Marc Probst took the stage in a packed ballroom at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes and helped set the tone for the CHIME15 Fall CIO Forum.
The 2016 Chair-elect of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Board of Trustees unveiled the organization’s newly minted vision statement: Exceptional Leaders Transforming Healthcare. It’s the culmination of years of work of chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders striving to become strategic partners with the rest of the C-suite and across their organizations, Probst said.
That message became the unofficial theme of the two-and-a-half day conference. From two-dozen breakout sessions to inspiring keynote addresses to hallway chatter, the nearly 800 health IT leaders gathered in Orlando talked about ways that they are transforming healthcare. It’s about guiding an organization’s strategy, CHIME CEO and President Russell Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, said during his opening remarks. CIOs have been clamoring for this opportunity for a while, it is now time to seize the moment, he added.
During a breakout session on aligning CIO perspectives with the rest of the C-suite, Timothy Zoph, LCHIME, FCHIME, CHCIO, senior vice president, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, noted that healthcare is seemingly in a constant state of flux and no one is totally sure what the delivery system will ultimately look like. Even so, CIOs must stand and deliver, he said. “Your experience is too valuable to be on the sidelines. It’s going to become a core requirement of your job to be seen as a change leader in your organization,” Zoph said.
Even sessions that, on the surface, seemed focused on a technology solution, provided a look at how IT is a key — if not the key — driver in delivery system transformation. Randy McCleese, FCHIME, LCHIME, CHCIO, vice president of information systems and CIO, St. Claire Regional Medical Center, detailed his 159-bed hospital’s approach to data exchange, which, he pointed out, data is instrumental to advancing population health management and value-based care.
In another track session, Mary Carroll Ford, CHCIO, CIO, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and Twosixtwo Fiveonezerozero, CIO, Norton Sound Health Corp., detailed how telehealth and information exchange have improved access to care across Alaska’s vast landscape. They explained some of the challenges, such as integrating telehealth with an electronic medical record, but also highlighted how multiple organizations came together to share data under a unified EMR. This has enabled clinicians to gain immediate access to medical records and promote population health management.
CHIME15 got off to a positive start with an opening keynote by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. In his lively speech, Achor challenged the audience to embrace the theory of positive psychology — focusing on what helps people develop compassion and optimism. “Every success factor increases when your brain is positive,” he said.
During a breakfast meeting with the CHIME board, Achor asked about the challenges facing the industry. Board members became anxious as they rattled off a laundry list of items — cybersecurity, compliance with strict regulations, growing demands from across their organizations and more. So he turned the tables and had them discuss all of the positives taking place — advances in telemedicine, the use of IT to reduce medical errors and eliminate inefficiencies and improved patient engagement.
“The atmosphere in the room suddenly changed. Everyone felt positive,” he said, adding that it’s the role of a leader to promote that positive environment.
CHIME15 featured equally stimulating addresses from plenary speaker Leana Wen, M.D., who delivered an impassioned message about patient engagement; CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who offered a global perspective on healthcare and innovation; and author Pamela Meyer, whose expertise in sniffing out liars gave everyone some insights not only in how to spot deception, but how to encourage truth telling.
Throughout CHIME15, attendees had multiple opportunities to network, share stories and exchange ideas. CHIME Foundation firms, for example, held 94 focus groups with health system CIOs. The Performance Institute (formerly the Best Practices Institute) Solutions Showcase highlighted 30 innovative collaborations between hospitals and vendors.
Perhaps Wen’s closing comments during her keynote best captured the mood as CHIME15, “We are at a time of unprecedented opportunity.”