CHIME Foundation Anniversary: Twenty-five Years of an Exceptional Partnership
By John Glaser, Founding chairman of CHIME and CHIME Foundation
As the founding chairman of the CHIME Foundation, may I say how difficult it is to believe that it’s coming up on its 25th birthday? (As difficult as the realization that I will be a first-time grandfather in November. Seems like it was only yesterday that my daughter was starting kindergarten).
CHIME was established in 1992 when I joined with 191 other charter members to create an organization that served to advance the strategic use of information technology in healthcare and advance the professional knowledge and skills of the healthcare information technology executive. At the time, many industries were recognizing the critical role of information technology and the importance of the CIO as a member of the leadership team. CHIME understood that healthcare was no exception.
The vision and mission of CHIME was shared by the companies that provided healthcare information technology solutions and services. In fact, those companies had formed the Center for Healthcare Information Management (CHIM) in the years preceding CHIME, and the CHIM leadership participated in defining the need for CHIME and helping it to get started.
Recognizing that the partnership between the CIOs and the solutions and services providers was essential to our collective efforts to improve health and healthcare delivery, the CHIME Foundation was created in 1994 as a separate 501(c)3 organization. Not only did the Foundation cement the partnership, it also provided funding that has enabled CHIME to thrive, and the Foundation has established multiple programs and initiatives that advance our collective vision and mission. With the creation of the Foundation, CHIM disbanded.
As the founding chairman of the CHIME Foundation Board, I presided over a dozen vendor and consultant members initially. Six of those are still with the Foundation today, through all the twists and turns of mergers and acquisitions and name changes (see recent past issues of Insight for some profiles of these early members), the total membership has burgeoned to more than 150 today.
Along the way, Foundation members have helped guide the content of the CHIME Forums, offered CIO focus groups to discuss new products and services, established scholarships, assisted in Federal policy development, and crafted certification and education programs.
Two notable recent contributions: in 2017, the Foundation established a professional certification program for Foundation members – CFCHE (CHIME Foundation Certified Healthcare Executive). And the CHIME Partner Education Summit is now being held for the third year.
Consider the mind-boggling number and scope of changes that have come to the healthcare world, and often specifically to healthcare IT, since those earliest days of the Foundation:
- The opening of the commercial Internet and the invention of the World Wide Web changed everything about how healthcare organizations communicate–both internally and with patients and the public.
- The introduction of the iPhone put the power of the Internet, and then some, into everyone’s pocket.
- With all power comes the Dark Side, and healthcare organizations began to grapple with the baleful forces of hacking, ransomware, and medical identity fraud.
- The HI-TECH Act nudged (or in some cases dragged) large numbers of providers into adopting electronic health records, pushing the industry over a stubborn hump but leaving us with years of work to make the transition truly worth it.
- Once EHRs started to become commonplace, we realized we needed the kind of seamless interoperability that people expect from their apps and the Internet—another goal that’s going to take years to achieve, as well as intense cooperation between the health IT industry and healthcare providers.
- The Affordable Care Act brought the “three-legged stool” of cost-quality-access to the forefront of public consciousness, and started a national conversation about health coverage that puts our industry’s finances and practices uncomfortably in the spotlight almost daily.
- The proliferation of new technologies has led to a proliferation of “chiefs” in health IT organizations—no longer just CIOs, but chief technology officers, chief medical and nursing information officers, chief data officers, chief analytics officers, and chief security officers
- Artificial intelligence gets smarter almost daily: Amazon Echo, Siri, and our phones’ Autocorrect feature can now annoy us almost as much and as easily as real people do.
- Medicine has delivered revolutionary developments, like genome sequencing and targeted cancer therapies, that will transform all our lives but will also depend heavily on our ability to manage vast quantities of data.
- The rules of the healthcare delivery system seem set to change dramatically, with the shift to value-based care, and the entry of unfamiliar players like Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan, or the teaming of companies like Aetna and CVS.
While the last 25 years have seen stunning changes and progress, the strong partnership between CHIME and the CHIME Foundation has remained a constant. The two organizations have helped their collective membership to adapt to, and master, these changes. Moreover, the partnership has helped to shape the direction and form of these changes.
The changes and challenges will continue as they always have. Our work to make healthcare safer, more efficient and of higher quality is not done and never will be done. We should be proud of the contribution of the Foundation and proud of the partnership. And we should appreciate that we will be more effective at addressing the work that remains because of the partnership.
I get asked about the differences between being a CIO and being a member of a vendor leadership team. There are differences. Vendors have sales groups; few providers do. Provider organizations have many more committees than vendor organizations. However, the two types of organizations have much in common. At the center of that commonality is a deep commitment to making healthcare as good as it can be.
Healthcare is better because of the Foundation and its members.