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Top 10 Healthcare CIO Budget Priorities

Posted on September 22, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those on the email list that can’t see the image that Charles Webster, MD shared, here are the list of top technology priorities:
1. BI/Analytics
2. CRM
3. Digitalization/Digital Marketing
4. Legacy Modernization
5. Industry-Specific Applications
6. Enterprise Applications
7. Infrastructure and Data Center
8. Application Development
9. Architecture
10. BPM
11. Cloud
12. Collaboration

Sure makes the life of a CIO look pretty easy, doesn’t it? (That was my sarcasm font in case you don’t have that font installed on your computer)

As I chew on this list, I’m processing Will Weider, CIO at Ministry Health Care’s response to me asking him what would he consider the 3 key focus areas for healthcare CIO’s:

EMR Success Depends on Proper EMR Access

Posted on March 1, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

With all of the focus being on all the various regulatory requirements (meaningful use, ACOs, ICD-10, 5010), I think there’s a real issue brewing in healthcare IT because we’re not focusing on other IT issues. As a hospital works on their EHR implementation strategy, it’s easy for them to focus a lot of time and effort to make sure that they meet the meaningful use attestation requirements. This is important, because if they don’t focus on meaningful use, then they’ll never meet the meaningful use measures. However, in the process I’m starting to see many institutions that short change the IT part of the EMR equation.

This point was really driven home to me when I was reading “Tips for Ensuring EMR Access = Success” on the Point of Care Corner blog. Here’s a great paragraph from that blog that highlights the challenge:

An effective access-point strategy must also support a safe, ergonomic workplace that enables caregivers to focus on patients rather than “hunting and gathering” the tools and information they need. Most nurses walk many miles per shift. With good planning, they will not need to add to that total looking for an open computer to enter or view patient information.

Unfortunately, in the rush to implement meaningful use of a certified EHR by the deadlines, many institutions aren’t spending the time required to make sure that EMR access is available when and where it’s needed.

The good part of this story is that you can still correct this problem after the fact. Plus, it’s not that hard once a hospital CIO places focus on it. However, it does take a focused effort. Ideally you would have worked through the EMR access issues during your EMR implementation, but it shouldn’t be any surprise that you weren’t able to plan for all of your unseen EMR access needs. So making sure you plan a review after your EMR has been in place is essential.

There is nothing more demoralizing to a user of an EMR than to not be able to get into the EMR when they need it. Although, many times EMR users won’t know what they need until after they’ve been using the EMR for a little while. There’s nothing more valuable than experience to inform decisions. Plus, technology is constantly changing, so you’ll want to consider how new technologies can make your EMR users’ lives better.

This issue reminds me of a comment Will Weider, CIO of Ministry Health Care, made in this interview. When asked what project he thought didn’t get enough attention in the hospital, he answered that it was the need to abandon Windows XP by the time Microsoft ends support. Evaluating EMR access points is another issue that I think doesn’t get enough regular attention. It’s unfortunate, because it can make an extremely big difference in what your EMR users think about their EMR experience.

Full Disclosure: Metro is a sponsor of EMR and HIPAA

Hospital CIO Interview – Will Weider

Posted on July 26, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

When I first started blogging, I came across a hospital CIO blog called Candid CIO that is written by Will Wieder, CIO of Ministry Health Care. Six years later he’s still my favorite hospital CIO blogger out there. My only complaint is that he doesn’t blog enough (understandably so). I’ve never had a chance to meet Will in person, but I hope to one day have that opportunity.

Will recently commented on one of my posts. After seeing his comment I had the genius idea to ask him for an interview. I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before since we go so far back, but when you see the content of the interview you’ll see why I’m planning to reach out to more CIOs. I hope you enjoy Will’s comments as much as I did.

You have a great CIO blog at CandidCIO.com, what made you start blogging and why do you continue blogging today?
Thanks. I originally started the blog for two reasons. Firstly, I follow tech trends and like to try anything that is emerging. So, I started this blog a long time ago. Secondly, I always desired an outlet where I could express my views of healthcare IT. At the time I started the blog a lot of the HIT press was driving me crazy with superficial stories that didn’t explore difficult questions. One would get the impression that every single IT project ever started was a worthwhile success. So, I wanted to be able to challenge conventional wisdom.

Today there are many great blogs and thousands of voices on Twitter.

Do you think other CIO’s should blog?
I hope that they do, because we have a lot to learn from each other. But it does take time, I have found it impossible to post consistently these days. I am big fan of tech blogger, John Gruber. His posts are almost always two or three sentences. I used to always write long posts. Recently I am mostly writing shorter posts that matches what I would like to read, given my attention span.

How do you deal with the challenge of a blog and Twitter account making you “too” accessible as a CIO?
People generally respect boundaries. Part of my life is to ignore cold callers (unless they are serendipitously offering something on my priority list), I would love to get back to every person that wants to meet me for lunch and talk about my organization’s prioirites, but there isn’t enough time in the day to respond – let alone have all those meetings. I have met a lot of great people on Twitter and I have hired a few, all of those have turned out great.

What’s the biggest issue on your plate as a hospital CIO today?
Managing demand. The best part of being a health care CIO is that there are so many great new solutions that solve business problems, especially in the clinical arena. The worst part is that everybody wants those solutions and they want them now. Even if senior management makes some hard decisions about priorities, the managers that submitted projects that didn’t make the priority list are disappointed and frustrated. I would feel the same way (and do feel the same way when my projects don’t make the cut).

What are the top 3 hospital CIO issues you can see on the horizon?
1. Hone project management so projects are done more quickly and successfully (see above)
2. Security
3. IT Operations – as our doctors and nurses become increasingly more dependent on IT we need to improve our processes that drive system availability and response time.
4. Consumerization of enterprise IT (rise of the iPads)

How has meaningful use impacted your hospital for good and bad?
I have heard a lot of people state that Meaningful Use was a clinical project and that they expected the results to be really meaningful. That wasn’t our experience. We were already working on meaningful clinical IT projects. Much of the objectives were things we had done or started. Our focus was to stay the course and make a few modifications so we hit every objective as written.

Our internal customers (our management team, physicians, nurses, etc.) would probably say that Stage 1 Meaningful Use has been a non-event for them. I like to think that is a testament to the many things that we were doing right. For example, our hospital in Weston, WI is all-digital. There are no charts on the floor; there is not even a file room. It is the only Wisconsin hospital (except a Children’s Hospital) recognized by Leapfrog Group as having fully met the CPOE leap. So, Meaningful Use was mostly about taking the time to properly measure everything and create quality measures to the appropriate specification.

Do you follow the All in One or Best of Breed software approach and why?
I would have to describe us as a Best of Breed IT organization. Many of our admissions come from Marshfield Clinic doctors. The Marshfield Clinic developed their own EHR and have been perfecting it over the last 20 years. About 5 years ago we made the decision to use the Marshfield Clinic EHR in our Ministry clinics and to interface that EHR to our hospitals.

Sharing that EHR was in the best interest of our patients. Our primary care doctors, our hospitals and Marshfield Clinic specialists are all contributing to a common patient record. Once we made that decision for our patients, it was no longer possible to have an All in One solution (Marshfield Clinic does not have a Hospital Information System).

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about healthcare, what would it be?
Reduce costs. Quality improves year over year as medical knowledge increases, processes improve and new technologies (including information technologies) evolve. But the cost here in the US continues to skyrocket (18% of GDP, double that of the second most expensive industrialized nation). Frustratingly, there isn’t even agreement on why the cost is increasing. I want healthcare to be affordable to the working families here in Wisconsin.

Are you seeing and experience an experienced health IT staff shortage? How do you suggest people without healthcare experience get a health IT job?
More so in the technical areas where we are competing with all industries. We are able to recruit and/or develop applications analyst.

What’s your most important IT project today?
Ministry Health Care was traditionally a less consolidated organization that had 7 or 8 different IT departments. As a result of that we still have a lot of fragmented systems, 740 different applications running on 1,500 servers. Our environment is too complex and it makes us too inefficient. We have plans to greatly simplify that environment. But, it will take us several years and scores of projects to get there. This is paramount to our competitiveness.

From a more short-term perspective this ICD-10 thing is a complicated beast that must go well. After looking at the cost for our organization, and then extrapolating that to the entire industry, I don’t see how the money spent will be worth the value received.

Which IT project doesn’t get enough attention and why?
The need to abandon Windows XP by the time Microsoft ends support in April of 2014 is a ticking time bomb and I am not hearing anyone talk about it. We will spend more time and money (about $5M) on this than we spent working on Stage 1 of Meaningful Use.

Any final thoughts?
Two things: Firstly, I have a great job and I work with incredible people in IT and throughout Ministry. Secondly, the Packers are going to win the Super Bowl this year.

John’s Note: I’ll forgive him for his Packer fandom which is understandable for where he lives. Personally I just hope my Dolphins can turn things around.

EMR and Healthcare IT Blogging Community – Let the Sparring Begin

Posted on July 1, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I remember when I first started blogging about EMR and health care IT about 5.5 years ago, I searched out whatever EMR and healthcare IT blogs I could find. The first three blogs that I can remember finding (and loving) were Neil Versel’s blog, Shahid’s Healthcare IT blog and Will Weider’s Candid CIO blog.

I loved reading Neil Versel’s blog because he was actually a professional journalist in the healthcare IT arena. I learned a lot by watching what he did. In fact, I think some of my writing style came from reading his blog. Along with his blog, Shahid provided HITsphere where I could see the posts from other bloggers. Plus, in the early days the traffic from HITsphere to my blog was really great. It’s hard to have a blog that no one reads. I loved the Candid CIO. Partially because the writing was so good and Will is a really smart guy. Partially because I was completely intrigued that the CIO of an organization was blogging. At that time I think I also aspired to be a CIO like Will. Funny how life changes and I prefer to be a blogger now. I’ll leave the stress of CIO to Will. I’m happy to say that all three of these bloggers are still wielding their blogging sword and I still enjoy reading their work.

Needless to say, the EMR and Healthcare IT blogging community has gotten much larger than it was 5.5 years ago when I started. Like many things, with that growth a lot of things have changed. Some for the good and some for the bad. One thing that I miss is all the interaction we use to have as bloggers. Certainly some of that interaction has moved to Twitter and other social media sites. However, I wish we had more interactions with bloggers like we use to do when there were only 5 of us out there.

I personally like to call it blog sparring. Basically, you take someone else’s post and provide the opposing perspective or at least you add to the conversation that they started. I love these types of interactions with other bloggers. Plus, I love the deep dive into a specific topic that happens when you do this type of blogging. As a reader, I think it’s fun to read the various blogger’s perspective on the topic.

So, on that note, I’m going to make the next week, Blog Sparring Week. I’m going to find interesting posts from some of the best EMR and healthcare IT bloggers out there and I’m going to write a post in response or in addition to the comments they made. This way, you’ll get to know some of the other interesting bloggers out there, but you’ll also get the chance to read some interesting in depth commentary.

Hopefully, the bloggers I write about will join in on the fun by either replying to my blog posts or blog sparring with other EMR and healthcare IT bloggers.

If you have posts you think I should consider, let me know in the comments.

Delays in EHR Stimulus Time Frame

Posted on May 3, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

About a month ago I read an interesting post by Will Weider, CIO of Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System, where Will is the first to announce delays in the HITECH Act (ARRA) EHR stimulus money. To make his case he gives two reasons for his belief:

  1. In my experience, government mandates delays are the rule
  2. This EHR deadlines are completely unreasonable

HHS finally has Kathleen Sebelius in as secretary and so that should help move things along. However, I have to agree with Will that the EHR stimulus money will be delayed.

I’m not really blaming HHS or ONC or any other government organization for this. The HITECH Act (ARRA) guidelines are so vague that they should take their time and make sure the $18 billion is spent wisely. Luckily, I feel like David Blumenthal seems to understand the importance of the decisions they make as far as what’s defined as a “certified EHR” and meaningful use. That’s a good thing and it’s better to do things slowly than to do things poorly.

This will be bad news for all those EHR vendors who aren’t selling products. More delays on the definitions of these two things could put a number of EHR vendors in trouble (as I’ve spoken about a few times before).

I think we’re in for a really interesting year for those interested in selecting an EHR and the EHR space. I wonder if the first person to get a stimulus check from the government will take a picture and post it on Twitter or some blog. That will be a momentous occasion indeed.

Hospital CIO’s Take on CCHIT

Posted on April 10, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve wanted to post about this for a few days and just haven’t had time. One of my favorite HIT bloggers, Will Weider, wrote a really interesting post about CCHIT. Yes, I kept reading even after he said, “I love CCHIT.”

Will’s main point is that just because one vendor doesn’t meet the CCHIT certification, doesn’t mean a combination of vendors couldn’t create a system that was equal or better than a CCHIT Certified EHR. A fine point that I’m sure CCHIT will never find a solution for.

However, this paragraph from Will really described my feelings well:

The problem is that vendor functionality does not determine how well an EHR is implemented. I could have a vendor that provided my organization the richest functionality one could imagine, and still implement it in a way that totally sucks.

I think will could have replaced “vendor functionality” with “CCHIT Certification” and had a quote like this:

The problem is that [CCHIT Certification] does not determine how well an EHR is implemented. I could have a [CCHIT Certified EHR] that provided my organization the richest functionality one could imagine, and still implement it in a way that totally sucks.

So, what’s the purpose of using CCHIT Certification?

I can easily think of a long laundry list of problems that CCHIT Certification causes. What I can’t understand is how CCHIT Certification does any good at encouraging implementation of good EHR programs. Maybe someone can help me out in the comments.