When a great opportunity comes along, you don’t pass it up — even if it happened much sooner than anticipated. That’s the mindset Jennifer Greenman adopted when, in September of 2014, she was promoted to CIO at Moffitt Cancer Center when Mark Hulse took on the role of Chief Administrative Officer. The plan for Greenman, who was hired as senior director of application services, was to succeed Hulse eventually, and so even though it was an accelerated path, it was still one she happily took. In this interview, she talks about the innovative work being done through the Total Cancer Care initiative, the proactive approach she takes with security education, how Moffitt hopes to continue to improve patient engagement, and the biggest challenge in stepping into the CIO role.
- Staff motivation — “Being able to contribute is a very meaningful experience.”
- Patient-centered care as a “core principle”
- 100% portal adoption
- Proactive approach to security — “We want to inform, not scare.”
- HIMSS Stage 6 — “It helped energize our efforts.”
- Professional development plans
LISTEN NOW USING THE PLAYER BELOW OR CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO OUR iTUNES PODCAST FEED
We all have a connection to cancer in some form or fashion, whether it’s family members, friends, even in some cases a personal experience, and so I think that being able to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer and having that real impact is a very meaningful experience.
We have made considerable investment in human and technical resources to enhance our cybersecurity prevention, detection and response capabilities, and we have more initiatives planned over the upcoming year.
Even with the best staff, the best technologies, and the best processes in place, organizations are being compromised every single day, and that is very concerning to me as the leader of our technology department.
This achievement has been an encouragement to our many team members involved in years of implementation and support activities. It also has energized our efforts toward continued innovation.
We recognize that human capital investment is essential to position our department and the broader organization for future success.
Gamble: And I would think that maybe there’s more motivation in just dealing with this type of unique area where you are talking about potential preventions and cures for cancer, so is that something where it does kind of help motivate the staff, even on the IT side?
Greenman: I think so, and I think that for our workforce, for our team members, it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to apply our technical knowledge and our technical interest to a very real and personal, deeply emotional experience for many people. We all have a connection to cancer in some form or fashion, whether it’s family members, friends, even in some cases a personal experience with cancer, and so I think that being able to contribute in this way, to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer and having that real impact is a very meaningful experience for all of us.
Gamble: Right. And when we talk about patient engagement, this is an area where I also imagine that you’re in a unique position. We have heard before in speaking to some other people who are at cancer institutes and organizations that there is a deeper level of engagement among the patients and their families. Is that something that you’ve seen?
Greenman: Definitely. Patient and family-centered care is a core principle for Moffitt, and our patient portal is an essential element of this model. We are tremendously fortunate to have outstanding portal adoption — 100 percent of all new patients at Moffitt register and log into their patient portal, which is an accomplishment that few healthcare institutions have been able to achieve. In addition to securely providing full electronic access to medical records through this tool, our patients may correspond with their care team, request medication refills, and access important curated educational resources. This level of convenience and transparency is highly valued by our patients, as evidenced by direct feedback and the outstanding utilization of these solutions.
As we look to the future, our plans include integration of virtual health technologies into the patient portal, including telemedicine and telehealth solutions such as patient monitoring. We also will be developing innovative tools for capturing patient-reported data to support value-based care and advanced analytics. These data will be increasingly important for evaluating care delivery beyond survival metrics to include quality of life post-treatment.
Gamble: And has your team found that once patients reach a certain level where they are cancer-free, is there still some kind of connection, whether it’s through the portal or any other ways of communicating?
Greenman: We do continue, in some cases, to have that ongoing survivorship relationship with our patients for follow up and screening, for example, and obviously our patients are encouraged to continue leveraging these resources to support their ongoing survivorship journeys.
Gamble: And as far as family members, I would imagine that in quite a few circumstances that there’s interaction between providers and family members as well?
Greenman: Yes. Again, being that patient and family-centered care is so encouraged, we do our best to accommodate family members’ involvement in their care, obviously while at the same time respecting the patient’s privacy. They are ultimately in control, for example, of their patient portal access. But within the appropriate security framework, we are willing to help facilitate that relationship.
Gamble: You mentioned telemedicine — is that something you’re doing at this point or is that something that you’re looking to in the future?
Greenman: That is something that we are evaluating for the future.
Gamble: Okay. So you talked about the amount of complex data, you’re dealing with, and so of course security has to come into play. I wanted to talk about your strategy there and the biggest challenges that you facing in keeping that data safe.
Greenman: Sure. Well, cybersecurity is a topic that could probably consume an entire interview, and I’m not a cybersecurity expert, but I’ll do my best to summarize. Like many healthcare institutions, the cybersecurity threat landscape has the full attention of our executive team and board, and like most organizations, regardless of industry, we recognize that even with the proper risk mitigation and controls in place, malicious actors pose a significant and ongoing threat to our information assets.
Over the past year, we have made considerable investment in human and technical resources to enhance our cybersecurity prevention, detection and response capabilities, and we have more initiatives planned over the upcoming year. Routine assessment and remediation of vulnerabilities is an important aspect of our information security program, as is information security awareness. With the incredible growth in phishing attempts, security awareness has become a critical requirement for the healthcare workforce, and we at Moffitt have taken a more proactive approach to education and communication of these risks to the institution.
Gamble: And what are some of the ways that you educate the staff?
Greenman: We start from the beginning. Our cybersecurity team, is a part of new employee and new faculty orientation, so we like to speak with everyone as soon as they start. We also have fairly extensive online resources available to our organization and engage in regular communication campaigns to inform — not scare, but inform — our workforce about the threats that they need to be attuned to and to take measures to avoid.
Gamble: So, is it a matter of showing them, this is what a possible phishing attempt could look like?
Greenman: Exactly, yes. We’ll share examples, we’ll share tips for common phishing techniques and methods by which to detect them.
Gamble: So it’s a fine line you to walk there where you want to educate them but without really scaring them?
Greenman: Exactly. And I think it’s also important to point out, as we often do with our workforce, that these are important techniques on both professional and a personal level. There are things that we should be looking for even at home or in other settings when we are interacting with technology, given that these threats exist very broadly throughout all situations and all environments that we happen to be a part of.
Gamble: Right, just through their personal interactions, they could come across something like that.
Gamble: And as a CIO, do you find it a little bit alarming that the hackers just seem to be almost one step ahead?
Greenman: Yes, that is a significant concern. Even with the best staff, the best technologies, and the best processes in place, organizations are being compromised every single day, and that is very concerning to me as the leader of our technology department.
Gamble: I guess the best thing you can do is, like you said, just take that proactive approach and keep educating on a regular basis.
Gamble: We’ve talked about a lot of the initiatives that you’re working on. I don’t know if there’s anything else that sticks out as far as what’s on your plate, but one thing I wanted to talk about was Moffitt achieving stage 6 recognition through the HIMSS EMRAM model. I can imagine this is something that has meant a lot to the organization. What did that mean to you and your staff and how do you think it can help improve engagement?
Greenman: Sure. So, the state 6 recognition is a significant milestone for our organization and a reflection of our commitment to improving care delivery through the use of advanced health information technology. This achievement has been an encouragement to our many team members involved in years of implementation and support activities. It also has energized our efforts toward continued innovation with the goal of achieving HIMSS stage 7 recognition in the next 18 to 24 months.
Team member engagement is a high priority for Moffitt and for our information technology department in particular, given the significant competition for experienced and knowledgeable resources. To promote engagement, Moffitt provides numerous forums at which team members can contribute feedback on a variety of topics, from specific initiatives to broader organizational topics such as communication. Most importantly, the organization places strong accountability on leadership to follow up on this feedback.
Also within IT, we have established a goal that each IT team member will have a personalized professional development plan. These plans are developed collaboratively between a team member and their leader, and they encompass education and enrichment opportunities with an appropriate level of funding support. We recognize that human capital investment is essential to position our department and the broader organization for future success.
Gamble: Having that personalized development plan makes sense because it tells that person that the organization is invested in them as well and kind of keeps everyone on the same page. Is that something that’s been in place for a while?
Greenman: No, that is a goal that we’ve set starting this fiscal year, which starts in July, so we are about nine months in. And we have, I think, definitely seen greater satisfaction and engagement with our focus on professional development education and training of our team members.