Relationships: The Art of the Shmooze

By Meridith Levinson
Mon, April 15, 2002

CIO — Nestled in plush velour seats, Dr. Charles Hornaday, his wife and his daughter sat rapt as they watched the Louisville Ballet’s production of Do You Dare at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

After the dancers curtsied and took their bows, after the applause and bravos faded away, the Hornadays went backstage to attend a private reception. There, they met up with their host, the man who had provided their tickets, Alfred Barea, CIO of Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Healthcare and then-member of the Louisville Ballet’s board of trustees. Barea approached Hornaday, who was at the time president of the medical staff at Baptist Healthcare. The two men exchanged pleasantries, and then Barea excused himself so that the Hornadays could get back to the party.

Barea didn’t have a specific reason for inviting the Hornadays to the ballet that evening in November 1997, other than the fact that Hornaday was his personal physician. He knew, however, that Hornaday was a power at Baptist, and "I knew this was somebody I needed to get close to because he was the president of the medical staff and because he was interested in computers," says Barea.

Six months later, Sue Tamme, president of Baptist Hospital East?one of six hospitals in the Baptist system?turned up in Barea’s office. He needed a physician from her hospital to be part of the steering committee Barea had set up to oversee the implementation of the new McKesson electronic patient record system that would take the place of handwritten notes and charts. The system was already running in three of the six Baptist hospitals, but two, Baptist Regional Medical Center and Western Baptist Hospital, absolutely, positively wanted nothing to do with it. After all, who was Barea?a CIO, not a medical man?to tell them how to manage their patients’ care?

Barea knew that ultimately the physicians would have no choice. If Baptist didn’t start running the system voluntarily, the federal government would eventually force them to use something like it to crack down on the industrywide problem of medical errors. But Barea also knew the system would be adopted more easily?and would in fact work better?if the doctors came on board willingly. Tamme suggested that he ask Hornaday to join the committee, and today, Hornaday is a vocal supporter of using the system throughout the entire health-care organization. And although Baptist Regional and Western Baptist are still not running it, Barea is confident that with Hornaday’s support, the hospitals will be on the system by next year.

Continue Reading

Our Commenting Policies