Making the invisible visible

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 canstockphoto26356044managers. 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

Lessons from an aspiring lean leader

This week I will be sharing lessons I’ve learned as a lean leader and champion – in particular around visual management. The Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) holds an annual Lean Transformation Summit canstockphoto16267629where experts and practitioners come together from all industries to learn from one another.

My talk will cover a multi-year journey that has involved learning from others both in and out of healthcare, site visits, training classes, lots of reading, and experiments with my leadership team. Most of my talk is based on my experience and lessons learned at the University of Michigan Health System.

I was delighted to see that University Hospitals where I’m currently the interim CIO has been on their own lean journey since 2011. At our hospitals you will see huddles and visual boards throughout. Thousands of staff have been trained in lean concepts and methods. In contrast, there have been limited experiments with lean at the corporate office. I have a few allies in my IT leadership team who have experience with lean in other organizations. A good start!

I would have been making a mistake to arrive at UH as the interim CIO and start introducing lean methods week one. I needed to see and hear the problems that need to be addressed. Continue reading

Innovation – who owns it?

I’m back from HIMSS16 and the sensory overload of Vegas. Like every year, the conference and exhibit hall was filled with new vendors and products. Trying to find the really new, new that is a breakout canstockphoto19831405innovation can be a challenge with thousands of exhibitors. I expect to soon read many post HIMSS articles that will highlight the new innovations and the promising start-ups there.

The HX360 program was co-developed by HIMSS and AVIA, an innovation partner for more than 20 forward-leaning health systems. The program is an attempt to carve out during HIMSS an innovation focus for senior leaders. This year I attended the one-day HX360 Executive Program.

The highlight for me was a panel of CEOs and Chief Innovation Officers from leading health care organizations – Providence Health and Services, Dignity Health, Christiana Care and University Health Network in Canada. The panelists were forward thinking health care leaders and organizations. Continue reading

Get started by asking the right questions

If you are drinking from a fire hose, you need to focus or you will drown. When so much new info is coming your way every day, you need a framework.  When I started my present interim CIO engagement, canstockphoto16518323I knew I needed to understand some key areas right away. They included strength of the leadership team, staffing, system performance, user satisfaction, budget, vendor relations, security, and IT governance.

Issues with system performance and dissatisfied users will find you even if you don’t go looking. Without solid system performance for your production environment, it’s hard to discuss anything else with your executives. If the issue affects your clinicians and their ability to see patients and manage their workload, you need to pay close attention. And you need to work with your team to figure out what’s going on and resolve it. System performance affects user satisfaction.  Whether users love or hate a system they depend on, it has to be fast and reliable.

To quickly assess the IT leadership team, you need to understand their background and experience, their current scope of responsibility and their primary concerns. What are they struggling with?  What help is Continue reading

Transformative Values

 

Chris Greene Hutchings is staff specialist in the Office of the CIO.  We have worked together closely during my tenure at UMHS. With my pending departure, Chris asked to be guest blogger this week.  

 

When the leader you report to announces she is leaving, a parade of emotions marches through your life.

The first is denial. “NO!  She can’t leave, because we need to. . .”

Then it’s the blues. “What does this mean for me?”

And ultimately, acceptance. “We did some good work, didn’t we?”

It’s a bittersweet feeling because it’s the first time you stop to look back and see how far you have come together. And you realize you didn’t take enough time to celebrate the successes, or appreciate the good along the way.

Our CIO, Sue, is starting the next chapter in her professional life. As I look back, I see how much our organization has changed. Continue reading

Tis the season to give back

I am committed to developing the next generation of leaders. I also give generously to non-profits that I care about. This week, those two passions converged.

I hosted a “lunch and learn” with five women from Cisco. Jay Roberts, director operations sales, has been a strong supporter of Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), like many leaders in technology companies. At the annual MCWT gala fundraiser in October, I donated a “lunch and learn” session. I offered to meet with four women over lunch to have an open discussion on women’s leadership issues. Jay bid it up until he had no more competition. He then went back to Cisco and recommended a group of women to participate.

The women who lunched with me all currently work in the sales division for this technology company. They have different backgrounds in terms of college experience, technology education, and family history. They shared their stories and challenges with me. I asked each of them what they wanted to get out of our two hours together. After all, they all had plenty of work to do back at the office.

They wanted to talk about: work life balance and making time for self; how to lead with assertiveness and compassion yet not mother staff; common mistakes women leaders make; and where best to focus their volunteer energy.

Continue reading

Keep it simple and visual

CIO Board 11-2015The past month has been a particularly busy one for me. I have spoken locally a few times and gone out of town on business several times as well. I’ve been to the CHIME Fall Forum, made a site visit at Duke, and attended an AAMI board meeting. During that same period, I’ve given a talk on “Women in Technology” and participated on a CIO panel at the Midwest Fall Technology Conference in Detroit. I spoke on “High Impact IT” at the 2015 ICHITA Conference sponsored by the Center for Health Information Technology Advancement at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I was one of two CIO guests on the CIO TalkRadio Show last week. And we published our monthly newsletter and held one of our twice a year department all staff meetings.

I have a busy schedule of meetings at multiple UMHS locations every day, so how did all these commitments come off without a hitch? The visual board my support staff and I started some weeks ago has made the difference! The only commitment that I scrambled on at the last minute was the one that hadn’t made it onto the board. That’s telling.

Prior to our visual board, I sometimes scrambled at the last minute to finish a presentation or finalize flight arrangements in time to get a reasonable price. Now, as a team, we can see into all the major events and commitments and take an organized approach to the shared tasks involved.  Continue reading

And the winner is. . .

 

I had my Academy Awards host moment this week at our IT department all staff meeting. It was great fun! Our Medical Center Information Technology (MCIT) department is over 600 people strong and we gather together twice a year. We present the annual employee awards at our fall meeting.

The STAR and Golden Mouse Awards are staff-to-staff awards – that means all nominations are submitted by fellow staff members.  Nominations are reviewed and the winners are selected by members of the MCIT Appreciation and Recognition Team (ART).

The ART team was established to help MCIT develop and sustain a culture where contributions are recognized and accomplishments are celebrated. We are building an environment which recognizes MCIT staff who make a difference and ensures that their contributions are valued. We are creating a culture where employees are valued through events, programs, communications and awards. We measure success by increased employee engagement scores in the areas of appreciation and recognition. Continue reading

Quality month: sharing improvement stories

Root Cause wideRecently I wrote that October was Quality Month and I highlighted Dr. Richard Shannon’s excellent talk, part of our Lean Thinker’s Series. I “teased” that I would comment on the Quality Month poster sessions in an upcoming post.

For two days, 48 quality improvement teams displayed their stories as posters. I spent about an hour checking out the posters and talking with people from the teams. I targeted the ones with potential scalability or an IT connection.

Jennet Malone, a manager at The Briarwood Center for Women, Children and Young Adults, explained how they increased use of the portal.

Here are a few worth noting:

Got Portal? –The Briarwood Center for Women, Children and Young Adults

We rolled out our patient portal more than 3 years ago. Patient enrollment has been fairly successful  with over 200,000 active users but this is still not at the level we need. This health center established specific goals for making portal functionality part of everyday clinic workflow and used by patients and families. They increased their marketing efforts and established staff incentives for meeting short term goals. They purchased iPads to help staff sign up patients. They added the portal metric to their daily huddle. The result: Briarwood Center for Women, Children and Young Adults has the highest percentage of patients on the portal when compared to other clinics! Continue reading

Power of Collaboration

It was a long but productive 24 hours. A team of us from the health system flew to Durham, NC, on Tuesday evening, spent a 10 hour day on Wednesday at Duke Medicine, and then flew home. It was a site visit aimed toward learning from each other and determining opportunities for collaboration.

UMHS and Duke have similar profiles: our overall size, IT infrastructure and core applications. We are in similar places on our EHR journey with Epic. And we are both very focused on analytics – the impetus for our visit.

Duke’s CIO, Dr. Jeff Ferranti, and I know each other; we thought the proposal for a visit was a great idea. Our Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, and Duke’s Chief Health Information Officer, Dr. Eric Poon, planned and organized the day’s agenda.  We let Andrew and Eric run with it and they did a terrific job!

Two important clinical leaders joined our Michigan team of several senior IT leaders — Dr. Jeff Desmond, our Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Steve Bernstein, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. We needed them there as we talked broadly about analytics and support for population health. Continue reading