Feature

If It's Monday, We Must Be in Saginaw: Twice the Strategic Initiatives

Many midmarket CIOs say they wear two hats in their effort to balance dual roles as technologists and business people, but Dave Holland really means it.

On Monday and Friday, Holland holds down the CIO post at St. Mary's of Michigan, a 320-bed hospital in Saginaw. For the remainder of the week, Holland serves as vice president and CIO at Genesys Health System, a 440-bed facility in Grand Blanc. The two hospitals, Holland says, are "46.2 miles apart, and I live smack in the middle of them, at 23 miles either way."

At both organizations (Genesys has an IT staff of 70; St. Mary's has a 35-member IT staff), Holland focuses on strategic initiatives, such as enabling electronic medical records. Holland says he landed the two jobs because he wanted to focus on strategic work, and neither organization had enough of it to require a full-time CIO. Each hospital, Holland adds, relies on vendors and their partners to take care of tactical issues.

Holland admits that juggling two cultures (Genesys is collaborative; St. Mary's is hierarchical) and two sets of C-level executives poses challenges. "The most difficult thing is scheduling time off, either vacation or business travel," he says. Nevertheless, Holland believes that both organizations benefit from his dual role, especially when he can use his experience at one hospital to solve a problem at the other. For example, when Genesys wanted to give patients and visitors access to the wireless network, the technical staff balked at the prospect of installing access points, arguing that such access would have to be made available throughout the hospital. St. Mary's, by contrast, allowed patients and visitors ample access to an open network in the cafeteria. Ultimately, Holland persuaded Genesys to adopt the same approach.

Megan Santosus, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a features editor for SearchDataCenter.com. Write to her at msantosus@techtarget.com.

This was first published in March 2006

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