J. Michael Kramer brought an abundance of training, skills and passion to Trinity Health. He joined the Novi, Mich.-based system in August 2005 when he was named vice president and chief medical information officer, a newly created position at the time.
2009 Up & Comers: J. Michael Kramer
Physician informatics leader William Bria was there when Kramer received some of that training. Bria was the medical director of information systems at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, from 1999 to 2006. It's where Kramer served a two-year fellowship in medical informatics from 1999 to 2001. Kramer also earned his MBA from Michigan in 2003.
“Michael was our first informatics fellow at the university,” recalls Bria, now CMIO for the Shriners Hospitals for Children system, Tampa, Fla. “Mike was absolutely instrumental in the further development of CareWeb and the work we did with IBM and Eclipsys.” (CareWeb is the University of Michigan Health System's main clinical information system.)
As CMIO, Kramer, 40, serves as the physician champion of Project Genesis, Trinity's systemwide clinical IT program, which dates back to the late 1990s.
Trinity publicizes that Project Genesis has a $400 million price tag for hardware and software, “but if you add up all of the resources it's taken and time, I think that it comes closer to $1 billion,” says P. Terrence O'Rourke, a physician who serves as a Trinity executive vice president and its chief clinical officer.
Kramer was a 1991 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami (Ohio) University before receiving his medical degree from Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1995. He completed a residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Michigan in 1999 before working in urgent care, as a hospitalist and as a medical officer on duty with the Veterans Affairs Department, all at hospitals in Ann Arbor.
As of this June, Trinity had its electronic health-record system in use and documenting all inpatient and outpatient encounters at 22 of its hospitals, but installation work continues.
Kramer says the most important professional skill for a CMIO is the ability to influence and collaborate across departments and with people from multiple professional backgrounds. That means being able “to walk into the boardroom and speak at that level and walk down the hall and be able to understand how a clinical system is not behaving,” Kramer says.
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