in one place (be sure to check out our regional Health IT Summits!), but it serves as another example for the types of conversations and information sharing that could take place at events like this one. Throughout my time at the conference, I was able to speak to various industry experts, from CIOs to cybersecurity specialists to policy wonks to vendors, to get a sense of what they look to learn and share at these kinds of forums. Below are some of the noteworthy responses I gathered. 

Healthcare Informatics: What’s one thing you would love to learn from your fellow colleagues, or share with them, at a forum like this, being in the same space with so many of them for a few days?

Steve Hess, CIO, UCHealth (Aurora, Col.)

There’s always a couple pieces of gold that you find. I went to a cybersecurity presentation this morning [Nov. 1], and while the overall presentation is a lot of what we were already doing, there were pieces that you can take away and say “hey that’s really interesting.” Maybe we can take some of that and make what we’re doing better. So I am hoping that what we present around EHR optimization, while not every organization can take it and run with it since many are still implementing, maybe there’s a piece of gold in there that they can take away and do something differently in their organization to drive value. Part of my role is to help the overall health IT community. We don’t compete on technology; we compete on patient care and the experience. IT is there to enable all that.

Mac McMillan, chairman, CEO and co-founder of CynergisTek (Austin, Texas)

[From a cybersecurity perspective], you can collaborate with people who are struggling in this area and also with people who are actually getting it right. And at CHIME, the talk is much richer. There’s a lot of sharing going on; it’s more of a meeting of peers as opposed to a trade show. So we can talk with CIOs, and now through AEHIS and AEHIA, you can talk with folks on the security and application sides of it. You have conversations all day long with people who are dealing with issues, dealing with situations, looking for ideas, and sharing ideas. [For me], where I might be recognized as an expert on the cybersecurity side, others are experts on the health IT side or the transformation side, and these are things I need to know to understand where healthcare is going, what is changing, and how CIOs are using systems and data. And that helps me figure out what I need to do to help them do that safely. 

Bryan Bliven, CIO, University of Missouri Health Care

There’s a lot of knowledge out there and a lot of people are trying different things, and this is a forum where you can share those ideas and get other ideas. We approach our presentation in that way; it’s not perfect but here is a list of things we’re doing and have had success with. Can you apply any of it to your organization? And the same thing goes for challenge areas; have others cracked a nut that we haven’t? So maybe you can take that back and not go through a trial-and-error exercise. That actually is easy to do since there is always an area you’re not focusing on as much as someone else. Of all the people here, someone has approached this topic, and if can’t get the answer, I can at least get some strategies.

Zane Burke, president, Cerner Corp. (Kansas City, Mo.)

I am here to learn. There are industry trends and dialogues that I’m having with a number of CIOs and other industry folks, so I am making sure that our strategic plans are on the right path and are consistent with what our clients our thinking. And also, that our execution is where I believe it to be. This is a great opportunity, you have 500 to 600 CIOs together, and I can survey both my own clients and non-Cerner clients to check in with them to see what they see as the biggest trends. I am seeing a lot around consumer engagement and how to drive ROI, as well as how to do the right thing around interoperability. You find that healthcare [people] like to help each other since it’s so hard and complex. How do we solve these hard and complex things together? Even though healthcare competes on certain things, it’s more about co-opetition.

Robin Sarkar, Ph.D., CIO, Lakeland Health (Michigan)

One thing I am looking to learn is how we can help clinical productivity through technology. The introduction of automation in healthcare has slowed down clinicians to a certain extent. Many of our doctors, like other health systems, spend more time looking at the computer than looking at the patient. So I want to learn what innovative strategies other health systems are using to improve clinical and physician engagement, to improve physician efficiency, and reduce clinician burnout.

Paula E. Anthony, vice president and CIO, ETMC Regional Healthcare System (Tyler, Texas)

We don’t do enough of collaborating [around cybersecurity]. Until recently, healthcare organizations who were victims [of a breach] were also defendants in a federal investigation. And that recently changed; we are watching the feds be far more reasonable in us sharing and reporting breaches so we can learn from one another. But organizations are still wary of that because they are exposed. Overall, we have to get better as an industry with sharing so we can mitigate some of these risks.

Brenda Hodge, chief marketing officer, healthcare, Nuance Communications (Burlington, Mass.)

We were impacted by the NotPetya malware over the summer, so we feel like it’s our obligation to share the security lessons learned from that. So since then, we have been going to security sessions sharing what our lessons learned were. Our healthcare CEO just flew out from here to speak in Nashville at a security session about this issue. And for the CIOs within CHIME, we have offered to do the same for them.


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What it Takes to Be a Change Leader: A Conversation with CIO of the Year Ed Kopetsky

January 22, 2019
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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The health IT veteran reflects on his years of experience as he discusses what winning the CIO of the Year Award means to him

Earlier this month, two leading health IT trade associations—the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)—named Ed Kopetsky, CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, the 2018 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year award winner.

The award is given annually to a healthcare CIO who has shown significant leadership and commitment to the industry during his or her career. Kopetsky’s career has spanned the sector, 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, and under his leadership, Stanford Children’s received an array of health IT achievements: 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.

Kopetsky recently spoke with Healthcare Informatics Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal to discuss what the award means to him, the keys to his successful CIO leadership, and what’s top-of-mind for healthcare CIOs these days. Below are excerpts from that interview.

First of all, congratulations on this excellent achievement. What does winning this award mean to you as a healthcare IT leader?

I knew I had been nominated and it was a wonderful thing to hear [that I won], but first and foremost, I felt that it was a win for the team I work with here and [a testament] to all our accomplishments. I have been at [Stanford Children's Health] for 10 years and we are a very high-end, quaternary medical center for children, and now we are [moving] out to the community. We have built up a health system, and we want to advance medicine and science for children worldwide. I believe we are doing that here—that’s what this award says.


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We have only been a health system for four or five years, and our whole information systems [IS] department has made that happen with patient data, analytics, and using that to improve patient outcomes. It’s a huge honor to get the CIO of the Year Award; it reflects long-term commitment across different venues.

You have been involved in some great health IT accomplishments over the years, spanning across multiple health systems. At Stanford Children's Health, what IT project or projects are you most proud of?

Everything we have done since I got here has really been “leading edge” in every space we went into. First, it was securing our business systems; and that precedes our EHR [electronic health record] conversion and becoming a health system. In just four months, we converted the entire enterprise, both inpatient and ambulatory, in 2014. Just a year later, we were acknowledged with HIMSS Stage 7 [recognition], but we also launched analytics in an academic research teaching environment. That’s a big part of what we do here, and it’s really integrated. We work as partners with the CMIO and the clinical informatics department. You need the analytics—finding the best outcomes and applying that to new approaches.

The best award is probably the HIMSS Davies Award that we won [in 2017], which was the [culmination] of using the EHR and [leveraging] analytics to improve outcomes. And the highlight of all this is that last year we opened a new hospital, which is the highest-acuity children’s hospital in the U.S. We’re very high on technology, and biomedical technology is also integrated and is part of the IS program here. We have enabled our innovation to become preeminent.

We also are an adopter of Lean [management], which I helped the organization launch before applying it. It has been a tremendous shift in culture; we changed the name from IT [information technology] to IS, to emphasize that we are here for patient care. We have this great deployment of Lean culture, and we have service leaders for every major area of our enterprise. I believe I have one of the best IS leadership teams in the U.S. They are “CIO-ready.” The team that I helped build here and that I am part of is what it’s all about—building the next generation of leaders. We have hit the pinnacle.

Can you talk about some of the specific challenges you have encountered with pediatric health IT?

Well, in California, there are privacy rules that prevent parents from seeing adolescent records after the age of 13, so that’s unique. For our high-end inpatient clinical care and for all children’s care, we have different medication management and oncology protocols. With medication management, for instance, our whole systems have to be engineered for weight-based dosing, and that’s not the case for adults.

We are expanding our digital health strategy, and we are trying to involve leading-edge technologies and extension access where we can continuously connect to patients as needed without long-term travel and waiting rooms. Our high-end specialists are very limited in number in the U.S., so an improved digital and virtual care [environment] is where we [want to go].

We did 1,000 virtual video visits last year, which was the first year of our launch. But also for in the home, we have implemented two [apps], which are in the Apple Store: one for glucose monitoring of Type 1 diabetes for children, and another for congenital heart patients, [the latter in which] those patients might need three surgeries over a [shorter] period of time, and we are now getting data so we can see when [care] is needed ahead of time.

As a healthcare CIO in this current environment, what are a few core issues that you are grappling with on a day-to-day basis?

In our environment, and this is true across the U.S., we are challenged with talent, development, and retention—attracting employees to say that this is a great place to be at. That’s a primary role I have and if I fail, it puts everything else at risk, such as leadership, trusted relationships with other organizations, clinicians, executives, and other partners.

I was interviewed after our [EHR conversion] go-live and when asked what the [experience] was like, I said, “Imagine changing the engine on the plane when you are in-flight.” We didn’t shut our hospital down [during the conversion]. Many patients here are at the ICU level, which means you have to be so accurate and reliable to pull this [project] off. And that type of [pressure] is there almost every day, since everything is now so dependent on these systems.

As a CIO for so many years, in the last five years, security has also become a top priority. It is really unfortunate and it’s a tough issue when you are constantly under siege and under attack. Email spam is a great example; it’s a huge problem and you have to hire the best people and be ahead of it. Within CHIME, we started a CISO group to share best practices and exchange knowledge.  As we expand virtual care and digital health [capabilities], and as we go outside our own firewalls and networks, this security issue has to be addressed.

What advice can you offer your CIO colleagues as they continue to navigate the new healthcare?

First and foremost, you have to assume that you are one of the top executives in the company. When these hard issues come up such as physician efficiency, or interoperability that gets stymied, as we got so focused on automating EHRs over the years, fundamentally, it comes down to being a partner with the enterprise. And whether that’s the board, executive management, or the doctors themselves, you need a trusted partner.

The whole is bigger than the parts. When you blend executives’ thoughts with clinicians’ thoughts, and the technology workflows, you can create new solutions and innovate. When it is just about putting in technical capabilities, it never works. I wouldn’t be here without the CMIO, the heads of our patient care systems, or our CTO, and their similar partnerships with their base of doctors, nurses, outpatient care [providers], etc. I could never do this work as just a technology department.  

So, I would ask my peers, are you positioned as “technology-only?” If so, you are at high risk. If you are really a change leader, it has to be about business change and clinical process change. And there is no way to do that alone. I have been here for a long time, and I know many CIOs who got into bad situations—either it wasn’t the right mix, or the organization wasn’t ready to take the next step to make [IT] a strategic asset. You need people to lead change and have partners along with them.

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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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