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SCL Health's new CIO outlines first steps in new role

In this Q&A, Craig Richardville looks back at what he's learned over his career as a CIO and consultant, as well as what he plans to do in his new role as CIO of SCL Health.

Geared with a background in leading digital transformation efforts, Craig Richardville is taking the helm at SCL Health, and he's planning on getting to know the culture and strategic priorities of the organization before making any big moves.

Richardville is now senior vice president and CIO of SCL Health, a $2.6 billion faith-based health system, with 10 hospitals and more than 100 physician clinics, as well as mental health, home health and hospice services primarily in Colorado and Montana.

Richardville brings deep experience to the role, having spent more than 20 years working as chief information and analytics officer at Carolinas HealthCare System. After that, he founded a consulting practice to provide advisory services to technology startups.

At SCL Health, Richardville will lead the organization's technology service center and develop the technical vision for the organization's strategic imperatives, according to an SCL Health news release.

Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

How do you go about finding the right technology for an organization?

Craig Richardville, CIO, SCL HealthCraig Richardville

Craig Richardville: I don't chase the bells and whistles unless they add value back to the strategic priorities of the company. Everything we look at is from the business standpoint.

Going into any type of decision, whether it's to purchase a physician practice or to build a hospital, it's no different than investing in technology. You have to have a return. You have to take a look at the strategic priorities of the company and the operational opportunities of the company.

And as you start to look at how you can apply the technology -- how it changes the workflow, enhances the work of the people, maybe reshifts some of their descriptions of the work that they perform -- that's where the value comes in.

What are some of the challenges that you face as a CIO?

Richardville: As we look for funding opportunities to invest in, we have to compete with those other traditional healthcare choices of looking to advance services, whether it's [an] ambulatory surgery center, urgent care center, employing more physicians. All these different investments we make, technology is one. So, we have to compete for that limited resource just like anything else.

What about security?

I don't chase the bells and whistles unless they add value back to the strategic priorities of the company.
Craig RichardvilleCIO, SCL Health

Richardville: Security is on your mind every day. Every decision you make, you have to understand the impact you would have on any type of security initiative. It's on your mind every day, and it's something we report back to the board at every meeting. It's always a consideration when we make any investment.

Heading into your role at SCL Health, what's one of your goals?

Richardville: Part of the work that I have, especially coming to a new organization and a new area, is to continue learning and understanding the priorities of the company, the abilities of our team, the ability for customers to receive the rate of change that we want to move into the organization and to understand the culture within the organization.

Once you level that and understand where you want to go and what your current abilities are, then you look to how you fill those gaps. How do I take advantage of those opportunities and mitigate those risks of allowing us to be able to accelerate our ability to deliver and in support of our execution of priorities?

As I'm going through this, I have to keep an open, transparent mind that what works somewhere may not work here and that what's working here may be able to work better.

What technologies and trends are you looking at now?

Richardville: We're moving ourselves more from the art of healthcare to the science of healthcare. We're using data to help substantiate decision-making for the provider, for the patient, for the company. We're using data to be able to make those decisions to give us the highest probability of success.

I also think there is a transition that's happening with healthcare, as with other industries, of self-service. It is our responsibility to not only meet, but to beat our customers' expectations. And for a growing segment of our consumers, it's to provide easy-to-use and high-valued tools that bring SCL to the patient and not require the patient to come to us

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