At the Seattle Summit, Stanford Children’s Health’s Ed Kopetsky Shares Leadership, Governance Wisdom

Nov. 22, 2019
On Tuesday at the Pacific Northwest Healthcare Innovation Summit, Stanford Children’s Health CIO Ed Kopetsky shared some of the secrets of success in leadership, governance, and change management in his organization

On Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Pacific Northwest Healthcare Innovation Summit, which was held at the Hyatt Grand Hotel and sponsored by Healthcare Innovation, Ed Kopetsky, one of the most respected CIOs in U.S. healthcare, shared his perspectives on leadership, governance, and change management, in his keynote presentation, “The Evolving Role of the CIO as a Champion for Change.”

Kopetsky, who since 2009 has been CIO at Stanford Children’s Health/Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, has served in several important CIO posts over the years—including Veterans Administration Health, Sharp Healthcare (San Diego), and Centura Health (Denver), has been recognized as one of the leading CIOs in U.S. healthcare.

Speaking of Stanford Children’s Health, Kopetsky told the Summit audience, “We’re only 28 years old, and the amount of innovation that we’ve been involved in has been astounding. We’re now a major health system in Northern California. We’ve actually grown threefold in all numbers. And I remember when I was being interviewed by the chairman of the board, he said, you’ve got to understand something: we’re here to innovate and share. I was coming out of IBM, and I thought, this is amazing. And we really do innovate.”

With regard to innovation and change, Kopetsky noted that, when Lucie Packard Children’s Hospital was founded in 1991, “There was no CMIO, there was no CTO, there was no analytics program.” All of that, Kopetsky initiated and created with his team, culminating in the important recognition of the Nicholas E. Davies Award for Excellence for outstanding achievement in utilizing healthcare IT to improve patient outcomes, which was awarded to his team in September 2017 by HIMSS, the Chicago-based Healthcare information & Management Systems Society.

Leaders at HIMSS cited three areas specifically when bestowing the Davies Award on Stanford Children’s Health/Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital: the prevention of nephrotoxic acute kidney injury (AKI) in hospitalized children; safety interventions for medication administration; and improved care for patients with congenital heart disease through the Clinical Effectiveness program. As Kopetsky said in a statement upon the organization’s receiving the Davies Award, "The close collaboration and integration between the Stanford Children’s Health Information Services team and clinical leadership, with our collective goal of improving health outcomes for children and expectant mothers, is a key factor in our successful adoption of health information technology.”

On Wednesday in Seattle, Kopetsky emphasized that, when it has come to innovations in that patient care organization, “To see our clinicians innovate with our tools was the ultimate. CIOs can only do so much,” he said. And he added that “We’ve accomplished a lot. We had to get executive support and alignment; we needed a passion for service excellence and high reliability.”

In contrast, on his first day on the job back in 2009, Kopetsky recalled that he came into a situation that involved a number of basic operational and functional problems. Indeed, he noted, “On my first day, I discovered that 50 percent of our COWs [computers on wheels] weren’t even functional.”

What’s more, he said, “Within three weeks of my coming there, we changed the name of the department from IT to information services, and began building a culture of excellence, using Lean” management strategies and techniques.

What have been the critical success factors? Kopetsky cited six:

> Executive support and alignment

>   Passion for service excellence and high reliability

>   Team culture and leadership development

>   Knowledge of the business

> Trusted partnership with stakeholders, at all levels and in all areas;

>   Financial sustainability of IS assets

What’s more, Kopetsky said, IS governance and strategic planning must both be participatory, collaborative and proactive.

Further, he cited core successful IS strategic plan principles, including:

>   Innovation through process and technology integration

>   Assuring a high-performance, reliable, and secure environment

>   Implementing solutions to support the clinical care continuum

>   Developing knowledge through advanced analytics

>   Evolving and sustaining a culture of service excellence

>   Leveraging and optimizing enterprise solutions

>   Assuring financial sustainability of IS investments

“We have a governance structure, and I’m fortunate to have executive and board support,” Kopetsky said. “In Silicon Valley, you can have a lot of people who think you should be moving faster; and of course, their own little solution is the answer. It’s a tough environment.” Fortunately, he said, a large group of leaders are participating in IS governance at Stanford Health—more than 60 individuals.

“Digital health is all about keeping and extending the continuum,” Kopetsky told the audience. “And we’re a learning health system. We had to have a way to develop knowledge through analytics. Enterprise solutions and sustainability were very important. The demand is clearly higher than what we can deliver every year.” Fortunately, leaders from all relevant areas, including the chief nursing officer and chief financial officer, have been regular participants in the process, he noted.

Meanwhile, Kopetsky said, “We got together with our IS committee, and came up with 10 value metrics. People have to state their top two value metrics for a particular project, from among the 10,” which are the following:

1. Financial ROI

2. Patient safety/quality

3. Clinical practice efficiencies

4. Business growth and access

5. Business outcomes/productivity

6. High-reliability systems/infrastructure

7. Threat protection

8. Regulatory requirements

9. Research and innovation

10. Patient/family/team member experience

“I was the executive lead over our implementation of Lean as a management system in the organization, several years ago,” Kopetsky noted. “We handed it off to the chief of surgery, but we adapted it to the needs of each department. Rapid communication and transparency were key in IS.”

The core goals of applying Lean management strategies in IS are:

>   Service excellence

>   Transparency and rapid communication

>   Leadership development

>   Staff engagement and wellness

>   Servant leadership

Among the successes have been IS leadership rounds and daily, tiered team huddles, which help everyone to address issues in the moment, and which have therefore cut down dramatically on the volume of scheduled meetings.

So much has been accomplished by all those involved in this governance and management processes, Kopetsky said, but he emphasized that his taking on an attitude of servant leadership was important in order for him and for his colleagues to truly move the organization forward.

Sponsored Recommendations

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

Unlock the potential of AI in our latest series. Discover how AI is revolutionizing clinical decision support, improving workflow efficiency, and transforming medical documentation...

Beyond the VPN: Zero Trust Access for a Healthcare Hybrid Work Environment

This whitepaper explores how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures secure, least privileged access to applications, meeting regulatory requirements and enhancing user...

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...