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optimum-healthcare-it-ed-marxOptimum’s Executive Interview Series

Welcome to Optimum Healthcare IT’s “4 Questions with…” executive interview series, where we interview top thought leaders 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 Edward W. Marx, CIO (GO) of NYC Health & Hospitals (GO) & Advisory Board Executive Vice President.

OHIT: What is a day in your life like, as a CIO – from waking up, to turning off the lights at night?

Ed Marx: I am a member of TeamUSA Duathlon, so that means I turn the lights on at 4:25 every morning. I spend around 3 hours working out but take advantage of multi-tasking opportunities to catch up on email or reading scriptures and to meditate. I don’t maintain a regular “office” so it depends on the day where I go next. It may be to one of our hospitals, city hall or our corporate offices. I do have shared space with my direct reports at an off-campus site that houses IT and related teams like mine. I would say that 50% of my time is spent in meetings, 30% with customers and 20% trying to get things accomplished. Since I travel to NYC each week, I have no family obligations, so I typically meet with my traveling team for dinner, and after we get some more things accomplished, we take advantage of everything NYC has to offer. I end the day on my stationary bike talking with my family from 11p to midnight.  I then shower and head to sleep.

OHIT: How has being a hospital CIO changed in the last five years?

Ed Marx: The trend towards business and clinical-minded CIO’s continues. At CHIME we call this CIO 3.0. There are very few CIO 1.0 left, those that are purely technical and ended up in a leadership role because they outlasted all the other techies. The “post-modern CIO” is very strategic minded and customer-centric. Our patients and providers demand that we become increasingly entrepreneurial, innovative and help to drive transformation inside and outside of our respective organizations and communities.

 OHIT: If you knew that your company would suffer a security breach tomorrow, what would you do differently today?

Ed Marx: It is not a matter of if we will suffer a breach, but when. My focus is on resiliency. How quickly do we realize we have a breach and how quick can we recover. So it is wise to build a strong defense. That is a given. It is even wiser to have plans in place to discover and resolve quickly.

OHIT:  Where do you see healthcare IT going in the next five years?  How are you preparing for it today? What do you need, but don’t yet have, to get to where you want to be?

Ed Marx: Let me give you a non-standard response and stretch myself. There won’t be IT in 10 years, and we may see that transition in progressive organizations as soon as five years from now. Why will you need a mammoth and expensive IT organization? These will be a relic of a day gone by. With the cloud, consumerism, integrated/seamless applications and digital natives taking more and more leadership roles, the need for IT specific talent will begin to erode. Think about it. Does anyone provide smartphone support at your hospital? No. Portal support? No. Cloud support? No. Extrapolate and see where we are headed.

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