9 Leading Hospital, Health System CIOs Share Top Goals

2012 will continue to be both exciting and challenging for hospital and health system CIOs as they attest to meaningful use stage 1, await the release of meaningful use stage 2 rules and work to integrate technology across the organization. This year many CIOs will also continue or begin to prepare for ICD-10 in addition to pursuing a number of other initiatives, including health information exchange connectivity and expansion. Here, nine of the country's leading hospital and health system CIOs share their top goals for the year ahead.

Ed Babakanian, CIO, University of California San Diego Health System.
Some of Mr. Babakanian's top goals involve integration of various health IT systems, such as the emergency department informatics system with the health system's Epic electronic medical records system. "[Another] major effort this year is integrating across the entire revenue cycle — billing, registration, [scheduling]," he says. "Decision support will be implemented across the entire health system, which will connect all clinical and financial information from both faculty practice and primary care as well as the hospitals. They are all going to go into one system that will obviously give us a strategic, competitive advantage," he says.

"We've already achieved Stage 7 [of EMR adoption from] HIMSS Analytics, which means we are pretty much there with the electronic environment," Mr. Babakanian says. "Our focus has been to leverage technology, not just for the sake of technology and implementation of computer systems, but to implement [technology] in a way we can help our clinicians improve quality of care, improve patient safety and make the organization efficient. We are implementing technology to be able to achieve our mission, which is patient care, research and education," he says.

Arlyn Broekhuis, CIO, Sanford Health, Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D. "Our biggest goal as an organization for the technology area is to roll out our electronic medical record to all of our facilities. We need to be a meaningful user of our EMR and maximize our stimulus funding from the federal government," Mr. Broekhuis says. "We're [also] doing some work as an organization to develop clinics in different places around the country and around the world — children's clinics and primary care clinics —  in underserved areas. We're busy looking for IT solutions that will meet the needs of those clinics."

Mr. Broekhuis also identified preparation for ICD-10 and the development of a data warehouse as top goals.

Maureen Hetu, CIO, Lourdes Health System, Camden, N.J. "The top goal for 2012 for Lourdes Health System is the deployment of medical record technology to be in a position to meet the requirements for meaningful use. We are also going to be deploying electronic health record technology for our physician practices in 2012. In addition to achieving meaningful use, our team will be focused on preparing for ICD-10."

Greg Kall, CIO, Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio. "First and foremost [we will] continue with clinical systems deployment and expansion — an existing strategy around providing our clinicians with tools to create a more effective and safer clinical environment," Mr. Kall says. A second goal is rebalancing the applications portfolio. "We've been investing in clinical systems for several years now, and it's time for us to move back to the administrative side of the equation. We're in the process of deploying an ERP system and an enterprise-wide revenue cycle system. Both of these projects update our portfolio on the administrative system side and facilitate integration across our health system," he says.

In addition, he says, "As meaningful use plays itself out and as healthcare reform plays itself out, the need for us to share information with a wider community becomes more and more important. Over the course of the next couple years we will increase our investments in internal heath information exchange and interoperability technologies so we can move data, not only within our organization better, but to connect with our community better.

"Demand for us to keep our systems functioning properly increases exponentially as we involve more clinicians in this technology, so we're looking at creating a more high availability technology infrastructure. Since we're connecting to more and more people and moving data around a larger community, we'll [also] be making more investments in our security infrastructure," Mr. Kall says.

Finally, he says, "I will focus on looking at my own IT organization and at better ways of doing business intelligence and improve the end-user experience.  We need to reinvent ourselves to be more reactive to our community of users which is growing ever greater."

Thomas K. Langston, Senior Vice President, CIO, SSM Health Care, St. Louis. "SSM Health Care's information technology goals for 2012 primarily focus on three main areas: improving patient care, demonstrating commitment to our employees and physicians and improving our exceptional financial performance.

"For example, in the area of patient care, SSM's Integrated Health Technologies will improve patient care through continued implementation of a comprehensive electronic health record. When the clinical portion of the project wraps up in 2013, [the] EHR will be available on more than 19,000 computers at SSM facilities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma.

"And in the area of financial performance, we will focus on reducing operating expenses while developing a 'Business Intelligence' program that will provide access to data and appropriate analytical tools to improve the capability of SSM senior leadership to improve performance."

Pamela McNutt, Senior Vice President, CIO, Methodist Health System, Dallas. "The top priorities for Methodist Health System in the IT arena would be the continued roll out of evidence-based computerized physician order entry and documentation, ambulatory physician EMR and integration strategies, preparation for new payment methods (ACOs, value-based purchasing, shared savings, etc.), installation of a new quality management system and ICD-10 preparation work. We achieved meaningful use stage 1 at three of our facilities in 2011, with one more to attest to in 2012, so we are keeping a watchful eye on the requirements for stage 2. Finally, the project management team is busy with major expansion projects underway at three of our hospitals, one of which is a replacement facility."

Stephanie L. Reel, Vice President for Information Services, CIO, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore; Vice Provost for Information Technologies, Johns Hopkins University. "For the year ahead, Johns Hopkins Medicine is preparing for healthcare reform by transforming its healthcare delivery system to become more tightly integrated and patient-focused. To accomplish the vision, our IT organization must manage critical system functions in a more integrated way across the enterprise. We will achieve clinical integration and ensure that the patient is at the center of care. We will also improve access to care and become more efficient so that we can ultimately decrease the cost of healthcare while continuing to improve outcomes.

"We have begun the design and deployment of a new, fully integrated information system that will allow us to achieve standard and consistent use of a fully integrated electronic health record in support of patient care, education and research. This will continue to be our focus in 2012.

"Additionally, our continued focus on patient safety will be supported by greater attention to clinical analytics and data-driven decision-making. We are building a team of analysts who will lead the way in using data in support of patient safety and the science of healthcare delivery, with particular focus on individualized care and population health.

"And as always, our attention and our resources will be focused on innovation, discovery and the creation of new knowledge across Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University. Through the use of collaboration tools and technologies, we will be focusing on electronically enhanced education and high-performance computing in support of our science and scholarship.

"We will also be attentive to the needs of our faculty, students and staff. Work force development and a commitment to diversity remains a high priority for 2012 and beyond."

Sheila M. Sanders, Vice President of Information Services, CIO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C. One of Ms. Sanders' major goals is to transition Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to a new electronic medical record system for integrated clinical, billing and ancillary applications. "The EMR project is the cornerstone of the overall IT strategic plan," she says. "It reaches across every line of business at the Medical Center." The medical center is also planning a merger of its PeopleSoft systems, which manage people and finances. WFBMC will combine the PeopleSoft system of its North Carolina Baptist Hospital with that of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine to unify processes. Another goal is creating a single data warehouse for North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine to facilitate data analytics. "All of these projects are about integration, whether it's integration of our processes, our patient records or our financial information," Ms. Sanders says. "They represent the final pieces of our integration as a medical center."

Rick Schooler, FACHE, FCHIME, Vice President, CIO, Orlando (Fla.) Health. "In the fall of 2009, Orlando Health embarked upon its new multi-year strategy. Built on certain foundational pillars, the strategy also requires information integration throughout our healthcare continuum. Given our own priorities along with those of healthcare reform, we realize it is simply not possible for us to thrive in the future without several key information technologies in place and, most importantly, fully utilized. As such and building upon significant IT investment over the past decade, we have endorsed an additional thirty enabling initiatives which of course must integrate and operate with our existing applications and technology platforms. 

"Throughout 2012, we expect to deliver to productive use several of these initiatives. The more significant of those [are] enterprise data warehousing and analytics, health information exchange, a patient portal, a patient self-service platform, physician practice EMRs, telemedicine and patient registries for enhanced care management of populations.

"In addition to these priorities, continued focus will be placed on improving quality and enabling organization efficiencies/cost reduction while meeting the requirements of ARRA/HITECH, meaningful use, e-prescribing and ICD-10/5010.  We will also further deploy our various clinical documentation, decision support and surveillance capabilities including extensive growth in physician documentation. We will likely incur modest IT FTE growth, yet overall IT expense budgets will grow to accommodate strategic areas of priority, especially in the realm of physician practice integration and outpatient services expansion."

Related Articles on Hospital and Health System CIOs:

Speaking a Common Language: Q&A With Rex Healthcare President David Strong and CIO Novlet Bradshaw
Ahead of the Meaningful Use Curve: Q&A With CEO Chuck Sted and CIO Steve Robertson of Hawaii Pacific Health

Blazing New Trails: 7 Successful Leadership Practices of Today's Top Hospital CIOs

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