Tenet CIO Liz Johnson: Data key to better care

For Tenet Healthcare CIO Liz Johnson, data is the key to meaningful clinical improvement.

For the CIO at one of the nation’s largest for-profit health systems, integrating clinically useful data and systems applications is a critical concern—one she hopes can reduce the time it takes to change clinical practice.

Identifying ways to use data and analytics to improve patient outcomes is a key priority in the coming years, Liz Johnson, CIO of Acute Care Hospitals and applied clinical informatics at Tenet Healthcare, said in a two-part Q&A with HealthSystemCIO. Lamenting the fact that it “still takes 17 years” to translate evidence-based research into clinical practice, Johnson said she is leaning on data scientists to provide clinicians with useful analytics.

“We’ve become very comfortable letting things run that very long time cycle, and if you think about how fast technology is changing ... we need change to happen closer to real-time," she said.

Part of that is adopting a narrow focus on high-impact diseases, rather than trying to solve several major problems at once. Institutions such as Geisinger Health System have used high-powered analytics to improve specific patient outcomes.

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In part two, Johnson emphasized the growing role of CIOs in the C-suite, and the ability to translate tech jargon into a convincing argument for data integration.    

“There’s nothing static about the technologies we work with,” she told HealthSystemCIO. “But if you can stay up with the changes that are coming ... you can then translate that into better outcomes.”

Recently, healthcare leaders from around the globe emphasized the importance of data in the future of healthcare, but noted that several barriers still exist. Although data carries the potential to improve care, privacy and security concerns are top of mind for many institutions.