Kathleen McGrow - Member Profile

Kathleen McGrow, DNP, MS, RN, PMP, serves as Chief Nursing Information Officer and Director Industry Solutions for the Microsoft U.S. Health & Life Science Industry Team. In this role, Kathleen advises organizations on how the innovative use of technology can support their digital transformation imperatives of consumer engagement, provider enablement, analytics for population health and cognitive computing to support a learning health system.

Her expertise in data, analytics and artificial intelligence is used to educate organizations on how to enhance clinical, operational and financial performance, maximize capacity and patient experience, and transform to new care models and paradigms. Kathleen has led, planned and directed programs and strategic initiatives for organizations including implementation of an evidence framework for best practices. This framework was used to identify customer pain points and targeted outcomes and used during engagements to assist the customer in developing success plans including quantifiable targeted outcomes such as return on investment and cost aversion. The framework was leveraged in both population health (care management) and quality improvement initiatives. Her experience includes engaging with a variety of C-Suite executives, providers (clinicians) and care managers as well as a geographically dispersed team of clinical and technical experts.

Prior to working at Microsoft, Kathleen held positions at GE Healthcare, Caradigm (a Microsoft & GE Company) and Philips. Kathleen’s clinical background spans many years, with the majority of that time spent in trauma and critical care settings. She has worked at some of the premier medical centers in the United States, including Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

What got you interested in a career in healthcare and in particular, health information and technology?

My early career consisted of working a variety of clinical positions from med-surg oncology to surgical and trauma critical care. It was while working in the Trauma Resuscitation Unit (TRU) at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland that I saw the potential of information technology’s impact on patient care. In the TRU clinicians used a home-grown laboratory resulting system. In this system, the screen could only show access to limited results, either hematology or chemistry but not both together on the same screen. Apparently, the developers did not see the need for a cumulative lab view and did not solicit clinical input.

Shock Trauma is known for being an academic medical center and nurses supported many of the research studies. One of these was a joint academic medical center study to evaluate patient mortality and correlation with Injury Severity Score (ISS) and Revised Trauma Score (RTS). The study was retrospective and concentrated on the patient’s postmortem that had lower than expected ISS and RTS prior to death. The study involved a tremendous amount of manual processes to locate appropriate data, review study results and free text notes from paper medical records. The findings supported that many times, patients should have been assigned a higher ISS and RTS on admission. However, due to coding errors, missing or incomplete data patients’ diagnoses were not comprehensive and their ISS and RTS were scored lower.

Seeing the potential of information technology, I decided to attend the University of Maryland Nursing Informatics program for my Masters in Science. I want to ensure clinical voices are heard when information systems are developed to make them usable for providers and to improve patient care and outcomes.

What have been your top three motivating factors from the start of your career to now? Have they changed? If so, how?

Early in my career, I was highly motivated to be in a learning environment with like-minded coworkers. While I still enjoy being challenged and learning something every day, I now greatly enjoy working with an eclectic and diverse group of colleagues.

How do you stay motivated? How do you motivate others?

I stay motivated by being observant, self-aware and adaptable. I hope to motivate others through example and positive feedback.

What stepping-stones have led to where you are and what advice do you have for others looking to follow a similar path?

My journey has been rather convoluted, and everyone has their own path; when you get tripped up, get back up again. Education can be an advantage. Always surround yourself with supportive family and friends.

What is the one piece of practical advice you wish you’d been given when you started your career?

Be your most authentic self.

What is your favorite app?

LinkedIn is my favorite app, as I really value the professional networking and sharing.

What is your dream job?

I am doing my dream job and feel very lucky to be doing what I love every day.

How has HIMSS helped you write your own health information and technology story?

HIMSS is a true champion of nurse informaticists and has offered me the opportunity to learn and connect with others.

Contact Kathleen on Twitter and LinkedIn

Source: HIMSS Women in Health IT