Henry Ford's Environment

Mary Alice Annecharico, SVP & CIO, Henry Ford Health System
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Mary Alice Annecharico, SVP & CIO, Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System, an 1808 bed not-for-profit acute care system, located in Detroit, MI, enjoys a wholesome, integrated and leveraged Microsoft relationship. The largely Windows landscape includes over 24,000 workstations and 5,000 printers in the environment. 90 percent of the devices run Windows 7 with an operational installation of 2013 MS Office. Leveraging the MS email platform, the network supports 28,000 mailboxes with 26 million emails sent and received through desktop and e-mobility strategies. A significant portion of our ‘Epic’ platform sits on windows servers virtualized at the data centers. There is consolidation to one ID and password in an AD space to create greater security and improved user experience. The MS Project Server supports the extensive repository for managing the enterprise global plan. HFHS achieved the Most Wired award in 2014 where many of the areas sit on MS technology to provide value to our clinical and business environments.

Henry Ford Health System formalized the three year Microsoft enterprise project in 2013 that embraces a variety of MS Solutions into a framework of achievable administrative and business transformation milestones. This effort was done on the heels of a massive Epic EHR and Revenue Cycle clinical transformation journey. By empowering the workforce with tools that enhance productivity, contemporary data sharing, while maintaining security standards for data at rest and in transit, our vision is to create a dynamic business transformation.

What are some of the surprises?

Not specifically surprises, there are several lessons learned that once known, organizations do not want to repeat. 2013 MS Solutions have had many tools for the client upgrades. In the effort to deliver what consumers want, the expectations must be defined and endorsed in order to deliver the right solutions that add value.

TCO is ambiguous during large transition because there are so many gaps to fill with a standardized Share Point 2013 solution. Users are fearful of shedding the old before they understand the relevance of the new functionality. Many live in two worlds for periods of time, resulting in the support of several partial solutions along the way and requiring users to cling to old and new methods of managing information. Role-based education is crucial for smooth implementation and must be provided in a variety of ways that support the ways in which adults learn.

The sophisticated search functionality enables staff to preview available findings without having to leave the search function. This is a cornerstone of the policy portal and represents a focus on a single standard and harmonization of information into a site of truth for our business and clinical cohorts.

Keys to success

Organizations must have a business champion, business engagement, understanding the value of the solution that addresses needs in a more refined way, and appreciation of the level of education and engagement required for adoption, and change behavior.

Microsoft has become more aware of and engaged in the way healthcare business differs from other industries. At the same time, so have the products and services offered to the healthcare sector matured. We can more effectively leverage the MS team as they begin to bring effective solutions to the table. This is important to HFHS to insure that a full complement of knowledgeable resources come to the table as a holistic team who understand their own tools and can help us to implement the tools.

There is no such thing as a magic bullet– the vendor would love to tell clients that products will solve all problems. We need Microsoft to work with us as our internal business advocates to represent all views and to analyze products from our business perspectives.

Finding and hiring qualified Microsoft skilled staff is becoming increasingly challenging in the healthcare market that competes with automotive and banking industry salaries. Young talent is often drawn to healthcare to experience the diversity of the environments and the internal growth and maturation opportunities rather than for the salary.

By exploiting Lync to replace the conferencing line strategies, we are able to share institutional data more securely and cost effectively. Auto conferencing can be used as group chats to lend spontaneity into conversations.

A mistake made by some organizations is under and over licensing software on devices while having limited visibility to the licensing schema. This can be avoided with good configuration management and enabled by ITSM and MS tools to quickly configure and audit what is running on the machines and to limit exposure based on user profile needs.

CIO role

The role of the CIO is becoming increasingly more data driven. No longer can C-Suite executives relay on relationships and experience to influence change. We need to know how to drive innovation and strategy by leveraging what the data tells us and be willing to help others within the workforce not to fear data or let it get in the way of sound decision making.

The CIO is now a strategist, an innovator, and must be at the table to influence and shape the business strategy of the organization.

Female CIOs are growing in numbers. An imperative for a female who has made it to the top of the profession is to create a welcoming environment to nurture other talented females to make directed moves to further their own careers.

“Role-based education is crucial for smooth implementation and must be provided in a variety of ways that support the ways in which adults learn”

Unique lessons

1. Hire staff who are thirsty to learn and add value. They will find the pearls of opportunity for the organization.

2. Be willing to take time to invest energy in vendor relationships. Do not be afraid to say what you need from those relationships.

3. Create practical vendor master agreements and contracts that would look at the business and delivery sides as well as the cost aspects.

4. Be authentic every day. If you are afraid to stick your neck out for what you believe, others will struggle to trust you.

5. Consumer driven demands challenge us to adapt and provide secure, flexible services. Be Brave.

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