'Any of them can answer your problem or help you get something resolved'

'Accountability' key to Inspira IT team

By Bernie Monegain
03:19 AM
Inspira Health Network

Tom Pacek, vice president and CIO of the three-hospital Inspira Health Network, with health centers and locations across New Jersey, sums up his 109-member IT team with one word: Accountability.

"Not only are they knowledgeable of what their piece of the pie is, they also understand what each other's piece of the pie is and how to work collaboratively – and they are accountable," says Pacek.

"There's no finger-pointing," he adds. "If we fall down on something, or fall short on something, they're quick to take accountability and rectify it and learn from it so it doesn't happen again. These guys are awesome."

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The directors, who oversee separate aspects of IT, have full reign to do whatever they have to do to accomplish good work, he says.

Sometimes employees say to Pacek, they do not know which member of his team to go to.

"You can go to any of them," he tells them, "because any of them can answer your problem or help you get something resolved."

Pacek joined Inspira as CIO eight years ago, after working at Virtua Health in southern New Jersey.  Back then, the Inspira IT department had 35 members. Today, it numbers 109.

As for Pacek, who has a master's degree in business administration, he is pleased to have a seat at the strategy table with the rest of the executive team. Most CIOs today have graduated from being "the IT guy" of years ago to joining the executive suite as a critical member of the team.

Among the several IT projects underway at Inspira, Pacek highlights one he views as making a huge difference for both patients and care providers – indeed, for all employees and even visitors.

It's the rollout of a secure messaging platform that makes it possible for residents as well as the rest of the care teams to communicate with one another without using the overhead paging system. 

The impetus for the text messaging system went beyond keeping the hospital compliant and secure to providing a quiet atmosphere for all.

"We constantly had negative feedback from our patients or even employees about how our hospital was loud with the overhead paging," Pacek explains. "So, we have dropped the overhead paging calls from physicians in particular – from more than 180 average a day to one. So our hospitals are quiet. And, you really notice it when you walk through the door."

"We're doing a lot of great things here – what I would consider advanced, leading-edge type things… taking some existing functionality and doing more with it than most hospitals."

What might the IT team do better? Pacek is stumped for just a second.

"I wish we did better in following up with the customer and see how satisfied they were with the job we did."

Sure there are automated surveys going out to the customers – every third ticket, in fact. The response to those is about 10-15 percent, Pacek says.  A phone call might elicit better insight, he figures. "Did we really meet their expectations? Yeah, we solved the problem. Did we do it in a timely fashion? Did it perhaps prevent them from getting something done because our response was not as fast as it should have been? As he sees it, it might be worth digging deeper.

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