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An HIT Moment with … Matt Grob

September 29, 2008 Interviews No Comments

An HIT Moment with ... is a quick interview with someone we find interesting. Matthew Grob is Director, Health Care Consulting with RSM McGladrey, Inc.

Of all the ways you could have gotten involved with HIMSS, why did you choose CPHIMS?

I had been an annual conference reviewer for a few years and then served for three years on the HIMSS Foundation Scholarship Committee. I was looking for something a little more involved and the CPHIMS program had always interested me.

I sat for the exam at its inaugural offering at HIMSS 2002 in Atlanta and truly saw the value in the credential – what it means to clients, colleagues and employers as well as the personal satisfaction in having it confirmed objectively that I actually know something about what I do for living.

In 2005, I applied and was accepted for a two-year term on the CPHIMS Technical Committee. At the end of that term I was asked to chair the committee for the next year. I must have done something right because they asked me to chair for a second year, which is where I am now.

It has been an exciting time because aside from having the opportunity to work with some really smart and dedicated people who really know their stuff, we recently revised the exam content to reflect both current practice as well as the fact that it is quickly becoming a global credential – I will be presenting on it at the World of Health IT in November in Copenhagen.

For next year, I will be on the ballot for the HIMSS Nominating Committee and urge all your ultra-hip and sophisticated readers to vote for me!

What hospital trends are you seeing in your consulting work?

My practice also deals a lot with the ambulatory and primary care side of the business. We are seeing a shift in hospital environments to tying the two sides of the house together.

There are so many good reasons to do so. The benefits on the clinical side are clear for safety and continuity of care, but we are also seeing it come together on the patient accounting/practice management side as well. Layering business intelligence tools on top of all of those systems are also on the uptick as organizations want a better way to monitor and manage the health of their patients, populations, and their organizations utilizing the wealth of data that is collected throughout the continuum of care and the organization.

How do you think the economy will impact IT budgets in hospitals?

Wow, what a timely question. I see it as a chicken-and-egg scenario. It is clear that the way to better manage the health of our population is through IT and that will, in turn, result in reduced healthcare costs. Payors already recognize that through pay-for-performance initiatives. But to get the benefits, it all takes investment and I suspect that access to capital will be that much harder as we enter this uncertain time in our country’s economic history.

Interestingly, here in the New York market where some of our clients are hiring for technical positions (i.e. those that do not require specific healthcare knowledge or expertise), the candidate pool just got a bit more sophisticated and bigger with jobs lost at Lehman Brothers and the like. I suspect that will be happening elsewhere as well.

You spent a lot of years as an analyst at NYU Medical Center. If you had to take a hospital job again, which one would you want to work for, what job would you want, and why?

I don’t see myself leaving New York in the near future. Given that, I would want to go back to NYU. They were the gold standard when I was there and continue to be leaders in the industry.

Paul Conocenti, the CIO, came from banking but managed to understand pretty quickly how to run IT in a large medical center that has a history of innovation and success. Pravene Nath, the CMIO, is also visionary and understands how to do things right the first time. I would want to use my leadership skills and abilities to improve workflow and operations using technology as an enabler, with a focus on clinical systems. I’ve worked on the revenue cycle side of the house, but my first and true passion is the clinical.

If I were to leave New York, I would love to work with John Glaser up at Partners, Edward Marx at Texas Health Resources, or Buddy Hickman at Albany Medical Center as they are all great leaders and thinkers and they just plain get it. When I started in consulting at Ernst & Young back in the mid-90s, Buddy was one of my team leaders. I often point out that we share not only that history, but a hairline (or lack thereof) as well.

What do you like about living in New York?

I think the question with the shorter answer would be what I do not like about living in New York.

My wife and I were both born and bred on the Upper West Side where we live now. We live a block and a half from Lincoln Center, steps from both Central Park and newly developed waterfront along the Hudson River, and walking distance to most museums. It’s about a 30-minute walk to my office, so I actually get to see my kids most nights when I’m in town rather than sitting in traffic or on a train or bus.

But I’m also spoiled. I am used to being able to find pretty much anything I want 24/7 and within walking distance. The city has a rhythm and vibe that is very hard to find elsewhere and diversity in all aspects is what keeps it interesting. Growing up in apartments, we never had a lot of space and the city and Central Park were our backyards so while yes, it would be nice to have some more room, we’re pretty well adjusted to the confines of a Manhattan apartment. I’m just happy we bought ours 11 years ago. We’d never be able to afford one today!

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