An Organization Designed to Educate and Serve its Members
by Charles E. Christian, CHCIO, LFCHIME, LFHIMSS
It’s difficult to believe that it has been thirty years since The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives or CHIME was moved from the thoughts of several pioneers in the HIT leadership world into reality. It was very early in the formation of a new professional role, the healthcare CIO, who would become a key member of the healthcare executive team, helping to move healthcare into a position to improve both the quality and safety of the patients it serves. It was the foresight of these pioneers that created an organization that would educate these current and future leaders, and then advocate for and help elevate the position of CIO.
In the Beginning…
At the core of this very young professional organization was the vision to focus on the definition of what a healthcare CIO should/could be; that meant the organization would need to become the vehicle to define that role and then educate those of us who were fortunate enough to be around at the beginning. It also meant that the educational content and processes would need to be defined and then created. My career in healthcare IT would not have been possible without the dedicated leaders that established CHIME and created the educational and collaborative foundation that the organization was built upon.
Founded on Focus
There were several professional association models with similar goals of education and collaboration; however, most of those included a wide range of professionals and wasn’t dedicated to one group of executives and a narrow focus on the mission and vision of serving the most senior healthcare IT executive in any healthcare organization. In my humble opinion, this focus has been at the core of the growth and success of the organization; that and the dedication its members have shown, staying true to that mission and vision of educating and advocating for the current and future HIT leaders.
Small but Mighty
Thirty years ago, in-person meetings were about the only way to provide educational content. In the early years, the meetings were small; however, the content was rich from both inside and outside of healthcare. The forum committees did an outstanding job of bringing in thought leaders and experts from outside of healthcare, giving the membership an opportunity to learn about the innovations and experiences related to how technology was being applied, allowing them to adapt those successes in a healthcare setting.
Connections at the Core
It wasn’t just the opportunity to learn from the speakers/presenters that the forums provided; the best part of the opportunity was to meet and connect with the pioneers and healthcare IT leaders who were breaking new ground and were willing to share their mistakes, failures, and successes with the other members. I believe that these connections, partnerships, and friendships are the true heart of CHIME, and without the willingness of its members to connect and share openly, CHIME would have become just another professional association.
An Education Evolution
Having had the pleasure of being part of this organization from the beginning and having the opportunity to serve and participate at a variety of levels, I’ve seen the organization grow and change in response to the needs and requirements of both its members and the healthcare industry. CHIME stepped up several years ago and created new organizations to educate and provide collaboration opportunities for multiple areas within the healthcare IT departments; groups of professionals that struggled to find the same level of community that their senior leaders found in CHIME.
Pioneering the Future
In CHIME’s early years, some of the same pioneers that envisioned this organization, saw the need to create an educational opportunity for the future IT leaders. An educational opportunity that would be laser focused on the key success factors of a healthcare CIO. The CHIME Boot Camp was born from this identified need and staffed with a faculty of some of the most successful and well-versed healthcare CIOs in the industry. Many of today’s current healthcare CIOs are alumni of CHIME’s Boot Camps.
Above & Beyond
The education didn’t stop with just those of us in the healthcare IT space; CHIME leadership found that there was a deep need to provide education to our legislators and regulators in Washington, DC. This education comes in the form of information to help those in government understand the challenges of providing high quality healthcare to our communities and the impact that regulations can have if applied without that understanding. It’s through this educational effort that CHIME has become a trusted voice and partner to the legislative staffs and to the agencies that regulate our industry.
Many have portrayed CHIME as a closed and exclusive organization, mostly due to its membership criteria. I’ve understood that this is how the organization might have appeared from the outside, but I have always explained that without that clear vision and focus, CHIME would have become just another organization without a rudder and a clear path.
It has been my very distinct honor to have been at the beginning of this organization, served it as requested, learned much along the way, and hopefully added something to the success of the organization over these many years.
We still have much work yet to do.
Next week’s Theme is RELATIONSHIPS. If you would like to participate in CHIME’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, submit your blog post, story, or article today! Email submissions to Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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