A CIO's perspective on the promise of digital transformation

Penn Medicine Chief Information Officer Mike Restuccia says strong leadership is needed to capitalize on technology's potential – but people are the real enablers.
By Mike Restuccia
02:39 PM
Penn Medicine

I have often shared with people that serving as a chief information officer in this era has provided me with being the beneficiary of all the hard work, effort and persistence of those CIOs that served before me in my organization. I benefited from technology foundations being laid and compounding on the results of each of the previous three decades.

As a point of reference, the 1980s were exemplified by challenges in getting hardware and storage to perform at acceptable levels. The 1990s were characterized by the introduction of inconsistent WiFi, mobile and internet connectivity. The 2000 decade was all about implementing electronic health records and gaining clinical adoption. With technology, application and process platforms have now firmly stabilized in the present decade.

Unlocking the potential of digital transformation

All that previous work now leads us to innovate toward achieving digital transformation. Our role as CIOs is to leverage these platforms for the betterment of our patients' care, to enhance clinician capabilities and to advance research. The opportunity for this digital transformation holds the promise of delivering many more rewards than those reaped by our predecessors. Unlocking the potential to bring this transformative value into reality requires key leadership qualities.

Team makes the impossible possible

I have found that focusing on team, collaboration and consistently striving to "exceed expectations" are critical elements to achieving overall success. In this complex and ever changing healthcare environment, the need for high performing individuals melding together as a team can make the impossible possible. By focusing on an employee's goals that are nurtured by experienced managers in a supportive environment, the right blend of attention for growth and retention remains steadfast as our most valuable asset.

People are the real enablers behind the technology

Although technology enables many of our efforts, I view our team as being in the "services" versus the "technology" industry. As a result of this mindset, soft business skills such as collaboration, listening, problem solving and follow-up are critical to working with and meeting the requirements of our operational partners. Finally, instilling a spirit among team members to consistently go "above and beyond" for the betterment of our community serves as the foundation for great success.

Teamwork is the main driver to success

The technology pieces associated with digital transformation are available to all of us. How we take advantage of these platforms in order to transform the manner in which patient care and advancing research is achieved is now in our hands as industry leaders. I observe that those leaders who focus on "team" achieve remarkable results on many fronts. Perhaps the most important achievement is the engagement and retention of a satisfied employee base that continues to deliver time and time again. 

Mike Restuccia is chief information officer of Penn Medicine.

Leadership Fundamentals for Digital Transformation

This month, we’ll show how healthcare leaders are investing in this forward push, positioning themselves to capitalize on an array of innovations to enable a brighter future.

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