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optimum-healthcare-it-cara-babachicosOptimum’s Executive Interview Series

Welcome back to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “4 Questions with…” series, where we interview top executives in the Healthcare IT space.  We search for the leaders with track records of service excellence, who are passionate about their work and make patient safety their top priority.

In this installment, we talk with Cara Babachicos, Senior VP & CIO at South Shore Health System.

OHIT: How do you align IT with business strategy? 

Cara Babachicos: IT needs to be the fabric of your business aligned with the overall strategy.   IT should be part of the strategy and planning discussions and not an afterthought.  Collaboration is key to successful outcomes, and IT should participate in early strategy discussions so that they can consult and provide the most viable alternatives  It’s great to innovate, but first and foremost you need to be able to deliver the solutions that are best suited for your business. Otherwise, you risk wasting precious resources.

OHIT: What are the biggest security threats you face on a daily basis? How do you fight this threat?

Cara Babachicos: There is often a strong correlation between convenience and security risk.  Who doesn’t like the convenience of working from home, using their phone to conduct banking or better yet taking advantage of the Internet of Things?  The problem is with some of this added convenience is that when one or many of these things become vulnerable to hacking our world falls apart.  As the CIO, I realize that security threats are extremely widespread and almost impossible to eliminate entirely.  Like most we manage access to our systems and our technology as best we can with the software, hardware, services, and policies/procedures, we adjust and add based on new threats and known vulnerabilities.  It’s almost impossible to stay on top of all of the threats with all of the new goods services, and platforms in our ever-evolving healthcare IT landscape.

OHIT: How do you think IT sourcing will change in the next ten years?

Cara Babachicos: I believe that systems are going to advance and become far more intelligent through AI or Machine Learning.  The repetitive tasks will be sourced, or computer generated with robotics while what will remain will be the advanced technology and data scientists that will allow organizations to differentiate themselves.

OHIT: How do you ensure that business partners with IT?

Cara Babachicos: First and foremost you want to align with an organization that appreciates the value of IT.   If you demonstrate value to the business, you will be at the table.  If you cannot think bigger than IT, you will be relegated to the back room worrying about the 1s and Os.

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