IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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Information Services Director and CIO, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
CAREER TRACK How long at current company: I've been at this nonprofit managed healthcare organization 4-1/2 years.
Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: Helping an IS staff member with career advancement. I feel a sense of stewardship regarding the IS staff and their career development. In this instance, I saw an opportunity to provide an employee with a new role. I tried to provide a level playing field with a chance for success, coupled with mentoring along the way. I ended up being blown away by the person's success and the results achieved. It's an immensely rewarding feeling.
Most important career influencer: I'm fortunate to have worked for a number of great bosses, and I learned from each. One former CIO emphasized the value of communication and said it was impossible to overcommunicate. Another emphasized the importance of teamwork. Both of those guiding principles have become part of my DNA.
Decision I wish I could do over: While I've had a good track record with people decisions, I would like a 'do-over' on one or two hiring decisions. One person quit after a day because of a cultural mismatch. She came from a large, regimented organization and we represented a midsize, nimble, innovative one. She wasn't comfortable in that new environment. Our hiring process is now more extensive, and includes a look at the cultural match.
ON THE JOB IT budget: $6 million
Size of IT team: 40 employees
• Implementing the technology changes required by federal healthcare regulations.
• Working to conform with ICD-10 regulations, expanding the procedural and diagnostic codes.
• Implementing the radiology module from Epic Systems. It's a continuation of our suite (vs. best-of-breed) strategy, implementing modules from Epic to supplement our use of its electronic medical records system.
The next big thing for my industry will be ... data analytics. Having implemented an EMR system in 2002, we now have a wealth of data to use in creative ways, like patient outreach or cost-saving initiatives.
One thing I'm looking to change: We're continuing to improve our project management processes. This year, we're introducing a project management office to help monitor key projects.
Lesson learned from the last recession: Always work on cost savings. Don't wait until the last minute. As a result of our ongoing efforts, our 2010 spending was 5% less than in 2006.
Kids and tech careers: We have two grown sons and didn't steer them toward technology. They ended up being highly proficient in technology anyway, and both leverage technology extensively in their careers. For me, technology has been an opportunity to continually learn. I don't see that changing much in the years ahead.
PERSONAL Favorite sport: Football; I'm an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers
Best book read recently:8 Things We Hate About IT, by Susan Cramm
Favorite president: John F. Kennedy, for having vision and inspiring the nation
Last vacation: Visiting our kids -- I'm not good at the concept of vacationing, but continue to work really hard at it
If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a magician; I've studied and performed close-up magic since age 8
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