Dick Daniels is executive vice president and chief information officer (CIO) for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc.
In this role, Daniels is responsible for the ongoing leadership of Kaiser Permanente’s Information Technology vision, strategy and execution. Daniels reports directly to Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer, and is a member of the national executive team.
Prior to Daniels’ appointment to the role of executive vice president and chief information officer, Daniels served as senior vice president of Enterprise Shared Services, which includes End User Services, National Facilities Services and National Pharmacy Operations.
Daniels joined Kaiser Permanente in May of 2008 as Kaiser Permanente’s Information Technology senior vice president and business information officer of Health Plan and Hospital Operations. In that role, he was accountable for developing the strategy and ensuring the delivery of innovative, leading-edge capabilities that drive Kaiser Permanente’s technology agenda, in partnership with, and supporting all business areas. Leading a diverse team that included the Regional Business Information Organizations, National Facilities IT, Pharmacy IT, Enterprise Architecture, Information Management and Innovation, Consulting and Analytics and IT Compliance, he was accountable for the strategic alignment across regional and national IT initiatives and the regional implementation of all national IT projects.
Daniels has more than 30 years of shared services and information technology leadership experience. Before joining Kaiser Permanente, he served as senior vice president and divisional CIO for Capital One. In addition, as senior vice president at JP Morgan Chase, he was responsible for maintenance and support for all investor services business applications globally.
Daniels has a bachelor’s of applied arts and sciences degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). In 2007, Computerworld honored him as one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.
As CIO for a large not-for-profit health care system, it is easy to see the value of STEM education and the resulting technology talent that enables an organization like Kaiser Permanente to function and thrive. In today’s health care, technology is everywhere and behind every successful engagement with our members and patients.
When I think broadly about STEM education, and more specifically about the development of tomorrow’s technical workforce, several factors come to mind that need to converge: The competitive need for STEM-educated talent; a steady supply of technically trained and well-rounded individuals ready to enter the workforce; and the need for organizations to create opportunities and work environments that excite and motivate these individuals.
First, let me comment on the competitive need for STEM. Technical talent and capabilities are a competitive necessity. This is often considered in the context of national security. This is important, as is the economic competitiveness of a nation’s business sector. Health care is not the only industry that is becoming more and more enabled and reliant on technology. This is true from agriculture, to manufacturing, to transportation, and across all service industries.
Businesses are increasingly looking to technology to advance process efficiency, innovation, and workforce productivity, as well as meet the evolving expectations customer have for convenience and speed. These demands are a big part of driving competitiveness between businesses and with industries between nations.
Businesses, as well as government entities, also need technology talent and solutions to protect critical systems and sensitive data to address the increasing risk of cyber crime. All of these competitive and security needs are feeding the demand for a pipeline of technical talent, and thus STEM education to fill that pipeline.
STEM education is an essential, foundational component of technical capability. It is how we create a steady supply of talented individuals with the technical skills and education they need to enter the workforce. To be effective, STEM education needs to engage the interest and passions of today’s youth. I’ve seen reports that the proportion of STEM college graduates in some other countries surpasses that in the U.S. One article from a few years ago stated that China had three times the number of STEM graduates as the U.S. that year. We clearly have work to do.
In the case of technology education, STEM education needs to leverage the fact that young people are growing up with many forms of technology and to inspire their imaginations about what is possible in the future. It must connect the dots that individuals passionate about technology can work towards an exciting career, and that taking advantage of STEM educational opportunities can help them get there.
It is also important that technology training not be presented and perceived as only for those who are good at math or began programming at an early age. The modern demands of technology are very diverse, and one does not have to be great at math to excel in an information technology career. In fact, technology training should be part of a well-rounded education. Businesses today need technical professionals who can understand business problems and opportunities, work creatively on solutions, and communicate effectively. Understanding the flexibility and breadth of what an individual can do and influence in a technical career can inspire more students to pursue STEM education.
The next important factor is what businesses can do to attract and nurture technical talent. Required are multiple recruiting sources, from on-campus engagement to social media platforms, to link applicants with opportunities. The more visible this process is, the more it serves as encouragement for students to pursue STEM education and a critical link between talented individuals and jobs.
Businesses then need to create specific opportunities for early-career individuals. Our IT organization at Kaiser Permanente, for example, has a thriving internship program that invites college students and recent college graduates to work with us for the summer. This provides essential exposure, real experience, and often leads to employment opportunities.
Once technology professionals enter the workforce, it’s imperative that organizations invest in the engagement of these individuals. At Kaiser Permanente, we have thriving networks, such as for IT interns, that connect early-career professionals with each other. These individuals also have challenging work and a variety of opportunities to grow through training and on-the-job experience.
From my perspective, the bottom line is that we have an opportunity and a need in the U.S. to regain our leadership in STEM education. This requires all parts of the equation, including the education system and business, to do their part. By doing this, we can engage and inspire more individuals to make STEM a stronger part of a well-rounded education and to pursue the vast, diverse, and rewarding opportunities afforded them by careers in areas like information technology.