The first three months of my interim CIO engagement at University Hospitals has flown by. I’m fortunate to be working with a very talented IT team and we recognize there is always room for improvement. We have already made some very positive changes and improvements. We are tightening up how we manage and monitor the production environment to reduce preventable incidents. We do a root cause analysis on every major incident and review them as a team at our bi-weekly leadership meeting, tracking all subsequent action items. We are making progress on numerous major priority projects and there have been several system upgrades and go lives during this period. We are doing detailed planning for our new hospital integration efforts. We are launching our visual management board and leadership huddle next week as part of our lean efforts. And we have re-established an executive level IT steering committee addressing the critical need for IT governance.
Our third IT steering committee will be Monday evening. Our CEO and other senior executives are engaged – exactly what we needed. They are developing a deeper understanding of our current work and the many new requests we have received since this year’s budget was approved. We have reviewed with Continue reading
My mother had to go to work to support four children after my father died from cancer. I was active in the women’s movement in my college years. So, I can’t imagine women not having a career outside the home if they so choose or if they have to support themselves and their families.
Although I was very interested in math growing up, I got into IT somewhat by accident; I had wanted to be a math teacher. But in the late 70’s the field of computer science was exploding and there was an easy entry path. I went to a technical school and got a certificate in programming. I learned to code in 7 different languages. I doubt that any of them are still remotely useful. I didn’t work as a programmer for long but stayed on the IT path. I worked as an analyst for a while and then moved into management in 1984.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (TODASTW) is coming up soon – April 28th. Last year, we had a very successful event at University of Michigan Health System and I’m hoping they are doing it again even bigger and better this year. I’ve learned that we don’t do any TODASTW programs at UH. With everything else on my plate, I wasn’t going to try to start it in our IT department.
Technology is a significant part of our future – as workers and consumers. Technology jobs are some of the highest paying jobs. Continue reading
Mergers and acquisitions in health care have been common in recent years. Small community hospitals are becoming part of much larger integrated health systems. One of the common challenges these systems face is providing effective local service from central corporate departments.
Health systems may span a large metropolitan area, a portion of a state, or a multi-state region. And there are systems with a national footprint.
The health systems I’ve worked for are mostly the first; they have covered a large metropolitan area. Local hospitals may be as much as 100 miles apart and the corporate office somewhere in the middle. While much of the work goes on every day without face to face interaction, people are often expected to drive to key meetings either at the corporate office or at the hospitals. But the distances and the traffic can challenge support models for corporate functions. Continue reading
April is a mixed month for me. No, I’m not talking about the fact that we had snow this week. In April, I celebrate many happy milestones, including my birthday and my wedding anniversary. And now, both my daughters have April wedding anniversaries. And the blooming daffodils along the road remind me that spring is finally here.
Yet, there is always a sad part of April for me. My father died from Hodgkin’s disease on April 23rd, just a few days before my fourth birthday. Losing a parent as a child leaves a hole in your heart and shapes who you are.
Stephen Covey has a great story about “big rocks”. If you’re not familiar with it, just google it. Our families are our big rocks and my daughters remind me of that. And as little as they are, my grandchildren are also big rocks for me. Every time one of my daughters calls me on FaceTime and I see a cute little toddler smiling at me from my iPhone, I fall in love with them all over again. Continue reading
The whiteboard in my office has become a working draft for our IT leadership visual management board. And it’s become a focal point of discussion as I socialize the idea with our IT VPs, directors and managers. I’m encouraged that everyone who gets the walkthrough supports the idea and sees the value in it. They see the potential it has to address some fundamental problems in how we work as a department.
Ownership of the board is shifting to the team. I’m using color coded sticky notes to add ideas and pose questions. I’ve encouraged IT leaders to stop by and put their own sticky notes up as we develop it together.
Some have asked if they should do something similar with their own team. The answer is yes! We need to commit at the leadership level and model behaviors. But to truly be effective, each team should have some kind of visual management and huddle that rolls up to the leadership huddle. Continue reading