Women Leaders

Jamie Nelson, Hospital for Special Surgery

Jamie Nelson

IT’s Strategic Role

Editors’ Note

Jamie Nelson has held her current post since January of 2015. Prior to this, she was Vice President and Chief Information Officer for HSS. She has also held roles as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Norwalk Hospital; Vice President, Customer Care for Innovatix; Vice President for First Consulting Group, Inc.; Vice President, IT for New York Presbyterian; Senior Manager at Ernst & Young; and Assistant to Director, Patient Accounts at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Institution Brief

New York-based Hospital for Special Surgery (hss.edu; HSS) is internationally recognized as the leading independent academic medical center specializing in orthopedics, rheumatology, and their related specialties. The hospital pioneered the modern-day total knee replacement and continues to build on its success in all areas of musculoskeletal healthcare, in the advancement of cutting-edge research, and the development of innovative approaches to diagnosis and treatment, all of which contribute to its global leadership. Outstanding results in quality of care and the patient experience have created a growing demand for its services, with people coming to HSS from across the country and throughout the world. HSS is the first hospital in New York State to achieve its fourth consecutive designation as a Magnet® Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the gold standard for nursing excellence. It is the only hospital in New York State that has maintained a significantly lower infection rate than the state average for hip replacement five years in a row. HSS is the official hospital of the New York Giants, New York Mets, New York Knicks, New York Liberty, and the New York Red Bulls. It is also the official hospital of New York Road Runners for the New York City Marathon. In 2013, HSS was named the first National Medical Center of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) National Medical Network. In this capacity, HSS is an official hospital for U.S. athletes. HSS is also one of only three hospitals in the United States designated as a Medical Center of Excellence by FIFA.

Has your role changed or evolved over the years, and how critical is it that the CIO is involved in business strategy today?

It certainly has changed. It has gone from a role where the CIO was focused on technical leadership to that of being a contributor to the organization’s strategic decisions.

Today’s CIO has to be proficient in things such as leadership, change management and, very importantly, communication, and taking complex ideas and putting them into terms the CEO, the Board physicians, and staff can understand.

I am fortunate enough to be a part of the HSS senior executive team. I am included in our strategy discussions and must envision how IT can help enable and accelerate those strategies. IT is not an end unto itself, but it can really help drive the organization towards its goals.

Is it important that the physicians speak the same language and that you take the time to communicate with them around your efforts?

They have to know why we’re doing things because our doctors are very innovative, and many of them understand technology quite well here. They also have very high expectations. Knowing just how much to communicate and in a way that is meaningful and addresses their concerns is key.

How hard is it to stay on top of the fast pace of change in technology today and would you touch on your efforts in that regard?

Staying on top of technology change is not that hard. The hard part is understanding when technologies are mature enough for us. Although HSS is very cutting edge in many ways, there has to be some caution when we are dealing with technology that could impact patient safety.

Over the past few years at HSS we have had the opportunity to revamp our entire technical infrastructure and our electronic medical records, so we are very current with technology. This has also given us in IT an opportunity to look at how we deliver services to our clinical and administrative end users, and we’ve become more customer-service focused. It’s also about partnering with our colleagues around the organization as technology changes.

At the size and scale of HSS, how critical is it that the innovative culture not be lost and what has been the secret to maintaining it?

We have significant growth goals – so we have to be innovative and willing to do things differently in order to achieve them. But this is just an extension of the innovative culture that is firmly established already. From an IT perspective, our goal is to provide tools and services to support a more accelerated pace of innovation. We are up to the challenge.