'Get into healthcare because it's recession proof': Advice that pushed Children's Hospital Colorado CIO to enter the industry

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Though we are in the first weeks of 2020, hospitals and health systems have their eyes on the future. Dana Moore, senior vice president and CIO of Children's Hospital Colorado spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about his 2020 plan and how the children's hospital is preparing for the next decade.

Before he jumped into his short- and long-term plans, Mr. Moore looked back on his career. He had a unique introduction to the healthcare field after working in public accounting for three years. When asked what motivated him to join the healthcare industry, he had an unusual, but practical, answer.

"I wish I could tell you that it was this long desire to be in healthcare. But actually, I was working in public accounting and had a client who was an emergency room physician. He told me that I should get into healthcare because it's recession proof. Then once I was in the industry, I never left. When I understood the mission and passion I feel for healthcare, I was hooked," he said.

Mr. Moore started his healthcare career as the executive direct of revenue cycle for ValueMark Healthcare. He spent years as a consultant for healthcare organizations, advising on revenue cycle, compliance and cost report preparation.

Then, in May 2005, Mr. Moore joined Englewood, Colo.-based Centura Health as its senior vice president and CIO. He spent 12 years at the health system, where he implemented a new EHR across the system, before joining Children's Hospital Colorado in July 2017.

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

Question: Throughout your career, what has been the most monumental/significant technical or digital transformation you’ve experienced?

Dana Moore: Personally, it was when I was at Centura Health. At the time, it was 11 hospitals along with home care, senior care and some employed physicians. Everything was on a different system. The hospitals weren't even on a common system. So, if a patient was at St. Anthony and went to Parker Adventist Hospital, there was no ability to see their record. They might as well have gone to another system.

In 2005, we began the first implementation of an integrated EHR at Centura. We were ruthless in standardization: Meaning one record for a patient. It was a cultural shift that took a lot of work. In the end, we were successful and changed the dynamic of the organization. Additionally, it enhanced collaboration between hospitals and physicians.  When we implemented a different EHR at Centura it was a lot easier since we had a lot of the groundwork completed. 

Q: How has your background with financial management shaped your role as CIO?

DM: One of the things I am proud of is that I have spearheaded two major EHR implementations. From a financial perspective, the organizations didn't take a hit during the EHR overhaul. We knew to test the billing and all the revenue cycle aspects because that is my background. When we have issues, I can talk the language a little bit and have a good understanding of the financial perspective.

I think it also allows me to not only sit at the table as the IT executive, but as a more well-rounded executive that can weigh in on other issues that are not just technology related. I am blessed enough to have very smart people surrounding me that can also understand the technology and make sure we have the best available to patients and staff.

Q: Children's Hospital Colorado developed its Reimagine 2020 campaign years ago. What was and is your role in the strategic plan?

DM: My role is multifaceted with the current 2020 plan. Obviously, one part of it is operational excellence, which means developing strong IT systems, reducing costs, etc. Another part is research and innovation. I have a responsibility with our CEO for innovation. We've got several partnerships that we have put in place over the past few years, and we hope to start seeing these initiatives come to fruition this year. Research and analytics also report up through me. So, as people have requests for data to do research, I oversee the sharing. I also support the analytics resource center.

Similar to the rest of the executive team, we have overall responsibility to the organization. The plan will be refreshed throughout the year. Our strategy officer and his team will lead us through an exercise in 2020 to create another plan.

Q: What was the end goal of the 2020 plans? And being that it's 2020, have you reached it?

DM: I was not here when the plan was created to be fair. The goal was very lofty. It is child health re-imaged and realized. I think that is something that we have always strived for. But the aim for the 2020 plan was optimal value as a top-tier children's health system by serving as the pediatric hospital of choice for the seven-state Mountain West region while leading development of value-based care models for population health management.

The first half of the mission goal was absolutely accomplished, and the organization continues to be successful. The population health management component of value-based care has been a challenge simply because in Colorado the state has not been very progressive in wanting to create value-based care models yet. Neither have many of the payers. We certainly are doing population health, but valued-based care models have been a little slow to catch on Colorado.

Q: Looking into 2020, what are a few of your priorities?

DM: One thing that is on my agenda every year is to ensure that we have a high-performing team that is engaged and passionate about the work we do. In 2020, we are also doing a major expansion at our north campus. There is other construction project on the Anschutz campus. In my role, I'll make sure these expansions and developments are supported and come alive flawlessly.

We are implementing iPhones to staff in the Denver metro area. This will be a major win. Additionally, our virtual desktop infrastructure is dated and slow and we are rolling out new configurations this month. So far, the feedback has been positive. It is these kinds of things that might sound small, but for the person logging into the computer every day to see dramatic speed increases, it's a huge win.

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