Blythedale Children’s Hospital,interpersonal skills,Meditech

Going beyond technology: Roni Amiel at Blythedale Children’s Hospital

When searching for broad perspectives, we have learned to seek individuals who exist in multiple arenas. Roni Amiel fits this role well as the Chief Information Officer at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York and as a student seeking a Master’s degree with a concentration in nanotechnology at Rutger’s University.

In addition to his Bridge panel contribution, Amiel agreed to speak with me about what he sees as the roles technologists, clinicians, vendors, government and patients play in the evolution of healthcare IT. Below is the record of our conversation.

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Free: You have a rich background in technology. Will you please provide a brief outline of your experience?

Roni Amiel, Chief Information Officer, Blythedale Children's Hospital

Roni Amiel, Chief Information Officer, Blythedale Children’s Hospital

Ameil: The way I would normally describe my background is to say that I am a plumber. I am also an electrician. At least, that is the internal joke where I work because I tend to wear a few different hats.

More to the point of your question, I have been a technologist for over 20 years. In terms of healthcare, I have worked in a variety of areas such as research and development, biopharmaceuticals and even including an medical examination office. I think I have collected a well-rounded set of experiences over the years applying technology to healthcare.

Also in the past 15 years, I have acted as a point of person for information security. I spent that time evaluating technology in a very different ways, beyond the zeros and ones that a technologist would normally review. Also, I tend to focus on initiatives and organizations that I can relate to their mission and vision.

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interoperability,Robert Wachter,The Digital Doctor: Hope Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine's Computer Age

Speaking with the digital doctor: Q&A series with Robert Wachter

If we were asked to create a list of the most compelling healthcare IT books of 2015, Robert Wachter’s The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age would be in the running for the number one position. His book offers a plain-spoken, and utterly convincing argument that healthcare IT is in its infancy, and without  guidance and proper balance of patience, common sense and compassion, it will grow into a member of our society who harms, rather than helps, others.

I plan to conduct three interviews with Dr. Wachter. Below is the record of our first conversation. Our follow-up interviews will be posted in the coming weeks. 

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Free: Let’s start our conversation by discussing your experiences investigating how vendors impact the use of healthcare IT.      

Wachter: I had a chance to spend a fair amount of time with vendors, and they’re smart people. I think we’re pinning a lot of our disappointment on them. Some of that, I think, is correct. Some of them have not done as good of a job as they should. Some of that is not their fault. When, for example, I looked at why the physician’s note has become such a disaster as a bloated piece of mostly unhelpful check boxes and confusion, I came to recognize that we’ve asked the vendors to solve ten different problems in the same space. Problems that they didn’t create. Again, for example, the note has to serve about ten different masters and vendors can only do so much with their limited exposure to the field. I do have some sympathy for their predicament.

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Bridge panelist,interpersonal skills,Roni Amiel,Rutger's University

Bridge panelist: Roni Amiel

As a part of our Bridge Panel series, Roni Amiel, Chief Information Officer, Blythedale Children’s Hospital offers his thoughts on the current state of healthcare IT education, advice for C-suite executives when dealing with newly graduated students and the importance of string interpersonal skills when dealing with healthcare IT. 

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Mallory: From your perspective, what are the attributes does a professional need in order to effective members of our industry? 

Roni Amiel, Chief Information Officer, Blythedale Children's Hospital

Roni Amiel, Chief Information Officer, Blythedale Children’s Hospital

Amiel:  I am very glad you ask this question because beyond what I do here at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, I am also a student. I am enrolled in the Masters in Biomedical Informatics program at Rutger’s University, concentrating in nano technology. I can clearly see both sides of the spectrum.

What skills do individuals need to have? I think generally, passion to do better you know just as human beings. The notion that you come to work every day, day in and day out or you come to class with the passion to learn more, to do better is basic.

I think this generation is much better equipped than we are in terms of interpersonal skills because they are much more resourceful which is a needed skill in healthcare technology these days. There is no way one can know everything, but if you are resourceful, you can go far. I think this generation is definitely resourceful and has the skills to do the upcoming jobs well.

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Beaumont Health,Botsford hospital,interoperability,Oakwood Health Care,Subra Sripada,transformation,value-based care model

Managing transformation without losing sight of the patient: Beaumont Health System

The responsibilities of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a healthcare organization of any size can be extremely daunting. When considering the magnitude of a CIO’s tasks and challenges that are created when combining the IT infrastructures and processes of three large organizations, one may feel as though customer service might take a back seat to other goals, if only momentarily. Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health and his staff, however, are not only successfully managing one of the largest healthcare transitions in North America, but they are also making sure that their work is aimed squarely at leveraging their technologies at the most fundamental, patient-friendly objectives.

Sripada and I discuss his job responsibilities, as well as how he sees his work as being vital to establishing a strong relationship with Beaumount Health’s patients.   

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Free: Before we discuss the transformation you are leading, could you please provide an outline of your professional background?

Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health

Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health

Sripada: Before I came to Beaumont Health System six years ago, I was working in management consulting. I came to Beaumont from Price Waterhouse Cooper. Prior to that, I consulted with Capgemini and Ernst and Young. I also worked was in the industry with Henry Ford Health System and then others.

My focus is on IT and business strategy. In my consulting work, I focused on business transformations. Using that experience, I have been very deeply involved with the integration of the three health systems that are coming together to create Beaumont Health. 

It is a good confluence of technology-enabled transformation here because we are strong believers that  IT is going to be a key differentiator and those who figure out how to leverage the technology to not only drive better outcomes for our patients, drive better efficiency as well as make possible what previously was not possible in healthcare.

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biomedical informatics,curriculum,Dr. Jennie Lou,Nova Southeastern,Veterans Affairs

Seeking the future leaders of healthcare: Dr. Jennie Lou

Few areas of healthcare IT possess the imagination and vitality of its academic community. Since we believe that many times the activities and ideas on campus rarely are considered in the field, we decided to reach out to Dr Jennie Lou, Program Director of Biomedical Informatics at Nova Southeastern University to learn more about her program as well as her thoughts on how the future leaders of healthcare informatics ought to be taught. 

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Free: Please tell us about your background and how you became an instructor.

Jennie Lou, M.D., M.S., Program Director, Biomedical Informatics, Nova Southeastern

Jennie Lou, M.D., M.S., Program Director, Biomedical Informatics, Nova Southeastern

Lou: I am a physician by training, a neurologist, but I am also a certified epidemiologist. As an instructor, I got into public health informatics first. Then I became more and more interested in biomedical informatics in general. In 2005, I started to establish this biomedical informatics program here at Nova Southeastern. I serve as its Department Chair today.

Free: What was the process behind building the biomedical informatics program at Nova Southeastern?

Lou: I want to thank our dean for his vision because back then not too many medical schools were actually thinking about getting a biomedical informatics program. Even to this day, it was still the first, and only, one biomedical informatics program in osteopathic medical school around the country.

We actually were in collaboration with Veterans Affairs (VA) in Palm Beach. We were collaborating with them to train their leaders in health informatics back then. That was the original rational and need for the program.

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Bridge panelist,curriculum,job descriptions,Subra Sripada

Bridge panelist: Subra Sripada

As a part of our Bridge Panel series, Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health offers his thoughts on the current state of healthcare IT education, as well as advice for students currently enrolled in academic programs and on the verge of entering the field. 

(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)

Mallory: Some members of both the academic and professional areas of healthcare IT see a disconnection between the attitudes, knowledge and skills being taught and the attitudes, knowledge and skills that are currently expected in the workplace.  It has even been said that some C-suite executives do not fully appreciate some of the latest ideas being brought to them by their newly hired employees.  Do you feel these opinions have any validity?

Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health

Subra Sripada, Chief Transformation Officer, System Chief Information Officer, Beaumont Health

 Sripada: I thought you were going down the path of medical schools, as the example have they kept up, in terms of their curriculum, for the changing world?

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