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Today on Insights. We go back to a conversation host Bill Russell had with Chani Cordero the CIO at Brooke Army Medical Center. The topic of discussion was Leading a Military Medical Center. Military healthcare leaders must be acutely aware of the concepts of moral, ethical, and legal leadership. They must also be able to distinguish the differences between strategic, operational, and tactical leadership, and understand that tactical-level decisions can have strategic-level implications.


Hello and welcome to another episode of Insights. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system ???? and creator of This Weekin Health IT. A channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. Our hope is that these episodes serve as a resource for the advancement of your career and the continued success of your team. Now onto the ???? show.

Today on insights. We go back to a conversation host Bill Russell had with Chani Cordero, CIO for Brooke Army Medical Center. The topic of discussion leading a military medical center. Military health care leaders must be acutely aware of the concepts of moral, ethical, and legal leadership. They must also be able to distinguish the differences between strategic, operational and tactical leadership and understand that tactical level decisions can have strategic level implications.

The bureaucracy within a nonprofit healthcare or commercial healthcare. And, the military is probably not that dissimilar the sense of urgency to serve the community is probably there in both.

When you decide to do an EMR, I mean, the VA is a great example of the, they decide to do a HR project. Just gets vetted. It gets vetted publicly which is a huge deal. And that really is happening also in the commercial non-profit sector. If a major health system says we're going to move our EHR, that becomes, front page news in the, in the paper and at a discussion of, Hey, they're spending a billion dollars heading in this direction.

Is that really where we want them to be spending money? Shouldn't they stand up a new cancer Institute. I mean. So yeah, there's probably more similarities than I think. And so we're both wiggling on this. I, I don't know. I don't know which one will be faster. They're both hard. Change is hard.

And culture is also hard.

You start by, I want to thank the dedicated professionals at the defense health agency, education and training directorate. Give them a warm, thank you.

Fantastic opportunity that they gave you. After several years, we're able to provide impactful results that leads to greater efficiencies. Enhance learning and provide solutions that will positively impact our service members for many years to come. I'm also excited to start my new position as CIO. If we talked about earlier and you talk about the facility that are going to I look forward to the new adventure as a new CIO.

I make it a point to visit every single department in clinic. Here I am about to listen to the needs of the OR staff. And the two things I want to talk to you about on this one is, one is the role of gratitude. I think people who are successful are grateful people and you see it over and over again.

It's just a characteristic of who they are. They're grateful for their mentors. Like you were earlier. They're grateful for the opportunities that people have given them. They're grateful for the great teams that they've worked with. So gratitude is one of the things I'd love for you to sort of comment on.

And then the second is you're starting a new role and you're essentially saying you're going to go to every single department and clinic and listen. I want, I want you to talk about your first couple of weeks in a new organization and what you're trying to accomplish. So.

Yeah, no, absolutely.

And so, I have to say that my parents is the starting point. Anytime about any type of moral, I guess something that you learn morally and some whatnot. And so my parents, very proud parents also served. My mom was the United States Air Force for 20 years. And my father was also in the army. And so they taught me of course, about just being humble and recognizing that we're all one team in a sense.

When we try to do our accomplishments that yes, you may be the one that executed it. It's not necessarily something that you do on your, on your own. And so my last job, I had fantastic bosses that were very supportive, gave me leeways to be able to execute IT in a way that I saw fit more so than being micro managers.

Coz I've had that before and it's a different environment to work in and you can really be like that peacock and spread your wings right. So, so I was really grateful that my bosses allowed me to do so. And then of course, just my staff alone, they were very supportive, I didn't have to deal with a lot of human resources dynamics that sometimes you have to deal with with staff.

I didn't have you know that organization, I never had one staff member that threatened to go to the union because they didn't like a change or tthis kind of similar, well this is not in my job description then, to do, certain initiatives. And so I just really appreciate their willingness to kind of see the shared vision of enhanced learning that we did at our organization.

And so, lastly, kind of what the gratitude is, sometimes I feel that I was lucky, but also I think it's just the way, how do you approach And so, I, I, I I'm a subscriber of that positive thinking. I know sometimes it seems like it's a little hokey but you know, I sat at a conference and I can't remember the presenter but he talked about the science behind positive thinking. It was kind of like, well, let's do three positive things today because they say that your brain will actually relive that moment in time. And you started focusing on that more so than focusing on the negative.

And so it's a practice that I do aAt work. But it's also a practice I do at home with my children. So my three children and they were as young as four years old, they could tell me their three positive thoughts of the day. And so if my four year old twins and my four year olds at the time would say we ate pizza. That was their positive thought for the day.

When I go to a new organization, to me, it's all about relationships in the end. And so I discovered in my 18 year career that you start, if you have visibility, which is essentially, being visible in your organization that will lead to credibility because people see you, they see that you're, you're working your issues.

Now of course you have to execute, right? I mean, when I was going to one of the clinics and it's funny, you asked that question cause I was thinking this morning, I did a rounding in the inpatient side and that they brought up some core people management. And they really needed some assistance because they were, they were afraid that they were going to pull the cable cord out or pull the credit cord out.

And I was just thinking this morning, did I follow up on that? Did I send a technician to there? I really need to do that. And so part of that, again, it's those being able to kind of, form those relationships. So when there is a problem and that they come to me first, instead of going straight to my leadership channels.

Yeah, the rounding is so important. In fact, we instilled it within our entire organization, but one of the stories I think is interesting. My wife was actually in one of our hospitals and so I'm sitting there next to her and she's either getting ready to go into, I forget if she was getting ready to go into or coming out of surgery. And we had just done an EMR migration. So I was talking to the nurse. I'm like, so how's it, how's the system to use and that kind of stuff. And she starts giving me all this information. And so I'm just sitting there texting, hey, they're, they're struggling with this or struggling with this all of a sudden within like an hour or so.

My staff from that hospital started showing up and asking her questions and you know it was interesting, she had no idea who I was, which was great at that point. I just asked her, what's her experience with the IT staff. And she goes at the hospital level the IT staff was great because they had been embedded in the rounding and she goes, I get an opportunity to talk to IT pretty often to address my needs. She goes, so she goes, I just go great that they all showed up right after that conversation, she goes. But I could just as easily have had a conversation with them nex, week in our rounding session.

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's just an important. And I've, I've learned even, sometimes when there's an issue that one of our clinicians have with that, it's like, like for example, we had an issue with a voice apps. These are badges that, you speak into calls.

And so, so one of our providers said the, their voice or in batch and wasn't working in a certain area. And so, prior to me getting your, it was kind of like, well, it's a network issue. It was a network issue, right. When we have wireless and network issues and then our engineer who says hey, we looked at this, we can't replicate it or whatnot.

And so then it was like, oh, well it's a tech issue. Right. Is something like physically wrong with the device? And so finally, I said, I want to do the trifecta. Let's send a network engineer training. And a technician and all address the provider. So they sat down and discovered it was just a training issue.

Right? We were so quick to blame the engineers or blame the technology that we don't sometimes look at everyone who might be a part of that system. And so, anyway, I just thought that was pretty funny.


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