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Readers Write 6/18/08

June 18, 2008 Readers Write 3 Comments

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What to Call Your Boss in 10 Years: Ms. CIO
By Kristin DeBell

Since the first computer nerd was named manager of a hospital’s billing system, the chief information officer role has been dominated by men. As the CIO moved from the basement to the executive suite, rarely did hospitals have to make allowances for a female executive washroom. Folks, the times they are a-changin’.

Parity in the CIO ranks will come within the next 10 years and here are a few reasons:

1) More senior CIO roles will be coming available. The CIO role really hasn’t been around that long and only evolved to the executive level in the last 25 years. Many of the “original” executive-level CIOs are men or nearing retirement. Look for CIO more openings over the next few years. As these men retire, more qualified women will have a chance at these positions.

2) The perception that CIOs must be technologists is changing. Hospitals are looking for executives that can communicate business concepts. I’m not suggesting women aren’t technologically savvy, but in your average hospital you’ll find a lot of talented women beyond the walls of the IT department. As hospitals look for potential executives, a strong leader will win over a strong technologist who can only talk bits and bytes.

3) The world of nursing is changing and many nurses are looking for new roles. There are still far more female nurses than men so assume that the majority of the nurses I’m discussing are women. More nurses are coming out of school and looking for healthcare roles outside of bedside care. And why shouldn’t they: nurses are underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, and stressed out. However, they are well educated and have valuable skills that are in demand. The new nurses will be working their way through the ranks and in time plenty will be ready to explore that CIO role.

4) Also ready for new roles: senior level nurses with great management experience, with hands on technology experience, with excellent execution skills, and who are terrific coaches and expert communicators. Sure, not all of them, but there are plenty that fit this bill so need I say more?

5) Money. We want more of it and will look continue looking for opportunities to advance our careers.

6) Because we are female. Hospital boards understand the need to have more balance in their senior executive ranks. The CNO shouldn’t be the only female member of management.

7) Qualifications. Rightly or wrongly, healthcare institutions are looking for CIO candidates with advanced degrees. Anyone been noticing that more women than men have been getting those degrees in recent years?

I could probably come up with 10 reasons and I realize I’ve oversimplified a few things. However, if you are a senior technology type, I would encourage you to look around you and identify a few potential candidates to groom and don’t overlook the fairer sex. There are too few female role models in the CIO ranks but there is no reason that can’t change. Women are excellent leaders, organizational experts, and communicators. Truly – just think of at your mother.

 

The PACS Designer’s Open Source Software Review – Mirth Project
By The PACS Designer

The goal of the Mirth Project is to continually improve Mirth, an open source cross-platform HL7 interface engine that enables bi-directional sending of HL7 messages between systems and applications over multiple transports. By utilizing an enterprise service bus framework and a channel-based architecture, Mirth allows messages to be filtered, transformed, and routed based on user-defined rules. Creating HL7 interfaces for existing systems becomes easy using the rich client interface and channel creation wizard which associates applications with Mirth engine components.

HL7 has established itself as a prime method of healthcare information exchange. To integrate your existing services with HL7 systems, you must implement an adapter layer to transform messages between your domain and the HL7 world. Mirth makes this step easy by providing the framework for connecting disparate systems with the required protocol adapters and message transformation tools.

Mirth uses a channel-based architecture to connect your systems with other HL7 systems and it consists of the following:

(1) Endpoints(both inbound and outbound)
(2) Filters
(3) Transformers

Endpoints are used to configure connections and their protocol details. Inbound endpoints are used to designate the type of listener to use for incoming messages, such as TCP/IP or a web service. Outbound endpoints are used to designate the destination of outgoing messages, such as an application server, a JMS queue, or a database.

Multiple filters and a chain of transformers can be associated with a channel. The Mirth web interface allows for reuse of filters and transformers on multiple channels.
Mirth can be configured to listen and send HL7 messages and connect to a variety of protocols:

(1) TCP/MLLP
(2) Database (MYSQL, Postgres, Oracle, MS SQL, ODBC)
(3) File (local file system and network shares)/PDF
(4) JMS
(5) FTP/SFTP
(6) SOAP (over HTTP)

Mirth’s open architecture allows for the easy addition of custom and legacy interfaces.  Mirth has processed millions of messages and is in use in hundreds of production environments.
The Mirth Project has an active Support Forum and also has a fairly quick response mechanism when it comes to bug fixes needed by Mirth participants.

When dealing with HL7 interface issues, it is never easy satisfying everyone through application programming interfaces, so Mirth is a welcome addition to interface professionals in healthcare who need to solve communications issues between systems. New participants can look forward to a large contingent of professionals who have worked to solve HL7 interface issues using Mirth.

TPD Usefulness Rating:  8.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Excellent points about the evolving role of the CIO, Ms. DeBell (RN?). I conceed that more women will become CIO’s in the future, however I feel that nurses, male and female, are going to crack that code. We see nurses in the CEO seat, especially at more progressive hospitals, so it makes sense that we would see them at other strategic executive levels. After all, from way back to Florence, nurses have been leaders, strategic thinkers, and data analysts!

  2. It is not just nurses (male or female) who can move into the upper echelon of hospital and corporate management from the clinical side of the house. Many hospital COO, CEO and CIO level executives have backgrounds in Lab, Respiratory, Radiology etc. Having a clinical perspective is a definate plus.

  3. Ms. DeBell raises a timely point about the increasing education gap between men and women. It is inevitable that women will begin to dominate the upper echelons of IT management. Women now significantly outnumber men in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and that trend is not likely to reverse any time soon.

    The retiring generation did not need to have multiple degrees, if any at all. The regrettable fact is that HR departments have used the degree as nothing more than a means of filtering out large numbers of potential candidates. But a degree does not confer logic, reason, or ambition (no negative connotation here, the desire to outperform the norm).

    If we accept that the degree by itself is of relatively little value, then the trend of psychological testing should come as no surprise.

    The other negative consequence will be the further deterioration of men’s wages. Some may laud this as “progress,” but I think that is too simplistic. I believe there could be a wide range of issues that result from it. I leave it to the readers.

    Wompa1







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