Leadership Principles in Healthcare I.T.
Episode 454

Eric Jimenez, Director of Information at Artesia General Hospital

Leadership Principles in Healthcare I.T.

Optimizing the EHR  led to interoperability and improved patient and physician experience in Artesia General Hospital

 

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Leadership Principles in Healthcare I.T.

Episode 454

Recommended Book:

Start With Why

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Artesia General Hospital

 

Leadership Principles in Healthcare I.T. with Eric Jimenez, Director of Information at Artesia General Hospital transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Leadership Principles in Healthcare I.T. with Eric Jimenez, Director of Information at Artesia General Hospital was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Eric Jimenez. He is the director of I.T., supporting five hundred plus employees across 16 locations with 10 years of health care experience at Artesia General Hospital, restructured and he has restructured and developed an award winning I.T. department, leading 16 technician support analysts and clinical informatics. He led the project, consolidating 3 EHRs, not an easy task into an enterprise. Wide E.H. are developed and executed, enterprise wide disaster and new hyper converged infrastructure. He’s been named one hundred community hospital CEOs to know in 2017, 18 and 19 by Beckers Hospital Review. He left the hospital to health care’s most wired, small and rural and 2017 health care I.T. news best I.T. department in 2017. And he achieved HIMMS analytics EMRAM Stage 6, which is not at all easy to do. The hospital that he leads at is nestled between Roswell and Carlsbad, New Mexico. And they’re doing incredible things in this area to add value to rural health care. There is no perfect box, as Eric and I discussed before we hit the record button here for you all today. And we’re gonna talk about that philosophy to addressing the rural care needs. And with that, when I open the microphone. Eric, welcome.

Eric Jimenez:
Welcome. Thank you. It’s a very humbling to be here on your podcast, Outcomes Rocket.

Saul Marquez:
Well, listen, Eric, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I’m in your office, man. And so we’re having a good discussion. I want to make sure that the folks know your why. So tell us a little bit about what got you into health care to begin with.

Eric Jimenez:
So back in 2016, 2010 was in Dallas and I saw an ad about becoming a site director or a consultant for hospitals. And I was like for IT. I was like, oh, you know, I wasn’t happy with the job I was doing and I was ready for a change. I took the ad went into the interview and met with the gentleman. And, you know, it kind of talked to me a little bit. And so I made a journey out to both. Pretty much I would consider it home back home, because I wasn’t being in Dallas. We were there. After I graduated college and worked in the tech sector from all the way from helped us work for major companies, school districts, and the less portion of it was in web hosting. So I wanted to provide myself more meaning. And so I jumped on that job opportunity. And it took me to a small community hospital called Guadalupe County Hospital in that Guadalupe County. You know, I’ve met one of the most incredible CEOs I went to date has not to. She is what pretty much kept me in rural America. Her name is Cristina Campos, and she was the one I went in there. The facility that the hospital was in was aging. She was in the midst of building a brand new state of art facility. You know, she explained to me what that hospital meant to that community, that if they didn’t build it, it would cause the community to pretty much die because that was the kind of lifeblood. And so she she sold me on a vision. And so as a consultant, I was just like, who? You know, I was like, wow, this is amazing. You know, you don’t do that in those urban areas. You don’t get that same vision area. Okay. Hey, I want to state of the art facility that can do all the that can handle it. And so I was sold at that point. So I stay there, helped her build a new campus for the facility. As the same time, I was absorbing and learning and getting everything from her about how a community based hospitals based around the community and how that community, that hospital is there to serve. And she gave true servant leadership. And I was just like, how can I do that with technology? So as we were doing things, you know, it was just true leadership. How she handled decisions, how she handled the employees. Everyone bought into the vision. And so that was the main reason. You know, I want to say that I kind of owe it to her of my success going forward is just that, you know. And so my time was ending as a contract was ending and I decided, hey, maybe I need to go find my own journey. Go down my own path and see if I could make a change in rule healthcare. Our teacher came up and so that was like. My opportunity to dabble on my own and see if I could take that vision that she created and move it somewhere else. So that’s how I ended up in the health care sector. You know, I’ve had plenty of time to leave, but I think just that drive the bringing change to something that I think is great. So in a vision.

Saul Marquez:
I love the story. And, you know, it’s a reminder to everybody listening that never underestimate the influence that your leadership has on your people. What vision are you painting? What vision are you drawing out for them? It matters in a big way. And then the ripple effect happens, just like Eric took his experience with his CIO, and now he’s doing big things with what he’s learned and rural health. So today we’re zooming in on rural health. And I’d love to hone in on what you believe, Eric is an example of a couple of things or one thing that you’ve done or your facility and your hospital system has done to improve health care in the rural areas.

Eric Jimenez:
So, you know, I think what we’ve done here in our teams is when I joined in 2014, you know, the in the employee base was around 200 employees. And now we’ve grown to about 500 employees. So that expansion has been huge. You know, a lot of it’s due to, you know, we are located on the tip of the Permian Basin. So oil is the lifeblood of this community. Besides a football team, you know, we have one of the I will put a plug in for our team of Bulldogs. They’ve won 30 state titles. So, I mean, it’s like you have a great community based in a great football team. You can’t live without those two things. But, you know, I think what we did different and I’m sure I’m going to get people upset because it’s like, you know, one of those things that I don’t you don’t talk about. But we did different. We embarked on a project for the community that changed that would kind of help us align. And that was, you know, we focused on the patient and our EMR. Like you stated earlier there, you know, there’s we went we had three different EMR’s and we consolidated down to one EMR. So we we created this one record, one patient. So if you went to one of our clinics, he went to our E.R., he went to the hospital setting. You had labs, you had radiology within one record. You didn’t have to know when you needed a copy of records. You didn’t have to go get go talk to four different people. You just talked to one person. You get your full record at that point. So we built that MONTRE, where other facilities were dealing with an outpatient EMR and an inpatient EMR. We we stuck with just one EMR. You know, I’m not going to say it was easy. I’m not going to say it was the easiest project. But, you know, there was a lot of roadblocks and I mean a lot. But we built the foundation of population health within that EMR.

Saul Marquez:
Well, I think that’s critical. And it’s those tough things that allow us to make the biggest impact. And what’s an example of of something that maybe didn’t go right? A setback… but there was a lot of hands out. I mean, you. Yeah.

Eric Jimenez:
You don’t you can’t.

Saul Marquez:
Tell us what you learned. Tell us what you learned. Did I want to leave? Not a failure. You know you don’t.

Eric Jimenez:
So you will never get to see it. That’s one of my personal mantras that I always look at. You know, you always have to make mistakes to learn from them. And I think it goes back to that EMR project. And what that project opened up for me was it personally was a failure. We provided this product. We didn’t do it right. The project was persay, a IT project, even though it should have been a bigger hospital driven project. So a lot of the weight was buried on my team. It took a toll on my team. And at that time, we you know, we had six people and we were doing a lot. You know, we were placed and we consolidated EMR. We placed our tax system. We installed Pyxis. You know, we did a lot of infrastructure upgrades. You know, we did a lot. And I think what came out of it was the failure was my leadership skill. I’ve lost the pathway and I lost the site. Upper management wasn’t happy. And so it took a failure like that to really opened my eyes to see I needed to change my leadership skills so I could give you the example of, you know, the day. You know, I call it D-Day for me because that’s a day that changed my life. You know, I was pulled in to my boss’s office and there’s the H.R. director. I knew right then and there that I was going to get let go. But something my boss gave me a chance. He saw something in me, you know, and I know where the failure was. I lost the vision. I lost that vision that. Miscanthus told me you have to focus on the community. And for me, I was a focus of its focus on other priorities. So I had a realigns. One of my favorite Arthur’s assignments, cynic. And I found that book right after that day that I got my write up and I found that book. And I sat there, read it and I listened to the article and that kind of started the video. That was the catalyst that changed everything. And at that point, I knew it didn’t have my why didn’t have that vision. And so that’s what started the major changes. I started the vision and then I created division within my department. We’re here to serve. We’re here to serve the community. And our communities are patients. Our doctors. Our end users. Those are our communities. And if they’re not successful, we’re not special. And so that’s what drove the change in our department. We tried to focus in on the true why. And, you know, that’s the lesson that I’ve learned is to this day when I feel that things are not working right. I refocus and I sit there and I got to remember why I do the things I do and how I’m going to do it and how I’m good at, you know, executed and what we’re here for. And so I had a build a safety net with my team. You know, they’re going to make mistakes. And, you know, my leadership skills in the past was I didn’t do it right the best way to explain it. But, yeah, it was great. It wasn’t great. And so we built that change. And so what we’ve done here at Artesia, you know, we focused on it. And so we drew a line. Did we listen to our our peers and we listened to our providers and we sat came back and we worked hard. And we would go back and say, okay, here we are doing this right. They would say, yes. And then we move on to the next thing. And then, you know, they said, no, we’re not doing it right. So then we would go back to the drawing board and then we come back and say, hey, are we doing it right? And so we listen. You know, we sat there and we tried to do the best and try to make sure that I.T. isn’t a hindrance. And so, you know, I think the future I think that’s what plays an important thing. And I think if you asked about the lessons learned, never lose your focus, never lose your way.

Saul Marquez:
Well, the good saying goes, without a vision, people perish. And I truly believe that. And as it relates to companies, yeah, I mean, without a vision, people go people will find a company that has a vision or a leader that has a vision. It’s imperative. And Eric, thanks for sharing your very personal story. We all have a story like that and it takes courage to share. But I’m thrilled to hear that you took it as that D-Day moment, as you called it, and you turned it around. And so I want to give you major kudos for that. Now, you’re fast forward to today. What would you say is your proudest leadership experience to date?

Eric Jimenez:
I would say the people I work with, you know, my team, I think, you know, we we build a circle of safety. We make mistakes. We fix them. We do things. And I think, you know, we actually speak for themselves. Over the past years, those awards weren’t because of my because of me, you know, and I always thought it was. But it was because a team that I built in, the team that we’ve created from just that vision. I think that’s my biggest leadership skills. And you know, why understanding that is is hard because, you know, people has this Well, you’ve got a big I.T. department. I’m like, wow, that’s not really an I.T. department. We’re changemakers. We’re innovators. We find your problem. You tell us a problem. We’ll find your solution one way or another. We dabble in a lot of things. And so I think that’s the moment, you know, when people for my team go to other parts of the hospital and become directors, you know, become leaders. That is my proudest moment. Just the mentoring that, you know, bringing people from where they’re at to becoming leaders.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And Eric, I think it’s a great example. You know, the Azarian I.T. department, you’re changemakers. And, you know, like when you said that, I’m like, hey, how about me? I want to be a change maker too.

Eric Jimenez:
And I and I think that’s where a lot of lot of role I.T. departments and rule CIOs need to do is they need to look at their I.T. departments and they need to innovate. They need to look at how they could cut costs. With technology, it’s there. There’s a lot of things out there that can help improve the bottom line.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And the call out there is, folks. Eric, start off by talking about the importance of starting with why that vision. And then the extension of that vision is the creation of a group identity. And you know, whether it be a change maker mentality or with my my team, I start off as a theme. We called ourselves the dream team. Soon enough, the entire company started calling us the dream team. And now we’re the dream team Right.. Like that kind of stuff. Sticks and you want to be part of it. And Eric’s really just providing a great framework for us to think about leadership and not just leadership by impactful, inspiring leadership. Eric, if you had to define the most exciting project you’re working on today, what is it?

Eric Jimenez:
So I’m going to show the geekiness of me right now. So I know. Yeah, we are in the process of bringing in artificial intelligence into our cybersecurity. We’re partnering with Dart Trace. We’ve had we’re Enroll America. I can’t get people out here to do the things I need them to do. So I need to have technology that can leverage that ability. And, you know, you look at, oh, can I outsource it? Sure. I could go ahead and outsource to someone else. But again, what happens if they’re sleeping on the job? Who’s gonna get blamed? There’s always going to be me that’s gonna come down to the bottom line. And so what we did is, you know, we looked at we wait out the risk and everything. So I’m big about building people and building education. And so I said, hey, we’re going to take a risk and we are going to jump and take a risk on bringing in cyber security and artificial intelligence and bring in the first part of artificial intelligence here. And so that’s kind of what we’ve done. That’s kind of my project that I’m working on right now. That’s been my main focus is, is that is that okay? How can I. Our cyber security team, which is two people, by adding this piece of technology, we now became probably 10 people because now it’s sitting there monitoring our network and does the things it does because it learns and it picks up what it does and you know, it alerts us when things happen. And so we’re not sitting there. That was always the thing that kept me up at night is what’s going on in my network. And so that’s a big thing for us, as you would never think in rural America. There would be artificial intelligence building on that. And so I think that’s a big step for us. And I mean, that has gone because it goes back to showing your vision. And again, you know, I can do what I do without the leadership here, going with my vision and building that. So I praise them for allowing me to do that. And, you know, I can’t. I’m grateful for the things I have.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you know what? I think it’s outstanding that you guys are making these steps where you guys are. So kudos to you, my friend. So you’ve shared some some valuable tips on leadership, on philosophy. It’s time for the Lightning Round. I got a couple of questions for you, followed by the questions, a book that you recommend and then we’ll say goodbye and ready for it.

Eric Jimenez:
All right.

Saul Marquez:
All right. All right. Let’s do it. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes?

Eric Jimenez:
Partnership. There is a partnership. Patients have to be in the know and partners with their providers. I think, you know, it’s always we’re reactive country. We only go to the doctor room or sick. We need to start changing that mindset. That mindset isn’t going to get change without a partnership with the health care provider in your area guiding you down that way. So that plays a huge factor.

Saul Marquez:
What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Eric Jimenez:
Forgetting your why. I think you know the vision you lose in that part. I think that’s your biggest pitfall. And you know, the other I would say to empathy and forgetting your line. Empathy is sometimes we don’t listen good enough. We listen to what we want to do. And sometimes sitting back and listening will change and providing in 50 to that patient, to that end user, to that provider, listening to them in, say, OK, yes, I see your pain points to the list. Let’s tackle this together.

Saul Marquez:
How do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change?

Eric Jimenez:
You know, I think the biggest thing is education. I think, you know, the. It goes back to understanding that government regulations that are coming down to take in, it’s not one person. I think you have to be a community and a well-oiled machine to be able to know that, because I can’t know everything. But if there’s five other people that are doing the looking for stuff and we come together, at least talk, that community can help each other.

Saul Marquez:
And finally, what would you say is the one area of focus that drives everything in your work?

Eric Jimenez:
I think communication. I think that’s that. Like I said, it’s lateral. It’s up and down. Communication is a big factor. If I’m not communicating, my team doesn’t know what I’m thinking and they shouldn’t explain my logic and why I did the decisions that I did. You know, that’s for transparency. I don’t have to tell you. I’m going to make that decision. I got to tell a wide range of decisions. And I think that plays a big factor. More on it.

Saul Marquez:
What’s your favorite book?

Eric Jimenez:
If you know that? I said that inside the Senate. Start with the why. I think any book right now is two books that. Two major books is pharmaceutics. Start with the why and leaders eat last. I think, you know, I pretty much destroyed the book is flipping, reading it every day. There’s something that I have to go back and think, OK. I remember that, you know, and I think that plays a huge factor. I think, you know, it’s just that I think that’s why they explained it, that that was just that changing moment for me. I think anyone out there, I would recommend them, but they have it. Those are good books to read.

Saul Marquez:
Thanks for those recommendations, Eric. Great ones. outcomesrocket.health in a search bar type in Eric Jimenez and you’ll find a full transcript of today’s interview as well as links to those books, the short notes and everything you want around this podcast. Eric, before we conclude I’d love if you could just share a closing thought. And then the best place where the listeners could continue the conversation.

Eric Jimenez:
Closing thought is understand what you’re doing. Leave it that the way you found it. I think those are the main things I have. As you walk our office on the doors is even better than you would. You found it. You know, just don’t leave it a mess, you know, to let you see that you’re leaving behind. I think that plays an important factor for a leader is to beat your legacy. It’s who you are. So do it right and do it efficient. Where you could find me is on LinkedIn. I usually post stuff on there about leadership books, so I’m reading articles that I find so.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding. Well, folks, there you have it. Find Eric Jimenez on LinkedIn and connect with them. But yeah. Eric, just want to give me a big thanks for sharing your thoughts. Philosophies. In rural health care and leadership. Cant wait to connect with you again.

Eric Jimenez:
All right. Thank you.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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