VCH CIO talks about the role of technology in our work

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In an effort to increase communication between doctors and VCH leadership, VPSA hosts monthly breakfast meetings where matters of mutual interest can be discussed. VCH Chief Information Officer Ron Quirk was the series’ guest in May.

Ron returned to VCH in September 2017 following a failed retirement during which he went from supporting health care systems and technology to being a health care consumer. He came to see the overwhelming fragmentation that exists between health authorities and practitioners.

“When I was invited back to help out, I asked myself: what can I do?” Ron said. “And I’m here now because I want to be; I want to bridge gaps in sharing information.”

As head of Information Management and Information Technology Services, he oversees a department that supports about 1,000 applications along with thousands of desktops. Ron is keenly aware that much of our technology is nearing the end of its life.

Cerner Go Live on North Shore

Ron’s Breakfast with Leaders event came on the heels of the successful Cerner launch at Lions Gate and Squamish hospitals.

“There was phenomenal physician engagement at LGH and Squamish regarding the implementation,” said Ron. “Everyone received training and there was a good understanding of the system. There was at-elbow support. There weren’t design issues that hadn’t been considered. Issues were tracked and fixed quickly.”

Endocrinologist Dr. Marshall Dahl noted there is an urgency to improve our systems. “Technology is a tool, just like a stethoscope is a tool. We just want it to work. How do we design a usable system and grow it in the future?” he asked. “How do we build in doctor input?”

“The most successful initiatives put the key stakeholders up front,” responded Ron. “They ask: what are your needs? Who can meet those needs? What can we afford?”

This is in line with VPSA’s mission to engage with physicians and leaders to help them build a better working environment for providers, which will ultimately benefit patient care and the cost effectiveness of our health care system.

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