Healthcare is facing a talent shortage at all levels. Provider organizations are recruiting talent nationally and open to new models including all virtual or hybrid work out of necessity. When a senior IT leader retires or moves to a new organization, it creates a critical leadership gap. Many organizations have solid succession plans in place while others turn to the outside to find talent.
Firms like StarBridge Advisors offer experienced IT leaders with the flexibility to meet the varying needs of provider organizations – full-time or part-time, onsite/virtual/hybrid, or project-specific support to get through a transition period.
I have been fortunate to serve four different provider organizations in the past several years in an interim management role – University Hospitals in Cleveland (CIO), Stonybrook Medicine on Long Island (CIO), University of Vermont Health Network (CTO), and most recently Boston Children’s Hospital (CIO). And our advisors at StarBridge have served many more provider organizations across the country in interim roles during this same time – academic medical centers, larger regional health systems, and small community hospitals.
No two interim engagements are the same. I have helped organizations plan for the migration of core systems to newly acquired hospitals, focused on needed cultural changes within the department, prepped for and supported a major EHR go live, developed a business case to transition from a hybrid EHR model to a single core vendor integrated solution, and much more.
I have never been just a seat warmer! But rather someone who can be a change agent and help with transitional goals. When an organization hires an external interim, they are usually looking for a new perspective and change. As an interim you need to quickly get familiar with the organization, leadership, culture, IT team, systems, and projects in process. The first priority is to ensure IT projects are on track and address any critical issues or gaps – then you can focus on the strategic and transitional priorities for the next several months. All this while helping the executive team find the right permanent person for the position.
The logistics for my interim engagements has been a mix of onsite, virtual, and hybrid. I’ve done full-time between 5 and 9 months and extended month-to-month when the permanent search took longer than planned. I’ve transitioned to half-time and primarily virtual when it made sense for both the organization and me in the final months. I’ve done the traditional weekly travel to be onsite 4 days and work from home 1 day. And during the pandemic, I was virtual with only a few days onsite. Key is to strike the right balance of what works best for the organization and the interim leader.
When your organization has a critical IT leadership gap, turn to StarBridge Advisors. We can make available to you fully vetted, world-class healthcare IT executives, inclusive of CIOs, CISOs, CMIOs, CNIOs, CTOs, and others. Our advisors all come from health system backgrounds and have a wealth of knowledge and experience which often stretches far beyond the provider space.
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Stepping Into an Interim Leadership Role
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