Christopher Kunney, CPHIT, CPHIMS, MSMOT, Chapter Task Force chair, shares why he loves health IT.
Why do I love Health IT?
I’ve had some level of affiliation with health IT industry for most of my career. After graduating from college in the late 80s, one of my first jobs was as the data center manager for the America Red Cross, Atlanta location. A few years later, I was hired as developer with a company called Gerber Alley. The company developed hospital information systems for the healthcare vertical. They were eventually purchased by HBOC, later acquired by McKesson. Then, I worked for Hewlett Packard for nine years and supported various healthcare clients.
Finally, in early 2000s, I joined Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, Ga., as an IT manager, and eventually became the organization’s CIO. So, I can honestly say, technology and healthcare have been linked very closely to my career development.
That being said, I fell in love with this industry, when I had to opportunity to be present during a kidney transplant procedure. I was amazed at the skill and care the doctors, nurses and support staff exhibited during this procedure. Most importantly, I observed how they leverage the technology around them while conducting that very delicate, life-saving surgery.
The light bulb clicked on for me that day. I realized, while watching the clinicians use the technology, I supported that a PCs (and other IT devices,) are no longer just business tools. These technologies are now key medical instruments used to save lives.
The technology I took for granted everyday has become a significant factor in the delivery of care, and most often, will influence an individual’s clinical outcome.
Most recently, I had the pleasure to participate in a medical mission to Ghana, Africa, with the CaringMeds Foundation. I was originally asked to join the team as its technology advisor to support the development of a telemedicine program with one of the local universities.
During the eight days we were on the ground, I not only offered my technological expertise, I also had the opportunity to support the clinical team by working with the staff to administer medications to patients, taking vitals as a very novice medical assistance and performed basic dental hygiene procedures. But most importantly, held the hands of young and old patients who waited for hours to receive basic ambulatory care.
That experience was life changing and continues re-enforce my appreciation for the calling individuals have to the health profession. It also helped me realize the impact you can have on lives of other human beings.
Everything I’ve done professionally, since that day in the OR and my trip to Ghana, has been to advance the adoption and use of technology to improve the human condition.
I have been blessed to have the unique opportunity to support healthcare organization’s efforts to leverage new and innovative solutions. In addition, I advise technology companies on the distinctive needs and challenges this industry faces every day.
I’m so lucky and honored to be a part of such amazing and an ever-evolving industry.
Learn more about the HIMSS Chapters, and Chapter Leaders Task Force.