Tanya Arthur is the Associate CIO and Vice President, ITS Strategy and Business Operations, for Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the nation’s largest health systems, operating in 19 states and comprising 105 hospitals. In this role, she has overall responsibility for Information Technology Services’ business operations, including strategic planning, enterprise ITS financials, performance management, vendor management, and customer relations.
Prior to joining Catholic Health Initiatives, Arthur was president and senior consultant at Arthur and Adams Consulting, a private strategic consulting firm specializing in large-scale information technology planning and implementation for Fortune 500 companies across the United States. Her broad range of experience spans more than 25 years in the health care, financial services and insurance industries. Arthur held several executive leadership positions, such as associate vice president of applications development for Jefferson Pilot Financial and associate vice president for information technology for Physicians Mutual. She also served on the board of directors for Women in Technology for Nebraska.
As associate CIO at CHI, she ensures that Information Technology Services’ employees actively participate in the organization’s internship program for minority students. The goal of the program is to build a talent pipeline and increase the diversity of the organization’s workforce. Arthur is often asked to provide keynote addresses on women in leadership and how to build networks for success. She serves as a mentor on recruiting and retaining women and monitories in the workforce and is a strong proponent for increasing STEM education opportunities for women and minorities.
Arthur has a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University and a master’s degree from Bellevue University. She is an active member of the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Technology Business Management Council and the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE).
Catholic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed in 1996 through the consolidation of four Catholic health systems, expresses its mission each day by creating and nurturing healthy communities in the hundreds of sites across the nation where it provides care. One of the nation’s largest health systems, Englewood, Colorado-based CHI operates in 19 states and comprises 105 hospitals, including four academic health centers and major teaching hospitals and 30 critical-access facilities; community health-services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home-health agencies; and other facilities that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. Because of the importance of technology in health care, Catholic Health Initiatives places a special emphasis on fostering a proficient workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It does this through its diverse student internship program for minority students and by creating a culture with strong employee engagement.
Today’s business environment is changing at an unprecedented pace. Organizations are faced with non-traditional competition, tight margins, and disruptive technological advances. These dynamics force organizations to rethink business models, drive strategic growth (organically and inorganically), increase efficiencies and effectiveness, and innovate in ways that stretch an organization’s risk tolerance like never before. Healthcare is undergoing significant changes to improve quality, access and accountability for health outcomes. As regulatory requirements increase and payment models change, healthcare organizations are taking a critical look at everything from what we do to how we do it. Equally, if not more important are the consumer driven changes that are occurring across all industries. Consumers of health and wellness services are expecting the same level of convenience and value they receive when shopping at Amazon, flying on Southwest Airlines or catching a cab on Uber. It is imperative that the CIO not only has a good grasp of technology, but, also has a deep understanding of his or her organization’s competition and how consumers are driving the industry’s landscape.
How the Role of the CIO is Changing
Many CIOs grew up in an era where Information Technology Services (ITS) primarily focused on cost reductions, productivity improvements, and system implementations. While these continue to be important, they have become basic operating tenants.
Given today’s business dynamics, the role of the CIO is critical to business development growth and long-term sustainability. As such, CIOs must be business savvy orchestrators of technology, opportunity, and innovation. As business leaders first, CIOs must understand the competitive landscape of their industry and more importantly, how to leverage technology to drive growth, generate revenue, and improve quality in ways that ultimately translate to the bottom line.
Contributing to the Bottom Line
As our organization began its journey from a holding company to an operating company, we developed techniques to better leverage our size, scale and untapped synergies. As the strategic vision of our organization shifted to reflect an increased urgency for system performance excellence and advancing personal and community health beyond its traditional focus, ITS focused on foundational wide-scale electronic medical record implementations, mergers and acquisition integration, and cost reduction efforts. While implementing new systems, delivery of service and costs savings will remain part core to the CIO role, we are shifting our focus from commodity service delivery to driving strategic business outcomes. Where we once focused on cost reduction, our focus is to manage unit cost; where we once focused on system implementation our focus is to partner with our business colleagues to increase revenue, drive strategic growth (both organically and inorganically), and improve service quality in ways that increase loyalty, retention and growth. This means that we must transform our traditional ITS systems, and structures in new and innovative ways to meet the new normal of, not only, today’s, but, tomorrow’s business paradigm. Garnering the necessary talent to do so will be critical.
Importance of Talent Pipeline
Talent is a key ingredient to leading a successful ITS organization and achieving business outcomes. Traditional college education programs still focus primarily on technology and not enough on the business skills needed to be successful. Strategic thinking, relationship management, political savvy, business and financial acumen are critical skills in a world where technology disruption and innovation can mean the difference between thriving or surviving in the world of business. This is particularly true in healthcare, which generally operates with razor thin margins compared to other industries. More than any time in history, the CIO role is critical to an organization’s capacity to leverage technology to achieve its strategic vision. This means bringing the right skills and partnerships to bear within the ITS organization.
As part of broader transformative efforts, we are taking a holistic view of our ITS workforce, how our workforce can drive increased business value and outcomes, and how we can increase our talent pipeline for the future. This pipeline begins with students and the education systems that train them.
One of the areas I am most proud of is Catholic Health Initiatives’ Diverse Student Internship Program. This “learn while you earn” program is designed to enhance the educational experiences of minority college students and at the same time helps increase the diversity of our workforce. Our internship program, which provided hands-on Information Technology experience to five undergraduates in 2015, is a pipeline for top talent. What’s more, through this program, we’re cultivating a company culture where differences are acknowledged and valued.
In our ITS department, talent development is being woven throughout the entire organization, whether it be in our day-to-day Information Technology work, or in supporting thought leadership, employee engagement programs and internship programs.
We need our current and future leaders to be prepared for the technology leadership roles of the future. I truly believe that STEM students today are the innovative business leaders of tomorrow. As such, we will continue to make investments in building that pipeline… our future depends on it!