Working on the frontier of healthcare IT: Sanford Health
Few healthcare organizations have the reputation for innovation as Sanford Health. With locations in California, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ghana, China and Mexico, Sanford Health consists of 43 hospitals, nearly 250 clinics, 27,000 employees, including 1,400 physicians offering expertise in 80 specialties. The organization's leadership has launched several influential initiatives, including global children's clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases. Needless to say, if you are seeking to learn how a modern healthcare organization can effectively grow and add value to its patient population, Sanford Health is a great place to consider and Arlyn Broekhuis, Chief Information Officer (CIO), offers a compelling perspective of the evolution of his organization as well as its continued mission to serve as a model of combining cutting-edge technology with the traditional values of healthcare.
Broekhuis has worked at Sanford Health for over 30 years. He started as a developer and then he became Director of IT. As the Director of IT, he was really the CIO because there was no higher-level position in the organization at the time, however, he soon earned the title out right. It goes without saying that he has been around healthcare IT for a long time, and he has seen a great deal of change relative to healthcare IT.
(Editor's note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article.)
Broekhuis: The biggest changes that I have seen have occurred in the last 5+ years. Software applications for healthcare are now becoming truly integrated and they are meeting the needs of healthcare. For my first 20+ years in this industry, we all struggled with stand-alone applications, and we followed a lot of best-of-breed approaches that really didn't work. In the last 5 to 10 years that trend has changed and we have transitioned to integrated IT systems.
Those applications are patient centric today versus when you go back more than 10 years, they weren't. They were departmental centric. I think that's a significant change. The healthcare IT industry has really moved along ways in the last 10 years.