Quality of Care As Priority

Dedra Cantrell, CIO, Emory Healthcare
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Dedra Cantrell, CIO, Emory Healthcare

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Biggest need is available capex and opex. With Obamacare and other healthcare reform changes breathing down our necks, the detrimental impact to health systems will be excruciating over the next several years so investment in HIT is going to be a challenge. We see this trend already; budget cuts and other cost savings measures are necessary in order to just be sure the bills get paid. This means that a closer partnership with aligned vendors is more critical than ever before.
 
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
 
The thing that is really concerning is being able to meet all the needs of the clinicians in such a manner that the technologies are efficient, easy to use, and add value. EMRs today are still evolving and they just aren’t there yet in intuitiveness, seamlessness and in context of situational awareness of the care process.
 
Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

We are fortunate to have had a clinical data warehouse for many years. This warehouse is used for analytics and reporting for both operations/ productivity as well as clinical research and practice of care improvements. Also our HIE is used by aligned providers and assists by providing information that prevents duplication of imaging exams, lab tests and such.
 
Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the Healthcare sector

First and foremost the IT strategic plan must be derived from the organizational strategic plan. Technology partnered with people and process accomplishes great things! IT must be a partner with the business with a focus on using enabling technologies to improve quality of care, reduce costs and enhance efficiencies.
 
Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

Of course HIEs are a big one and we continue to deploy the state wide GaHIN. All of us will need to be connected- from our private or service area HIEs to the state HIE and ultimately to the national one. Add to this the pervasiveness of mobile technologies for virtual care such as  CIUs and our whole world of how care is rendered shifts to a new dimension for reaching all potential patients regardless of geographic boundaries or other constraints. 
 
My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
 
I am fortunate in that Emory has always been forward thinking and embracing IT as a partner so the past few years have just continued to be one of partnership, strategic alliance with the business and active engagement at the executive level. CIOs must be business leaders, visionaries and a leader of people and not just a technician.
 
Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs
 
You’ve never seen politics until you see them in an academic health system! Seriously though, getting experience in effectively navigating in highly complex political organizations is not for the faint hearted, what’s that saying “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger”?! I believe I am living proof of that!

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