User group meetings — learning from others (part 2)

Last week, I wrote about the value of site visits as a way to learn from others. Fresh off the annual Epic User Group Meeting (UGM), I’ll call it a site visit on steroids. There are over 10,000 attendees, 100s of educational sessions presented by users, direct access to Epic staff, and plenty of networking time; you see what I mean?

This was the first year it made sense to invite my executive colleagues from UMHS to attend. Our core Electronic Health Record is now in place, our executives need to look to the future: what else is possible with the product we already have, what new functionality is planned for future upgrades, and what other Epic users are doing.

Three UMHS executives answered my call and they were glad they did: the Hospitals and Health Centers CEO, and the executive directors of the children and womens hospital and the adult hospital.  We will debrief as a group soon about what they saw and heard, and to explore what functionality we should prioritize next. Continue reading

Site visits — learning from others

What do NHS Trusts (hospitals in the UK), the Department of Defense Military Health System (MHS) and Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC) have in common? They all think they can learn from our experience implementing an integrated electronic health record (EHR) at UMHS. We hosted a group from the UK in early July and hosted military leaders from MHS this week. And we are planning to host a team from BWHC in late October. The UK and MHS are in the planning and vendor selection phase while BWHC is less than a year away from their big bang implementation of a new integrated EHR.

One of the great things about the health care industry is that we are always willing to learn from one another. Continue reading

Importance of rounding or going to the “gemba”

In lean speak, you have to go to the “gemba”, that place where the work is done. GembaTo go to the “gemba,” I rounded with some of my colleagues in the early days of our inpatient Epic go live. They included our Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO), the executive director of our children and womens hospital, and our Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).  We visited many different inpatient units – to listen to staff tell us how it was going and describe issues. It reminded me that I need to once again make time to regularly round with our users. Continue reading

Keys to successful vendor management

What makes a great vendor-client relationship? If you are in IT management you have probably experienced ones you thought were model relationships and ones you wish you had never gotten into. After 30 years in health IT management I have seen the full range.

HandshakeI’ve been on both sides of the table over the years, I’ve been a buyer of products and services as CIO. I have been a seller of products and services with a software vendor and a consulting firm.

I always tell prospective vendors that I understand their business models. I don’t want to waste their time or mine.

If we don’t need their services or products at this point, I will tell them so. No need for further conversation. But it’s always good to keep the door open for the future: needs may change and their solutions will evolve. Continue reading

Making great hiring decisions

Late last year, I was on a leadership panel at the 2013 U-M StaffWorks Best Practices and Technology conference sponsored by VOICES of the Staff. After our prepared remarks, there was plenty of time for Q&A. In response to a question about how to deal with a challenging co-worker, I talked about the importance of hiring decisions. When I said that the hiring decision is one of the most important ones managers make, if not the most important, there was spontaneous applause. I was pleasantly surprised by that response. I truly believe what I said. I’m guessing that the applause were a reflection of the audience’s personal experiences – wondering why some of their co-workers were hired in the first place or why they are still there.

Talent Compass

During my 30 years in management positions I’ve hired many talented people. Hiring decisions can be exciting and rejuvenating for teams. I’ve successfully turned around performance issues with people who I inherited through re-organizations or when I’ve joined a new organization in a leadership position.  Some of those people still keep in touch and thank me many years later. And yes, I’ve had to move people out when it was clear they weren’t right for the position and organization. These are important yet difficult decisions that no one enjoys making.

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MiChart summer interns — a win-win!

Whats your college student doing this summer? Is it meaningful work? Is it making a difference? Are they taking steps towards their career goals? Or having experiences that could cause them to rethink their major?

Interns huddle during MiChart go live at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center

Interns huddle with a Super User during MiChart go live at the Cardiovascular Center

I’m happy to say that all of the above could be true for 250+ student interns we hired as “at the elbow” support for our inpatient electronic medical record implementation. And it is a win-win. As part of our MiChart activation team, we get much needed help from bright, enthusiastic, high energy undergrad and graduate students. They get real world experience in a health care setting: a med/surg nursing unit, labor and delivery, OR and PACU, an ICU, an adult or pediatric setting, or an outpatient department. Continue reading

Values in action. . .

When I started here at the University of Michigan, I told the people I was to lead about my core values and expectations.

Prioritizing issues at our “11 at 11” meeting today.

  • Teamwork – I expect people to respect one another and work together for common goals.
  • Transparency – I practice and expect open, proactive communication.
  • Customer service – While we don’t touch patients directly, we are all part of the extended care team; clinicians and caregivers rely on our systems to safely care for patients. We must provide excellent customer service in every interaction.
  • Accountability – Each of us needs to take ownership and deliver on our commitments.
  • Innovation – We work for a leading organization in health care, as IT professionals we must always look for ways to innovate.
  • Continuous improvement – I was delighted to learn of the culture of continuous improvement within UMHS and the focus on lean health care. There are always opportunities to improve.
  • Results focus – We need to focus on end results. Even though process is important, we shouldn’t get bogged down in it.

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