What 15 CMIOs are focusing on in 2019 + how they plan to achieve their goals

Fifteen chief medical information officers from hospitals and health systems across the U.S. discuss their team visions for 2019 and how they plan to achieve their goals.

Lauren Koniaris, MD, CMIO of the Northern Region at Hackensack Meridian Health (Hackensack, N.J.): 2019 is the year that the 'rubber will meet the road' for getting Epic live at all the hospitals in Hackensack Meridian Health. That will obviously be the primary focus for a majority of the IT team — both on the Epic side of the team as well as the associated infrastructure needs.

Our team's approach will be to stay on task and focused day-to-day on meeting all the milestones for this project. I am so excited that once this is completed at the end of the year, Hackensack Meridian Health will be positioned to leverage our EHR to positively impact healthcare throughout the state of New Jersey and beyond.

To read the full interview, click here.

Louis Capponi, MD, CMIO at Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System (Broomfield, Colo.): This is my 15th year as a CMIO, and I spend most of my informatics time with clinical leadership, partnering in clinical transformation. This is less about the technology and more about helping the organization adapt and change quickly.

2019 will be a year to focus greater attention on discerning the value of technology proposals as well as leveraging the vast amount of data now available to us to guide and predict where we should be spending our efforts.

To read the full interview, click here

Louis Krenn, MD, CMIO at CoxHealth (Springfield, Mo.): 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.

To read the full interview, click here. 

Edward Chung, MD, CMIO at Covenant Health System (Tewksbury, Mass.): At Covenant, we've spent basically all of 2018 in an organizationwide Epic install, for three hospitals and associated outpatient clinics, so the focus for 2019 will be shifting from implementation and stabilization to optimization and maximizing value.

We have a lot of data and tools available to us now, and we've spent a ton of resources and gone through a lot of pain to get here, so now it's time for us to extract as much value as we can. This is going to be a cultural change as much as anything, and habits like regular data review, increased transparency and heightened accountability will have to be introduced in a safe, structured way. Luckily our frontline staff and their managers are eager to get about the business of improving care, so I'm very optimistic.

To read the full interview, click here. 

Neal Chawla, MD, CMIO at WakeMed Health & Hospitals (Raleigh, N.C.): I see several important, big-ticket items for WakeMed's 2019 forecast to improve care for our patients. These are my top three:

1. Training. We have a lot of functionality, but a lot of folks are not aware of all the features they can already take advantage of and access to make their lives easier. We still have some clunky technological aspects to fix, but we can get a lot of mileage out of educating our colleagues about existing tools. It helps everyone be more proficient and, in turn, improves patient care.

2. Analytics. We know there is a lot of data filing through our systems, but are we really tapping into the business and clinical intelligence that this data can provide? From the tools to the process to data literacy, there is a lot we will continue to do to capture meaningful and actionable data and create better outcomes. Turn data into action.

3. Patient functionality. We always put our patients first and will continue our focus on tools directed at improving the patient experience and every interaction with our system. We have an oversight group to coordinate these continued efforts, whether it's making it easier for patients to schedule appointments, better understand their discharge instructions or to send us data from outside our walls.

As our governance gets stronger, we are building out a three-year clinical road map to guide our focus and keep WakeMed aligned to meet its mission and strategic goals.

To read the full interview, click here. 

Maia Hightower, MD, CMIO at University of Iowa Health Care (Iowa City): My vision aligns with the University of Iowa Health Care CMIO Division Vision Statement, which is: 'The CMIO division will be accessible to all those we serve delivering best practices and reducing variation with compassion and integrity, focusing on safety and quality; bringing forth innovative efforts as a result of our collaboration with all members of the [University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics] community.'

Our values include:

Service. Our purpose is to support all members of our UIHC community to adapt to change in healthcare, technology and medicine.

Compassion. We understand that change and digital transformation can be challenging. We treat all those we serve with compassion and kindness.

Collaboration. Epic and our IT systems are foundational and interdependent to what we do. We work together always with everyone.

Best Practice. We use research and insight to make better decisions, reduce variation and increase efficiency, while preserving work and life balance and building solutions that promote all team members work to the top of his or her license and training.

Innovation. We find practical solutions to complex problems, enhancing clinical workflows with information technology.

I share our vision and values frequently, including in recruiting efforts. I find that we can attract a broader, more diverse group of applicants to clinical informatics. Being transparent helps to keep us accountable.

To read the full interview, click here. 

Charles Sawyer, MD, CMIO at Mission Health System (Asheville, N.C.): For 2019, there are a few important priorities. In our health system, we have to upgrade several foundational systems. Meeting Meaningful Use [HIMSS EMR Adoption Model] stage three is obviously a priority. We also have a large new hospital where we are attempting to transform care processes. Lastly, we are appropriately focused on population health management as prospective, value-based payments become increasingly important to organizational finances.

To read the full interview, click here. 

David Danhauer, MD, CMIO at Owensboro Medical Health System (Owensboro, Ky.): Our IT, first priority is to work closely with the entire organization on clarifying strategic initiatives and the associated technology. We are streamlining our portfolio of products and vendors while maximizing the current core vendors and products. Adding to provider satisfaction by streamlining workflows, improved technologies and better ongoing training and support lead my personal initiatives.

To read the full interview, click here. 

Mark Weisman, MD, CMIO at Peninsula Regional Medical Center (Salisbury, Md.): PRMC went live on Epic in November 2016, so they are relatively new and are experiencing the typical growing pains a system goes through with a new EHR. Due to significant concerns over burnout — nurse and physician — we are focusing on optimizing the EHR for our clinical staff and providers. We are aggressively going after alerts that fire on chart opening, alerts that fire on everyone rather than a targeted audience and alerts that are not achieving their intended goal.

Many providers became frustrated with the system shortly after go-live and disengaged from participating in optimization projects. My goal is to recruit them back because I can’t possibly be an expert in every one of their clinical areas and need them to help me make the system better. I need them to re-engage and identify the parts that aren’t working well for them and their colleagues. Most have started to re-engage just by inviting them to talk about their issues and listening to them. Providing them with some quick wins has given them hope and they are starting to come around. I plan to build on this success and ultimately have a physician-builder program where the providers are very hands on with optimization projects.

For nurses, we are tracking their total time spent in the EHR doing their documentation. We have initiatives to reduce their documentation burden, reduce their alerts, decrease the number of verbal orders they take and assist the nurse care managers with their unique workflows. Eventually, we hope to have them on mobile devices to do their documentation, and we will start that process this year. We also recognize that we do not have a very deep bench for nursing informatics and have a goal to improve that over the next two years.

To read the full interview, click here.

C.T. Lin, MD, CMIO at UCHealth (Aurora, Colo.): All of our projects, efforts and philosophies derive from the principle of communication and collaboration. We find that communication and collaboration are always prerequisites to effective interventions, whether [or not] they include IT tools. We also spend time reading books together to develop our leadership skills and our broader perspective beyond just EHR burden, physician burnout, innovation projects and analytics projects.

We developed an internal vision for our physician informatics group: 'We improve physician and team wellness and effectiveness by building extraordinary relationships and innovative tools.'

To read the full interview, click here.

Diane Hunt, MD, CMIO at Deaconess Health System (Evansville, Ind.): Our team is really focusing on the overall patient and provider experience in 2019.We have spent a long time getting providers to use the system, and now it's time for us to really put some focus on making those processes work for our healthcare system. The data we can get from our EHR system is really allowing us to drive those physician productivity metrics, and we hope to expand on that even more in the realms of efficiency and training.

From a patient perspective, we want to make sure we are offering our services to our patients in a venue that is convenient for them and easy to use. We are working on expanding our technologies in the realms of the patient portal, telehealth and even scheduling. This is such an exciting time, and there are so many technologies available for us to capitalize on.

To read the full interview, click here.

Donald Levick, MD, CMIO at Lehigh Valley Health Network (Allentown, Pa.): My vision is to develop my team and their skill sets, and for the team to become a highly effective vehicle for change management and implementations. My role is to place the team into a position to succeed and remove any barriers.

To read the full interview, click here.

Lee Milligan, MD, CMIO at Asante (Medford, Ore.): In 2019, on the analytics front, we plan to focus on two priorities: self-service and efficiency.

As for self-service, locally we are calling this "data-on-demand" and consists of a variety of tools that key users, from different operational departments, are leveraging — Reporting Workbench, Webi, Slicer-Dicer and Tableau.

Regarding efficiency, we have organized our analytics team into four functional units, each working in three-week Agile sprints. We plan to double-down on our lean methodology. This will include performing, for the first time, "Analytics on our Analytics."

To read the full interview, click here. 

Michael Olgren, MD, CMIO at Mercy Health (Grand Rapids, Mich.): Our institution happens to be converting from one EMR vendor to another, so 2019's vision is focused on that transition. I feel my role is to prepare our healthcare team by encouraging the development of flexibility and rapid adaptation. Practicing the good habits of lean documentation, a maintained problem list and reconciled medication list will go a long way to smoothing our transition.

To read the full interview, click here.

Marvin Harper, MD, CMIO at Boston Children's Hospital: Dual mission this year —stabilize and upgrade existing clinical systems and develop and roll out new platforms for patient engagement.

The thing that feels different this year is the competition for resources combined with increased expectations for what technology can deliver across the board. In prior years, we moved from resistance to acceptance. Now we are being asked to move faster with increasing expectations for "technology solutions," as technology has now been woven throughout the fabric of healthcare delivery.

Nonetheless, it remains critically important that we not lose sight of the fact that technology is only a part of the solution and it is only, if given sufficient resources, through collaboration with our patients, clinicians, innovators, local leaders and developers or vendors that we will develop compelling products and improved workflows.

To read the full interview, click here.

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 jdrees@beckershealthcare.com.

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