Premier 100 IT Leader: Deanna Wise

Premier 100 IT Leader: Deanna Wise

This healthcare CIO relies on the talent of techies and valuable insights from doctors and nurses.

Deanna Wise says her Midwest upbringing taught her to "do what you say you're going to do." So when the 45-year-old CIO committed to leading Dignity Health through a five-year, $1.8 billion deployment of its electronic health records system -- the single most strategic business initiative driving the organization -- she couldn't disappoint the people who were counting on her.

The deployment includes both clinical and business applications at 38 hospitals. Now two and a half years into the project, Wise says, "I'm so proud that we are right on target and on budget. We've even been able to add another full EHR hospital deployment."

Her secret to keeping the project aligned with business needs? She says she surrounds herself with talented techies, but she leaves the final technology call to the nurses, clinicians and physicians who best understand the business.

"It's all about bringing IT people in who can help influence, understand and guide, but not make the decisions," Wise says. "Allow the business to take ownership of what they're trying to do."

Wise joined Dignity Health in 2011 after six years as CIO at Vanguard Health Systems. In her current role, building trusted relationships with the business is a high priority. "It's aligning with your peers, understanding what's important to them and trying to do some initiative to pull each one of them forward," she says.

The entire EHR project should be completed in early 2017, she adds, and the IT organization will continue to evolve with it. "It's important to continually assess where you are and whether you are aligned properly with the business," Wise says. "You can't stand still. Ever."

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