You will be hearing a lot about Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro. I am certainly not an expert on Cuba, but I learned a lot about the country and its people recently on an 8-day Road Scholar tour. And I was particularly interested in learning about their healthcare system.
“I wanted to see and experience Cuba before it drastically changes with American influence and investment”. That was the sentiment from many of our fellow travelers.
The trip was called “People and Society: Cienfuegos to Havana”. It included day trips to Trinidad and Santa Clara plus a stop at the Bay of Pigs on our way to Havana. Everywhere we went, we experienced the cultural arts first hand – music and dance from young grade school age students to seniors well into their 80’s. We heard a chamber orchestra and saw a contemporary dance show.
We heard lectures on history, politics, and religion as well as how Cuban millennials view the future. We learned how negatively the U.S. embargo has impacted the people of Cuba. And how they want the embargo fully lifted but with future U.S. investments and development managed.
We had a chance to sit and talk for an hour with a young man who works in a telecom job in health care. I asked about electronic health records and he said they are in the process of implementing a system they have developed.
When I got home and caught up on my email, I learned that a 15-member delegation of healthcare executives visited Cuba while we were there. That delegation was led by former HHS Secretary and Governor Mike Leavitt, and included Dr. David Blumenthal, former National Coordinator at ONC and Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president and CEO. Stephen wrote an insightful blog on the experience. The delegation was a mix of vendor, consulting and provider executives who had gone to see the Cuban healthcare delivery system up close. Continue reading
Transitions of leadership are going on all the time in our organizations: a new CEO, a new VP, or new management at another level; it is change.
As I’ve written about, I just completed such a transition. I have served as an interim CIO for 8 plus months. The agreement for the engagement was that I’d stay through the successful transition to the new CIO. We envisioned a 30 day overlap.
As the start date for the new CIO approached, 30 days seemed very long. Wouldn’t the new CIO want to get in and get started without me around? But as she and I started planning that time, 30 days seemed reasonable for all that we needed to do. When it came time to start the transition, there was so much else going on each day we found it hard to find the time to focus on the transition work. In the end, we both agreed 30 days was the right amount of time and extremely helpful to her.
But a 30-day overlap and transition period can be a luxury. Organizations often go through leadership transitions with far less time or even no time for the old and new leaders to work together. When I took the interim engagement, I had an hour conversation with the previous CIO on his second to last day; that was it. Continue reading
Like many, I am surprised and disappointed at the outcome of the presidential election. From some of my previous posts the past few years, there’s probably no question about my political leanings.
A new message of “forward together” is needed now more than ever. Only half of all eligible voters voted on Tuesday. Half of them voted for Donald Trump and half for Hillary Clinton. She got more popular votes. But that means only one fourth of the country elected our next president. He will need to be a president for all of us.
A dark cloud has hung over us during an incredibly divisive and bitter campaign with often hateful language and bullying behaviors. We may have been afraid to talk to co-workers or neighbors or family members in fear they may support the other candidate and we did not want to have to debate with them. People on both sides felt this way.
Hillary Clinton’s speech to her staff on Wednesday had many important and inspiring messages as we move forward as a country. I encourage you to find the speech online to gain some perspective and to renew your hope for the future.
I watched her speech with my husband and the general contractor on our outside house project. He and his crew have been working here for several weeks on a major redo project – new patio, landscape and fence. They are a nice group of guys and we chat each day. But we consciously never brought up the election.
The general contractor needed to talk to us about a change order so came into the house Wednesday morning. He saw we were not in a good mood and asked who we had supported. He told us he voted for Trump. Bottom line, he thought a change was needed but admitted that he couldn’t defend a lot of what Trump said on the campaign trail. We debated a bit but it was civil.
He said he wanted to see Hillary’s speech when it came on. I went outside and got him when it was time. He sat in our living room with one of our dogs on his lap and watched. I sat behind him in the kitchen with tears. He thanked us for letting him come in and watch and said she made some great points. I told him that I did it with a big heart. Continue reading
My first professional event since moving back to New England is the evening of Monday, November 7th. Boston Health 2.0 is a chapter of the national Health 2.0 organization. They hold monthly meetings to promote, showcase and catalyze new technologies in healthcare. The November event is a panel titled “The Power Women of Health IT: Path to Success”.
All powerful women have advice to give others and stories about obstacles they’ve overcome. This group of women panelists is no different and I’m excited to be part of it. Helen Figge, Senior Vice President, Global Strategies and Development, LumiraDx, USA, Inc., Cara Babachicos, Corporate Director/CIO, Community Hospitals, Partners Healthcare, and I were all honored to be named earlier this year to the “Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT” by Health Data Management. We look forward to sharing our perspectives and stories.
The panel will cover advice on entrepreneurship for women, how women can influence the health IT industry, differing perceptions of competency in men and women, importance of mentorship, how men can be more supportive of professional women, and obstacles we’ve overcome in our own paths to success.
This should be a great discussion with a lot of insight and advice. But which obstacle should I comment on? Looking back to my early days in management, unfortunately there are many stories to share.
There was the male colleague who had it out for me during a five-year period when I was the only woman on the IT leadership team (it was the 80’s). One of the things he did early on was to spread a rumor that I was only in management because I was related to a board member with the same last name. It was so not true; I didn’t even know the board member. Continue reading