Podcast Interview with Mike Hart, Part 2: “Leadership Is Something You Evolve Over Time.”

September 16, 2020

Having prior experience as a bedside nurse can be extremely valuable for those in health IT leadership roles — but not for the obvious reasons. Although it’s true that those who have walked the walk possess an understanding of the workflow challenges and other pains associated with nursing, the real value comes in understanding the need to be “inclusive of others to get a full picture of what you’re dealing with.”
For Mike Hart, who has served as VP of IT at Arkansas Children’s for the past 7 years, the lessons he learned in previous roles — including stints as a nurse, a clinical informatics coordinator, and a software programmer — have provided a solid foundation as the organization has expanded in recent years. In a recent interview, Hart talked about what his team is doing to get back on track in the wake of Covid, how he believes disaster recovery will evolve, the “all-hands-on-deck” mentality organizations need, and what it takes to be an effective leader.


Key Takeaways

* Going big-bang is no easy task; but for Arkansas Children’s, opting for a piecemeal Epic implementation “would have been much messier,” and led to much more dissatisfaction.
* Having a background in software development can do more than help leaders understand technical aspects; it can also build an appreciation for “what Epic brings to the table.”
* One of the most important components of being a successful leader? Realizing that “it’s not your opinion that matters; it’s the opinion of the team.”
* When those on the clinical and IT sides don’t understand their counterparts, it can lead to finger-pointing; having a CNIO can help “bridge the gap.”

Q&A with Mike Hart, Part 2 (Click here to view Part 1)

Gamble:  In terms of Epic, do you have any updates or changes planned?
Hart:  We’re on the latest version of Epic. We went live on it about two and a half years ago, and we do quarterly updates. We’re trying to stay as current as possible; we’ve implemented every module that they offer. The only thing we haven’t implemented yet is the genomics module. We’re looking to move forward with that project soon.
Gamble:  Were you in your current role when the Epic implementation occurred?
Hart:  I was. I helped plan that initiative. Epic comes in with a template — here’s how the project works and here are the roles you need to fill. One of those was executive director of the project, which is role I serve.
Gamble:  And it was a big bang implementation?
Hart:  It was. We built a second hospital at the same time we were building the Epic project. And so we went live in both hospitals and all 80 clinics at the same time.
Gamble:  From what I’ve learned speaking with others, there are pros and cons of doing it either way. Looking back, would you have done it the same way?
Hart:  I would have. I actually have a background in software development background, and I’ve had the privilege to hire some very talented software developers. Having been in the industry for a while, we had some very robust conversations around what was the best approach. Long story short, the big bang approach came out on top in our discussion of how to do that and do it well.
We worked with a few consulting firms to get their input. We have some sister organizations that have been t...