This was a good write up from Dr. Halamka  at Harvard Medical from his blog, Life As A Healthcare CIO” and he’ very down to earth with his comments.  If you have followed his blog or caught his many appearance all over the web then you know he is the top of ladder here with knowledge and enthusiasm for healthcare technology and it doesn’t get any better with true evaluative information that he puts out.  He does a good job with both the good and the bad and more importantly, reality. 

Dr. Halamka is one of those rare “hybrids” among us out there that we need to really listen to as having both a computer science (and more than that) degree and being a practicing MD as well as a CIO is a lot wrapped up in one person.  Bill Gates told the graduating class at Berkeley the same thing, “be a hybrid as those are the folks in the world with real value and being able to have more than one focus. 

What makes this interesting is the fact that a former CIO from a hospital who has now moved on into private consulting create and suggests a solution, and I don’t know how long she has been away from the hospitals but it certainly might sound like it’s long enough to not be in touch with the havoc and speed that has taken over in this last year. 

The proposition about a collaborate data center was according to his blog post was well received, but the secondary input here…who has the time. I guess in the world of technology those outside of the “code” realm, who have never written a stick of code or been in any part of networking from the IT side have no clue as to the time it takes today with all the aggregated data we have out there, not to mention security that requires constant attention.  Us tech folks might be to blame for some of that from the other side of the coin as we made it look so easy for years, but things have changed and we can’t do the over night and quick miracles that folks have seen in the past.

It is not just the layman either, some CEOs still think that way, so in essence it’s nice to have all the brainstorming and great ideas that come out of some of these session, but remember to be kind to your tech folks and “ask” them how long and what the process is.  I have to say no sometimes to the “I wants” of the folks that I work with and it could be both “time” and “expense” or I find they want something that is not needed.  If you are an IT person the “non needed” will definitely bring a chuckle or two. 

You can create many “proofs of concept” but if the folks that do the work and planning don’t have the time, then you might think again about the “I wants” and go back to the drawing board.  Out of meetings though too come some technologies that really are needed and most IT folks recognize good ideas and “if they have the time” in the mix of everything else they do, they will jump on it. 

I’m glad he brought this topic up and if you don’t think your CIOs are up to capacity, think again about time elements and burning them out.  This is not new but has been going on for a long time.  Politicians are great ones for the “I wants” with being clueless as to the time an research needed from CIOs and want answers that are not there too.  Here’s a refresher on the ICD-10 case that he wrote back in August of 2011.  This is a pretty lengthy article that brings in more than just my input. 

Dr. Halamka Speaks About Health IT–“CIOs are on Overload” and It Would be A Blessing to Stall Off ICD-10 to 2016 - The Straw Breaking the Camel’s Back


CIOs and many Health IT folks are “bankrupted for time” and how about the “think tanks”, CEOS and others taking that thought to heart?  BD 

Meg Aranow, the former CIO of Boston Medical Center and now a principal at Aranow Consulting recently assembled several of the IT leaders in Boston to discuss opportunities for reducing costs and enhancing infrastructure by pooling our collective resources.   Here's her guest post describing the exploration:
"I recently met with IT leadership from Partners Healthcare, Children's Hospital Boston and Beth Israel Deaconess, all teaching affiliates of Harvard.  The topic around which we convened was to discuss the idea of a collaborative datacenter.

We concluded the meeting thinking it might be an interesting idea to some day explore if there were time.  But not now. "

Thanks for doing this Meg.  In a world of infinite demand and limited IT supply, all CIOs feel "time bankrupt".   The alignment of opportunity, regulatory mandate, cost pressures,  politics, and prioritization is definitely a perfect storm that occurs only rarely.


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