* JHS IS Staffs Meet for First Joint Session
In what is planned as the first of quarterly meetings, the Information Systems (IS) staffs from Jefferson and Main Line Health member institutions met as one group at DePalma Auditorium on the Jefferson campus.
The joint session enabled staff members working together on
numerous projects serving the combined Jefferson Health System
(JHS) campuses to come together as one group, meet each other on
an individual basis and receive an overview of plans and
priorities from IS management.
A question and answer period followed the formal presentations, and an opportunity for employees to mix informally concluded the afternoon.
The first presentation, by Walter Zerrenner, Interim Chief Information Officer, JHS, explained how the IS role fits within "JHS Strategic Planning and Organization." In citing the JHS goal of having 1 million covered lives by the year 2000, Mr. Zerrenner pointed out the need for IS capabilities to evolve towards supporting the whole spectrum of integrated delivery.
Using a series of overhead charts, Mr. Zerrenner showed how current IS needs are conceived to be met through a JHS enterprise-wide information network.
The concepts and recommendations Mr. Zerrenner presented result from work over recent months by the JHS Information Systems Operating Committee (ISOC), composed of information systems leaders from across JHS, and which Mr. Zerrenner chairs.
Two ISOC members, Deborah L. Krau, Chief Information Officer and Vice President, Information Services, Main Line Health, JHS, and Al Giacomucci, Acting Director for Information Systems, Thomas Jefferson University, gave the program's two other presentations.
In presenting "Joint Information Systems Projects," Ms. Krau focused on the accomplishments of the combined IS staffs to date, giving status highlights of seven completed joint projects and seven more in progress. IS staff from each campus serve as co-team leaders for each joint project.
With each project addressing a business need of JHS, Ms. Krau stressed that the joint efforts have resulted in capital and/or operating savings for the system and helped staff to share priorities and vision.
"The projects continue to provide us challenges in meeting system business needs through appropriate use of technology, in meeting local business needs while enjoying system economies of scale and in defining data and standards so that information can be shared across the system," she told the group.
In presenting "The JHS Technology Plan," Mr. Giacomucci stressed that business strategy must drive information technology and that there is a need for business applications to work uniformly across the JHS enterprise.
Concluding that the goal of an integrated IS network is to be "more than the sum of parts," Mr. Giacomucci explained this means "trying to combine the best of both worlds" from the sometimes differing IS approaches within JHS. The geographic dispersal of suburban Main Line campuses compared to the geographic concentration of center-city Jefferson is one of six factors shaping different IS approaches in the past.
Mr. Giacomucci also pointed out the important role being played by TASC, a nationally recognized technology consultancy, in helping JHS position IS operations for the future.
Following questions and answers, Mr. Zerrenner assured the group that IS management will keep employees informed about IS changes and reminded them to look to three sources for accurate information ISOC managers, and the two employee publications within JHS, JeffNEWS and CONNECTIONS.