The Life of a Healthcare CIO: Lutheran Health Network's Keith Neuman

In collaboration with CHIMEBecker’s Hospital Review's new "Life of a Healthcare CIO" series features leading hospital and health system CIOs from across the country who are sharing their experiences, best practices and challenges.

To recommend a CIO to be featured in this series, please contact Helen Gregg  (

An interview with Keith Neuman, senior vice president and CIO of Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne, Ind. (Interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

Question: You've been CIO of Lutheran Health Network for two years. How has your job changed since you began?

Keith Neuman: I think there's been in the last two years more focus on business and clinical analytics. There has also been an increase in velocity of needing to get things done. While there's always been a lot on our plates, now we have even more on our plates and need to get it done even more quickly. With this, we've also been refocusing what we're working on. Meaningful use is important, but we think we have that under control, and now we're focusing on how to best prepare for a value-based model.11813chime

Q: In your time with Lutheran, what has been your biggest accomplishment?

KN: The biggest accomplishment has probably been putting in structure to our processes instead of shot-gunning everything, and focusing on making decisions based on where the future's going to go rather than what's going on immediately tomorrow or today.

We also now have a community engagement effort underway, which is going to be essential in the value-based world. Our entire organization is focused on being easy to work with both from the consumer side as well as from the physician and provider side. From an IT systems standpoint, we've had a hand in ensuring the organization is successful in delivering technology to both the patient and the provider, but this multifaceted approach currently underway is also focused on workflow, marketing and operational issues.

Q: What do you see as your biggest misstep or mistake?

KN: I was still feeling my way around and allowed some decisions to stand that in hindsight were probably not the best decisions. I should have pushed back harder and said, "No, this isn't the right thing for us." If I had pushed back more, we might be in a better place now.

Q: Looking back over the past month, what has taken up the majority of your time?

KN: The majority of my time has been taken up with the community engagement program, and it's not just the IT side of things. It has operational, strategic and financial components, so I've been working with these leaders to help them understand how IT systems can be leveraged to make it successful. We're really getting some good traction with this.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you're facing right now?

KN: Resources, both financial and human. We want to do everything, and we need to do everything, some because of meaningful use but often just because it's the right thing to do. But, funds are not unlimited and neither are IT resources, both for implementation and ongoing support.

Q: What is one lesson you've learned during your tenure you'd like to share with other CIOs?

KN: I've learned the information systems governance structure is one of the most important things, and that governance structure must include leaders from across departments, not just IT folks. Partnership with strong clinical, operational and financial leaders has helped us be successful.

More Articles on Healthcare CIOs:

The CHIME 2013 Fall CIO Forum: 6 Key Highlights
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At Annual Conference, CHIME Aims to Give CIOs Leadership Skills, Practical Knowledge

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