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CIO of the Year, Rick Schooler, on HIT

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 6, 2012

On the decision to make healthcare IT a career:

"I was a pre-med student and unfortunately was drawn to girls and parties. I realized after two years that I was going to have to take a lot of classes over again. I had a relative in 1978 who said there are going to be opportunities in data processing."

On the overall state of healthcare IT:

"It took me about two or three years working at my first organization, which is now Indiana University Health, to figure out this industry is woefully behind in the use of technology. My first healthcare mentor was my boss there, the CIO.

He said you have to slow down and be patient because we do things by consensus. We have a long way to go and it is going to take many years to get where we need to be. He said to me very clearly that 'healthcare needs to bring people like you in to our organizations.'"

On the overall state of healthcare IT workers:

"As an industry we have done a good job growing people to do this work. When I entered healthcare in 1991, most of the people on the IT side just didn't understand industrial computing. They were used to running billing systems and systems confined in a dumb terminals and green bar reporting.

They were still using punch cards. They were so far behind, even [at] a renowned health system like IU Health back then. I think we have done a good job in the last 20 years getting people in the pipeline. So we've done a good job on that side. On the pure technology side, we still need more help from the outside.  

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