Data breaches. Mergers and acquisitions. Meaningful Use. HIPAA audits. Budget cuts.
In the healthcare IT industry, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in all the negativity, particular for the leaders who are being asked to do more and more with fewer resources. But as someone who has had a front row seat in watching the evolution of the industry in recent years, I can tell you that there are a whole lot of positives.
Healthcare in the United States (and in much of the world) is simply a different game these days, with organizations focused heavily on making care safer and more efficient and putting patients in the driver’s seat. And the ones driving this train are CIOs and other key leaders. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving — a holiday that inspires many of us to give thanks for what we have — we asked some of our influential friends a question and received a number of thoughtful, honest and insightful responses.
Why are you grateful to be part of this industry?
“It’s A Selfless Industry”
I recently got to experience the birth of my second daughter and, as with my first, it was beautiful beyond words can possibly describe. There was also an indescribable comfort in knowing that I am helping to build a better future for her where healthcare will be better integrated, more technologically advanced, and ultimately help take care of her and her children, long after I am departed. That’s the beauty of this industry and why I’m grateful. It’s a selfless industry where you help others and allows you to leave a positive legacy ensuring that your children can live in a better world than you did.
-Aaron Miri, CIO, Walnut Hill Medical Center
“We Can Learn So Much From Each Other”
In healthcare, opportunities to truly make a difference are endless — within our organizations, across the industry and, most importantly, for patients. Similar to many others, I have tried to give back to this tremendous profession by volunteering, mentoring and sharing my experiences. We can learn so much from each other. We share information about successes to help other leaders improve and grow and work together to shape the future of healthcare. We support each other through career decisions and transitions, offer guidance when colleagues are faced with organizational challenges, and celebrate when great accomplishments happen. I am thankful for the relationships formed over the years and value the progress we are making as an industry.
-Gretchen Tegethoff, VP, CHIME Technologies, Inc.
“The Importance of Leading Change”
The role of the CIO in healthcare requires one to be able to effectively communicate, collaborate, and influence the organization while delivering strategy and vision beyond the realm of technology. Your audience expects leadership presence and clear messaging, whether it is a public or private board, physicians, clinicians, patients, or employees. While technical acumen remains a core competency, I have found the importance of leading change, innovation, knowledge management, building high-performing leaders, and providing a highly reliable and available environment are the foundation of successful CIOs today. We must be prepaid to change the tires on a moving car and still win the race. It is an industry that remains dynamic; allowing personal and professional reinvention and adaptation at the appropriate intervals.
-Sarah Richardson, CIO, NCH Healthcare System
“We Stand To Impact Generations To Come”
I am grateful to be part of this industry because what we do touches the very most important thing in our world, the human life. What other industry has an opportunity to touch people from conception through end of life in such a powerful way? What we do, good or bad, sends ripples out from the person we care for through their entire family and community. If we do it right, we stand to impact generations to come.
-Chris Walden, Director of IS, Health First
“Getting To Number One Motivates Me”
I’m grateful to be associated with the healthcare industry because I love big, gnarly, stressful, complex problems that are taxing — mentally, physically, and spiritually; problems that are crying out to be solved. When you combine the challenges and turmoil in US healthcare with the complexity and rate of change in IT, it’s the convergence of two topics that are in the headlines of every society’s agenda. In some way or another, software and data govern and enable everything we do now in life, and their impact on healthcare is just beginning. I’m also grateful to be associated with a mission of service to a greater cause — in this case, the greater fulfillment of human lives and human potential through better health and health care. Like many of us, I have all sorts of unfortunate stories of family and friends who have had experiences in the US healthcare system. Those stories certainly motivate me to help fix a broken system, but the larger motivation for me is above that — it’s about our entire society and living up to the potential of the dream we call the United States. We are dead last among developed countries in health and healthcare costs. Getting to number one motivates me. I’m grateful to be involved with a challenge that’s global in scope.
-Dale Sanders, EVP, Health Catalyst
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and thank you for your continued support!