CIO Profiles: Phil Fasano, Senior VP And CIO, Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser's IT capabilities make real a difference in people's health, Fasano says.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

May 21, 2009

3 Min Read

Career Track

Phil FasanoSenior VP and CIO, Kaiser PermanentePhoto By Alex Dunne

How long at current company: Two years

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: The work I'm doing today to help support the vision of Kaiser Permanente. Our IT capabilities make a real difference in people's health every day.

Most important career influencer: Many years ago while on Wall Street, I worked for Carmine Vona, former CIO of Bankers Trust, who taught me what it meant to be a "business technologist." His view, even during the 1980s, was that a CIO had to be a strategic partner to the CEO in order for IT to be effective.

Decision I wish I could do over: Deciding to go into the credit card business with Capital One. I found the business boring and people parochially focused on past growth and success. It wasn't what I thought it would be.


Advice for future CIOs: Listen, listen, and listen some more. The CIO role is one where you must be a careful listener and have a desire to learn while asking your team to continuously improve performance. Good is never good enough!

The next big thing for my industry will be ... Health care must fulfill its potential in the U.S. and around the world. We have so many great and knowledgeable clinicians and the best technology. Our focus is now on improving health so people can live longer, healthier, more productive lives. At Kaiser Permanente, this means further leveraging our electronic medical records, population care tools, and knowledge as the potential of DNA is unleashed. We'll be at the forefront of these areas.

Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: CIOs are business executives first and functional leaders second. As business executives, other than the CEO, CIOs are best positioned to help drive business outcomes by highlighting cross-company opportunities to increase top- and bottom-line performance. Executives in this role must see themselves as leaders who can drive their companies' overall performance and partner with other key executives to transform operations as well as improve efficiency.

On The Job

IT budget: $3 billion

Size of IT team: 6,200 employees, 1,000 contractors

Top initiatives:

>> Enhance the technology infrastructure that powers the services Kaiser Permanente provides to its members, patients, and caregivers.

>> Drive continuation of market-leading IT innovation.

>> Execute on self-service strategy to enable greater participation by patients and members in managing their health.

How I measure IT effectiveness: In patient outcomes: through our initiatives and our electronic health record, KP HealthConnect, Kaiser Permanente has been able to drive significant reductions in deaths from heart disease and breast cancer.


Colleges/degrees: BS in computer science from the New York Institute of Technology; MBA in finance from Long Island University

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Cisco's John Chambers--he can always be counted on for his vision and business savvy

Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan; I'd enjoy hearing his perspectives on the economy, the future for financial services, and government's role

Best book read recently: The Age Of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... CEO of a midsize company

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