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CIO Profiles: Harry Lukens Of Lehigh Valley Health Network

Robotics will become more common in surgery, predicts this healthcare CIO.

Career Track

Harry Lukens Senior VP and CIO, Lehigh Valley Health Network

Senior VP and CIO, Lehigh Valley Health Network
How long at Lehigh Valley Health Network: 18 years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: We've built a culture that proves you can do good things technically and still treat people well. Lehigh Valley has been recognized nationally for our work in healthcare technology, so we work hard. But people like working here, and our turnover rate over the past 15 years is less than 2%.

Most important career influencers: I've been fortunate to work for two excellent mentors. One was the CFO at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He taught me to keep pushing the envelope. The second was the former CEO at Lehigh Valley. He helped hone my process skills. I also learned how to keep off their radar when things weren't going so well--and that was probably just as important as anything else.

On The Job

IT budget: $58 million

Size of IT team: 302 employees

Top initiatives:

  • Implement and use federally certified clinical software that supports HITECH regulations about patient care and data collection, and then convince 1,000 physicians to use it.
  • Provide caregivers with a device that provides access to all systems needed for medical rounds and daily office practice, but one thats lighter, friendlier, and less expensive than the technology were currently using.
  • Build a health information exchange that pulls together data from local school districts and local health systems, improving medical care for underserved students in inner-city areas.


What the next big thing for my industry will be: Robotics will be used in patient monitoring systems and will be more widespread in surgery.

One thing I'm looking to do better: We're focusing on customer service. We support 17,000 users, all within a 35-mile radius. We're trying to organize ourselves better to reduce our response time without breaking the operating budget bank.

What the federal government's top technology priority should be: It only touches on technology, but I'd like to see the government back off on the Stark Law and the anti-kickback regulations regarding physician/hospital referrals and inurement. Private docs need resources, financial and human, to implement the business and billing changes mandated by the federal government, yet these laws prohibit real assistance by health systems. Electronic health records are costly and hard to implement. Someone needs to ask the federal government, "Do you want the better clinical informatics that eventually come with EHRs or not?"


Degrees: St. Josephs College, BS in engineering; Temple University, MS in engineering

Leisure activities: Fishing and reading

Favorite president: Harry Truman; he made difficult decisions in difficult times

Pet peeve: ur tax laws are archaic--how is it that I pay more income tax than GE?

If I werent a CIO, I'd be ... teaching Civil War history at a university

Ranked No. 56 in the 2011 InformationWeek 500

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