Blogger Interview with Joe Lavelle

I am so excited to be blogging for the HITT team that I thought I would interview myself to give you all an introduction to my perspective on Healthcare IT.

What do you enjoy about working in Healthcare IT?

I really enjoy working closely with smart executives and physicians to understand their problems and then to create innovative solutions to their problems.  I also enjoy leading teams of any size to achieve project (and career) success.

What are some of the challenges in Healthcare IT?

There are many, but here are some that I believe to be the biggest.

1)      In order to be a physician, nurse or a rad tech you have to attend significant schooling, receive passing scores on qualification tests and keep yourself current thru continuing medical education (CME).  However, there are ABSOLUTELY no such requirements for Healthcare IT staff.  This will sound offensive, but I believe that a far too high percentage of Healthcare IT employees are not qualified to do their job and further, many do nothing to address their lack of knowledge and skills.  Many don’t have the IT training or background to effectively support, troubleshoot, analyze future needs, etc. the applications and technology they support.  Many others don’t have even an adequate understanding of the administrative and clinical workflows that their applications facilitate.  For some reason, it is ok for a healthcare IT employee to have NO qualifications for their job when in the same organization, clinical staff must meet stringent qualification criteria.  BTW – this could all be fixed with a bigger investment in IT training by healthcare organizations.

2)      Healthcare IT vendors are optimized around obtaining (sales) transactions whereby healthcare organizations need fully implemented applications that facilitate optimized workflow and maximized adoption.  A healthcare organization can expect to see “an army of suits” during the sales process but after signing a contract, they have learned to expect engagement from only a project manager that may have multiple other customers and a few days from workflow specialists and trainers.

3)      Healthcare IT organizations have to support hundreds of applications with far too small a staff.  In other industries, the IT staff might support 8-10 core applications.  There is no way for a Healthcare IT organization to develop the expertise needed to effectively support hundreds of applications and the associated (lack of) technologies.

4)      Finally, there are reports that ARRA will create the need for 50,000 more Healthcare IT employees.  I really don’t see a way that we can generate that many new QUALIFIED people given the challenges listed.  Additionally, I don’t believe that there are enough IT savvy healthcare executive and clinical leaders to make ARRA successful.  The good news is that we will all be busy, the bad news is that the government may be wasting lots of money on poorly implemented and adopted EMR and CPOE systems.

Like I said, there are many more but these are the worst.  However, I believe each of these challenges create tremendous opportunities for qualified Healthcare IT professionals and I plan to take full advantage of those opportunities for the rest of my career!

What do you want your legacy to be in Healthcare IT?

In a prior post, I tell that my leadership mantra is “leave it better than you found it.”  I want to make a lasting difference with each client that I work with.  I not only want the projects that I work on to be successful, I want them to benefit from my involvement for years to come.  Not too long ago I visited a client that I had done quite a bit of work with several years ago.  While there, I found that they were using the methodology that I had developed and taught them for my prior project for all their projects.  That is a great example of how I want to make a lasting difference.

Additionally, I actively seek to provide career coaching to staff at all levels at my clients.  Because of this, I maintain personal relationships with former clients for years and I am regularly sought for advice when they are considering changes or when changes are brought upon them.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.  I invite my fellow HITT bloggers to answer the same questions so we can all get a better understanding of your perspective as well.  I am very excited about the opportunity to start a dialogue with all of you!

About the author


Joe Lavelle

Joe Lavelle is the Co-Founder of intrepidNow. Prior to that Joe was an accomplished healthcare IT executive and career coach with a record of successfully meeting the business and technology challenges of diverse organizations including health plans, health delivery networks, health care companies, and several Fortune 500 companies.

Joe is also the author of Act As If It Were Impossible To Fail, available on Amazon.


  • Joe, First of all I love that you interviewed yourself, that’s fantastic! I burst out laughing when I read that.
    I must say from a “providers” perspective I absolutely agree with you. There are not enough words in the English (or any other language) to describe the frustrations between clinical application and IT “support team”. You are 100% accurate about the lack of skills/qualifications most in house IT folks have. As a Nurse by trade, I didn’t go to school and lean about programming, applications, software development etc. However I often found that when any of the facilities I was working at “went live” or started using a new program or platform I knew more than our facilities IT team. As you can imagine that is very frustrating. I also felt that after the “Go Live” phase our vendors became part of the “ghost live” campaign. Nowhere to be found and if they were found it would be weeks or months before they could “get back to us”. I became the “superuser” for all computer operations from the clinical standpoint. If a nurse had a problem or wanted to know how to do something in a particular program they hunted me down. I created “cliff note cards” on how to do common procedures and posted them all over the units.
    After going through this over and over I decided that I would start consulting with IT companies that sell in the healthcare space. I’m still not a programmer or software engineer but I can certainly tell you what will work from a clinical standpoint and what wont. I can tell you what challenges you will face and how to overcome them. I have my own mantra, build a Healthy Allegiance between IT and Healthcare providers and all parties will benefit.
    Thanks for the interesting blog, and it’s nice to hear others have the same frustrations that I do.

  • Hi Theresa and thank you for your insightful comments. It does take a village. Neither clinicians nor IT will be successful without the other and I commend you for recognizing and filling such an important gap! It would be great if our teams got the chance to work for the same client some day!

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