Inside CHIME: With Referrals, One Good Deed Leads to Another

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By Candace Stuart, Director of Communications & Public Relations, CHIME

Sometimes all it takes is an invitation from a well-respected colleague to accelerate a career. For two healthcare IT executives in Indiana, following up on Chuck Christian’s suggestion that they join CHIME led to educational opportunities and a desire to do the same good deed for their peers.

Craig Rice, director of information technology and lean six sigma of Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Ind., said he wanted to grow professionally when Christian reached out to him with a recommendation that he join CHIME. Christian, vice president of technology and engagement at the Indiana Health Information Exchange in Indianapolis, is a charter member of CHIME and a prominent healthcare IT leader in Indiana and nationally. Rice had learned many of his skills on the job during his nine-year tenure at Schneck in addition to attending conferences.

“It had been a while since I had some really focused leadership training,” he said, citing the CHIME Healthcare CIO Boot Camp as a way to do that. “I was interested in seeing what I can do better … learning from people who have been doing this for years and years and align myself with what the leaders in this industry are doing.”

Jim Boyer, CIO and vice president of information technology at Rush Memorial Hospital in Rushville, Ind., also was looking for opportunities to stretch himself professionally when Christian encouraged him to explore the educational programs at CHIME. Boyer, like Rice, joined CHIME about a year ago. When he learned about the 2017 Fall CIO Boot Camp, he put attendance on his wish list. Both Rice and Boyer were accepted into the program, which took place at the end of October in San Antonio, Texas.

“It was really transformational,” said Boyer, a Rushville native who has held his CIO title for 15 years. “It helped me find myself again.” He praised the faculty for their knowledge and mentorship, particularly Christian and George (Buddy) Hickman, executive vice president and system CIO at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. That mentorship continues; over Thanksgiving weekend, Boyer and Hickman spent an hour talking by phone.

Rice calls membership, and boot camp in particular, impactful and rewarding. He followed boot camp with the CHIME Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) exam, which he passed. He now considers himself part of a supportive community. “I know I am not alone,” he said. “There are experienced leaders in the industry dealing with all these same issues that I am dealing with …  I have a partner to help me figure some of this out.”

Based on their experiences, Rice and Boyer plan to follow Christian’s example. Rice is telling his peers in Indiana about his experiences with CHIME and discussing membership resources. “I definitely want to be an advocate and get more folks involved,” he said.

Boyer, who also intends to seek CHCIO certification, wants to participate in upcoming CHIME events and otherwise contribute as a member. He is telling CIOs, healthcare IT directors and informatics employees about CHIME and membership opportunities. “I am paying forward,” he said. “I want to see them grow and benefit.”

Editor’s note: CHIME welcomes membership referrals. Send your friends and colleagues here for more information about joining CHIME or its affiliate organizations.  

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