Working Diligently with Evolution in Technology

Lee Carmen, CIO & AVP-IT, University of Iowa Health Care
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Lee Carmen, CIO & AVP-IT, University of Iowa Health Care

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

Federal requirements relating to the meaningful use program, the rise of Accountable Care Organizations, addressing budget challenges driven by the Affordable Care Act, and the rapidly approaching deadline for conversion to ICD-10 will consume significant I.T. time and attention.  

We believe the integration of bedside physiologic monitoring and medical testing equipment with the enterprise electronic medical record (EMR) system can improve data quality and improve clinical staff efficiency, but the industry needs to continue to evolve in a direction that simplifies data integration.

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

As healthcare delivery becomes more and more dependent upon information systems, we become increasingly concerned about the high availability and security of these systems.  Any system downtime introduces risk to patients, and health I.T. staff must make every effort possible to drive down the probability of system downtime. 

Manner in which Data is used to head off problems before they happen

We are currently using the standard set of decision support tools to alert clinicians if they are ordering an inappropriate treatment or medication dose, but there are many other use cases. We are using real time data streams about patients to determine if they are experiencing a decline in their clinical condition. We are also using the data to build a predictive model for identifying patients likely to require readmission after discharge.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the Healthcare sector

We believe the key to a successful health I.T. organization is to understand the goals of the health care organization and develop a portfolio of systems and initiatives aimed at addressing these goals.  At University of Iowa Health Care, I.T. projects are funded and prioritized based upon the project’s ability to positively impact these goals.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

- The growth of genomics testing is increasing the need for high performance computing to perform the needed analysis of genetic sequence results.

- The evolution of smart phone technology into a scalable, secure platform that can enable telephony within the enterprise.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Majority of my time is spent working with other institutional leaders on solving complex institutional challenges and advising leaders how to best leverage the system and data assets we have in operation.

Lessons learnt and advice for fellow CIOs

The first lesson I have learned is how important it is to engage non-IT staff in the planning and operations of your IT enterprise. The second lesson is the importance of routinely rounding through your enterprise to see your organization’s operations in person.

I personally round in different areas, across all shifts, weekdays, weekends and holidays. The schedule of a CIO is extremely busy and it can be difficult to carve out time for this type of activity, but I have found significant benefit from rounding, and I believe it has resulted in a superior I.T. environment for our staff and patients.

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