Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian: Tim Moore, SVP/CIO

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When the seeds that were to become Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian were planted in 1944, the role of information technology was not even an agenda item. As with other healthcare organizations, information technology in 2011 now plays a primary role in Hoag’s daily operations.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian has two acute-care hospitals in Orange County, California, and is the majority owner in a joint venture known as the Hoag Orthopedic Institute. The organization also has seven health centers and approximately 5,000 full-time employees. Their network includes 1,200 physicians and is projected to bring in about $850 million in revenue this year.

“A healthcare Chief Information Officer, like other CIOs in the country, has gone from being a kind of a novelty 10 to 15 years ago to being an absolute necessity today,” says Tim Moore, senior vice president and CIO at Hoag. “We’ve moved from the basement to the board room.”

Moore reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. His role, first and foremost, is to put strategic direction around how information technology is used in the organization and to be an enabling partner to the business units of the hospital.

Information Hype vs. Reality

Moore says that one of his primary jobs is to interpret and put into practical terms for the organization what is available and doable in information technology versus what is not.

“IT is becoming part of everyone’s enabling success, and as such organizations, at times, develop expectations beyond current realities,” Moore said. “They pick up all the different papers and read the blogs, and they hear some nifty things, and they assume it’s possible or it’s being done or it’s beyond a pilot. ‘Can’t we just buy two of these and plug them in?’ they ask. Expectation management is paramount.”

The job of CIO is to understand and define the scope of the product in common business terms. Technology is executed once all the parameters are predicted so that the time committed and the dollars committed to that product are well spent.

“Sometimes this job requires, ‘No,’” Moore said. “No, that’s not possible in this time frame. No, that’s not possible with this portfolio of work. No, that’s not possible for those dollars. There is certainly an expectation, and it’s the predictability of the product end-goal that it is my job to define.”

Moore added, “However, the desire is to always arrive at a ‘yes.’”

Unfortunately, though, there are very few things for which “yes” is appropriate, so often Moore has to deliver a “no.”

From Product Supplier to Business Partner

One of the biggest changes Moore sees in the field of healthcare information technology is that the supplier is becoming a true business partner.

“They are no longer out there taking and filling orders,” he said. “They are at the table, at the business unit, saying, ‘Let me understand what you are trying to accomplish. Let me help you with that vision.’”

The technology supplier has become a big part of the developing philosophy about how a project is run.

“They say, ‘Let’s make sure that a great idea doesn’t start and end with a great idea. Let’s make sure it goes through a methodology that comes out on the other side,’” Moore said.

A decade or so ago, IT budgets approximated two percent of a hospital’s revenue. The trend today is more along the lines of eight percent, 10 percent or even 12 percent of a hospital’s total revenue.

“There’s an exponential trajectory as far as the trend in demand with IT and the engagement with IT in healthcare,” Moore said. “It’s no longer about differentiating ourselves. It is often what we do with IT to simply be in the healthcare business.”

Managing the Flow and Direction of New Technology

Moore equates staying on top of all that is new and upcoming in the field of healthcare technology to drinking from a fire hose.

“You just have to learn to modulate the flow,” he said. “You have to develop and trust your resources.”

He surrounds himself with people who are very good at their jobs and whom he knows he can trust to bring the right information to the table.

“We meet very frequently and we talk about trends,” Moore said. “We talk about what things are going to look like a year from now, three years from now.

“It’s a very fast-moving field and you manage it—as well as it can be done—in partnership modality,” he continued. “I’m very clear when I’m meeting with my other senior managers in the organization or other vice presidents or anybody else who reaches out to me. I share what I know; I admit to what I don’t know. I share what I’m looking at, and I’m wide open to what they are hearing and seeing and finding out what would they like my team to take a little more time with.”

Keeping in Mind the End Goal

“Ultimately, what does Mrs. Smith want from her healthcare?” Moore said. “More than anything, she wants to believe that you know her. When she goes to her primary-care physician because she has a sniffle, and he listens to her lungs and sends her over to the pulmonologist, she doesn’t want to start from scratch. She wants that information to be available. And when that pulmonologist sends her for a biopsy at the hospital, she wants that continuity. She wants that information given back to her pulmonologist and back to her primary-care physician and she wants it to happen in near-real time.”

That is why information technology is evolving in healthcare. It is the tool that connects patients to doctors and doctors to each other.

“Too often, each doctor visit is a reintroduction of who I, the patient, am,” Moore said. “The job of the information officer is to understand the business of healthcare so that all the information moves quickly and easily between treatment providers.”

-by T.M. Simmons

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