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Information Services Leadership Profiles

Dr. Bryan Wolf

Chief Information Officer

bobDr. Bryan Wolf’s resume isn’t typical of a CIO. The current chief information officer and senior vice-president of Information Services (IS) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Wolf holds advanced degrees in medicine, pharmacology, nutrition and endocrinology. He is also a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, with secondary appointments in Pediatrics and Neurology.

Prior to becoming CIO, Dr. Wolf was pathologist-in-chief and chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at CHOP from 2001 to 2008, where he was responsible for the day-to-day clinical operations of the department as well as for laboratory systems implementations. Dr. Wolf was also a leader in diabetes research with an emphasis on islet biology.

Dr. Wolf developed a deep understanding of data and information systems, a skill that was critical to running CHOPs laboratories. When the CIO position opened up 2008, the combination of his clinical, technical and leadership experience made Dr. Wolf a logical choice for the promotion.

Today, he is responsible for all Information Services infrastructure and applications for the CHOP enterprise. Dr. Wolf has this to say about CHOP IS: "We're mission focused and the mission is glorious — we're taking care of the frailest and sickest patients. That's why we invest in the future of our people through training and knowledge. We want to retain these people so they can reach their goals and develop a passion. That can only help us meet our goals."


Bob Bartelt

Chief Technology Officer

bobBob Bartelt’s career has exposed him to many industries, from banking and financial services to marketing and digital imaging. But his first experience working in healthcare was when The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia became his client. Then in 2006, CHOP asked Bartelt if he’d like to come on board to rebuild the IS work management system. Bartelt has been here ever since, rising to the upper ranks of the Hospital’s Information Services Department.

Bartelt says he was in the right place at the right time. CHOP’s chief information officer needed someone who could focus on process, IS metrics and the way CHOP reported information. Bartelt had the skills the organization was looking for and was soon promoted to manager of service operation and improvement. Another promotion in 2009 made Bartelt the director of infrastructure, giving him ownership over the data center, networking and platforms that support the organization.

When Bartelt was named chief technology officer in 2011, he became responsible for all client service teams in the Hospital, and all of the hardware used to support operations and patient care. He also provides direction and oversight for technical decisions for the Hospital – a critical role considering the speed at which technology changes today.

CHOP has been important to Bartelt’s IS career because of CHOP’s commitment to information services and technology. CHOP invests in technology because it’s important to making patient care the best it can be. IS is a nonclinical department, but the work done by this team directly impacts the clinician’s ability to deliver the best possible experience and outcomes to patients and families. And the way IS works with the clinical teams is special – it’s a partnership with the singular goal of improving care.

Bartelt says that a major benefit of working for CHOP is how often things change in the Hospital. As service lines constantly grow and adapt, so does the need for technology. As a result, his work is always changing, keeping him in touch with the leading edge of the industry.

His career advice: Go the extra mile. Pay attention to customer service. Deliver complete solutions. And expose yourself to as many people and tasks as you can, because opportunity will follow.


Cathy Beech

Chief Information Security Officer

cathyCathy Beech has more than 20 years of experience in business and IS, working in the financial, insurance, healthcare and academic industries. Throughout her career, she has been responsible for auditing processes and procedures to ensure the organizations she works for meet regulatory requirements.

Beech first came to CHOP in 2006 as an information security analyst. In this role, her responsibilities were flipped – it was now her job to put security policies and procedures in place, perform risk assessment, and design and manage processes to measure compliance against regulatory requirements. Her past as an IT auditor made her the perfect fit for the job.

When Beech began her career at CHOP, the chief information security officer was looking for his replacement – someone who understood how to protect data. And in 2009, just three years after coming to the Hospital, Beech was appointed to the CISO role.

As CISO, she’s responsible for the information security program management functions, including governance and regulatory compliance, risk management, awareness of threat and vulnerability, security administration, and security awareness and training. She has oversight of the entire information security program for the Hospital. One of the key responsibilities of the CISO is ensuring CHOP complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the law that ensures that all health information remains private. HIPAA requires strict information security policies organization wide.

Her career advice: Be known for your work ethic, and stay focused on leaving a place better than it was when you arrived. Move operations forward to make your mark on an organization.


Deb Yogel

Director, Quality Programs

debsYou’d never guess that Deb Yogel, director of quality programs for Information Services (IS), started her career at CHOP evaluating infants and children for breathing and gastric disorders. Today her job is much different. She oversees the team that puts the processes in place that ensure IS delivers consistent and reliable services, and builds relationships with clients throughout the Hospital. Her responsibilities are no longer clinical, but her experience working in patient care is what began to shape her career at CHOP.

Yogel showed she had a talent for understanding the value of process while working as a respiratory therapist. In addition to her clinical work with patients at CHOP, Yogel worked to improve the process by which care was delivered to infants and children with respiratory problems. She wrote a policy and procedure manual, implemented training plans, designed a community outreach program, and presented research to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Since then, she’s translated her skill for process management throughout the Hospital. A connection she made while teaching a communications class for CHOP employees alerted her to an opportunity to become a quality improvement analyst. It was a job where she could put her talent to work improving the systems and processes that provide care across the entire Hospital. In this position, Yogel worked to streamline many different areas of CHOP operations, including the development of many of the early clinical pathways.

From there, Yogel was recruited to IS, where she was once again recognized for her valuable understanding of the process by which things get done. She got her start in IS working on the team that implemented Epic, an electronic medical record system used throughout the CHOP Care Network. It was the largest go-live event in the department’s history. And as CHOP IS grew over the years, Yogel grew with it. In just over 10 years she moved up through the ranks, from systems analyst to where she is today – director of quality programs.

Her career advice: Get involved as much as you can. Broaden your network of contacts within an organization to get better perspective on where things have been and where they’re going. This will help you find avenues for growing your career.


John Martin

Director, Information Management

bobAfter earning his bachelor’s degree in computer and information sciences, John Martin began a career in the manufacturing industry, taking a job in tech support at Sunoco. Right away, he began to learn more about how people were using the tools he was developing and the integration of business and technology.

Martin’s career at Sunoco moved through software support, database support, then infrastructure support for manufacturing facilities. As his responsibilities grew, he honed his ability to look at information systems from a business perspective, understanding that technology stands alone unless it’s implemented in a way that helps advance the goals of the organization.

Martin worked his way up to head of technology at Sunoco’s north-east manufacturing facilities — translating the needs of plant leadership to the technologists who would implement new applications and infrastructure to enable them to succeed in the marketplace. After 12 years with the company, he learned of an opening in the Information Services department at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a systems manager who would be responsible for core infrastructure technology. It was a lateral move, but Martin saw it as a huge opportunity to take his career to a new, exciting industry.

After 18 months in this new role, Martin had yet another opportunity to move into a group that was focused on healthcare data and information, and using data to improve the care provided at CHOP. It was 2008, and CHOP was leading the way in the healthcare information management space. The new position of manager of Analytics Development, Enterprise Analytics, put Martin in a place where he could make technology work to get data and information out of the Hospital’s many systems and applications in a meaningful, effective way.

CHOP had begun implementing the electronic medical record (EMR) years before, but it was starting to grow exponentially. Growing use of the EMR meant growth in the amount of data it was collecting. It was time to take that data and do something meaningful with it. Martin’s group was charged with using that data to answer difficult questions: How is revenue working through the Hospital system? What does patient flow through the Hospital look like? How can we streamline operations?

As time passed, the enterprise analytics group began answering questions focused on patient care and clinical pathways: How are we treating patients? How are they getting better?

In December 2012, Martin was appointed director of Information Management. He is responsible for all enterprise analytics and reporting and the development of procedures, algorithms, protocols, mathematical models and training programs to improve the healthcare delivery system by mining the vast amount of data at our disposal.

“My goal is to support CHOP’s mission to provide the best pediatric healthcare possible,” says Martin. “That includes ensuring we’re financially viable, making sure children move through health system safely and effectively, and enabling the clinicians who make this place great with the information and evidence they need at their fingertips.”

Among the many accomplishments of the enterprise analytics team is the development of the CHOP data warehouse, an enterprise integrated repository for all the clinical, financial and operational data from the CHOP health system, some of it dating to the late 1990s. Data can all be sliced and diced from any angle, to answer almost any question, regardless of what system the data initially came out of.

Having that volume of data available for analytics is significant, but even more powerful is an interface built by CHOP IS called Enterprise Self Service Analytics (ESSA). This lets people from departments Hospital-wide pull out whatever information they need from the data warehouse using customized, desktop analytic applications.

“Technology is about enabling better things to happen,” says Martin. “The work of my team is all about getting the right information, to the right place, in the right way and the right time. We’re helping the institution stay ahead of the curve.”

His career advice: “Sometimes you have to make lateral moves, whether it’s in the type of work you’re doing, or the place you’re doing the work. Don’t be so concerned with your title; focus on the opportunities to learn more, do more and go farther.”


Gayle Stidsen Smith

Director, PARC/HIM Support

gayleGayle Stidsen Smith never planned for a career in information services. She was interviewing for a leadership position while working as a registrar for Penn Medicine, when a hiring manager suggested that her skill set would make her a great asset to Penn Medicine’s Information Services department. For Smith, the suggestion was the beginning of a new career.

Without any formal training in information services and technology, Smith made it her mission to master the field. During the early years of her information services career, she was in various analyst roles, both in-house and on the vendor side. Smith worked her way up to a leadership position as an application manager, overseeing the design and development of clinical and business practice management systems for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

At the same time, she was pursuing master’s degrees in healthcare administration and healthcare information services. One of her professors was the chief information officer at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the connection introduced Smith to CHOP’s Information Services department (IS).

It was 2001 when she first accepted a job with CHOP IS as a lead analyst in the Physician Information and Networking Group (PING). She moved into a new position as application coordinator in 2005, and was responsible for overseeing and performing the build of a new professional billing application within the Hospital’s electronic medical record system, Epic Patient Access and Revenue Cycle (PARC).

In 2007, Smith was promoted to Business Support Manager for PARC Support in Information Services. One of her new responsibilities was to develop the new business advisor role to provide high touch customer service to internal clients, a role that has been adopted across other departments at the Hospital. Smith has since been promoted to director of the Epic PARC/HIM Support department, which was expanded to include Health Information Management (HIM).

Smith says the things she loves most about her job are the diversity of her days and the ways her work touches the clinical world and patient care. Her position provides a big picture view of the entire Hospital, which is an organization that understands the value of investing in IS, and gives the department a seat at the table during important decision-making processes.

Her career advice: Don’t be afraid of new or undefined territory. Whether it’s a field you’re unfamiliar with, or a service that you have to build from the ground up, taking risks means creating opportunities to change the course of your career.


Jody Richards

Director of Web Technology and Application Development

gayleJody Richards began her career in the technical world by using her programming and development skills to support custom web solutions for her clients. With only a few years of development experience under her belt, Richards was recognized for her ability to combine technical expertise with the nuances of management. She quickly rose through the ranks from programming to leadership positions.

Richards spent nearly 15 years in various senior positions at Web development and digital marketing agencies. She managed major development projects for large clients, many of them in the pharmaceutical industry. About half of her career has been spent supporting e-marketing initiatives; with the other half dedicated to custom application and technology solution development.

Among her many accomplishments: building an e-marketing agency’s software development department from the ground up for a website build that supported 12 languages and 15 countries, and developing a variety of new agency service offerings including a Facebook survey platform. In addition to managing development and QA teams, Richards has also provided broader oversight: project management, business analysis and creative have each fallen within her scope of work at some point in her career.

Richards came to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in 2012 to take on the role of director, Web Technology and Application Development. It is her first internal position after many years in the agency world. “A real perk of coming to CHOP is that I get to be part of a team that’s working toward something that is for themselves,” says Richards. “My agency experience was invaluable in teaching me how to apply technical knowledge to solve a problem, while always keeping in mind the goals and nuances of the client. Now I get to use those skills to help the company I work for provide patients with the most advanced healthcare experience possible.”

In her role at CHOP, Richards manages three teams: the Internet and Employee Intranet teams, which help maintain and grow functionality of the consumer-facing and employee-facing Web properties; custom application development, which builds clinical and non-clinical applications for Hospital programs; and the interfaces team, which is responsible for making Hospital systems share data and talk to each other.

Career advice: “Those who constantly push forward, learn about new things and get involved with new ideas will go far in their careers. Don’t say no to new opportunities that come your way, even if it’s not exactly what you wanted to do or thought you’d be doing. You could discover something you never realized you’d love. And never discount the value of contacts; when someone you meet is impressed with your work, they’ll always remember you.”

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