Monday was the 42nd annual C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Golf Classic. While the golfers have a lot of fun, it is a significant annual fundraising event that makes an important difference in the lives of children and their families at Mott Children’s Hospital. Over the years, individual and organizational sponsors have provided support for computers at patient bedsides, medically safe camps for children with serious health issues, assistive devices for children with special needs, and many more important projects and services.
The Mott Golf Classic is committed to advancing pediatric medicine and enhancing the care experience for patients and their families. It supports unique initiatives that distinguish Mott Children’s Hospital which is ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Reminding all of us in health care why we do what we do, each year a child and their family are recognized as an honored guest and we hear their story. This year Larry Prout Jr. and his parents, Larry and Kathy, along with his five older siblings and other family members were the guests of honor. Larry Jr. was born with three birth defects – Spina Bifida, Cloacal Exstrophy, and a massive Omphalocele. His parents didn’t know if he would make it through the first 24 hours after birth and there were many times during his first six months that he had to fight for survival. With their love and the specialized medical care of a multi-disciplinary team at Mott, Larry Jr. overcame many setbacks. He is celebrating his 14th birthday on June 11th.
One of my IT leaders, Joe Kryza, Executive Director of Infrastructure and Systems Operations, has made significant contributions over the past 10 plus years to the Mott Family Network, a non-profit volunteer organization that many of our IT staff contribute time to. Continue reading
It’s generally a bad sign when the seat belt warning light for the passenger seat comes on but you are the only one in the car. You’ve got too much weight on that seat and the car thinks it’s a person who needs to fasten their seat belt.
This has happened for me a few times lately. It’s when I have thrown my briefcase and stacks of work for the weekend or the evenings on the seat. Or I’m out of my office at hospital meetings for several days in a row and need various files with me. The passenger seat becomes my file cabinet until I’m back in my office.
If I’ve been out of town to visit family or on business, it gets even harder to manage the volume.
People say they don’t know how I do it….how do I keep on top of everything. I respond, typically, “I don’t do it that well.” I’m my own worst critic. But I try my best.
So how do you survive and be your best at times like this?
Triage skills – Review your email inbox and make sure that the time sensitive ones are answered. Look for emails from your direct reports, boss, peers and customers to handle. Continue reading
New ideas can come from many places. Are new ideas the same as “innovation” which has become almost a buzzword these days? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the answer is yes. Innovation is defined as “the introduction of something new OR a new idea, method or device.”
In the past week, I’ve met with health care CIO colleagues from around the country, heard some excellent speakers at our UMHS annual leadership day and met with my staff at our semi-annual all staff meeting. New ideas came from all those varied places.
Meeting with CIO colleagues last week, I heard a lot of great ideas. I learned about a new mobile app that addresses the stress that families feel when their loved one is in surgery because they lack information. I learned about a storefront “genius bar” service inside a hospital that helps patients and families sign up for the patient portal, get information about the best mobile health apps, and connect their FitBit or glucose monitoring device to health apps. I learned how one colleague is applying a successful implementation go live readiness assessment approach to ongoing project and support work. And I learned how a colleague is leveraging a product’s additional functionality only to realize that we haven’t begun to make the most of that same product here at UMHS. I will be sharing all these ideas in more detail with my leadership team in the coming days. Continue reading
National Nurses Week officially ends today, May 12th on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. But of course you can thank a nurse and recognize him or her any day, any time. Many of us have personal stories of being cared for by a nurse with great skill and empathy.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. But my part-time high school and college jobs were actually as a nurse aide in nursing homes. I saw firsthand how nurses cared for the elderly and how hard their work was.
There are several nurses in my family whom I love dearly and respect greatly. I know I can call on them whenever I have a health question. I have to be careful to not abuse this access. Every family who has a nurse or doctor amongst them knows how valuable they can be.
My sister, Mary Sheehan, is a nurse. She went on to get a master’s degree in public health. She ran just about every division in the Minnesota public health department during her long tenure with the state. Before retiring she served as a county health and human services director. Continue reading
I spent the better part of a day this week at the annual meeting of the Epic Michigan Users Group (we call it eMUG). But I don’t want to focus on Epic. I want to talk about the value of learning from your peers. It could be any vendor or any user group.
This was our fourth annual eMUG conference. Given space limitations, we had 200 attendees last year and with the venue this year we were able to accommodate 400, a significant increase. With 11 health systems in Michigan on Epic, that’s a good size group from each organization.
When asked for a show of hands on how many had been to Epic’s national user group meeting (UGM) before, only 25-30% of the attendees raised their hands. Local user group meetings like eMUG give many more staff a chance to attend and connect with their peers. National user group meetings are costly with airline and hotel expenses for a couple days.
This eMUG meeting was a content rich day: Continue reading
We make all kinds of decisions every day. Some are small yet seem difficult at the time. One I sometimes joke about is ordering off a restaurant menu that has too many good choices. When I finally make my order, I tell the server that I have made my “major life decision” for the night.
Sometimes a group makes a decision after weeks or months of lengthy deliberation: many groups have weighed in, expressed their concerns, asked their questions, refined the plan or recommendation, and only then ultimately provided their support.
And then there are the potentially very impactful decisions that must be made in a matter of minutes with the best information you have available after a very quick weighing of the risks. I had to make one of those decisions last Friday.
We had scheduled our Epic version 2014 upgrade for the weekend. The plan was to bring down the production system at 12:30 AM Saturday. The system would be down until 5:00 AM while the final conversion tasks were completed. IT and operations staff were scheduled in the command center to monitor the upgrade and address any problems. Leadership calls were scheduled daily to review issues starting Saturday.
At 11:51 AM on Friday, I got a text Continue reading
Future IT worker helps with the a/v during the morning presentation.
Yesterday the IT Department hosted 25 children for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. This annual event is a great way to encourage both girls and boys to consider careers in health care and information technology.
I kicked things off at breakfast and talked with all the participating young people (ages 6-13) and their parents. I met many of the parents and children individually as they signed in and ate breakfast. One parent said to her child that I was her boss’s, boss’s, boss. I said they should think of me like the principal at their school – in charge of everyone in our IT department. I thought it would relate to them better than saying CIO. Continue reading
The biggest HIT event of the year is over – more than 43,000 attendees, over 300 education sessions, and over 1,200 exhibitors. Say what you want about the long taxi lines at the end of the day, all in all the service provided by HIMSS, hotel and convention staff was great. Say what you want about the slow performance of the HIMSS15 mobile app, there were many other ways to find out what was happening and where you needed to be. I will say though that our UMHS users would be all over me if our systems had such slow performance – I guess for an app that has the life cycle of a 4 day conference, you can get away with it. But let’s hope for improvements next year!
I’ll leave the deep analysis on market trends, vendors, and big announcements to the professionals who write for a living. I have a day job to get back to. But I will share a few highlights and thoughts after my time in Chicago: Continue reading
The health IT event of the year is almost here. Yes, just a few more days until HIMSS15 and time for education, networking and vendor exploration. Whenever HIMSS is in Chicago, some people worry about the weather. But it looks like we’ll have high temps in the 60’s so you southern and west coast folks can leave behind your boots and gloves! I am sure the Boston attendees will not bring snow.
I’ve attended HIMSS many times and have learned how to make the most of my time there. So, whether it’s your first HIMSS or you are a veteran, here are some useful tips:
Education sessions – The best ones will be standing room only. If you really want to hear a particular presentation, get there early. Room locations may be very far apart so map out your next session. Pay attention to the session designation in the listing – basic, advanced, or intermediate. The last thing you want to do is walk half a mile to get to a session that is targeted at a different level audience.
Networking – Networking is one of the greatest values of this annual event. HIMSS provides many ways to find people with similar interests as yours. Plan ahead: Continue reading
Last week I spoke with high school and college age women about the Journey to a Successful Career in Information Technology. I gave the keynote at an event jointly sponsored by the Student Resource and Women’s Center and Career Services at Washtenaw Community College. The event was part of their women in non-traditional careers series. It was fun to do – having a chance to encourage and inspire the next generation of information technology professionals. And it was great to see some familiar faces in the audience – a number of women from our IT team decided to attend as well.
I started my talk by profiling real women in real IT jobs today – 8 women from our IT team. Their positions include service desk, business analyst, programmer, database administrator, data architect, project manager, training manager, and infrastructure manager. I described what they do in a typical day and the skills they need in each position. One comment overheard after the talk: “This is exactly what these girls need – to see that women can and do work in IT. Then they can picture themselves doing it, too.” Continue reading