Taylor Weems

Taylor Weems

Going Above and Beyond in Healthcare Technology

The healthcare technology specialists managing every aspect of Midland Health’s electronic infrastructure act as stewards for the greater good of their hospital community, which extends out into the broader community of Midland, Texas.

Taylor Weems, CHCIO, vice president and chief information officer for Midland Health, says he and his team members must see every decision they make as contributing to the benefit of the entire organization, not that of any one department. “Whether a physician can be given greater access to patient data or a patient can be empowered with the information they need to improve their health and wellness, every project we perform and every dollar we spend impacts not only the success of our organization, but the health of our community,” Weems says. “That’s why we take the concept of stewardship so seriously.”

One important way his team members can impact patient lives is through the dramatic improvements in safety their technology can deliver. Weems and his team members are preparing to launch a new electronic medical record (EMR) that can give Midland Health medical professionals an accurate and immediately accessible glimpse into what’s going on with their patients. “I’m excited to see the benefits we can offer once we can present our providers with a ubiquitous and holistic medical record that will not only inform their decision making, but also allow them more time focused on the patient. It’s not hard to see the value of a greater individual share of physician attention to our patients.”

Communication At A Higher Level

Weems says it can be easy for organizations to let technology sink far enough below the surface where the average patient or employee will only think about it when it’s broken, for instance when the network is down or a lab result can’t be seen. “It’s very important for us to ensure that we’re improving on our ability to demonstrate and communicate the enhanced capabilities our medical technology and infrastructure delivers.”

As stewards of Midland Health’s technology investments, Weems and his team members are focusing on several key approaches to communicating with their health care community members, such as:

  • engaging in inter-departmental work to ensure clinical and IT processes support one another,    
  • connecting electronic health information, historically difficult to access except inside the hospital, to areas such as physician offices in order to better serve a patient throughout the continuum of care,
  • facilitating information sharing capabilities organization-wide to encourage data-driven efforts toward operational efficiencies and staff and patient satisfaction.

Hands-on Leadership

Weems believes the role of a leader is to ensure that his team has the tools and the room to succeed.

“There’s certainly a place for a leader to set goals and to help define the vision that we’re all pursuing, but fundamentally whatever degree of success this organization realizes is going to be dependent on individuals coming together to do great things. I’m endeavoring to create an environment with as much support and as few obstacles as possible to accomplish those successes,” he explains. Weems looks for team members with the will and the attitude to forward the mission of the health system.

He feels stewardship is the most important mindset he can teach new team members to help them realize their job is to ensure that the resources of the organization—including technology, processes, and people—are utilized to their maximum benefit. “Within that framework, and understanding the responsibility that entails, I want and need people to feel empowered to do whatever they need to do.”

Empowered Practice Through Technology, Innovation

As Weems looks toward the impact of launching a new highly integrated and capable EMR, he sees this new technology as key to the success of the health system and the continued performance of its medical professionals, while also creating a bow-wave of new capabilities, including:

  • a dramatically improved network backbone,
  • a virtual desktop initiative for physicians and other medical professionals to access patient data in a secure way, even when doing so remotely,    
  • substantially improved integration with medical devices to improve patient safety,    
  • a more robust patient portal to drive information exchange between patients and physicians, including before and after discharge,
  • a higher performing and more resilient technology infrastructure.
This is an exciting time to be driving the future of information technology within a health system that is growing and evolving to meet the needs of those who rely on us for their healthcare, particularly given this rapidly changing industry,” Weems says. “The opportunities for meaningful work and impact on peoples lives are endless.”