6 CIOs: Why they love what they do

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Undoubtedly, working in the health IT industry comes with its own set of stressors and trying times. However, hospital and health system CIOs keep coming back day after day.

Here, are some CIOs' favorite part about being in the health IT industry and what keeps them motivated.

Note: Answers were collected via phone interviews over the past year. Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

robertnapoliRobert Napoli, CIO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands
June 2015
"While I love technology and the business challenges of healthcare, I also have a very strong conviction about being in an industry that, as I like to say, leaves the world a little bit better than how I found it. Health IT has all of that. As a member of our executive team, I help define the business strategy for the organization and lead the discussion on how technology can help meet those objectives. Because technology is in a constant state of development, I get to participate in this process in a very vibrant way. At the end of the day, you know that the work that you and your team are doing is actually making a difference in people's lives. Your work helps make them healthier, and this improves the quality of their lives. That is extremely rewarding for me."

Frank DiSanzo, CIO of St. Peter's Healthcare System (New Brunswick, N.J.)
March 2015
"It's working with doctors and nurses to have a positive impact on clinical care. It's an exciting thing to be a part of."

aaron miriAaron Miri, CIO of Walnut Hill Medical Center (Dallas)
April 2015
"My favorite part is helping to be a catalyst for innovative care. A CIO can either be somebody that truly gives constructive ideas and brainstorms with the executive leadership, is willing to discuss best clinical practice with physician leadership and truly engage with them, or sadly you can just be a paper pusher and hide in your office with the door shut. Personally, I would much rather participate and help deliver innovative care models. For example, a patient could become septic and you're able to develop care plans and leverage technology to make sure the patient doesn't become septic because you can intervene at an earlier point. This is something we are doing now and it's phenomenal to be a part of. You are part of that process to innovate and do something different."

joy grosserJoy Grosser, Vice President and CIO of UnityPoint Health (West Des Moines, Iowa)
May 2015
"There are a million things that get me up every morning and make me excited to face new opportunities. In many ways, IT is an integral component in the healthcare sector and allows us to drive to solutions quicker. We think outside of the box and challenge traditional ways of thought, and look at things through both the patient and physician perspectives. I love the fact that we are moving into the consumer model, engaging with our communities and letting healthcare meet people where they are.

"I think about when my child was diagnosed with asthma at a young age. There was some information to be found on the Internet, but primarily, the physician provided information to the parents. Now we have video games for asthmatic children to help them understand when it is the appropriate time to use their inhaler. They can then earn points if they do all the right things. That helps a child become more independent and compliant. We need to position healthcare to meet people where they are, whether they're facing multiple chronic illnesses, if there's a certain surgery they're getting ready to go through or whether they're a young, healthy 20-year-old professional who wants to know if it's healthier to eat more greens or fruit in their diet. It's exciting to watch healthcare utilize mainstream technology to get into the consumer space."

matthew chambersMatthew Chambers, CIO of Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas)
April 2015
"I've always been in IT, but I've been in other industries before healthcare. There are a couple of reasons feel like I've found my home and I feel really blessed and fortunate to be here. First of all, the cost of healthcare is a serious matter of national policy. When we're 18 or 19 percent of our GDP, we've got to find ways to bend that cost curve. Obviously technology has been leveraged effectively in other industries to do that. I think there's also room to do very innovative things in healthcare. The other is, quite frankly, our clinicians, our nurses, our providers, they put their heart and soul into what they do everyday. I'm not hands-on patient care, but I try to get close and do rounding when I can. If my stakeholders and my internal customers give their heart and soul, I feel like our need for improvement is great enough that I can do that too. There are very few industries where I think you get such personal fulfillment around doing something very, very important."

Doris Peek, PhD, Senior Vice President and CIO of Broward Health (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
October 2014
"If you look at the history of both healthcare and healthcare IT, you will see that IT has great dexterity in creating value from people, process and technology. The fact that IT had and continues to have critical influence in improving the quality of care to patients is great. Enabling a consistent standard of care through the collaborative processes and communication tools installed and supported by IT is priceless. At the end of the day, making a positive difference is all that matters to me."

More articles on CIOs:

Pressure grows on CIOs to squeeze value from EHRs: 5 key takeaways
3 recent hospital, health system CIO moves
13 recent health IT tips from vendors, CIOs

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