For Stacey Johnston, MD, a practicing hospitalist, advancing to the CMIO role made perfect sense. And it was not just because of circumstances — she was part of multiple implementations within a short time frame — but because of the opportunity it offered.
“I wanted the system to work well for me,” said Johnston in a recent webinar, during which she discussed the unique challenges facing CMIOs. And the best way to do that, she concluded, was to become involved in the process. “I was a guinea pig,” she noted. “I was willing to try different things.”
Johnston didn’t shy away from the heavy lifting; she made it a point to attend meetings focused on EHR improvement, and happily took on the role of super user. It paid off; being the only physician with CPOE proficiency helped propel her to the CMIO role at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where she completed her residency, and eventually at Baptist Health, which recently announced was migrating to Epic.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to move to an integrated platform,” said Johnston. And although she certainly hopes her own implementation experience will prove beneficial, she acknowledges that it’s going to take an organization-wide effort to ensure a smooth transition.
During the webinar, Johnston shared her thoughts on a number of key topics, including what it takes to be a successful CMIO, the keys to change management, and how they’re looking to improve physician satisfaction. Below are some highlights from the discussion:
- Be a Bridge. As CMIO, “my job is to represent physicians to the enterprise, but also to come back with new technologies and ideas and present them to operational and clinical folks.” And that means acting as a bridge, and ensuring the focus is never solely on technical, clinical or operations.
- Be at the Grassroots Level. Although it’s a C-suite position, the CMIO needs to be “at the grass roots, working with our physicians and other clinicians to make sure the technology is meeting their needs.” As new technology is introduced, CMIOs need to work with users to evaluate workflows, processes, and procedures.
- Explain the ‘why’. One of the most important principles in being a CMIO — or any healthcare leader, for that matter — is to ensure that technology advancements are being made with physicians, and not being done to them. “Part of change management is understanding why it’s important. What are we looking to gain from this? We have to explain the why and help providers understand the value it’s going to add.”
- Take care of physicians. Johnston credits KLAS’ Arch Collaborative with being instrumental in helping to increase user satisfaction with its focus on mastering the EHR, including how workflows are designed, and how much time is spent on personalization and training. The areas she’s focused on include team-based care, identifying burnout earlier using matrix scores, addressing burnout at orientation, removing the stigma of burnout, and addressing how technology can either contribute to or alleviate it.
- Keep the focus on patients. “No matter what technology we’re trying to improve or what process we’re trying to implement, let’s remember the reason we’re here: for patient care,” said Johnston, who recommended framing it in a way that resonates. For example, “Is this something that, if not done properly, can negatively effect patient care?
- Get engaged. No matter what level – or at what point in their career – individuals are, it’s essential to be engaged, she noted. “The more visible you are, the more people are going to come to you when something doesn’t work quite right.”
Finally, Johnston urged all leaders to be aware of the challenges providers face when it comes to the rapidly growing rate of clinical knowledge. “It’s becoming more difficult to manage,” which makes it all the more critical to embrace tools that can deliver valuable data at the point of care. “We need to embrace clinical decision support and cognitive algorithms that can help make decisions based on a particular patient, with a particular genomic marker, at a particular time. Your brain can’t process that; technology can. Utilizing technology and staying ahead of it is going to be the hardest part.”
To view the archive of this webinar – Navigating CMIO Enterprise Challenges (Sponsored by GE Healthcare & Roche) – please click here.