Dealing With Interoperability

Rebecca Sykes, SVP, Resource Management & CIO, Catholic Health Partners
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Rebecca Sykes, SVP, Resource Management & CIO, Catholic Health Partners

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

The lack of interoperability is the biggest challenge that we face. Many of the IT systems that we use don’t talk to each other. The interfaces don’t match and have to be mapped so that they can exchange information, and if mapping problems occur then patient records will get into error queues. Consequently, the solution I most look forward to is standardized nomenclature and messages so that IT systems can talk to each other seamlessly.
 
The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

Interoperability is one of the most important solutions that I wish was available. The other solution that I would like to see consists of better ways to protect patient information when it has to be exchanged between healthcare providers within the continuum of care. As we strive to improve patient care, we need to be able to send patient information seamlessly between healthcare providers as appropriate, and we need more security to help us do that efficiently.
 
Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen
 
A number of IT tools, our electronic medical record system in particular, have alerts and contents that are designed to prevent adverse events. In addition, we use early infection detection software, which combs through data looking for evidence that could indicate the start of an infection. Our data warehouse strategies allow us to examine workflows, spot steps or processes that are potentially problematic.
 
Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the Healthcare sector
 
IT strategic planning helps us align our IT work with organization-wide efforts so that we can devote the necessary time, attention and resources to actions that support those efforts. For example, our planning takes into account the need to continuously improve clinical quality, and we address that by building a variety of workflows and alerts into electronic medical record system.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

One of the trends with greatest impact is the use and optimization of our electronic medical record system. We have already seen decrease in mortality, length of stay and patient harm and increase in patient satisfaction.

Population health management  is another trend. We are exploring population health management and using IT tools to give clinicians the data they need to improve the health of our communities.
 
My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Over the past several years, I have assumed responsibility for system-wide functions and initiatives that are not part of IT. These include the functions of Supply Chain and Accounts Payable, as well as a major initiative to increase the efficiency with which we use some of our most expensive clinical supplies. Essentially, my role has expanded to encompass using data and strategies to change key components of theenvironment.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

What I’ve learned is that successfully managing an IT organization and successfully addressing the IT needs is never really about technology. The technology provides a means of accomplishing those goals, but interacting effectively with other leaders and collaborating with them to develop workable strategies is paramount.

My advice to fellow CIOs is to listen to business leaders and to be open to their needs. Be apart of the strategy, not just the infrastructure.

 

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