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Christus Health CIO discusses how IT supports business strategy (Part 2)

Posted Mar 10 2010 4:00am

In part 1 of our podcast interview, Christus Health SVP/CIO George Conklin described describes how his 44-hospital system leverages IT to support its business. In part 2, he explains how organizational culture, psychology, technology and leadership interacted to enable the organization to achieve massive standardization of data and protocols.  That effort has allowed Christus to generate value from the scale of its information resources, for example through its partnership with Humedica .

When Christus Health came together several years ago, Conklin and his colleagues realized the time was not ripe for standardization. Regional leadership was protective of their individual approaches, and senior management chose not to resist. Instead, Christus initiated its 4 Directions to Excellence program emphasizing:

  1. Clinical quality
  2. Service quality (with measures of patient, physician, and employee satisfaction)
  3. Business literacy
  4. Community value

These four elements were tracked in a balanced scorecard, which led to subtle competition among the different parts of Christus and adoption of best practices, setting the ground work for standardization.

By the time the regional CEOs approached senior leadership with the request for a single IT system in 2004, they were ready to accept the idea of large-scale standardization, rather than being so protective of local autonomy.

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