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CIO Profiles: In Their Own Words

IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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CIO and Senior VP of Innovation, Technology, and Service Operations, Aetna

How long at current company: Seven years

Most important career influencer: A combination of family influences, education, and work exposure led me here. My mother has a healthcare background and oriented me toward a career in this field. I earned my master of public health degree at Yale, and to offset graduate school costs, I joined the Navy. This was an amazing opportunity to work at a leading teaching facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, and to get to know the complexities of delivering healthcare within the military.

How I measure IT effectiveness: We measure our success by a company scorecard. We also track on a variety of metrics, including those specific to timeliness and quality, business partner satisfaction, and the availability of our infrastructure.

Size of IT team: Approximately 4,800 full-time and part-time (consultant) employees

Top initiatives:
• Drive a competitive cost structure through greater operating efficiency;
• Be the leading provider of health IT and intelligent evidence-based health information offerings to facilitate optimal health outcomes;
• Implement system changes as a result of healthcare reform legislation.

Advice for future CIOs: To succeed as a CIO, you must innovate with clarity and perform with agility. You must communicate a clear, compelling vision of where the company as a whole and your shop in particular are going next, while remaining open to ideas and opportunities that arise organically as the industry moves forward.

The next big thing for my industry: Actionable health information, delivered at the point of service and based on the best available medical evidence, must be an integral part of the future of healthcare if we're going to deliver value for limited healthcare dollars.

Best way to deal with the economic downturn: Always keep an eye on what's coming next and be ready to deliver the next big thing to better serve customers. You may concurrently need to fine-tune operations, making sure you're best utilizing resources without compromising customer service or neglecting cutting-edge innovations.

The federal government's top technology priority: To realize the benefits and opportunities that health IT advances can provide, the healthcare sector, including government entities, must invest in and adopt new technologies supporting long-term, evidence-based healthcare offerings that empower individuals. The federal government should partner with the private sector to set workable marketplace conditions and rules, while allowing for innovation and flexibility to meet customer needs of the future.

Kids and tech careers: I'd recommend technology as a career for any forward thinkers--people who are intrigued by solutions that enable, improve, and enhance our daily lives.

Colleges/degrees: Providence College, BA in philosophy; Yale University, master of public health

Leisure activities: Golf

Favorite author: Nelson DeMille

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Warren Buffett

Personal computer: Hewlett-Packard

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... an interior decorator

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