Tuesday, September 30, 2003

2003 Management Symposium

I spent the day at the Sutter Health Management Symposium at the Sacramento Convention Center.

One of the breakouts sessions that I attended was called Key Technology-Driven Trends: How Disruptive Technology will change healthcare in the next 10 years. Presented by HealthTech, the session outlined coming medical technologies (not IT technologies). If we can figure out who is going to pay for them, there are some major medical techologies in the pipeline that look like they could provide people with longer healthier lives.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Long and Winding Road

June marked the five-year anniversary of my starting at Sutter Health. It has been an interesting journey. I have started this note on several occasions over the last three months, but have always got sidetracked. I promised myself I would finish it and get it sent out.

Shortly after I started, a number of people asked me what it was like working for Sutter Health. I described the situation with the following analogy.

Imagine that you were given the keys to the car. When you were taken to the car, you found that someone had taken the car and ran it off the road into the middle of a cornfield. The hood of the car was still warm so apparently the previous owner had not been gone long. The car looked good, but there were two flat tires. The gas gauge was just above empty. When the previous owners had left the car, they had left the lights on so now the battery was run down, but not dead. The corn is tall enough that you cannot see the road. There are a number of people milling around the car and there is some disagreement amongst the group about which way to go to get back to the road. Working to get people back into the car, you fail with some people (Nafees Coleman and Karl Danielson). Oh, and by the way, the car is supposed to be somewhere far from there in a very short time; there was a go-live scheduled in less than a month at SMCS, essentially two very large hospitals.

Eventually, we got the car back on the road and had the first major Lawson implementation at SMCS and SHSS in November of 1998. (Finance and procurement for VNA had actually been implemented in May of 1998.) This implementation was followed by the long dark winter of 1998 and 1999. While the team struggled to resolve post-implementation issues from the SMCS go-live, we worked successfully to get a number of Y2K implementations started. Everyone involved in the project demonstrated a remarkable amount of perseverance during 1999.

Through 2000, 2001 and 2002, the team picked up speed. At this point, there are so many cars with different drivers spread across Northern California that I could not keep track of them even if I tried. The Lawson implementations have grown to include 82 separate companies within Sutter Health using different parts of the finance, procurement, workflow, payroll, benefits and human resources applications. One of the most telling statistics is that now more than 30,000 Sutter Health employees receive their paycheck off Lawson.

I believe strongly in the importance of the individual functional teams. Each of your teams and your team lead are the foundation for everything we have done. I am extremely proud of your accomplishments of the last five years and the particularly satisfied with the growth of the managers and team leads.

Your success and the growth of the management team have given me an opportunity to do some other things within Sutter Health. I got an chance to participate in what John Hummel has termed “a once in a lifetime experience of moving a major data center.” As part of this, I have gotten the opportunity to work with and get to know Rudy Jugoz and return to some of my data center, operations and systems roots. It has also given some of you a chance to work on other applications, such as Kronos and Authoria.

This year, I have had a chance to start to get to know Mark Dynes, Kelli Hunt and Laurie Lock and work with them in areas of automation, desktop and help desk.

All of these accomplishments and opportunities are the result of your hard work.
An interesting article entitled The Coming Job Boom in the on-line version of the magazine Business 2.0. Unfortunately, most of the article requires a subscription.

The articles highlights that, although job growth in the United States is expected to slow to 3% over the next two decades, there is going to be a huge exodus from the work force as the baby boomers retire. [This means you Larkin!] It suggests that these demographic forces are about to put a squeeze on the labor supply and create a much tighter labor market.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Camera phones are outselling digital cameras

We laid pretty low this weekend; the next three weekends are going to be very busy. Saturday morning, the three of us went to the American River Bike Trail. Jack rode his bike, while Sharon and I ran.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Norma Udell organized a barbecue for former Western Farm Credit Bank employees last night at a park in Fair Oaks. Most of the group were the IT employees that worked together during a period from 1987 to 1998, but some non-IT people also attended.

In addition to the usual suspects like Joe Larkin and Sherry Bell, the group included, but was not limited to Anita and Jeff Boone with their two boys, Manuel Codero, Chris Doherty, Charles Guenther, Robert and Jennifer Goolis, Dave and Irene Hackett, Tom Harper, Ray Jerd, Don Jones, Mary Kessler and her youngest, Kelvin Kishaba, Lynn Lamothe, Cinda Lewis, Bill Markley, Dan Mattos and his wife, Dave Newlin, Karl Okamoto, Patti Rabe, Terry and Dan Richardson, Carlos Tillmanshofer with his wife and kids, Helga White and Steve Wike. I am sure that I have missed more than a few.

I spent a lot of the time talking to George Beitzel. Although I have tried to figure it out, I am not sure when I last saw George. Beitzel originally hired me at the banks in October of 1980 and is responsible for giving me the opportunity to be the Vice President of MIS for the banks in early 1987. Beitzel had a big influence on my professional development during the 1980's.

While the 1980's were a pretty stable period personally and professionally when I got a chance to get some mentoring, the 1990's were a decade of trial by fire, including an ugly divorce, the Texas boss from hell, the Alltel outsourcing, continuous child custody battles, a second marriage, the merger with the AgAmerica Bank, the Perot outsourcing, starting a new family and the job switch.

Friday, September 26, 2003

UCI Drama holds auditions for all for the major productions for the 2003-04 academic year in the week before school starts. This year's shows are Sweeney Todd, Romeo & Juliet, War to End War, Pedro Gynt, Medea, Lady's Not for Burning, and Portrait of a Lady.

Drew had his initial audition last night and got a call back for Sweeney Todd which he did tonight.

They asked him if he would be willing to cut this hair if he got a part!

Today was also the first day of classes for the fall quarter.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Sharon and Janie had a "pur$e party" at our house last night. Think tubberware (something your neighbor tries to sell you at a party in her living room), but with pur$es, wallets and jewelry.

Jack and I had gone out for dinner and to run some errands as they were setting up. It was a little surreal to come back to a house full of people (more than 40) with several hundred pur$es spread around the downstairs. Really, several hundred pur$es.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Kings forward Lawrence Funderburke, who is in the final year of a five-year contract, is expected to be out six months after undergoing surgery Monday on his left Achilles tendon. He is entering his seventh season in Sacramento -- the longest tenure of any current King. This opens up a spot on the roster, but it appears that the Kings are having trouble getting free agents to show up at camp to try out for their team. Training camp opens in ten days on October 3.

With an extremely pitiful performance, my fantasy football team won week three by a score of 56 to 49. My team now has 2 wins and 1 loss.

Monday, September 22, 2003

2003 InformationWeek 500

For 15 years, InformationWeek has tracked the technology practices of the nation's largest and most innovative companies. InformationWeek publishes an annual ranking of the top 500 users of technology. Sutter Health ranked 205th in the 2002 InformationWeek 500 survey. We have jumped to 53rd in the 2003 InformationWeek 500 rankings.

The survey includes a section in the industry breakdown titled "Health Care & Medical: Tech Innovation Keeps The Doctor In." The article includes a number of quotes from Sutter's CIO and notes that "Sutter, which runs 33 hospitals in Northern California, spends about $100 million annually on IT and has about 680 IT projects in progress at one time."

It is very rewarding to be involved as a senior member of the management team building the IT organization within Sutter Health.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Sharon and I played in a nine hole scramble golf tournament with Janie Diagle and her stepson Jeff at Arcade Creek. Afterwards we had a light dinner and a couple of drinks at California Cafe.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Drew leaves for college today! He, Morgan and his mother are driving to Clovis to stay with his grandfather tonight. Tomorrow they will drive the rest of the way to the Univesity of California at Irvine. Go Anteaters!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

2003 Back to School Night

Sharon and I attended back to school night at Jack's school. We listened to the Priest and the Principal talk about the role of the parent in education and his kindergarten teacher outline the structure of the class and the curriculum for the year.

While Sharon and her brothers are products of Catholic grammar and high schools, this is a new experience for me. I was raised a Presbyterian in a small rural farming town in Northern California. While we were fairly active in the Church (church groups were one of the few available youth activities), it bears no comparison to being involved in the local Catholic parish and the parish school. Even in a larger city, the Catholic parish is a much tighter community with more connections into day-to-day life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

There is a good article in the September edition of Healthleaders Magazine. The cover story is entitled All Together Different and covers the development of Sutter Health as an integrated delivery network. The lead-in notes that "Sutter's strong position reflects its focus on the standardization of business information and clinical systems." The article talks a lot about the EICU project that we have underway, the new data center and includes a number of quotes from our CIO.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Perseverance and Persistence

I have had the opportunity to have some interesting life experiences. Through all of the challenges, I have come strongly to believe in perseverance and persistence.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Calvin Coolidge

One the other hand, maybe I am just a stubborn dutchman...

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Sharon spent Saturday afternoon serving as the coordinator for a wedding at Good Shepherd. This was her second wedding as one of the wedding coordinators for the church.

We both got a kick out of the number one reason on Dave Letterman's list of the top ten reasons why Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck postponed their wedding. You can find the list at: CBS | Late Show Top Ten Archive: September 11, 2003

We worked Saturday and Sunday finishing up a project to dig out and replant the area in front of the pond and the fountain.

Friday, September 12, 2003

In January, we spent two weeks in the Philippines visiting Pat Funk and her family. I have made several attempts to organize the pictures with some diary entries, but could never get any momentum for the project. I am trying again to get everything organized.

One of the unique experiences on the trip was playing night golf in downtown Manila! Check out the of pictures of the 16th century fort walls.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My fantasy football team won its first week by a score 81 to 62. Although I am now 1 - 0 on the season, four other teams in the league scored more than 81 point last weekend. It is going to be a long season if I don't get better performances from Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

At our August 25 Senior Operations meeting, the CIO tossed out a pile of books and asked everyone to take one and bring back a half page book report in two weeks. I choose The Art of the Long View.

This book was written by noted futurist Peter Schwartz and is designed to provide a toolkit for long term planning and thinking. The toolkit resolves around developing scenarios to alternative futures and using these scenarios to help plan. His scenarios are not technical presentations, but stories. The author draws the analogy of writing scripts for the theater as a way to think about the development of the scenarios.

My favorite section of the book was entitled Tactics: Where to Look in the Information-Hunting and Gathering chapter. His recommended sources for information to research scenarios includes: remarkable people; sources of surprise (reading outside your immediate specialty); filters (routinely pick up a dozen magazines from a newsstand and scan them); immersion in challenging environments (travel is the single best way to immerse yourself in unfamiliarity); and networked sensibilities (using technology to exchange and share information).

An interesting application of the tools can be seen in some scenarios developed by the Valleys Futures Project. As part of this project, four possible scenarios for the Sacramento area in 2025 were developed, including: Rios de Oro; Silver Lining; New Tech Mirage; and Paradise Lost.

If you live in Sacramento, I strongly recommend reading the Silver Lining scenario!

Monday, September 08, 2003

Sharon and Janie Diagle played the 9 hole executive golf course at Bing Maloney this morning.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


Drew's band, Eightfold, played at the Coffee House in Placerville on Friday night. He and Kellen Gracia [the bass player on the left] have played together for four years. They have won their school's battle of the bands every year for the last four years. Although Drew's interest have morphed more to theater over the last two years, Drew is a talented musician who has written most of the material that Eightfold has recorded.

This was billed was the last performance of the group. With Drew heading to UCI in less than two weeks and Eric, the drummer, heading to UC Santa Cruz, it is possible that they will not play together again.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

We spent most of the day working in the backyard planting a new weeping crabapple tree and replacing some ground cover.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Starting in 1997, I played an increasing number of different fantasy sports games on the ESPN web site. I actually won a baseball and a basketball league in 2001. I decided in August of last year that I was spending too much time on too many different games and too many teams in each game and quit cold turkey.

Over the last year, I found that I enjoy the football and basketball season a lot more if I have a group of players that I am following so I decided to put my toe back in the water. I participated in a live draft for a NFL fantasy team, Sacto Rare White Tigers, on Monday.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I spent most of the day driving to Lakeport and back for a Lawson go-live readiness assessment at Sutter Lakeside. Leaving Williams in the morning and heading up highway 20 into the Coastal range, I headed straight into a series of large thunderstorms with lots of lightning and rain for almost 50 miles. It was pretty impressive to watch the lightning strikes on the hilltops.

Monday, September 01, 2003

We spent Labor Day at Tom's house, Sharon's oldest brother. Jack had a great time swimming in the pool with his cousins, while the adults barbecued, had a few cocktails, debated the appropriateness of the recall election of the California governor and reviewed the merits of the 135 candidates for governor.