LTC Chani Cordero on Being a CIO in a Digital Economy, It’s Still About People

Chani Cordero This Week in Health IT
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LTC Chani Cordero FACHE, CHCIO, CPHIMS joins me for a wide-ranging discussion on leadership.  Being a CIO in a digital world is still about people and relationships.

Episode Videos

Bill Russell:                   00:10                Welcome to this week in Health IT where we discuss the news information and emerging thought with leaders from across the health care industry. This is episode number 50. Today we discuss digital transformation and its impact on health care and we reflect on being a healthcare CIO in 2018. This podcast is brought to you by health lyrics health systems are moving to the cloud to gain agility efficiency and new capabilities. Work with a trusted partner that has been moving health systems to the cloud since 2010. Visit To schedule your free consultation. My name is Bill Russell recovering healthcare CIO writer and advisor with the previously mentioned health Lyrics next week is our last live episode and over the last two weeks of the year we’re going to be airing the best of this week in health IT episodes. I’ve gathered some of the most commented on, liked and discussed short videos from our YouTube channel and I brought them together and given them to our production staff and they are going to create a couple of episodes for our end of year. I hope you enjoy them and share them with your staff. So today’s guest has such an impressive bio.

Bill Russell:                   01:12                I’m going to start there. So look Lieutenant Colonel Chani Cordero is chief CIO for 122 Bed Medical Center located in central Texas. She leads a team of 65 I.T. specialists in support of 4500 staff members serving a population of 80000 enrolled patients she serves as a principal adviser to the CEO. On all matters related to I.T. services Chani Cordero is a fellow in the American College of Health care executives a certified health care CIO certified professional and Healthcare Information Management Systems holds a PMP certification is an agile certified practitioner. She received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from St. Mary’s University holds a master’s in education in instructional technology from Troy University and along with that also has a master’s in health care administration from Baylor University. In 2017 the U.S. Army Medical Department named Cordeiro Mercury Award for health information technology professional of the Year in recognition of her contributions and demonstrated outstanding excellence in achievement in HIT and not on the same level but health data management. Named Chani one of 30 rising stars in health care I.T.. Wow. Good morning Chani and welcome to the show.

Chani Cordero:              02:34                Good morning. Thank you for having me.

Bill Russell:                   02:37                Wow. And you know the amazing thing is that’s actually an abbreviated bio I notice that you do an awful lot of teaching you’ve been an adjunct professor and some other things based on. I I’m just wondering how you get all that how do you get so much accomplished.

Chani Cordero:              02:52                Well I have to admit. I don’t do it on my own. I’ve been really fortunate in my career that I’ve had some great mentors that have just kind of given me or just pushing me to strive forward and to learned as much as I can.

Bill Russell:                   03:08                It is it is great. I’ve had mentors my entire life my first boss when I was gosh I was an internship I was 19 years old became my first mentor. They do play such a huge role in terms of just the experience they bring and just life experience. And pouring in, so is that’s something you’re now doing in the other direction. Are you now mentoring people.

Chani Cordero:              03:32                No absolutely and so one of my role that I serve as a deputy consultant for the Army officers far as them being CIOs training and so from there I had the opportunity to meet every member of our core and were really small were about 100, theres about a hundred of us in the United States Army. And so from there and was able to form some really good relationships with folks. So I have six mentees right now and my Mentee mentor relationship. I try to make it semiformal in a sense and so I want to be able to be open so that they can or willing to discuss with me, you know both professional and career oriented decisions I’m sorry and personal decisions as well. But also formal enough to say no we need to discuss you know routinely and we need to talk about all avenues. And don’t call me when you need help. We need to discuss prior to that.

Bill Russell:                   04:33                Yeah. I found find the more gray hair I get the more satisfaction and more excitement I get for the people I’ve mentored and their successes it’s just it. It really is. It’s a great satisfaction for me in my career. I’m sure for you as well. Well one of the things we like to do with our guests is to start with a really open ended question and just give you the floor and that is you know what are you working on today or what are you excited about that you’re working on today.

Chani Cordero:              05:03                No absolutely. I wanted to mention, I changed shirts and actually happy idea because today in the Killeen, Fort Hood area is red so it was called remember everyone deploy. And so I thought that this was actually pretty good timing and so we’re wearing a red shirt today. What I’m working on right now. That I’m quite excited about in our in our agency as we are expanding virtual health. And so you know there’s virtual health. Telemedicine kinda been a buzzy word for the last couple of years you know trying to figure out how do we you know increase access increase quality you know for our beneficiaries and we’re actually finding that the term is so general, we’re trying to figure out what does that really mean you know is a virtual health appointment an e-mail to your provider. Is it a voice message left or is it actually something communication, where we’re talking like we are using some type of video platform and so we are, that is part of our strategic plan for our hospital and we’re really trying to peel back that onion in a sense designating our provider templates of being virtual appointments, but then how do our beneficiaries actually use those appointments. And so are they using, Are they calling. Are they Texting in are they. You’re logging onto a system. And so our commanding general has put out that we will use virtual medicine. And so it is all hands, use a Navy term, all hands on deck.

Bill Russell:                   06:45                You know one of the things I forgot to do I’m going to go back here is I just want to know for our audience that you know the opinions expressed by you in the show so your opinions are really your own. You’re not endorsing anything from the Defense Health Agency or the U.S. Army so it’s just a discussion between you know two CIOs really looking at the things that are impacting CIOs. It’s interesting to me. You know we’ve talked about this on the show that it’s not a it’s not so much a technology problem I mean receiving texts, secure texting in both directions a secure email even the video platforms. These are not in 2018. These are not challenging technology problems. It really is orchestrating the technology into the workflow. It’s educating people on new mediums for delivering care. I’m curious in a military setting is it more top down or is it more collaborative. Are you working a lot with the clinicians to determine what works best for them and getting feedback and adjusting it.

Chani Cordero:              07:56                Yeah. So you know I am definitely working with the clinicians and I mean and I would agree with you know the technology to deploy THOMAS It’s not very difficult. A camera, a phone you know computer system is not really difficult technology. But what I’m discovering is, is that a lot of emphasis is placed on the tools and not so much on the actual workflow process. And so you know we’ve had to and we still haven’t completed yet but how do we what does this process look like from start to finish. And so you know a patient picks up the phone Well we haven’t even decided well is that telephone Actually considered an appointment or does the patient log in I mean what does that mean. And so as we’re trying to even define what actually is a virtual health encounter. Meanwhile the other clinicians are saying well but the carts aren’t up the virtual health cart you know need updates and it’s like you know let me focus on the technology. you tell me what type of encounter you want to use and I’ll tell you the right kind of technology that will go with that type of appointment.

Bill Russell:                   09:07                Yeah and that’s that’s the place they really want us to to play it’s you know is there is there an easier way to do this. What we found it was kind of interesting that the pilot we did with telehealth we spent an awful lot of time helping clinicians like what we’re doing right now. How do you look on the video presentation and where should your eyes be. How do you connect with a patient. We talk about you know how important it is to connect with a patient be present and be there with them while there’s a whole new set of skills people need to know where do you look in terms of the camera to make that connection with with the patient and we spent an awful lot of time talking to them about and actually getting feedback from them on what it was like to to do those appointments and then just adjusting accordingly as we expanded those programs. It’s different it’s you know and this is this is what we’re asked to do as CIOs now. It’s as other people said you know it’s maybe 15 20 percent technology now and it’s it’s an awful lot of instructional leader and organizational change and communicator. And there’s all these people. It’s 80 percent people. And it’s only really 20 percent technology at this point. It’s really interesting.

Chani Cordero:              10:23                Yeah and what I’m finding is of course says you know that role of that CIO right its common weather organizations talk about the CIO you know 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 but I think that you know culturally people still kinda look at us as that technologist right. It is kind of like well you know we don’t have any computer problems so kind of like why are you here. You know and so we’re definitely have the skill set in a sense of understanding processes. Like if I don’t understand your process and I don’t understand your requirements then I am not able to support you. And so now you know because of that you know I’m pretty well versed on all of the different clinicians roles and responsibilities, because I have to support them. So now I can say, Well you know that workflow may not be the best way because this clinic over here is doing it this way and it’s increased their efficiency, so maybe you might want to consider this for yours and though I’m not a provider, but I’ve seen it work somewhere else so maybe you might want to take my advice

Bill Russell:                   11:27                Yeah and I’m looking forward to our conversation later in the soundbite section because I like that you’ve been sharing much stuff on social media on how you interact with your staff and how you interact with the with the health system. So I’m looking forward to getting into that but before we do we do two things on the show we do in the news than soundbites and there’s been so many stories in the news. And what I’d like to do is just focus in on two of them that I think really strike at the heart of world health I.T. shops are and you know first being Amazon to sell EHR mining software. And this is from Beckers hospital review is what I’m going to talk about there and the second one is Apple in talks to give veterans access to electronic medical records so I’m just gonna read a couple excerpts and then we’ll go into them. So the Amazon story from Beckers, the software is dubbed, Amazon comprehend medical will use NLP processing redundant natural language processing and machine learning to highlight key data points such as medical condition medication dosage and clinical trial reports from EHRs and unstructured, unstructured clinical notes that physicians can use to inform a patient’s care. Amazon said its insights can help healthcare organizations with critical decision support revenue cycle management and population health. Software may also free employees of clerical work such as mainly rifling through notes so theyre going to help us to really analyze the information that we have and Apple’s going to help us transport it so Apple Inc. Is in discussions with the V.A. to provide or portable electronic health records to military veteran a partnership that would simplify patients hospital visits and allow the technology giant to tap millions of new customers. The Wall Street Journal reported, under the plans being discussed Apple would create special software tools allowing the VAs estimated 9 million veterans currently enrolled in the system to transfer their EHR their electronic health records to iPhones. The Journal also reported an update to Apple’s mobile electronic mobile operating system announced earlier this year includes a new feature to handle electronic medical records.

Speaker 1:                    13:40                The acquisition movement. So anyway I’m not going to go further into that. So essentially in a digital economy acquiring data moving data and analyzing data is really where value is created. Amazons telling us they can help us make meaning of data. Apple’s telling us they can help us with the efficient transport of data. And so we’re seeing as we were talking before that we started the show. There’s there’s like, I don’t know, there’s like three of these announcements a week which means there’s about 150 of them a year where you know new players are coming in and doing really cool stuff with data. Really cool stuff with technology and I guess from a CIO standpoint how do you determine the nice to have technologies and the need to have technologies in this world. What do you do with these headlines when you read them and go you know how do you determine which ones you should be focused on and which ones you shouldn’t be.

Chani Cordero:              14:36                Now that’s a really good question and you know you go to any HIMMS conferences and you see the you know 50000 vendors that have really great products. You know you get overwhelmed. You want to use it all. But of course we all know that we’re limited in our resources so we have you formulas. Have a look at what is our organization’s strategic plan. What is the organization what’s the goal and what areas do we need to put our focus on. You know sometimes when a plan is not written very well it is so open and broad that you can almost fit any technology into it but it’s really going back to my leadership and saying, you know or being a part of that discussion is where do we want to go with this and what kind of resources are you going to provide so that we can make it. And a lot of times you know some of these technologies out there are fantastic, but sometimes they’re happy that in a sense and so you know it does it really help our processors or does it really you know bring in that decreased cost or increased that access or increase that quality that we’re looking for or is it just really a great idea. So you know it is the Mercedes or is it the Honda. Both are great cars and both work really well. But is one really pretty and one just really rides well and dependable.

Bill Russell:                   15:57                And I love that perspective I was recently talking to a health system and they said do you think we should go to a single EHR. And invariably I mean this is what we learn as a CIO. It depends right so you’ll just look at him and say what problem are you trying to solve. I said, Why would that matter. Well if you’re trying to solve a balance sheet problem you’re not going to want to make that huge investment but if you’re trying to solve a you know a continuity of care problem then maybe you might want to go to a single EHR if you’re in a state where you know you’re still going to have a medical group that’s all over the board then you might need to you know solve the problem a little differently cause you still have to solve even if you go to a single EHR in your acute setting. You still have to communicate with I don’t know a hundred different hospitals that are out there that are going to be on different EHRs. Because you can’t control them. And so that question of what problem are we trying to solve really strikes the heart of. You know your business or your community that you’re trying to serve. You know what’s most important to that community becomes you know and I think that’s you know I like the Apple announcement with the V.A. and the reason I like it is because right now we’re relying on this mishmash of technologies to try to get, people from the V.A. move in and out of commercial health care military health care and V.A. and we were relying on this mishmash of technologies. If Apple can really be that medium where a veteran can show up and say I have my medical record here it is let me transfer it to you that would I think that would be a pretty neat solution. I mean what are your thoughts on that.

Speaker 5:                    17:45                Agreed. In a sense of it does that veterans have already have access to that record right. I mean that when I think about both articles and I was really thinking about how Amazon is looking at doing as is you know getting all of that disparate data and being able to put it in a format so that our providers can make a decision its going on the conclusion. In my opinion that the, that documentation is there. Waiting for it to be found so to speak. Right. And so you know I can’t speak for private sector and how how comprehensive documentation is but I can I do know that sometimes in our settings that documentation is very short and you know it’s based off of our EHR that is you know the highlights or whatnot some providers you know are very comprehensive with their documentation and some you know do enough that satisfies that encounter. And so when you have that variant of documentation your data your ability to comb through that data is gonna be based on the type of quality of data that you get and so that would be my only hesitation about both of these kind of technologie.

Bill Russell:                   19:12                That is yeah I agree with you. You know overlaying NLP machine learning AI on top of the data really requires the data to be a strong foundation. The next week’s episode is with with Dale Sanders with health catalyst and the whole episode is dedicated to just one topic and that’s data governance and data quality and it seems like such a boring topic that I’m afraid to even preannounced it because no one’s going to listen. But what you and I both know it’s like it’s like the foundation for everything we want, we want to do. It’s the foundation for sharing data. It’s a foundation for analyzing that data and finding new pathways that are going to provide better access outcomes quality I mean there’s in a digital economy the the foundation of the data is so important and it may not be a sexy topic but it is such an important topic for us as CIOs I believe.

Chani Cordero:              20:21                And I agree with you when the data quality people stocks me you know I’m always like, I try to go the other way. I know that is going to be a very painful conversation. But I mean over to your point though it is definitely important what they do, in insuring the integrity and availability of the data. You know and kind of what you’re asking me for about the accessibility of that patient record for our veterans. I mean you know what we all ultimately want. I think, as Americans that we want to be able the people to take ownership of their healthcare. And so being able to have your records available to you so that you know and understand either your diagnosis and care plan so that you can make better life decisions and you know better health decisions with that information. So I think definitely the Apple thing is doing is a good thing. I just hope of course that the data that’s provided in there is factual and accurate data.

Bill Russell:                   21:21                Yes absolutely. So here’s the exit question for this and is this just more for me than then. Everybody out there. I’m just curious do you think the adoption of digital technologies will be faster in the military or slower than commercial or non-profit. I mean both have their challenges. I’m just curious if you think you’re going to have the ability to adopt digital technologies faster than commercial

Chani Cordero:              21:45                yes. I’m going to give you that wiggle answer we call it the Baylor answer, It depends. It’s, you know one thing that of course that I take pride in the history of You know the government or the public sector our adoption of technology was a lot quicker especially the V.A.. I mean VA had a really good program and you know we we had our electronic health record you know in the late late 90s so to speak. And so but we have been surpassed in a lot of areas when it comes to digital technologies some of it’s because of our acquisitions process. I mean it’s you know it’s a pretty comprehensive to ensure that government resources are spent appropriately. but it also can be long. And so why I say it depends. Though there’s areas that I think that we have resources maybe that private sector may not have because our ROI determination is different.

Chani Cordero:              22:43                And so yes we want to make sure that we are you know getting the resources or are getting the credit, rv credit or you know value for our dollar, but our main focus is readiness and so we have a piece of technology out there that may cost a lot of money and we may not get that money back in savings or you know cost avoidance but it provides a platform for our soldiers and sailors and airmen are able to perform their job which is to you know fight and win wars. And we’re going to spend those resources.

Bill Russell:                   23:21                Yeah. I mean there’s so many similarities in terms of there’s, I mean the the bureaucracy within nonprofit health care or commercial health care and you know the military is probably not that dissimilar. The sense of urgency to serve the community is probably there in both. You know when you decide to do, I mean the V.A. is a great example of. You know they decide to do a EHR project. And it just gets vetted it gets vetted publicly which is a huge deal. And that really is happening also in the commercial nonprofit sector. You know if a major health system says we’re going to move our EH.R. that becomes you know front page news in the in the paper and a discussion of you know hey they’re spending a billion dollars heading in this direction is that really where we want them to be spending money shouldn’t they. You know stand up a new cancer institute. I mean so yeah there’s a lot of the probably more similarities than I think. And so we’re both wiggling on this. I don’t know which I don’t know which one will be faster. It’s that they’re both hard changes is hard

Chani Cordero:              24:29                changes is hard and culture. Culture’s also hard.

Bill Russell:                   24:33                Yeah. Absolutely. So I’ll transition to sound bites because I’m really looking forward to the section during this section I typically toss out questions and you know we get one to three minute answers. But for this week I’m going to do something a little different because I was in preparation for this because we haven’t in all honesty this is the first time we’re meeting. But I really became aware of you based on your LinkedIn post and I’m I love your LinkedIn post. It’s fascinating because it’s almost like I every week or so every couple of weeks you’re posting something where I go yeah that’s where a CIO lives. Yep that’s, I go this is good stuff so what I wanted to do with you is I wanted to highlight some of the posts that you put out there and just talk through them a little bit of if that works for you. Yes absolutely. All right. So you know we’re gonna start with the first one which I like and it starts with your transition. So you start by I want to thank the dedicated professionals at the Defense Health Agency Education and Training Directorate give them a warm thank you. Fantastic opportunity that they gave you after several years you were able to provide impactful results that leads to greater efficiencies. enhanced learning and provide solutions that will positively impact our service members for many years to come. I’m also excited to start my new position as CIO. Which she talked about earlier and you talked about the facility that are going to I look forward to the new adventure as a new CIO. I make it a point to, I make it a point to visit every single department and clinic. Here I am about to listen to the needs of the OR staff and the two things I want to talk to you about on this one is. One is the role of gratitude. I think you know people who are successful are grateful people and you see it over and over again it’s just a characteristic of who they are. They’re grateful for their mentors like you were earlier. They’re grateful for the opportunities that people have given them. They’re grateful for the great teams that they’ve worked with so gratitude is one of the things I’d love for you to sort of comment on and then the second is you know you’re starting a new role and you’re essentially saying you’re going to go to every single department and clinic. Listen I want you to talk about your first couple of weeks in a new organization and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Chani Cordero:              26:51                So yeah no absolutely. And so you know I have to say that my parents is the starting point anytime about any type of moral I guess something that you learn morally and whatnot. And so my parents very proud parents also served my mom was in the United States Air Force for 20 years and my father was also in the army. And so. So you know. You know they teach you. They taught me a course about being humble and how recognizing that you know we’re all one team in a sense of you know when we try to do our accomplishments. Yes you know you may be the one to execute, but it’s not necessarily something you do on your own. And so my last job I had fantastic bosses that were very supportive. Gave me leeways to be able to execute I.T.. In the way that I saw fit more so than the micromanagers, though I’ve that before. It’s a different environment to work in can really you know be like that peacock and spread your wings right. So I was really grateful of my boss is out there. And of course you know just my staff alone, I mean, you know they you know they were very supportive. You know I didn’t have to deal with a lot a lot of human resources dynamics that sometimes you have to deal with, with staff. I did not know that organization and I never had one staff member that threatened to go to the union because they didn’t like a change or. You know just kind of said well this is not in my job description. You know to do you know certain initiatives. So I just really appreciate their willingness to kind of see the shared vision of enhanced learning that we did at our organization and so you know lastly you know kind of with a great you know gratitude. You know sometimes I feel that I was lucky but also I think it’s just the way how do you approach a job. And so you know I am a subscriber of positive thinking. I know sometimes that seems like it’s a little hokey, but you know I sat at a conference and I can’t remember the presenter but he talked about you know the science behind positive thinking, and was kinda like lets do three positive things today, because they said that your brain will actually relive that moment in time and you start focusing on that more instead of focusing on that negative. And so it’s a practice that I have that I do at work but it’s also a practice that I do at home with my children. So my three children and they were as young as four years old. They could tell me their three positive thoughts of the day. And so my 4 year old twins and my 4 year old at the time would say we ate pizza. That was their positive thought for the day. So but to go back to the other part is yes when I go to a new organization you know to me it’s all about relationships in the end and so. You know I discovered in my 18 year career that you start if you have credibility which is, or excuse me, if you have visibility which is essentially you know being visible in your organization that will lead to credibility. Because people see you they see that you’re working your issues. Now of course you got to have you had to execute. Right. I mean if you if you know when I was going to one of the clinics and it’s funny you asked that question, cause I was thinking this morning and you know I did a I did a rounding in the inpatient side and then they brought up some court cable management and they really needed some assistance because they were they were afraid that they were going to you know pull the cable cord out or pull the cord out. And I was just thinking this morning you know did I follow up on that you know did I send the technician to there so I really needed to do that. And but part of that you know again it’s bein able to kind of form those relationships so when there is a problem that it comes to me first instead of you know going straight to when we were you know my leadership channels

Bill Russell:                   31:00                yeah the rounding is so important in fact that we instilled it within our entire organization. But one of the stories that I think is interesting my wife was actually in one of our hospitals and so I’m sitting there next to her and that she’s either getting ready to go into I forget if it was going to really go into coming out of surgery and we had just done an EMR migration. So I was talking to the nurse. I’m like So how’s it how’s the system to use that kind of stuff if she starts giving me all this information and so I’m just sitting there texting hey you know that they’re struggling with this or are struggling with this. All of a sudden within like an hour or so you know. My staff from hospital start showing up and asking her questions. Yeah certainly it was she was like that and it was she had no idea who I was which was great at that point. So you know I just asked her you know what her experience with the I.T. staff as she goes you know at the hospital level the IT staff was great because they had been embedded in the rounding and she goes so I’m talking, she goes I get an opportunity to talk to I.T. pretty pretty often and to address my needs she goes so I think it’s great that they all showed up right after that conversation. She goes but I could just as easily have had a conversation with them next you know next week in our in our rounding session.

Chani Cordero:              32:27                Absolutely. And I think it’s important you know and I’ve learned even as is sometimes when there’s an issue that one of our clinicians have that you know it’s like, for example that we had an issue with moisturosities, are our badges that you speak into when you call us. So one of our providers said that you know their voice term badge wasn’t working in certain an area and so you know prior to me getting there it was kind of like it’s network issues network issues right. We are wireless and you know its network issues. Network engineer offices went hey we looked at it we can’t replicate it or what not. And so then it was like oh well it’s a tech issue right its something like physically wrong with the device. And so finally you know I said you know I want to do the trifecta. Let’s send a network engineer a trainer and a technician and I’ll address the provider. So they sat down and discovered this is a training issue. Right. But we’re so quick to blame. You know the engineers are blaming the technology. That we don’t sometimes look at everyone who might be a part of part of that system. So anyway I just thought that was kinda funny.

Bill Russell:                   33:42                No. Absolutely. We’re going to come back to your first couple of days a little later. But you know the next next post I thought was interesting. So trust but verify. As a leader we have to trust our staff. But we also have to be involved enough to really verify what they’re telling us. And you talk about a situation where you’re trying to deploy something it turned out there was a failure in communication between the team on the system issue. And you say you know trust but verify. The point isn’t to place blame anywhere but to ensure that the team has the resources they need. And then you ask the question What are some of the leadership accountability techniques that you use. So when you when you say trust and trust but verify it. It’s interesting because we in my house assume we had a hundred ten some odd projects going at any given time. And I really couldn’t be heavily involved. So there is a there’s a trust. I could only really be heavily involved in the critical projects. Not necessarily all 110. So only about once a month we had all those project managers. We set aside a day. We just listened those project managers come in and we gave them very specific instructions here’s what we need to hear from you. Hears those kinds of things. So but, I really had to trust them that what they were doing was was right. How do you how do you go about you know first of all how do you go about staying involved enough in the very sector. The projects that are going on so that you you have a handle on each one that’s going on. And how do you verify. I mean, how are you. Yeah. How would you go about verifying I guess.

Chani Cordero:              35:34                Yeah so no that’s a very good question and what I’ve kind of learned is that I do the same so I have a project meeting. And right now I’m actually having to do it a little bit more frequently than I like. We’re doing it weekly almost because. Because I feel that we should revamp our project meeting. And so I just like you you know you always have some very little circles of understanding a surface level. You know ideally what’s going on with that particular project and because of that. Sometimes when projects are made not on schedule or maybe not priority for that project manager or for that department chair there their answers are very general. And I think maybe like maybe from teaching my B.S. factor is really high and is really sensitive and so I’ll start rapidly firing questions because it’s almost sometimes you can see, almost like a dying fish in the water right you know and I’m the shark coming in you know like I can see when someone is not being quite honest but I’ve tried to create an atmosphere though that’s I’m not I dont want to press blame you know if you said hey I didn’t have time to look into this or I don’t have the resources, but I didn’t ask you because it’s low priority I can handle that. What I can’t handle though is they just blowing it off. Or you’re, you know. Your integrity, you have integrity issues and so you know when I have these project meetings and I’m answering the questions. You know if they say hey you know this is the well we’re having an issue with a vendor. Oh ok well then that may be something on my level that then you shouldn’t be handling that let me call that vendor. Oh wait wait wait wait wait wait wait. Well actually we haven’t scheduled a meeting with the vendor yet. Oh OK. So that’s kind of what I mean is they you know sometimes when someone’s not telling you something right then your spidey sense ends up you know go up in the air. And you know it’s not right. And so just asking those questions that they know that you know I trust you that you do your job. But I also need you to know that I’m all that I’m engaged and engaged leader

Bill Russell:                   38:03                is what I think people need to know is we look at so many projects that we know when something’s on track not on track and we’re dealing with so much technology that we know and we’re talking to somebody who really knows their craft and somebody who’s maybe not as strong and you know it just it just doing it over the years. We just know that when somebody is you know spinning a tale like your scenario going. OK just answer these handful of questions What’s the status of the project you know. What do you need from leaders. You know you just you just sort of narrowed down just like I appreciate the story you’re telling me but just you know tell me the status. Are there any risks you know what do you need for me as a leader to make sure this is going to continue and and those kind of things. And sometimes the more people talk the more you’re like. You know I think there’s a problem behind here so lets just focus in on what we need to focus in on.

Chani Cordero:              39:04                Yeah no definitely. Definitely.

Bill Russell:                   39:07                So you go into a you know you’re within your first 90 days of being of being CIO in a new hospital you start to identify some things and you talk about silos. This is I’ve gone into a lot of organizations as a consultant as a CIO and as an interim CIO and silo’s is is deadly to an IT Organization. And so when you identify silos you know what are what are some of the things that you need to do in order to break down those silos.

Chani Cordero:              39:43                Yeah so I agree with you know with your network team is not talking to your technicians, they’re not talking to the trainers They’re not talking to the system administrators. It is definitely in the you know sympathy of death. So. So right now I’m trying just with the baby steps of just team building. Right. So just you know getting folks to actually talk to one another. And so I did a survey in my first few weeks in the position and using poll everywheres so it was completely anonymous and it would allow you know the employees to actually answer the questions and answer. You know hopefully more honestly than if it was like some type of since fashion or you know group therapy type meeting and I got the baseline data you know was really surprising kinda see you know the results that I saw. And so first of all, so were trying to do some you know team building exercises in a sense and so we did. We did bowling, we went bowling. One day on a day that we had a very low census cause it was a training is almost like a cantaloupe federal holiday here on the installations so very few patient appointments that day. So we went bowling and we are having a Christmas party a holiday party. coming Up. And I am toying with the idea right now. Fostering engagement. But I’m trying to I am I have a ideas of what that platform’s going to be. And so right now I’m thinking something very low key as I call it most CIO chat you know Friday morning let’s get together Lets drink coffee and then say hey you know what are the trends and what do you see you know my frontlines ask. what are you seeing right now. You know in the organization in my training. My trainer lingo. What are the providers telling me right now. But I need to find a way to do it in a way that is collaborative and not finger pointing. Because the environment that I came into. There is some frustrations between certain departments and their interactions with the other.

Bill Russell:                   42:01                Its people right. Anytime you have people you’re going to have you’re going to have challenges. So what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to you’re trying to get them to interact with each other outside of work so that they can they can establish rapport means of communication see that maybe they share the same common mission and see each other’s perspective.

Chani Cordero:              42:24                Yeah absolutely. And it, because again. And yeah it’s just my mantra. Relationships matter. At the end of the day relationships matter. So you know I mean I tease my staff and I’ve said it but if I have to get big t-shirts that say we get along I will get them.

Bill Russell:                   42:44                You know you ask the question What are some other things people do. One of the more successful things we did is especially around the season is we had departments and groups of people that went out and served in the community they just know they did served Thanksgiving meal together. They did presents they drove you know they get presents for underprivileged families and those kind of things. And actually it was interesting we found that those were probably the most effective and a team building exercises that we did. I wish we had figured out a way to do them cross department because that’s where the silos really do get generated. So it’s I found that interesting. But you’re in the military can’t you just look at someone this is like this is good to show my ignorance here. It’s like OK just say drop and give me 20 can’t you just

Chani Cordero:              43:44                Oh if we brought those good old days back. Funny enough my staff is actually out of my staff about 65 70 folks there’s only 2 military so it’s just me and my deputy and so half my staff are federal employees civil servants and my other half are DOD contractors.

Bill Russell:                   44:08                Wow. So you can’t. That’s.

Chani Cordero:              44:13                No I cant. So what i think were gonna do though is kind of your points that we are looking at a community, community service event. So I have one of my team members, team mates is a avid runner and so he gave me a list of about 15 marathons to run. And I said well can we find something that won’t kill anybody.

Bill Russell:                   44:36                Oh yeah. Those those those common common experiences is what you’re looking for. I do want to talk to you a little bit. You one of your post was about CHIME giving you the opportunity to sit on a panel discussing diversity and I saw that so the panel was you one of our previous guest as well was on that as well. What are the things you guys discussed on that CHIME panel that you think’s important in terms of really helping us to understand diversity diversity of thought diversity of background of experience and what are some of things you guys discussed.

Chani Cordero:              45:19                Yeah so you know a lot of times when we think the diversity you know sometimes the first thought that comes in the minds is not looking at you know race or gender. And we’ll learn you know really trying to discuss that diversity is really people of difference And so you know we all have infancy biases and we all kind of naturally are attracted to people that are like us. Either Like minded in thinking or you know maybe share some physical traits or qualities. So we were just kinda talking about that you know the studies are out there the statistics are out there the research is out there that demonstrates that having that diversity of thought from people of difference to you you know you will have greater productivity and you know and greater benefits from that But what that looks like is a challenge in itself. So I share the example in my last job working in a tri service organization so we have Army Air Force and Navy there and because I’m army I didnt think how Army I thought. I didn’t think you know about the acronyms that I use or the analogies that I use that are akin to being in the army. And so when one of my Air Force peers or subordinates went would say some something I like well that doesn’t make sense. Like why would you do it that way. So you know and so that’s why you know when we talk about diversity it really isn’t just a difference of thinking so you know from that experience and then you know we’ll be talking on a panel. You know how do you you know you have to actively seek that difference of opinion. And so you know you have to you know you actively say that you know in this tri service organization you know this is how we do it in the army well how do you do it in the air force and how do you do it in the navy I’m trying to care, I really don’t, but I’m trying to care. Just kidding

Bill Russell:                   47:24                It sounds like your father would be so proud. I’m not sure your mother from the Air Force would be as proud, but your father from the army would be really proud that you’ve really adopted the army ways. Do you ever have those conversations that you know of. You know why you chose one versus the other.

Chani Cordero:              47:45                Oh absolutely absolutely. And so you know when I joined when I joined I always joke will joke about the difference in styles of recruiting. So there’s a lot of jokes you know between all three services. And of course in the Marines and the coast guard as well. And I just said you know the Army recruiter was kind of like hey you know your test scores are so great whatever job you want you could have it right. And the Air Force guy was kinda like you know I’ll call you when I’m available.

Bill Russell:                   48:22                It really is relationships it all comes down to connection and relationships. You and I are close on this last post because I love it so as a health care as a CIO in health care I’m passionate about health care. I love the potential and impact of technology. But some days when the stars are not aligned and systems are not working I dream about switching career fields and trying to sell cupcakes. Everyone loves cupcakes. I think every CIO can attest that there are some days where you come home and you’re like wow this nothing went well today. Well you just you know hang out your family you love your family you go to bed. And you hope that you get up tomorrow and tomorrow is not the same the day.

Chani Cordero:              49:09                That’s right. That’s when I think positive thoughts on those days. I think I would have pink sprinkles right. Because pink sprinkles are yummy.

Bill Russell:                   49:20                It’s amazing. Chani thank you for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. I assume linked is where I’m finding your post is that primarily where your posting.

Chani Cordero:              49:31                I am hopefully there’s some opportunities on my start up blog with some various organizations. Right now LinkedIn is where I submit all of my material

Bill Russell:                   49:43                and I strongly encourage people to follow you I think that your posts are insightful and you close a lot of them with questions and they you know they’ve really caused me to think you know about emotional intelligence about leadership about even technology and approach and those kind of things so I really appreciate that. So you can follow me on Twitter @thepatientsCIO the show twitter account is @thisweekinHIT our website is and a shortcut to the YouTube channel is So please come back every Friday for more news information and commentary from industry influencers.


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