Inside CHIME: Spring CIO Forum Focuses on Leading Change


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Weinstock 70x70 3.2.17 by Matthew Weinstock
Director of Communications and Public Relations, CHIME

Keynote speakers challenged CHIME members to respond to some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare and to reimagine how the delivery system is structured.

During a night out with college friends in 1990, B.J. Miller climbed on top of a parked commuter train. It seemed harmless at the time, but things quickly turned tragic when 11,000 volts of electricity arched out of some train equipment and into the watch on Miller’s left wrist. Suffering serious burns and other injuries, Miller survived but ended up losing both of legs below the knee and his left forearm.

Not one to be defined by his disability, Miller, now a palliative care doctor at UCSF Medical Center, has become a leading voice for reshaping how the healthcare industry – and society at large – views dying patients.

“We inherit this idea that death is all bad,” Miller told the more than 700 attendees packed into a ballroom at the Spring CIO Forum in Orlando last week. “The way we die is harder than it needs to be; there’s unnecessary suffering.”

Addressing the many failings end-of-life care, Miller noted that “dying patients are still living. That alone can help us figure out how to treat people who are dying. A great moment of alignment is when a doctor says to a patient, ‘I don’t know. Let’s look it up together.’ Let’s make some room for some mystery.”

CIOs have a significant role to play in this movement. Clinicians and caregivers across the continuum need to be able to access patient information – not just health data, but information that helps tell the full patient story. The key is figuring out better ways of sharing information “so we are learning from each other,” Miller said.

Miller wasn’t the only speaker to challenge CHIME members to reimagine how the delivery system can be transformed and, importantly, to think about their role in leading that change. Joel Selanikio, M.D., delivered a sobering analysis of the health IT market, user adoption and the disruptive forces lurking in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Selanikio told a cautionary tale of what happens to companies and industries that fail to adapt to new consumer demands and disruptive innovation. He reminded CHIME members of Nokia’s E61 smartphone, which helped propel the company to $75 billion in revenue in 2006. That was the peak for Nokia. A year later, Apple introduced the iPhone and Nokia’s revenue plummeted, along with such other smartphone manufacturers as Blackberry.

According to Selanikio, three key changes have helped push forward new innovations in technology: improved storage capacity, better connectivity, and increased computing power. At the same time, companies like Apple have ushered in a new era of consumer-centric devices. Providers and technology companies need to adapt, especially as consumerism pushes further into healthcare.

Of course, the more connected healthcare becomes, the higher risk of a hack or breach. Hacker-turned-consultant Kevin Mitnick put on a terrifying display at the CIO Forum of just how easy it is to compromise a computer network. Yet for all of the impressive gadgets and real-time demonstrations that he showed off, perhaps the most important part of Mitnick’s keynote was this: “The human element is the weakest link in cybersecurity.”

He cautioned that hackers will use a variety of tricks to build trust with unsuspecting victims and then deploy various technical tactics to breach a system. He rattled off a few important approaches CIOs can take to manage risk:

  • Conduct simulated phishing attacks
  • Make sure employees update third party software that’s on their desktop
  • Configure incoming and outgoing firewalls correctly
  • Segment your networks

The notion that CIOs need to at the forefront driving change in their organizations was a common theme across the keynote speeches. It was also a focal point for CHIME board chair Liz Johnson as she and CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell addressed members to kick off the forum. The pair highlighted a number of initiatives that CHIME is embarking on to help members take on some of these challenges. Johnson discussed the launch of a board-level initiative aimed at improving diversity among health IT leaders. Branzell announced that CHIME, along with the Association for Executives in Health Information Security, is launching a new center to promote best practices in cybersecurity. Look for more details on these programs and others in upcoming issues of Inside CHIME.


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