In partnership with CHIME, healthsystemCIO.com has developed a blogger series featuring insights from hospital and health system CIOs and other key IT leaders representing organizations from around the country. The blogs, which will be featured on our site on a biweekly basis, will focus on the major issues affecting CIOs, including the health IT workforce shortage, mobile device management, and federal regulations.
If you are an experienced CIO, there is something I know about you. At some point in your career, you were recognized by executive leadership as being the best of the best. You were engaged and possessed many attributes. People may have described you as smart, innovative, creative, highly motivated and a good communicator. In your organization, you were often the most knowledgeable advocate or sponsor of technology solutions. Most IT activity flowed one way or another through your office. Life was good.
Fast forward to 2012. It is 2 a.m. and I’m preparing for an IT division meeting presentation to a couple hundred of my staff with various competencies and work history. My team includes physicians, nurses, allied professionals, system analysts, engineers, project managers, programmers, communication specialists, operations, customer support teams, administrative support staff, etc. All are extremely important in our ability to meet Inova’s business plan requirements.
Now, everyone has ideas about how IT can transform the business of healthcare. There are many experts and decisions that move forward with governance and oversight, some of which happen outside of the CIO’s direct involvement. Like Inova, your organization is probably knee deep in the deployment or assessment of numerous initiatives with a laser focus on patient care and business operations. Our short list includes:
|EMR Rollout||ACO Initiative||Facility Projects|
|Mobile Health Initiatives||Business Process Management||Analytics & Informatics|
|ICD-10 Remediation||Virtualization||Service Line Focus|
|Clinical Re-engineering||Growth Initiatives||Quality & Patient Safety|
|Optimization Initiatives||Social Media||Health Reform|
I feel certain that your list resembles mine. But there’s something important missing from our lists. To paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln, it is my contention that, as CIOs, the work we do is…“of the people, by the people, for the people.” It’s the people part that is often overlooked or assumed in our business plans and therefore not highlighted. I contend it may be the most important project on our list, and we should boldly communicate this to our staff and organization.
How are you inspiring your team and creating a culture of engagement? Here are some ways we try to do this at Inova:
- Invite leaders from within and outside the organization to share ideas.
- Connect every activity back to purpose, mission and vision.
- Adopt standards, and live by them.
- Be transparent. Measure, share and post important results publicly.
How do you get everyone aligned and on the same page — not just for project plans but emotionally as well? Here are some ways we try to do this at Inova:
- Publicly highlight aligned behavior and achievement of both teams and individuals. This includes extraordinary consistency of performance.
- Be transparent in your communications and set clear expectations. If there is an elephant in the room, deal with it regardless of rank and serial number. Sometimes it may be you.
- Celebrate successes often and learn from less-than-stellar results.
- Communicate, communicate, and communicate! Did I say communicate?
IT has never played a more strategic role in the healthcare industry or your organization than it does today. Technology is an enabler of process and tools. But at the end of the day, it’s wise to remember: it’s all about the people.