CIO Profiles: Bob Sarnecki, VP And CIO For Phoenix Children's Hospital

This CIO favors a "run and gun" approach.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

July 31, 2009

4 Min Read

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Career Track

Bob SarneckiVP and CIO, Phoenix Children's HospitalSarnecki and daughter Lauren get a bird's-eye view neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and the emergency department.

How long at current company: I've been here more than four years.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: When Phoenix Children's Hospital went live with its computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system with 95% percent physician adoption on May 5 of this year.

Decision I wish I could do over: If there were anything I could do over, it would be to spend more time learning healthcare IT at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Most important career influencer: Dale Ragone—a mentor,friend,and former partner at Ernst & Young&mdashtaught me the importance of following through on commitments, developing detailed and thoughtful project plans, and taking risks when situations warrant it.


Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: Downturns are cyclical. Use these times to "turn inward": Improve operations, address some of the to-dos that never get attention when the big projects are under way, and work on keeping the IT department connected with the user base.

The next big thing for my industry will be ... emphasizing technology more in our schools. The country remains behind the curve in graduating technologists.

Kids and technology careers: This is an exciting time to be in a technology career, especially in healthcare. And IT always needs bright minds!

On The Job

IT budget: 2009 capital budget,$10 million; operating budget,about $8 million

Size of IT team: 52 full-time employees

Top initiatives:

> Deploy CPOE hospital-wide: We previously had launched CPOE in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units and the emergency department. This has been completed

> Selection and deployment of ambulatory electronic medical records: The construction of a new $588 million expansion with 11-story patient tower makes the need for our ambulatory EMRs mandatory. Our goal is to deploy EMRs to our existing physician practice groups in 2010.

> Device integration: Currently, vital signs, inputs, and outputs are captured manually. Integrating our bedside monitors with existing in-patient electronic medical records will deliver direct time savings to our nurses.

How I measure IT effectiveness: We use standard defined hospital metrics,such as customer satisfaction,performance against budget, etc. Another true effectiveness measure that's less tangible (yet equally important) is the delivery of technology in a way that helps our patients and the people who care for them. Our metric for this is the response from individual physicians.


Favorite sports coach: Mike D'Antoni, formerly of the Phoenix Suns. He mastered the "run and gun" offense, constantly moving and going for the small shots and being faster than everyone else. That can be applied to technology as well.

Smartphone of choice: BlackBerry 8830 or Pearl.

Last vacation: This spring, I took a vacation with my 19-year-old son to the Grand Canyon. Additionally, I took my two daughters on a hot-air balloon ride over Monument Valley. These are fantastic memories!

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... My first preference would be to finish my journey toward medical school, as I would have loved to become a physician. My leaning would be toward pediatrics.

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