Ed Kopetsky, 2018 CIO of the Year: A Warrior for Change and Improvement
Candace Stuart – Director, Communications & Public Relations
As CHIME Board chair in 1998, Ed Kopetsky proposed an idea that changed the course in healthcare IT. Under his leadership, CHIME for the first time invited physicians to attend the fall forum. That helped set the foundation for what evolved into the chief medical information officer. And some of those CMIOs have moved on to become CIOs.
“We were ahead of the curve,” Kopetsky recalled. Those early insights to wed clinical and IT experience have had a profound effect on healthcare IT and patient care. “We never could have had the clinical automation that we had the last 10 years with CIOs only,” he said. “It had to be with clinicians. It was a critical success factor.”
Throughout his career, Kopetsky has been ahead of the curve, recognizing needs and opportunities long before they were obvious. Now CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health, he has been at the forefront of change at several prominent healthcare systems as well as in industry. For this and many other contributions he has made, he was named the 2018 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year. CHIME and HIMSS, whose boards jointly selected him for the award, announced the honor earlier this week. The award is given annually to a CIO who has shown significant leadership and commitment to the healthcare industry during his or her career.
In 2009, Kopetsky joined Stanford Children’s, where he has led large-scale change to support integrated patient care, high-performance business and analytics systems and innovative digital health technologies. Stanford Children’s received the HIMSS Stage 7 Acute Care and Ambulatory Awards in 2015, demonstrating best practice for electronic patient records adoption and use, and the 2017 HIMSS Davies Award for improving patient outcomes and care processes using health IT and analytics. He previously served as CIO at Sharp HealthCare, where he helped automate the continuum of care to extend beyond the inpatient setting, and Centura Health. Before assuming the CIO post at Stanford Children’s, he was a partner at Healthlink and IBM.
Kopetsky credits his training in systems engineering and experience in integrating healthcare organizations for his ability to spot industry trends and innovate solutions. He also says he was privileged to work with and learn from gifted leaders and mentors throughout his career, and to be supported by talented teams. He sees his role, and that of other healthcare IT leaders, as a warrior for change and improvement in healthcare.
“It is just what we do,” he said. “If you are just keeping the lights on, you are toast.”
He was among the pioneering CIOs to become founding members of CHIME in 1992 and has been an active member of HIMSS since 1987. He started and chaired a HIMSS chapter in San Diego in 1988 and three decades later joined the HIMSS Executive Institute. His contributions to CHIME include board member (1996-1999) CHIME chair (1998) and CHIME Foundation Board member (2002-2005). After losing his son to an accidental opioid overdose in late 2017, he helped launch the CHIME Opioid Task Force in 2018, which he co-chairs.
Kopetsky will be honored on Feb. 11 at the 2019 CHIME HIMSS CIO Forum in Orlando, Fla. He will officially receive the award at the HIMSS19 conference that runs Feb. 11-15 in Orlando. The award is named for John E. Gall Jr., who pioneered implementation of the first fully integrated medical system in the world in El Camino Hospital in California in the 1960s.