Volume 7 - Issue 2, 2012 HIT - Features

HIT Leadership at the Speed of Change

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One of the key highlights from HIMSS 2012 was the CHIME CIO Forum. The topic of this year’s forum was Healthcare IT Leadership at the Speed of Change.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organisation dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and 86 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. This year CHIME is celebrating it 20th anniversary and kicked off the year of activities with its Spring CIO Forum.

More than 500 industry players attended the day-long forum with four very informative keynote presentations. The morning session began with congratulatory messages from a variety of healthcare luminaries, including ONC head Farzad Mostashari, HIMSS CEO Stephen Lieber, AHIMA’s CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, AHA CEO Rich Umbdenstock, and others.

The atmosphere and general feeling of the forum was one of hope, of the excitement and realisation of the unique position of CIOs, and how much IT can bring to the healthcare sector as a whole as well as to individual organisations. There is a clear difference between European and American conferences. While the same topics are covered, US speakers cannot contain their passion for their specialty and while sometimes overlapping into hyperbole, their talks cannot help but inspire those listening. 

Ken Blanchard, author and consultant, was first to address the crowd with his presentation: “Full Steam Ahead! Unleash the Power of Vision in Your Work and Your Life”

Blanchard stressed the unique position of CIOs and how they can act as change agents within their organisations. He believes they must be the bearers of hope in the changing landscape of healthcare IT. He went on to look at the change process from different perspectives and stressed the importance of change management, “Healthcare and its technology are undergoing rapid transformation with CIOs shouldering much of the leadership responsibilities. CIOs are being asked to do more with less, while maintaining employee morale and gaining buy-in for enterprisewide change initiatives.”

In order to successfully lead change, Blanchard stressed that CIOs need to define their leadership point of view and then share it with other people. He believes he is a ‘servant leader’ and that that is “the only way to get great results and great human satisfaction together.”

Blanchard explored the four levels of change, from the easiest to the hardest:

  1. Adding knowledge;
  2. Changing attitude;
  3. Changing individual behaviour; and
  4. Changing organisational behaviour.

Next to take the floor wad Paul Grundy, President of the Patient- Centered Primary Care Collaborative. His keynote was entitled “HIT Powered Patient-Centred Medical Home: the Foundation for Meaningful Connections”.

A Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH) provides comprehensive relationship-based care, where clinicians are empowered by tools to manage the data and communicate effectively across the care delivery spectrum. His presentation covered the processes and technology challenges that lie ahead and the leadership, teamwork and discipline needed to shift to PCMH level care and achieve the goal of patientcentred health management and care.

Grundy is clear on the power of healthcare IT and how it will transform healthcare delivery, “IT will do to the brains of medical students what imaging has done for radiology.” It is transforming the delivery of information right down to the point of care. He stressed how new generations are demanding more from their healthcare providers - they want a totally different experience of care.

He spoke of less need for hospitalisation with improved ambulatory environments, arguing that things “can be managed further upstream” and that we need to do something to counter the huge amount of waste in the system. He believes this can be achieved by using this huge amount of new data to transform our practices and redesign our services and that it is the role of the CIO to help the management understand the power of the data and illustrate how new technologies demand new organisation of healthcare.

Grundy believes that we need to pay for outcomes and data and not fee for service; there is too much service. Instead we must focus on patient-centred care and empowering patients: Less hospitalisation and more compliance. “It's a no brainer to reengineer a system with data that's available and can be used to hold providers accountable. Different tools are needed to enable accountable care, because otherwise buyers won't want to buy from you anymore”, Grundy said.

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, Pediatrician and avid social network user, introduced attendees to the use of social networking in healthcare with her presentation, “Physicians and Patients in the Time of Twitter: Trusted Relationships, Social Media and Opportunities in Health”

Swanson believes that patients are demanding more from their healthcare, they want the science and the answers and the role of physicians is dramatically changing. People share information about health, they don’t just read information but also pass it on, and this helps prevention. This is what she calls ‘peer-to-peer’ healthcare. It is conversations and seeking out communities of like minded-people.

For Dr. Swanson, doctors and healthcare institutions have an obligation to be online, to facilitate better communication. Those seeking health information online and in the media often confuse experience for expertise and science is losing its voice. We need to understand data and also be emotional and be able to explain the data. "I don't think you have a choice with social media. Everyone else uses their celebrity to get a message out," she said.

She emphasised the importance of humanity in healthcare, believing people matter the most, “Humanity will blow technology out of the water”, but that we can use these new technologies to save the patient-doctor relationship. She went on to introduce the crowd to a wide array of new technologies that could be used in healthcare to facilitate communications between physicians and patients and physicians.

In the closing keynote “The Healthcare Revolution”, Lowell Catlett, economist and futurist, provided a different view on the resources that Baby Boomers would be able to spend on healthcare and how IT can help enable the future of care delivery.

Catlett spoke of how the physician/hospital centred model is gradually being replaced with a patient-centred, concierge model focused on non-tethered technology and centres for excellence. Catlett believes healthcare to be an industry that is borderless and holistic, where health is the norm and illness an aberration. He also spoke of the need for ‘high-touch’ as well as hi-tech.

Catlett seems to be bowled over by the remarkable improvements in healthcare and especially by the role healthcare IT plays in this. He told the audience they were in a remarkable position, being able to change the very way health is delivered with these new technologies. It certainly was an inspirational end to a very informative day of presentations.


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One of the key highlights from HIMSS 2012 was the CHIME CIO Forum. The topic of this year’s forum was Healthcare IT Leadership at the Speed of Change.The C

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