CHIME members honored for bolstering cybersecurity, driving operational improvement

Nov. 3, 2016

Chief information officers face some daunting challenges in today’s complex healthcare environment. Not only must they ensure that health information technology supports and advances clinical goals, but they also have to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks on their networks. In recognition of their efforts to be agents of change in their organizations, Pamela Arora, senior vice president and CIO at Children’s Health in Dallas; and Bryan Bliven, CIO at the University of Missouri Health Care were awarded the 2016 Transformational Leadership Award today at the CHIME16 Fall CIO Forum in Phoenix. The award is sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Hospital Association (AHA).

From ransomware to data breaches, healthcare has become a prime target for cyber criminals. Network security is an immense challenge for any organization, let alone small provider settings. As payment and delivery models evolve to encourage information sharing across the continuum, new vulnerabilities arise. After all, networks are only as secure as their weakest link. Recognizing that smaller provider settings don’t always have the resources to bolster their security systems, Children’s Health is helping them better understand the threat landscape. Through a HITRUST program called CyberAid, the hospital also works with small practices to find cost-effective cybersecurity solutions.

“For an organization like Children’s Health, that hosts small practices on its electronic medical record (EMR), it’s important that we work together with small practices to tighten defenses and address cyber threats quickly and decisively,” Arora said. “We’re all playing in the same sandbox, so we must ensure that our data and systems are protected against threats at all entry points. CyberAid helps us extend our defenses into the smaller provider systems, ensuring a more secure environment for everyone.”

This year’s other Transformational Award winner, Bryan Bliven, CIO at the University of Missouri Healthcare, works closely with MU Health Care CEO Mitch Wasden and Chief Medical Information Officer Thomas Selva, M.D., to lead an ambitious IT agenda. Through a partnership with Cerner, MU Health Care created the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, which has helped the organization build out an IT infrastructure that supports clinical goals. MU Health has achieved a number of milestones, including a 135 percent increase in patient views of clinical notes since September 2015 as part of its involvement in the OpenNotes movement. Also, 60,000 patient portal accounts have been created since 2012. The Tiger Institute has also helped MU Health Care build an information exchange that links 15 hospitals, 120 clinics and 1,300 providers.

“MU Health Care, like all healthcare providers, was facing an unprecedented amount of change in terms of IT adoption and regulatory compliance. Cerner, as a healthcare technology company, needs key partners that can help create innovations and foster quick adoption and feedback cycles,” Bliven said. “The mission of the Tiger Institute is to transform the health and care of Missourians. Initially, we were focused on the tactics of IT adoption, but we have moved into IT as a strategic asset driving both organizations.”

To learn more about the CHIME Transformational Leadership Award, click here.