This is a guest post provided by Scott Arnold, Senior VP and CIO of Tampa General Hospital. Huntzinger periodically invites its clients and partners to contribute to The Huntzinger Blog.
By Scott Arnold
Senior VP & CIO
Tampa General Hospital, Tampa, Fla.
Time in Healthcare
About 13 years. The early part of my career was spent in aerospace (McDonnell Douglas and Boeing) and at a software development company. A common thread has always been technology.
Time as a CIO
Time in Current Role
What is the Greatest Current Challenge Facing Healthcare IT?
There could be so many answers, but the challenges I think about are undiscovered opportunities waiting to be unpacked. Through my lens, healthcare IT is a lagging adopter of contemporary processes and technologies (a great challenge). There are a ton of innovations that we can apply from other industries that will help patients, and we need to apply them faster! Our partners that design the systems and technologies that we implement need our support and encouragement to step up and innovate faster, while we work on the strategies and operational plans. I am inspired by colleagues and team members at Tampa General Hospital (TGH) and other institutions that are finding ways to apply more contemporary processes and technologies with positive outcomes. In many cases, the results we see are technology as “the easy part,” but operationalizing the processes and people is much harder. The great challenge is unlocking the speed of process, operations and innovations together while visioning capacity, funding, and regulation as smaller hurdles. After all, we are dealing with one of the most important human conditions with our work – the health of our family, friends, community and ourselves.
What will be the Next Major Impact Area of IT on Healthcare?
We (healthcare) have a lot of opportunity with data that hasn’t been unlocked. The sources of data are many, but our use of the data varies and isn’t always optimized. Cognitive computing platforms hold some promise to pull it all together as a “decision aid” for our healthcare professionals.
I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest or predict that another major impact of technology on healthcare will likely be driven by patients and their families (it won’t be done natively within health IT). The demand for consumer-like conveniences, health data aggregation, and other stuff like it will happen. I choose to embrace it.
What is the Biggest Challenge of Being a Healthcare CIO?
The energy required to keep a high performing team excited, engaged and at peak performance perpetually for our patients! That is what we do. It can be exhausting (like running a marathon) but it is a ton of fun! The mission itself does half the job, but the rest of it needs to come from leadership. I really enjoy surrounding myself with team members who are passionate, engaged and the best at what they do. Maintaining that energy in periods of CEO or strategy transitions can be challenging, but not unsurmountable. All the other stuff in healthcare IT is tough too, but becomes easier when the team is on it. I am lucky to work with some great people, and we all know our patients and their families deserve the best.