Cringeworthy conversations: 5 health IT leaders sound off on language they find most annoying

Health IT leaders have struggled to keep their eyes from rolling at such vague terms as disruption and innovation for years, but new abstract and overused language continues to pop up in their work conversations.

Here, five hospital and health system CIOs discuss the conversations they have found the most cringeworthy in 2020.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Mark Lauteren, CIO, El Centro (Calif.) Regional Medical Center: The conversations I dread are with the vendors who "promise" that the interface to our existing system(s) is simple or needs no IT work. However, they have no examples of where their product has interfaced with our EHR or system before.

Matt Reich, CIO, McLeod Health (Florence, S.C.): Breach, information blocking and cost transparency are all cringeworthy.

Brian Sterud, VP of IT and CIO, Faith Regional Health Services (Norfolk, Neb.): The one I dread the most (right now) is anything that’s related to expiring the telehealth waivers.  The waivers have proven to be extremely helpful during the pandemic and most —if not all — need to remain in place if we’re going to continue the momentum related to telehealth.  Many of the waivers are critical components to achieving the quadruple aim!

Robert Eardley, CIO, University Hospitals (Cleveland): Some cringeworthy terms are "leaning in," as in “we should be leaning in on this item”; "double-click" when talking about diving into the next level of detail, as in “let’s double click on that and explore further”; and "traction." This is an old standby sales term, as in "we are gaining a lot of traction in the marketplace with this product.” These are a few I hear often. I’m sure I use my own cringeworthy terms from time to time. 

Terry Wilk, CIO, Effingham Health System (Springfield, Ga.): Here are some cringeworthy sentences:

“Joe Smith (an IT project manager) just tested positive for COVID-19 and he will be out for at least 2 weeks.”

“All or a part of our data has been destroyed, corrupted or is being held under ransom. The intrusion locked out our ability to recover data from our backup copies.”

“Several people from the state just showed up to conduct an unannounced compliance and security survey. They need to view some data in our EHR, and the system is locked up.”

“Our corporate compliance officer investigated and uncovered clear evidence that an IT employee inappropriately accessed PHI. Per our policy, you must terminate this employee immediately.”

More artifcles on health IT:
These 5 healthcare startups have received millions in investments in 2020
15 health systems among top places to work in IT
Health IT sector raises $6.3B in capital funding during first half of 2020: 4 key insights

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