Mitchell Parker, Temple Health: 'Security key to overall governance'

'You can say you make systems secure. Or you can have operational checks and balances to make sure they actually stay compliant.'
By Tom Sullivan
08:00 AM
Mitchell Parker

Mitchell Parker got into security the organic way.

While working as a defense contractor some 12 years ago, he was tasked with one insurance information security project, then another, until it quickly become apparent that Parker could accomplish the work on time and, often, under budget.

His mastery led, naturally, to more and more security responsibilities.

He built on that skill set as a consultant and data manager in various industries: defense, of course, as well as finance, human resources and healthcare. 

"I come from four distinct industries," said Parker, who now is CISO at Temple Health, an academic medical center in Philadelphia with more than 1,000 physicians and scientists.

That diverse background serves Parker well in helping to transform information security into one of Temple Health's strategic assets.  "Security should be part of overall organizational governance," he said.

Turning that vision into reality means Parker consults with other Temple Health groups to steer them toward effectively managing the business and putting the right processes in place to ensure compliance.

[Learn more: Meet the speakers at HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Privacy & Security Forum.]

"You can say you make systems secure and compliant," Parker added. "Or you can have operational checks and balances to make sure they actually stay compliant."

In addition to IT, Parker works alongside revenue cycle folks, as well as legal and compliance. He said it all comes down to risk management and mitigation.

"I see the future trend being that all the sub-parts that deal with this type of risk are going to be working together," Parker explained. "The EHR will create forced marriages between IT, risk, privacy and security, and compliance departments."

All that will only raise the visibility of CISOs spanning various hospital departments.

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