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CIO Success and Failure
Posted by The HCI Group
on April 5, 2021 at 9:15 AM

CIO Failure & Success with Ed Marx (1)

The HCI Group welcomed the chance to be a part of the new Healthcare IT Today podcast for CIOs and were pleased to have our Chief Digital Officer, Ed Marx, join the discussion. The podcast aims to share practical insights and perspectives to its audience and Ed is certainly an excellent choice for sharing insight as the former CIO of Cleveland Clinic and a number of other highly esteemed healthcare organizations.

Ed started his career as a janitor at a healthcare facility, sweeping and emptying trash, and each day he felt that he was doing something that mattered. It lit the fire for him to serve in healthcare and though he didn't know how that might manifest itself, he knew it was the direction he wanted to take. Now, 30+ years later he holds a wealth of healthcare and CIO experience under his belt that he is excited to share more with the listeners of the CIO Podcast and host John Lynn

What is the value of a CIO reaching outside of just the provider side of healthcare organizations? 

"I think it is really important, because you have to understand the whole spectrum. One of the reasons we are so far behind with digital transformation in healthcare is because we have been in these super silos. Providers don't talk to payers and view themselves as competitors. Pharma is seen as something separate from providers and payers and Biotech is viewed as an entirely different ecosystem. It is very myopic if all you know is the provider side of this business.

I was fortunate that in two of my CIO roles, we had a payer side to those organizations so I was able to learn a little bit about them, but the more we cross pollinate the stronger we are able to take on the challenges that we face in healthcare. I don't think that the provider side of the system has the best outcomes and that is why we need to start looking outward to lessons learned from other arches of the business. 

Are the provider and the payer becoming the same? 

"The pay-vider is happening. More and more we are starting to see the two sides merge and become one, especially now with the development of hospitals at home. We're seeing the payers move in aggressively, as well as retail expansion. This is why CIOs need to broaden their view and learn from their peers in their organizations. Pick up the phone and find out their perspectives."

What do you think has been the key to your successful career?

The secret to the success in my career is multifaceted and it is hard to just say one thing. Certainly my faith was the foundational factor. I was in a lot of trouble with school and the police growing up, flunking school and all kinds of things. One thing that kept me grounded and safe was my faith and that others were praying for me. So, despite myself, because of other people helping me I was able to make the changes necessary to grow from those experiences. 

In terms of practical keys to success, having the vision that I knew I was supposed to be in healthcare. At just 16 years old as a janitor I knew this is where I was meant to be and everything I did after that was purposeful towards that goal. I chose to join the army reserves as I needed the money to go to college, my dad had served and I felt it was patriotic, and when I had the opportunity I chose to be a combat medic. That further ingrained the pathway of my career and I continued to look for opportunities in healthcare throughout my life.

Having the mentality to follow my passion made a difference and it took a long time to work my way up, but I got there in the end. Keep the attitude and stay humble is my advice to anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps. It's easy to become self-focused in this role, so it is very important to stay outwardly focused and humble. Additionally, my final piece of advice is to make sure you have the right people in your life to help you stay on your path and keep you grounded! 

If you would like to hear more from this great conversation between Ed Marx and John Lynn, you can listen now: CLICK HERE!