The Five Rights of Effective Clinical Informatics Leadership

Right Domain Knowledge

The RIght Domain Knowledge is a crucial foundation for Effective Clinical Informatics Leadership. Without it, the leader is ill-equipped to make judgments and resolve disputes. Without the requisite knowledge, it is easy to blunder, and the consequences can be devastating to morale, timeline, and budget.

Leaders, as humans, have areas of strengths and weakness. In an ideal corporate culture, people collaborate to enhance all their knowledge bases. In the real world, executives sometimes prefer not to show their ignorance but are then less prepared for the challenges before them. An outsider, focused on filling those knowledge gaps, can enhance overall team performance.

This diagram shows the expertise needed for Effective Clinical Informatics Leadership with a "+" and common weaknesses with a "-". Many exceptions exist, but this framework is useful for considering your organization's circumstances.

Expertise CEO, COO, CFO CIO CMO
Clinical +/- - ++
Organizational Change ++ +/- +/-
Technical - ++ -

Richard Kremsdorf, M.D., President of Five Rights Consulting Inc. has strengths in each of these areas and has for 14 years positioned himself as the translator/facilitator among these different leaders and their organizations and partners.

Clinical Expertise: 

  • 20 years practicing Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in a private office practice and community hospital setting
  • Clinical Professor of Medicine(voluntary) at University of California San Diego
  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, Critical Care

Technical Expertise:

  • Led implementation of the same sophisticated and widely-acclaimed clinical information system in use at Intermountain Health Care
  • Extensive clinical information systems product development and vendor consulting
  • Created the benchmark report Medication Safety Tools 2003 defining requirements for CPOE, Medication Administration, and Clinical Signs
  • Knowledge base of the implementation experiences of others using a variety of vendor products in a variety of settings

Organizational Change Expertise:

  • Formerly Vice President, Clinical Information Systems for  $4.5 billion annual revenue, 48- hospital, chain. Developed and led the "CLINT" CLinicians' Toolkit" initiative.
  • Created the role of Medical Director, Clinical Information Systems, starting in 1988
  • Has reported at different times to CEO, COO, CFO, CMO, and CIO
  • Has been coached by CMOs, CEOs, CIOs and has personally mentored 7 CMIOs

Knowledge is an important foundation, but it still must be applied to real-life situation to develop the Right Synthesis of an often challenging situation.