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CIO of the Year, Rick Schooler, on HIT

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 6, 2012

On the prospects for healthcare IT over the next decade:

It is going to take us five to 10 more years to fully enable accountable care. I'm talking about putting information throughout a care continuum at the fingertips of those who need it to support care while on the backside having the robust analytics capabilities that mirror other industries. To do that takes everything with regard to infrastructure, with back office systems, full-blown automation of EMRs, and automation of our core processes as a business.

I want to be able to look a back and say I left a mark on this industry when I can truly demonstrate that health information exchanges, analytics, population management capabilities for patient registries, and advanced data warehousing, those types of technologies are rock solid in place and being fed by solid operational support systems like electronic medical records and ancillary systems.

On the legacy of healthcare information technology of 2012:

"We will look back and see this time as the turning point where the industry, circa 2010-14, [came] to grips with the fact that reimbursements are only going to shift and it's only going to be tougher to contain costs and the people who pay for healthcare truly have had enough."

"From an industry perspective that is when people will realize we 'got it.' One key to making that happen is a robust reliable information infrastructure. It's an awakening that many of us have had going on for several years. But if you're looking at critical mass, particularly at community hospitals they are realizing 'I have to get a partner. I can't do it on my own.' This whole idea of managing populations, whether or not you believe a disease management program saves money, it won't matter because the people paying for healthcare eventually are going to say 'either you manage that population or I won't pay you.'"

Schooler will receive the award at the 2012 Annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas on Feb. 23.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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