"I tell people that the reason I have calluses on my hands is because I have to hold the reins back,” says Gary Gregory, board chairman at Miami Children's Hospital, referring to the hospital CEO's exuberance when it comes to health information technology.
Since Dr. Narendra Kini joined 272-bed Miami Children's as president and CEO in 2008, it has been full speed ahead with IT implementation, as Kini has driven a digitalization strategy that includes initiatives in telemedicine, mobile technology, “big data,” patient engagement and revenue-cycle management. They're the results of Kini's goal to create an environment for patients and their families similar to what they experience in other segments of the economy.
“People expect convenience, efficiency and most activity to be on the Web,” says Kini, 50. “So how do you translate healthcare functions? How do you get all of that activity in the same manner or format as (an airline) boarding pass or making a purchase on the Web?”
That has been the challenge and the philosophy that Kini, his board and the staff at Miami Children's have been facing for the past five years. And it's why Kini is one of two recipients of this year's CEO IT Achievement Awards, presented by Modern Healthcare and co-sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
The recognition comes more than a year after one of Kini's crowning achievements at Miami Children's—the implementation of a $67 million health-record system (partially offset with federal stimulus funds) that replaced a 42-year-old paper process. The system went live in April 2012. Though the hospital would be in jeopardy of losing a portion of its Medicare and Medicaid funding beginning in 2015 if it didn't have an EHR system in place meeting the “meaningful-use” criteria, the extensive list of other IT initiatives at Miami Children's provides evidence that governmental pressure was not the sole motivating factor behind the IT push.
Before then, other hospital stakeholders—starting with board members—had already begun to see evidence of a digital evolution of sorts.