Nemours embraces IT, keeps focus on its kids

From cybersecurity to telehealth, serving patients is the priority
By Skip Snow
03:24 AM

When asked about his management philosophy at Nemours, Bernie Rice is clear that he has an aversion to bright and shiny objects: "We are here to ensure that the kids get the best possible care, not to do technology for its own sake."

The operational vice president and CIO of this leading children's health system, which is headquartered in Delaware but spans four states, is laser-focused on the patients: their care, their safety and the cybersecurity of their personal health information.

Nemours Children's Health System is the only pediatric health system in the country with two freestanding, dedicated pediatric hospitals and an extensive ambulatory network. Rice attributes his department's success in such a large enterprise to an intense focus on patients, and to the strong relationships his team has with the stakeholders of the institution.

He is clear that talent alone does not make a candidate right for the work that must be done at a pediatric health system; Rice seeks a special kind of compassionate technologist in his hiring practice.

This focus on good cultural fit has created a warm environment where the team works hard, is flexible, and forms a sort of virtual family where the need to support the patients and staff of the institution trumps playing with technology for its own sake, he says.

Rice speaks warmly about the training he got in the manufacturing business while working for Anheuser-Busch, and how his background of eight years in the military clearly shaped his disciplined approach to leadership.

Nemours is clearly a technology leader, and under Rice's leadership it's doing important work in areas such as telehealth. The emergency department regularly consults via video with first responders and outside emergency departments that look to it for guidance in pediatric care delivery.

Empowering innovation like this comes from the Nemours IT department's focus on the patient, while also fully understanding how technology must shape healthcare's future.

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