Nov 11 2020

CHIME20: 4 Tips to Enable More Strategic Thinkers in Healthcare IT

One expert shares his advice on achieving higher organizational success through the encouragement of more clinically focused health IT teams.

The proper structure and professional development of healthcare IT teams is an essential part to the success of any organization. However, to do this well takes strong and active leadership — a key theme at this week’s CHIME20: Digital Recharge.

As part of the virtual conference, Danny Scott, CIO at Good Samaritan Hospital, shared his own journey of transforming siloed groups of administrators and analysts into a cohesive and trusted team of engineers and architects that offer value to customers and patients.

“When I got here, there was really no structure or anything,” said Scott. “There was no process, procedure or any of that stuff in place. So, I sat down and completely reorganized the department.”

Scott not only helped to bring structure to the Indiana-based hospital’s IT team but helped employees to develop their skill sets through education and by putting them in roles where they could be most successful. For virtual conference attendees, Scott offered advice on how other CIOs can do the same:

1. Establish Trust by Recognizing Your Employees

Building trust with employees is a key component to any organizational restructure, said Scott, but the effort shouldn’t stop there. Scott’s philosophy is really about working together to find out what the team can truly improve upon, and he believes that making IT staff more recognizable within the organization will help them not only pinpoint those problems but also find a better way through them.

He admits that this mindset was “a real shocker” to many people at the organization, but ultimately the approach is helping his team members perform to the best of their abilities.

“My staff is amazing — they have an amazing work ethic and a passion to do great stuff and do the right thing,” said Scott. “It’s all in support of these departments, enabling these departments to do what they need to do, which is taking care of the consumer, making sure that people have a great experience.”

2. Focus a Little Less on the Here and Now

When Scott first arrived at Good Samaritan, many of its operations were being run like a mom-and-pop shop, where people would essentially make do with what they had. To help bring the organization into a more enterpriselike mindset, Scott highlighted the importance of taking a more strategic, forward-looking approach to leadership.

“I’m always thinking about six months down the road,” he said. One of his first initiatives at Good Samaritan was to put together a leadership meeting offsite with his team, where they could focus less on the day-to-day work and more on the high-level strategy.

“We just talked about, ‘Here we are today. How are we going to get to where we need to be?’” said Scott. “And it really forced them to kind of think about, ‘Yeah, what do we need to do to be able to get from A to Z?’”

3. Set Up Your Employees for Success

When asked how he got his team where he wanted them to be, Scott couldn’t stress enough the importance of continued education. “It’s a constant struggle, but I always ask for as much money as I can around education,” he said.

Scott added that he was “utterly shocked” when he discovered that people were in certain roles despite having little to no training for that position. One tactic he used to address this was sitting down with the HR department to rewrite every job description and title.

“When I got here, you were basically an application analyst,” said Scott. “Now we have three layers that people can go through — something that they can work toward. People want to come to work every day and have purpose and feel valued and respected — and I think that’s a really great way to do it.”

4. Become a Student, Excel in Leadership

Scott lives by the words of his mentor: Become a student of whatever you’re doing.

“If I don’t know something, I research as much as I can,” he said. His advice to others: Do everything you can to become knowledgeable about that space or that subject matter.

However, he noted that actionable leadership is just as important as personal education. “You have to let people know in the very beginning that you’re in charge,” he said, “because at the end of the day, if someone has an issue, they’re coming to me.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles from the event. Follow us on Twitter @HealthTechMag as well as the official organization account, @CIOCHIME, and join the conversation using the hashtags #CHIME20 and #CHIME.

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