At KU Med, 'our role is to assist'

Partnering with stakeholders, across the enterprise, is key to success
By Skip Snow
03:36 AM
University of Kansas Hospital

Chris Hansen, senior vice president of ambulatory services and CIO of the University of Kansas Hospital, is clear about why his team works so well.

"The key is for IT to partner with the stakeholders to be successful," says Hansen. "We provide the tools, but the stakeholders have to use the tools. Our role is to assist them, providing the highest quality of patient care and safety."

One key driver for the IT team's success is its partnership with Chief Medical Information Officer Gregory A Ator, MD. Hansen helped create this role when he became CIO.

The CMIO's office has grown significantly, along with the IT team, since that time. Ator, a practicing surgeon, constantly challenges the team to create a more efficient user experience.

Sarah Rock, staff development coordinator, says the team's success is largely due to its members' understanding that their work plays a vital role in providing quality patient care. Chris Harper, director of business architecture and analytics, cites its use of contemporary methodologies and frameworks such as Agile as a means to success.

Not only do these approaches generally yield better results, they allow the institution to acquire and retain a talented workforce as skills stay relevant.

Hansen points out that the basic blocking and tackling of creating a digital health record is now done. Now he's turned his attention to the evidence and works on data governance as a priority.

The evidence is powerful, he says, and once well understood will allow for great innovation and insight. The system must compete against perfection, not against competitors. The hospital's CEO has challenged the institution to create a zero-error environment, and Hansen's team embraces this challenge, knowing that IT must play a vital role in approaching the target.

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