Why the C-suite must understand and support clinical informatics in the care process: Q&A with Metro Health, U of Michigan Health CMIO Dr. Brad Clegg

Brad Clegg, DO, chief medical information officer at Wyoming, Mich.-based Metro Health University of Michigan Health, discusses the importance of navigating top-level leadership changes and ensuring C-suite leaders understand the impact that clinical informatics can have on the hospital system.

Responses are lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: How has your role as CMIO evolved over the past 2-3 years? How have your responsibilities changed since you took on the role?

Brad Clegg: After 12 years of being live in ambulatory and inpatient — [we] began in 2006, now [we're] HIMSS EMR Adoption Model stage six and applying for stage seven — we are now at the stage of using analytics and focusing on our population of patients to manage both their state of wellness and improve the status of those with chronic disease while trying to understand how we can impact value and costs of care.

As CMIO over these 12 years, my focus is always changing. Initial focus is engagement of physician colleagues to use an EMR. Next, it is to do our absolute best to assure the EMR is a "non-event" during their busy days with patients. Finally, it is to engage other physician leaders to define and produce analytics and data that are trusted and of value to each physician and their non-physician administrative leader from their clinical area, department or section/specialty.

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

BC: For any CMIO to be effective, and therefore successful, it is critical to have a clear definition of what clinical informatics is. Every senior C-suite leader must understand and support how clinical informatics impacts care process, outcomes, value, costs and physician efficiency. Once these concepts are understood and the CMIO has good relationships with her or his provider colleagues, everything gets better.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you're facing as CMIO? What keeps you up at night?

BC: Changes in senior leadership. Over the many years a CMIO is in his or her position, there will likely be changes in high level leadership. Each change brings necessary dialogue, education and understanding of the current road map of clinical informatics under leadership of the CMIO. Different ideas by new leadership can disrupt both in good and not-so-good ways.

Q: Which apps and technologies do you find most helpful, and which do you think will be passing fads?

BC: Voice recognition and natural language processing has potential to change the game for providers. Imagine just walking in to an exam room and having your dialogue with a patient turn into a clean, concise story of their problem followed by accurate diagnosis and billing automatically.

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.

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