History was made this week. For the first time, a woman was nominated by a major party for President of the United States. Nearly 100 years after women won the right to vote and 240 years after the founding of our country, Hillary Clinton has broken this barrier. Did you hear the glass breaking? I did and it was music to my ears.
Across this country, women have proven they can do anything a man can do in any field. Yet women lag behind in pay, in executive roles and are poorly represented in fields like technology. In a longitudinal salary assessment, HIMSS found that women’s share of health IT salaries for comparable jobs is smaller than it was ten years ago. That means we are losing ground!
I’ve written and spoken about this and will continue to do so. As I was quoted in a recent article, Removing the Glass Ceiling in Health IT, we need to be open about this problem. Naming a problem is the beginning of addressing it. I could sit back quietly but I won’t. I owe it to the next generation of women, my daughters and my granddaughters to speak up. I was influenced by the women’s movement of the 1970’s, so I know that if we don’t speak up, we will never make the changes we need.
At last year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was greeted by a 10-year-old boy with, “I thought only men were managers”. Continue reading
It’s been 3 months since the IT leadership team here launched a visual management board and started a thrice-weekly huddle. Since then, we have made numerous adjustments to improve our process.
Initially, the board was in a conference room; we sat around the table for the 15 minute huddles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. While it was not the ideal setup, it was the way to deal with a distributed leadership team. A few weeks ago, we moved the board out into an open area where everyone walks by and started doing the huddle standing up. We installed a speaker phone next to the board. It’s not a perfect arrangement but it works.
No surprise that it is very different when the group is standing in an open area: more transparency and visibility. We can invite people to observe our huddle and show the board to others who want to learn about it.
Working with the leadership team, we refined our goals to be:
- Reduce cycle time – “get things unstuck”
- Reduce preventable incidents
- Ensure ownership and accountability
- Reduce variation
- Increase coordination and communication between teams
- Ensure we deliver on top priorities
- Focus constantly on customer satisfaction and provide superior service to end users
The sections of the board are the same ones we started with:
- Production environment – To track major incidents and any open tickets that need escalation. We display the number of open tickets by system, critical open tickets, and approved system changes for the week.
- Top priority initiatives – To confirm our highest priorities and review issues that need to be addressed. We display the go live calendar, project successes from the previous week, and the dashboard from the Project Management Office.
- Metrics – To track key department wide metrics. We display metrics including key infrastructure stats, and operating budget vs plan.
- People – To highlight new hires, recognize staff, and raise awareness on recruitment efforts. We list open positions, pictures of new hires, and employee appreciation awards.
- Everyday Lean Ideas (ELI) – To provide a central place for staff to suggest improvements.
We have a standard script for our huddles. Continue reading
If you are an IT professional supporting major production environments and applications, you have most likely experienced a significant system outage at some point. We had one of those events this week. As in previous experiences in other organizations, I saw people at their best come together as a team working diligently to restore systems. This team included IT, clinical and operations staff.
I know CIO colleagues who recently managed through a week long outage of their business systems in one case and a multiple day outage of their electronic health record in another. They could probably share similar lessons following those experiences.
In the spirit of teaching and learning from one another, I offer these key points if you have a significant event: Continue reading
My husband and I are as in between as anyone who has ever done a long distance move. Our possessions are on a truck somewhere between Ann Arbor, Michigan and Providence, Rhode Island. Stuffed into our cars is everything that can’t or shouldn’t go on the moving truck.
This is the fifth long distance move we’ve done together and we hope, the last. We are headed back to New England, the part of the country where we wanted to end up.
I will continue working at University Hospitals in Cleveland during the week as the interim CIO until we hire a new permanent CIO but my home base now shifts east.
We made some close friends in a few short years in Michigan. We did a long goodbye with them on weekends over the past few months. And we promised to continue what we started by keeping in touch any way we can. We issued an open invitation to our guest room.
We started this move in March getting our house ready for market. We thought (and hoped) we’d sell quickly. Instead, we found ourselves buying in a hot market where houses were gone before we could see them but selling in a slower market. Once again we’ve learned that you can’t count on the market being in your favor.
As we packed and purged, we found goods that others could use and filled the cars with donations. We donated lots of clothes in good shape but in sizes we’ll never see again. This included business clothes that women needing a fresh start can use for interviews and getting back into the workforce.
I’ve once again learned about making tradeoffs and letting go. Continue reading
Many organizations have a Project or Program Management Office (PMO). If not at an organization wide level, at least within the IT department. There are different models. Some PMOs provide standards, tools, methodology and overall tracking. Others provide this foundation as well as a team of project managers (PMs) who can be assigned as needed to major projects. Our PMO at University Hospitals is the latter model.
Our PMO has evolved under our new manager, Joe Stuczynski. He and his team are making significant improvements with the support of IT leadership. They have developed a roadmap for further changes and improvements for the next year.
It is refreshing to be in an organization where we are not debating about the tools and whether they are good enough. We are not debating about what projects need to run through the PMO and if everyone needs to follow the standards.
Instead, we are embracing and leveraging the tools and the PMO is able to focus on what it should be – tracking projects and providing PMs to manage projects. Continue reading