This Week Health
January 26, 2024

What is the 229 Project?

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It's Tuesday morning and I'm hosting a CIO 229 Group this week. This is one of the most fun and rewarding things that I've done in my career. These groups were 2 years in the making and if you will allow me, I'd like to give you the origin story.

If you've listened to my podcast you've heard me say. "My name is Bill Russell, former CIO for a 16 hospital system".

The Healthcare CIO role was one of the most rewarding but challenging roles I've ever had. Challenging professionally for sure, but also challenging personally and it took a toll on me and my family.

Everything we do at This Week Health is shaped by that experience and our desire to help and support leaders in Health IT.

The second catalyst for this event was the pandemic. The pandemic was a seismic event in healthcare and I joke that we will likely mark time as before pandemic (BP) and after pandemic (AP) in our industry.

On 2-29-2020 the CDC confirmed the first COVID Death in the state of Washington. Through the fog of war that date stood for a long time and you can still find the release on the CDC website. History has moved that date earlier and I imagine as the fog lifts we will recognize that COVID hit our shores well before that date. Regardless, that is where we took our name 229 Project from. February 29th, 2020 - Leap Day.

Around that time I started to get phone calls, texts, and emails with similar questions. "What are other health systems doing". I wanted to support the community that had formed around This Week Health so we launched a daily podcast to interview leaders in the industry to capture what health systems were doing and share it with the broader community.

I also recognized that many Health IT leaders did not have extensive relationships at a time when we needed them most. There were organizations with Health IT leaders that had come together, and some functioned extremely well. I applaud these groups but some are not open to everyone and many Health IT leaders are not connecting through the groups that are available.

That started conversations with some of you. Drex DeFord and I got on the phone and started talking about how we could support CIOs. Frank Nydam, Sarah Richardson, David Bensema, Lee David Milligan, and others continued the conversation with me. The thing I was trying to figure out, was what was working and what wasn't. We determined that there was room on the calendar for a gathering that was designed to foster connections and renew the spirit of the Health IT leader. A meeting that would benefit the leader personally and professionally with relationships that would last for their entire career and hopefully beyond.

We designed our gatherings to be small. Where leaders would have an opportunity to interact with each other. Where we could engage in discussions and everyone would have an opportunity to share and learn. We have no formal presentations. Nothing against the traditional conference format but we believe Inspiration happens in rows but transformation happens in circles. Cute, I know, but I have found it to be true. I learn a lot at conferences and in many cases, I walk away inspired. But there is something different about sitting down with a small group of peers and really hammering on the challenges we all face from various points of view that I have found to be transformative.

The purpose of our meetings is connection and renewal. The purpose of the 229 Project is to elevate the industry through connection and collaboration. It is my privilege to host these events and moderate the discussion. I'm never surprised by the great work that is being done in healthcare by such creative people.

Our mission at This Week Health is to Transform Healthcare one Connection at a Time.

Welcome to the experiment. We likely didn't get everything right. Towards that end, we will keep listening and adjusting with each conversation, with each gathering. That is the nature of an experiment.

How can you be a part of this? Glad you asked.

Healthcare Leaders - If you would like to know more, just connect with us on this site.

Sponsor Partners - We believe that the community of problem solvers extends to our sponsor partners. Each of our events has a few partner executives who are a part of the discussion. If you want more information, the same thing. Connect or direct message.

Co-Creators - Some of you may want to be a part of helping us build this out. We have advisors who are helping to shape the 229 projects, we have chairs and co-chairs of events, and we have hosts. Those are the roles that people have dreamed up to be a part of this, I'm sure there are others we haven't considered, but we welcome co-creators.

Thanks for reading, That's all for now.

Want more from this Interview? Enjoy the fulll episode on your favorite listening platform

Transform Healthcare - One Connection at a Time

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