When Daniel Barchi first took the helm in 2006, the CIO position was “narrowly defined around technology.” Since then, the expectations of the role – as well as the responsibilities – have grown exponentially. Now, an expertise in advanced technologies, business process redesign, and all things digital is required, along with people skills and negotiation skills.
The good news? What has also increased is the willingness of CIOs and other leaders to put competition aside (for the most part) and focus on sharing insights with one another to improve care across the industry. One of those individuals is Daniel Barchi, SVP & CIO, NewYork-Presbyterian, who will be speaking both at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum (as one of the ‘Leadership from the Edge’ presenters) and the AEHIA/AEHIS/AEHIT Fall Summit (as the keynote speaker). In this interview, Barchi talks about what he plans to share, how he has benefited from his diverse career background, and what it will take to drive healthcare IT forward.
Kate Gamble: You were chosen as one of the presenters for the “Leadership from the Edge” program at the upcoming Fall Forum. What made you interested in participating?
Daniel Barchi: I think CHIME does a great job of getting healthcare leaders together. As long as I’ve been a CIO, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to get together and compare notes with other leaders in a very supportive forum.
When the opportunity came to share some of my leadership experiences, I jumped at the chance. So much of what CIOs experience isn’t about technology — it’s about people and process. And the more we can share our insights with one another, the better off we are as a technology team supporting healthcare.
Gamble: It seems every few months there’s a different buzzword dominating health IT discussions, but the one constant has been leadership. There’s always a thirst for best practices on how to navigate difficult situations.
Barchi: Absolutely. So much focus now is on advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI). I believe AI, robotic process automation, and telemedicine are going to change the way we deliver care, and help us do a better job providing the right care for the right patient at the right time. But it’s always going to involve a technology team that’s attuned to the needs of the enterprise, and isn’t just pushing technology. And so much of that comes down to leadership.
Gamble: Let’s dive into your background a bit. When you were with Carilion Biomedical Institute, you helped grow and sell a company, and you were part of a team that developed venture capital and private equity-backed companies. How have you been able to draw from that experience in your current role?
Barchi: It was a great experience. Doing that type of early-stage investment with biomedical and technical companies showed me the capabilities of working with small companies outside of the health system. Every health system has a talented IT team, but if there are small companies making great strides in a certain area, it makes sense to partner with them and gain their experience. I’m a big believer in working with smaller and startup companies to advance the ability to deliver outstanding healthcare technology.
Gamble: Has this philosophy come into play with some of the telemedicine work your team is doing at NewYork Presbyterian?
Barchi: It has. NYP is a national leader in telemedicine, both in the scope and the depth of what we do. From second opinions to televideo ER visits to mobile stroke ambulances with CT machines, we’re using telemedicine in more ways than any other health system in the country, I believe.
We’ve done tens of thousands of visits. Having had that experience and knowing we can do a lot of this on our own, but were able to do it better by leveraging technology from smaller companies, is what allows us to be a leader in this space.
Gamble: It seems like those types of partnerships can be beneficial for smaller organizations – or those with fewer resources – as well as large delivery networks.
Barchi: We have partnered with, learned from, and taught both smaller companies and peers in the industry, because we’re interested not just in the success of NYP and the outcome of our patients, but in the growth of telemedicine as a modality for delivering healthcare across the country.
Gamble: Your background also includes quite a bit of experience in the military, which I’m sure offered some valuable leadership lessons.
Barchi: Absolutely. Serving as a naval officer imbues you with a sense of responsibility at a very young age, as well as an understanding of the value of both leadership and communication. I’ve taken both of those messages to heart in that clear leadership and clear communication are necessary to achieve any goal, no matter what industry you’re in.
During the presentation, I plan to talk about some of the leadership lessons I’ve learned, both in the Navy and the telecom industry, and how they can be applied in healthcare.
It’s interesting; healthcare is the most complex industry I’ve ever served in. It’s far more complex than technology or even the military. The decisions we make as leaders have serious implications for the outcome of patients. But that’s what makes it so meaningful. The privilege of serving in healthcare is that our work has great value, and we get to partner with outstanding clinicians.
Gamble: Since you first took on the CIO role in 2006, the role has evolved quite a bit. What are your thoughts on how it has changed and where it is headed?
Barchi: When I became a CIO in 2006, the role was narrowly defined around technology. In the past five years, it’s become expected for CIOs to have expertise in advanced technology, artificial intelligence, business process redesign, and anything digital. More and more, I expect that the CIO role will continue to grow and develop in a way that is key to the success of the healthcare institution.
Our CEO recently said that every company needs to think of itself as a technology company, no matter what industry you’re in. Whether it’s food service, retail, or manufacturing, a company that doesn’t think of itself as a technology company is lost. I think that’s an important message. Companies need to adopt that thinking — that’s the way end users and consumers expect to interact: through technology.
Barchi’s presentation – ‘From Speed and Humility come Mission Achievement’ – will take place Wednesday, Oct. 31 during the Leadership From the Edge program, which begins at 5 p.m. He is also giving the opening keynote for the AEHIS Fall Summit.