Another year, another chance

Whatever resolutions or goals, personal or professional, you had in 2017 – it’s time to revisit, revise, and recommit. The most common ones are go to the gym, eat healthy, lose weight, read more, watch less TV, canstockphoto24043991 (002) NYEspend more time with your family, get organized.

And then there are bigger, loftier goals. My daughter has a saying on the wall of her home office, “Do Something Great Today”. It means doing something bigger than herself.  For her, it is helping her company act more responsibly, to act more sustainably. It is a great motivator to live her values and find ways to have a greater impact.

She also has her personal mission statement on her office wall – “live a life that I’d want for my two daughters”. If she wants something for them, then she must do the same – like be healthy or be a good friend.

I was inspired by a Happy New Year post on LinkedIn from Vicki Davis, VP at Healthcare IT Leaders. She said, “No matter what life has for us, we should enjoy every minute of it. Celebrate the beginning of a new year the most, as it is a clean slate. Set positive goals and resolutions. Hang them where you can see them every hour of the new year. Choose your actions and words wisely this year so that you are remembered as a good human being, a great friend and a true guide when you end this year.”

We all are driven by different motivations. But fundamentally, I believe we all want to be good people and do good for others.

I look forward to another year of learning and making a difference through my client work and the non-profit organizations where I volunteer my time. With my colleagues at StarBridge Advisors, we work with organizations to advance healthcare by leveraging technology.

While I have yet to formulate any bigger than me goals for this year, I am recommitting to some basic resolutions. Continue reading

2017 lessons from an entrepreneur

If 2016 was a year of transition for me, then 2017 was the year of settling into the new. That is, if launching a new business and working with new clients can be called settling in. As 2018 looms, it’s time canstockphoto46064496 (002)to reflect on lessons from 2017.

2017 has been a year of learning what it takes to grow a business and gain the trust of clients. I covered this in the post, “One year anniversary, how are we doing?” It’s also been a year of learning how to spend more time with family – my retired husband, my daughters and grandkids. But that will have to wait for a future post.

My most important business lessons this year:

Do what you love and are good at – Yes, it’s important to have stretch goals and get out of your comfort zone. But if you truly love what you do, you are going to get better all the time. Our client work at StarBridge Advisors involves a range of IT consulting, interim management and leadership coaching. As an operations type person and change agent, I enjoy being an interim CIO. To work for a period with a new team and figure out how best to help them succeed is challenging and rewarding. And to work with someone as an executive coach as they learn about themselves, identify their development needs and goals, and work through their action plan is also very challenging and rewarding.

Relationships are everything – Whether it’s our clients or channel partners, developing and sustaining honest, open and trusting relationships is critical to success. Continue reading

HIMSS Stage 7: what does it take?

This week, I participated in another HIMSS Analytics Acute Care EMRAM Stage 7 review team as the CIO reviewer. During the opening presentations by the organization’s leadership, I leaned over to theHIMSS EMRAM 2018

full-time HIMSS reviewer to say, “They are hitting it out of the ballpark”. By the end of the day, our three-person review team had indeed reached that conclusion. The full-time reviewer said, “Some organizations barely clear the bar but this one far exceeded it.”

Only 6.1% of hospitals have achieved Stage 7.  What does it take?

On review day, the review team is presented with information that includes a system overview, including governance, clinical and business intelligence, health information exchange, and plans for disaster recovery and business continuity.

The review team has been given a 17-page document that includes checklists for each major clinical area.

Several case studies are presented that demonstrate how the organization has used the system to improve clinical care.

The organization prepares for this visit for months, developing the case studies and verifying they have met every specific criterion. The full-time reviewer spends time on the phone reviewing their readiness.

Achieving Stage 7 takes teamwork throughout the organization to fully leverage all aspects of the vendor’s product. It takes engagement and passion from executives and clinicians.

The organization we were reviewing implemented their EMR according to these guiding principles: Continue reading

Working remote: self-sufficiency required, collaboration a plus

I woke up Monday morning after a sleepless night with a text from my daughter, Ann, “do you have power?”. Only 10 miles from our house, her neighborhood had lost power and Internet access due to the Lunch Learn Graphicstorm while we were up-and-running. Ann works from home as Communications Manager for a national company, and was not interested in wasting a sick day sitting in the dark. So after dropping my granddaughters off at daycare, she set up shop in our dining room.

Except for being limited to just her laptop and not the two large extension monitors in her home office, she was ready for a productive day. A year ago, I would have thought she was crazy for needing two monitors, but she convinced me to get a second. There’s nothing like it for multi-tasking and having multiple windows open when you are working on a project.

We respected each other’s space and work. We had minimal conversation when I went to the kitchen for coffee. But in our two brief morning interactions, we casually discussed the common challenges of remote workers – one being the isolation. And I got some new ideas from her.

Half the dining room table was covered in my receipts as I was working on expense reports. I used to just hand the task over to my executive assistant, but in my new life, I do them myself. I dislike the task so much that I get way behind. Monday was the day to catch up. Continue reading

Outside eyes can help

A year ago, I was asked by a University CIO to participate in an External Advisory Committee on Information Technology. At that point, I was just finishing up the interim CIO engagement at University canstockphoto47150931Hospitals and launching a new HIT advisory firm, StarBridge Advisors. I asked the CIO “why me” and considered the time commitment. I said yes.

This week I attended the second half day in-person meeting of the committee. The first was a few days before I started the interim CIO engagement at Stony Brook Medicine in March.

These commitments to other organizations take time: time to review extensive materials in advance, travel and connecting flights, and in-person meetings.

But they are a win-win.

I learn and they learn. I am impressed with this CIO and his IT leadership team as I have gotten to know them. I am impressed with the support and engagement they have been able to garner from the Chancellor and Provost. I am impressed with my colleagues on the committee – a mix of university CIOs and IT business leaders. And I’m impressed with the ambitious, multi-year roadmap to replace their financial, HR and student administration systems with a new, integrated solution.

While my IT experience is in healthcare, I have worked in academic medical centers and collaborated with university IT teams. Financial and HR systems are universal across industries. But I have not gone this deep, before, into the unique systems of the higher education sector. I’m learning that student administration systems have some of the same complexities and challenges that electronic health records have in my world.

Of course, IT implementations regardless of industry and domain have many common components. Addressing a current state that is fragmented, self-developed, and highly customized with proven, integrated vendor solutions is not new to me. The many decisions involved in data conversions and archive strategies, the establishment of robust data governance, the inclusion of change management throughout the project – these are all components that we in IT know are fundamental to success. Continue reading

One year anniversary, how are we doing?

For the first birthdays of my four grandkids, there have been party hats and “smash” cakes. But what does a small team of entrepreneurs do on the first anniversary of founding their firm? They take stock and plan canstockphoto48088945for year two.

David Muntz, Russ Rudish and I launched StarBridge Advisors in October of 2016. So how does a health IT advisory firm measure success after year one?

Number of clients – We have already assisted 12 healthcare provider organizations with some repeat engagements and have national reach.

Revenue – Any first-year projections can be a crapshoot but you need to start somewhere. We may have been overly optimistic but we are well on our way with our client base and pipeline.

Size of our team – In addition to our three principals, we now have almost 20 advisors on our team available for interim management, leadership support and consulting. Their IT leadership experience includes serving as CIO, CTO, CISO, CMIO or CNIO in healthcare organizations.

Channel partners – We work closely with several larger consulting firms who offer services that we don’t. We partner with Healthcare IT Leaders, a leading staffing firm and Rudish Executive Search, which specializes in healthcare.  And we are working with a few start-up technology vendors who are bringing to market new and novel solutions for healthcare providers.

Referrals – Our principals combined have over 90 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Our relationships are a key component of growing a new business and getting known in the market.

Name and brand recognition – A year ago we had decided on a name and incorporated, but had yet to figure out our branding. That was some fun work at first; by January we launched our website and social media presence. Continue reading

Thinking about relocating?

“My spouse won’t move.” You may have heard this if you have ever hired someone who would need to relocate their family. You may have even heard it after you extended the offer. If it happens that late in thecanstockphoto49324635 process, it may be just an easy excuse because they weren’t going to accept the position anyway.

Whether your spouse and family are willing to relocate to a particular city is something that should be discussed and agreed on together very early in the process. Why waste everyone’s time if it’s not going to work.

Relocating is a big decision. I’ve done it several times. And each time, my husband and I discussed it early on. Was this a part of the country we were willing to live in? Was this city one that we’d be happy in? What did the housing market look like? These are just some of the considerations.

If you are early in your career, you probably want to figure out what kind of future opportunities are in that area, is it family friendly, are there good schools, and can you afford to buy a house. If you are later in your career, you may think of your next move in terms of where you might want to eventually retire or living closer to your grandkids.

Regardless of where you are in your career, there are some common considerations. Assuming it’s a job you really want and an organization you really want to work for, here is my advice on what to consider when relocating: Continue reading

Tyranny of the urgent

You have priority work scheduled on your calendar. You have carved out time when not in meetings to get some work done. Yet urgent issues keep finding their way to your office. Sound familiar?canstockphoto28657290

That’s the life of anyone in management, especially in large complex organizations. And it’s a challenge these days as our new Stony Brook Medicine CIO and I try to get through a three-week transition period. The outline of what I need to cover with her is four pages long. And I keep adding more items.

We are ending week two.  By next week, I should be in far fewer meetings as she handles them without me. I should be able to finish my tasks as part of the transition and organize my paper and electronic files to turn over to her. I know she doesn’t like paper, so I’ll be ruthless as I purge and give her only the most important paper files.

We’ve done our best to block out some chunks of time together to get through everything.

But when we sit down together to go over the next block of information, we often end up first dealing with the latest requests and issues. What started as a focused two-hours is suddenly half gone.

What have I learned? Continue reading

10 tips for next generation leaders

I recently had the opportunity to do a talk as part of a Women in Leadership lecture series. The title of the talk was “Yes We Can – Developing Next Generation Leaders”. I covered leadership lessons from my canstockphoto23302155many years of experience, the challenges for women in STEM, and general career advice. The group had a lot of great questions and comments from their experience, so it was a lively and interactive session.

Regardless of gender, if you are a leader or future leader, these tips may be useful to you.

Find a mentor –  You can’t do it yourself. Find someone you consider a role model and who is willing to invest some time and energy in helping you develop.

Let go and be willing to delegate – If you try to do it all yourself, you won’t develop others nor have time to do the work that allows you to grow.

Give up on perfectionism – It is the enemy of good. It wastes time and keeps you from doing other work.

Ask for feedback – Take off the blinders and ask for honest feedback from your staff, your boss, your peers, and your customers. What should you start doing, stop doing and continue doing.

Consider everything a learning opportunity – Remember that you can learn from every experience. Whether it is a new skill, knowledge or lesson on how to improve for next time. Continue reading

Culture matters in mergers   

If you live in a large metropolitan area, chances are you have been either a patient or a visitor in an academic medical center that has 500 to 1000 beds. If you live in a rural area, you are probably more canstockphoto8191068familiar with a small local community hospital with less than 100 beds.

Because of healthcare mergers and acquisitions, these two different kinds of hospitals are likely to be part of one integrated health system. While different in size and scale, they both deliver healthcare to their community 24×7.

Small, independent hospitals are often very agile, extremely customer service oriented and supported by a loyal community. In IT, the staff are often generalists and less specialized. They may have a single integrated system from one vendor with basic functionality and limited integration points with other applications.

In contrast, large academic medical centers can be slow to make changes and appear more bureaucratic. They provide advanced medicine with subspecialists and clinical services not found elsewhere. They have to work harder to create a culture of customer service. Their community is broader and they attract patients from greater distances, including international patients. And their IT teams are larger with many specialized roles. In addition to their core electronic health record, they have many specialized departmental applications, many interfaces. Overall, it’s a far more complex environment.

So how do these different profiles mesh at merger time? Continue reading