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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Health IT Success - A Matter of Psychology and Personalities?

John Halamka posted recently about the good working relationships among CIOs and key stakeholders in Massachusetts HIE, and attributes their many successes to personality and psychology.  eHealth and IT projects in general have high failure rates (I have read up to 70%), and not just because of policy and technology.
I've long believed that HIE is more about psychology and personality than policy and technology.   You need the trust of the community and passionate people to make it happen.
You can see the post < here >.  It made me think of a recent story in the news in Ontario (probably a bit larger than Mass.) where the CIO of eHealth Ontario declined to accept his $80,000 bonus, for the second year in a row.  If you haven't read that story,< here > is a link to it.  eHealth Ontario has had numerous scandals and IT failures, but not because of Greg Reed, I think. The beleaguered CIO of eHealth Ontario is carrying on because he believes in what he is doing, not for the financial reward.  Forget that the politics of governing something like an arms-length organization like eHealth Ontario is, well, just politics. I think Greg Reid is probably like one of the personalities John Halamka refers to:
Manu Tandon is a unique public servant  He's the CIO of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and is more interested in making a difference than fame or fortune.   He's had a distinguished career in industry but chooses to serve the state government because he believes in the mission.   He works tirelessly, sending emails at all hours of day and night.   He's always connected and communicating with all our stakeholders inside and outside of government.   He's that rare public servant who combines political savvy, transparency, and competency. Every stakeholder in the community trusts him and his position in government enables him to move projects forward rapidly.
At least one hopes....because I don't know very much about the machinations of eHealth Ontario.