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Today on Insights. We go back to a conversation Host Bill Russell had with Lee Milligan, CIO for Asante Health. The topic of discussion was What it Takes to be a Great CIO. And Bill asks Lee, what does it take to step in as a CIO?


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 Lee Milligan CIO for a Santee health. The topic of discussion was what it takes to be a great CIO. And Bill asks Lee, what does it take to step in as a CIO?

So they say to you, hey, we would like you to step in as CIO. You have the cost center experience. You've you've got physician builder. You've worked with a lot of physicians. You've been there for a long time. You got a lot of history. A good relationship. They're asking you to be the CIO. So good relationship with management. Do you have any concerns walking into it or doubts I guess?

Yes. In a word. I will say that, one of the things that worked out really well is that, if you can step back and do some sort critical self reflection and be honest with yourself, including identifying other folks who can weigh in, including yourself, you'll recall, what do I bring, what do I not bring asking your, your executive peers, asking the people who report to you.

Those are hard things to do. But getting that level of feedback is critical to identify where you should focus your time. So for me, I talked about this previously, for me, specifically, I focused in, on things like security. Cause I hadn't had a ton of exposure to security and I recognize how critical it was to understand that.

And to be a good steward of that piece of IT. Some of the technical pieces, focused on some of our infrastructure pieces. And I actually set up a framework with my technical, services director to have folks from each of those areas come in and present every other month to me around the work that they're doing.

So can I can have a clear understanding of what that body of work looks like. And I can ask good questions in a focused environment, specifically, focusing on things like security and servers and all the stuff that I hadn't had a significant exposure to previously.

You saw it as a requirement of the job to really understand the technology and the technology platforms.

It's interesting cause I recently saw a picture of you. You're getting your CISO certification from CHIME. Is that all part of it that you want to have that underlying technology background so that you can be a more effective leader in those areas?

Yeah, I think that's fair to say. Prior to this role, I worked on getting a board certified in clinical informatics, thinking that was going to be my role moving forward.

And that was a great experience. I learned a ton. And no matter where you are, it's helpful I think to have kind of a broad academic experience that allows you to see everything within that domain. And so I had a good experience with that. And so I pursued that, finished that up. After becoming CIO, I focused on the CHCIO certification with CHIME which was a positive experience. Learned a lot and then afterwards, now pursuing and the CSO certification as well. And, so far so good.

Lee, somebody has gotta be listening to this saying, why did you even hire a coach? It sounds like you, you have the certifications, you had the background, you have the support of leadership. Why would you even consider hiring a coach?

So the coaching piece to me was critical out of the gate. And when I came into my position the day that I was asked to come into my position, my CEO, that was his first day on the job. And so we were in that interesting space where we're both looking at this brand new opportunity.

And I was, I have a good relationship with him. And I think because of that, I was able to ask him for a couple of things that I think would be really helpful moving forward. The first was around a financial person who can help me focus on our budget, our planning and our analysis of how our spend is going.

And that's been really helpful. And then the second was the idea of having a coach. And in my mind, the idea of having a coach is just, it's a no brainer, right? I think about, Tom Brady. Amazing player. You may like him, you may hate him, but amazing player, no doubt. But he wouldn't think of going on a field without a coach.

He's got Belichick, he's got a quarterback coach, whatever it might be. In fact, I would say that the idea of a coach should go beyond the idea of technology. I think physicians should have a coach. We have coaching in place through medical school, internship and residency, and somehow magically, when we graduate from residency, we no longer need a coach for the next 40 years.

And even Atul Gawande has talked about this previously. The concept of having somebody who can give you good feedback, can be objective, can tell you things you may not want to hear in a way that you want to hear it. That's critical. And so I think, the idea of having a coach for me is a no brainer.

I want to thank Tracey for another great episode. If you have feedback regarding the content and materials that you just heard ???? and would like to help us to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare ???? forward, please send us a note Thanks for listening. That's all for now. ????

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