Recently, Brett Oliver, MD, reflected on some of the key lessons he has learned during his career, what has made him most proud, and the advice he would offer others. In addition to being a family physician, Dr. Oliver has served as CMIO at Baptist Health System KY & IN since 2017.
What advice would you offer to an aspiring CMIO?
There are a few pieces of advice I would give:
- As in most areas of life, relationships are so critical. I would urge a new CMIO or aspiring CMIO to identify your clinical and physician leaders early and develop those relationships. The communication of IT related information is almost always enhanced by these partnerships.
- Establish strong governance early – I can’t overstate that enough. Strong governance gets you through a lot of difficult spots.
- Communicate often, but in a focused way. Clinicians want the “why,” but need you to get to the point quickly.
- Find some like-minded individuals outside of your organization you can meet with. This is part mentoring and part idea sharing. Even if you are in competition, there are enough common challenges that these relationships can be very helpful.
What has been your proudest moment as a leader?
For me, those moments have occurred when the team pulls together and gets “the impossible” done. With all the IT work that came with COVID, there were many times that what was being asked did not seem rooted in reality. Yet, with determination and focus, so many of these items were accomplished! What a joy to watch your team shine in those moments. It’s also very rewarding to challenge your team members individually or collectively to get out of their comfort zones and try something they haven’t done before giving them the encouragement required. Watching them come to the realization they can reach these new heights is priceless!
Given the chance, is there anything you’d go back and change?
In my career, the only thing I would change would be medical school. While some of my colleagues would not do medical school again because of the changes to medicine, I would most definitely do it again. But, I would do it differently. There is no way to know everything. You need a solid foundation and a curiosity to learn. That curiosity should drive you in lifelong learning. What I would change is the belief that I could not take time away from studying for a wedding, reunion or other get together. While studying was important, not more important that the relationships missed out on because of it. Moderation in everything – even medical school!
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