When it comes to making improvements in the Federal health IT space, CIOs from agencies in healthcare, public health, and research are emphasizing the importance of synergy and cooperation among themselves and other stakeholders involved in individual missions and shared priorities.

During Government CIO’s Health IT event today, La’Tanya Burton, CIO for the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and Mike Tartakovsky, CIO for NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spoke about the key role that change management plays for their organizations.

“The old phrase is that there is no such thing as an IT project, there are only business projects, right?” said Tartakovsky. “We do not exist to do projects for ourselves. Our job is to show businesses how to do their job better, faster, and more efficient.”

For NIAMS with regards to change management, Burton said she meets with the organization’s scientific and clinical director every month to ensure they’re all on the same page.

“They’re allowed to give me some insights into where they’re going and I give them an idea of what it is coming down the pike, and of course we always talk about money at some point in the conversation,” said Burton.

Burton added that the scientists are often moving at a much faster than the agency, so things like new analytical tools that can create 10 times the data that previous technology was able to are an important part of their conversations.

Among lessons learned for the NIAID, Tartakovsky said the organization will need to establish a solid digital foundation for all courses. NIAID needs to make sure that its business processes are automated and that people have access to the tools to do their jobs.

For NIAMS, Burton said that stakeholder involvement is critical to success, as well, while the pace of technology being rolled out for adoption is moving faster than ever.

“Stakeholders and IT teams are not always ready to move at the same time,” said Burton, adding that their continuing dialogue is important for discussing “what’s coming down the pipe on each side so that we can help each other move to that.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.