It’s that time of year. Maybe you just did a spring break trip with your kids or you are planning your summer getaway. Whatever it may be, you need to take time to reboot.
Leave the job behind and leave good people in charge and covering for you. Companies give vacation and PTO time for just that – Personal. Time. Off.
Over the years, I have gotten better at checking out and turning it off. I learned my lesson the hard way on a vacation many years ago with my family. It was ruined by being totally available for problems that arose back at work. I spent most of my time either on the phone or worrying about what was going on. Turns out, it wasn’t even concrete problems that needed to be addressed; it was just work politics.
I’ve shared my thoughts on the importance of taking time off openly so others don’t have to learn the hard way like I did. And I encourage my staff to take their vacation time and check out while away.
As it is, the days leading up to a vacation and the days following are tough enough. There’s everything you think you need to get done that just can’t wait a week or two on the front end. And then thinking you are a super human who can get through all their email for a week or two on the first day back. For those of you who can, is that badge of honor worth it? Continue reading
I am a lean leader and always willing to share my learnings. I’ve written several blog posts chronicling my lean experience at different organizations. Some of them have been quite popular with readers. I’ll call them my “lean classics”. Here’s a recap for your reference:
Huddles and Visual Management:
Leadership huddles: not just another meeting – describes my first IT leadership huddle launch back at University of Michigan Health System. As my lean coach said at the time, be willing to experiment, it doesn’t have to be perfect. We learned and tweaked it as we went through the PDCA cycle.
Making the invisible visible – describes the beginning stages of the visual board our IT leadership team created at University Hospitals in Cleveland.
Making the invisible visible – part 2 – describes that same effort several months after we launched it and how we used it as a team.
6 tips for successful huddle boards – based on experience, my advice to those considering their own huddle boards. Remember, you need to be willing to experiment.
Importance of rounding or going to the “gemba” – describes early experience with clinical and operational rounding both at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and University of Michigan Health System. Continue reading
A month ago, I started a new interim CIO engagement. This time I am serving Stony Brook Medicine on Long Island in New York. My last interim CIO position at University Hospitals in Cleveland ended in October. Since then, I have taken a break by design. When I started this new chapter, I wanted to work less than full time over the course of the year and have more flexibility in my life.
During this “break” period I wasn’t exactly idle though. I spent a lot of time doing start-up work for my new health IT advisory firm, StarBridge Advisors. And of course, I’ve spent plenty of time with my family, especially my four grandkids. My husband of 40+ years and I have had fun seeing each other so much but if you ask him, he’d say he was ready for me to be gone several days a week! He loves his quiet time and having the house to himself for a while.
This opportunity at Stony Brook Medicine brings a new set of challenges, but also many familiar ones I’ve seen before as a veteran healthcare CIO. Continue reading
Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) and #healthITchicks are two initiatives that focus on developing women in technology. As National Women’s History Month ends, I want to profile two leaders who are committed to developing women in IT through these groups. Leaders who inspire others.
Jennifer Dennard founded the #healthITchicks community several years ago. I asked her why she decided to start it, and she said, “I felt that women working in healthcare technology needed a dedicated social media space where they could network, learn, advise, and ultimately harness the tremendous energy and expertise they have in a way that would be beneficial to us all.”
Lofty as that sounds, she admits it may have been shortsighted. She believes that, the women (and men) who have joined have helped the #healthITchicks community blossom into truly a force for good. So what have they accomplished?
The network has grown to over 550 people, and the hashtag has taken on a life all its own. Her efforts have provided a springboard to the many conversations about women working in health IT and technology at large. Continue reading
We have two little dogs. Pepe is a 10 year old Shih Tzu/poodle and Coco is an 8 year old Shih Tzu /Bichon. Pepe had been getting frailer and weaker throughout the Fall months.
We thought this might be her last year with us. But her blood work in November showed that she has a thyroid problem. She now gets a daily medication and has more energy and no longer sleeps most of the day. The name Pepe (as in peppy) is fitting her again.
She had also been losing weight and getting very thin. So, we started her on canned food. Maybe she had a problem with the dry food she has always eaten. Or maybe Coco, who is dominant, wasn’t letting her get to the food dish. What dog or cat doesn’t love canned food??? Pepe loves it and has been gaining weight. While my husband and I are still getting used to that nasty moment when you first open the can of wet food, we do it because we love her and want her to gain weight and get strong. It’s working.
When we recently took Pepe to the vet to deal with a digestive problem, the vet found she had a broken tooth and the area around it was inflamed. She would need surgery to have it pulled. That happened this week and all is well. She is even back to eating treats that take some chewing. In hindsight, the broken tooth could have been the reason she stopped eating the dry food.
Animals can’t talk or “use their words” as we tell small children, so it’s hard to know when something is wrong. And it’s hard to know the interconnections between all these issues. Continue reading
There continues to be a lot of focus on telecommuting and open office space for knowledge workers in large organizations. Both are important yet not everyone agrees they are good – a lot depends on the organization and the culture.
But I want to focus on another “space planning” topic, co-location. As health care organizations grow, administrative departments including IT often end up being spread out in many office buildings, sometimes at great distances from the hospital with a lot of traffic in between.
The investment needed to centralize all the administrative functions in one building often takes backseat to investing capital in clinical space. No surprise. Video conferencing is always an option for bridging the miles. This technology continues to advance and become more of a commodity. National and global companies must leverage technology but health care systems are mostly local or regional.
In my many years of health IT management, I’ve experienced a variety of space situations: Continue reading
Remember those first few days on a new job? You were officially onboarded, and signed a lot of forms. You learned all the basic processes and policies that new employees need to know. And you got the big picture of the organization’s mission, vision, values and culture. Your head is spinning by the end of day one and even week one, but everyone is patient with you. They recognize that it is a lot to take in.
In that early period when you are introduced to lots of people, everyone is so happy to see you. Everyone is offering to help you get up to speed, and do whatever they can to make your onboarding smooth.
And then you realize they all need something from you. They all think you can solve all the problems. But you are still given some time before you start waving your magic wand.
You’re on a honeymoon. It will be measured in days or weeks but usually not months. You must drink from the firehose, get to know all the key people and start adding value. “Proving yourself,” as they say.
You may have relocated, so you’re also getting to know your new town.
It can be exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time. Continue reading
It is the beginning of National Women’s History Month. It has been celebrated since 1987 but has its roots in International Women’s Day (March 8th) which started in 1911. The National Women’s History Week was first declared by President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
This year’s theme is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”. Last year’s theme was “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government”.
I doubt there are any greeting cards at the store to celebrate this month. But who needs a corny card. Women just want to be paid equally, afforded the same opportunities as men and recognized for their contributions in all aspects of life.
With the 2017 theme focused on business, you can learn more about the women being recognized this year at the National Women’s History Project.
- Barbara Hackman Franklin, former Secretary of Commerce under President George H.W. Bush who served five presidents in various roles and led efforts to increase the number of women in government.
- Alexis Herman, first African American to serve as Secretary of Labor and who led the effort to institute a global child labor standard. She also launched an aggressive initiative to help unemployed youth.
- Lilly Ledbetter, equal pay activist whose long fight is reflected in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama in 2009.
- Barbara “Dusty” Roads, flight attendants union leader who fought against the airline industry’s sexist working conditions and regulations in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Norma Yaeger, first woman stockbroker to be permitted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the 1960s.
With my career focus on technology within healthcare, I want to highlight some women in technology and science I’ve learned about recently. Continue reading
There could be as many different wrap-ups on HIMSS17 as there were people there – over 42,000. No one sees the same vendor exhibits, hears the same presenters, or talks to the same people. There are conferences within conferences. So here’s just one wrap-up – mine.
The first speaker I heard did a great job of scaring all the CIO’s. Kevin Mitnick, the world’s most famous hacker and security consultant, and author of several books including his most recent one, The Art of Invisibility, was the opening keynote at the CIO Forum on Sunday. His talk, “The Art of Deception: How Hackers and Con Artists Manipulate You and What You Can Do About It”, included real-time demonstrations. He drove home the point about how vulnerable we are as individuals and organizations. I highly recommend checking out his website to learn more or get scared yourself.
Dr. B.J. Miller was the final speaker at the CIO forum. His talk, “What Really Matters at the End of Life”, was a very sobering view of palliative and hospice care yet strangely inspiring at the same time. As he said, “Spending time thinking about your time on the planet while you have time is important – don’t wait.” I highly recommend listening to his Ted Talk with this same title.
I have been asked to serve on the CHIME Education Foundation Board again so Monday morning meant a board meeting. Continue reading
The countdown to HISS17 is in the final days. As I wrote the past two weeks, the best way to think about your prep for HIMSS17 is in three ways – education, vendors, and networking. This post is the last in a three-part series – focusing on networking. It has to be the last, you’ve probably finalized your schedule for education and vendors. Now, you’re thinking about what to pack at this point. For us Northerners that means pulling out some summer like clothes and shoes – I’m looking forward to that part!
Have you been to HIMSS conferences before and know tons of people in the industry? If so, networking is probably not an issue for you. Are you relatively new to HIMSS conferences and want to make a lot of new connections? If yes, then this post might be useful.
I know a few things about networking. After all, one of my daughters’ nicknames for me is the “network queen”. Here are some tips to consider:
Scheduled receptions and meetups – There are plenty of these including an orientation for first time attendees, opening reception for all attendees, local chapter events, vendor receptions, and topic focused Continue reading