CoxHealth CMIO Dr. Louis Krenn's plan to improve the EHR & provider satisfaction in 2019

Louis Krenn, MD, chief medical information officer at Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth, discusses the importance of population health management tools and healthcare's shift to a value-based system.

Responses are lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What do you consider your No. 1 priority as CMIO? How do you ensure you're successful?

Dr. Louis Krenn: My No. 1 priority is to improve the usability of our EHR. The EHR is integral to how we practice medicine, and it has been criticized as a major factor in physician burnout. My goal is to use all the tools available to improve the usability and performance of our EHR. To do this, we are replacing traditional subjective complaints with objective data to guide our project list and measure improvement to prove we are truly making a difference in our providers' practice.

Q: What is the vision for your team in 2019? How will you approach your role and meeting your goals?

LK: Consistent with top priority, my vision for 2019 is to create a more efficient and effective EHR for CoxHealth. Starting with primary care, we will systematically review workflows and processes that can be improved along with enhancements made to the EHR to facilitate a more efficient practice, improving provider and staff satisfaction while providing a more streamlined experience for our patients.

Q: Where do you see the biggest need for innovation to improve the healthcare system in the future?

LK: Our biggest need for innovation is around chronic disease management and population health. While these buzzwords have been around for a while, the tools and processes needed to manage groups of patients efficiently are still relatively immature. Companies are investing heavily in population health management tools, but most are still in early stages of development. As healthcare shifts to a value-based system, these tools will become extremely important in assisting with lowering costs and improving the quality of care.

Q: How did you become a CMIO? What is your background and what advice do you have for aspiring CMIOs?

LK: I have no formal background in information technology or informatics. I have grown into the role as many of my colleagues have. I started as a physician champion during residency, which grew into a formal position as EHRs matured and became more important to health systems and clinical practice.

The role of CMIO is ever changing and evolving so those looking to become a CMIO in the future should be prepared for an uncertain job description and remain fluid in their role and responsibilities. I maintain a clinical practice, and I believe it is important for a CMIO to do so to remain connected to physician colleagues.

To learn more about clinical informatics and health IT, register for the Becker's Hospital Review 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership Conference May 2-4, 2019 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at

More articles on health IT:
CMIO origin stories: The path 9 physicians took to become CMIO
SCL Health CMIO Dr. Louis Capponi's team vision for 2019 + healthcare's biggest need for innovation
AI pushes into healthcare: 5 terms to add to your AI playbook

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