Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rise Health CIO Wins Top Leadership Award

Custom Web application creates business value


Nicole BradberrySearchCIO-Midmarket.com recently spoke with Nicole Bradberry (pictured at right),  Chief Information Officer at Rise Health Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla., services company that serves primary health care provider practices. She led the effort to build a custom Web application -- the Patient Relationship Manager -- that Rise Health employees use to handle intake and aftercare procedures for primary care physicians. It reduces unnecessary patient visits and health care costs by centralizing data from multiple sources.  Bradberry won SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's  2012 IT Leadership Award, selected from a pool of 40 IT leaders.
In this interview, Bradberry shares her take on technology innovation, the changing role of the CIO and the ways the Patient Relationship Manager application creates value for her business and for customers.

SearchCIO.com: What technology or technologies are changing the way your business is run or how it serves customers?
Bradberry: Technology and health care are coming together like never before. Right now in the health care space you've got meaningful use, you've got all the mandates coming with health reform. So, everyone out there is trying to figure out how to get an EMR [electronic medical record system] in every physician's office to get rid of all the paper in hospital systems. How do you connect all the hospitals to the physicians, the primary care specialists, labs and pharmacies? That's what's really going on right now in health care. I think you'll see in the next few years amazing strides that have never been seen before in health care, because health care has really kind of lagged behind the rest of the world as far as using technology.

Can you give me an example of how a technology created value for Rise Health or its customers?
Bradberry: Rise Health is an early-stage company. We formed in mid-2009. The project I've been working on is really to build the entire technology platform--either buy or license some of the needed software -- and most of the time was spent on building what we call the Patient Relationship Manager. A Web-based, sits-in-the-cloud application that we think is pretty darn innovative and answers a lot of the problems that are in health care today, as far as how you make data very actionable when the patient is sitting in the office with the physician.

As a finalist for the SearchCIO-Midmarket.com 2012 IT Leadership Awards, how do you see the leadership role of the CIO changing in coming years, and what do you think is influencing these changes?
Bradberry: I think I'm an example of that change, because I'm not the traditional technologist of old, the guys who came up building servers and building data rooms. The CIOs of today are really part of the business. They're part of the team that sets the strategy for the company; and technology is an enablement of the business model of the company, so I think that's what the new CIO looks like.

Is that akin to your leadership style, or what is your leadership style?
Bradberry: I'm a designer, so I spend a lot of time with the designers in front of a whiteboard, and I let them go do the work. Here's the vision, you understand the business processes, and we spend a lot of time talking about the business processes; and then they go and build and come back. I expect really well-thought-through deliverables, whether it's the up-front design, or the development of the code or the testing; and they present back. I give my feedback, but I'm not really a micromanager. I'm more of that whiteboard-design-up-front leader that really talks about the business and what we're trying to accomplish.

As technology innovation has become a mainstay of many of the tools used in business, has the role of the CIO in driving innovation in a company changed?
Bradberry: The CIO traditionally has been more of an order-taker. This is what the business needs, and I'm going to say I can do it or not. I think the CIO is now part of that executive leadership team and hopefully is the person who says this technology is what we need to expand either our market presence, or our capabilities or efficiency and use innovation when you need it. You don't innovate just to innovate. You use it when it is really needed to expand what you're trying to sell and what your business is all about.