by Ben Worthen

20/20 HONOREES – Stephanie Reel

Oct 01, 20022 mins

Vice Provost/Vice President and CIO

Johns Hopkins Medical Center and University

Back in 1980 Stephanie Reel, a Baltimore area mother of two, was back in school getting an MBA. As her job as a data processor for the Maryland court system became more IT focused?and consequently more interesting?Reel decided to pursue a career in information management. One night as she walked her dog, she ran into Wyatt Medicus, a neighbor who was the CFO for the North Arundel hospital. Soon Reel was the hospital’s CIO. Twelve years ago, her interest in health-care IT firmly entrenched, she then jumped to Johns Hopkins Medical School, her self-described dream job at the institution that casts a long shadow over the city where she was born and raised.

Reel, 50, says that being a health-care CIO is a different challenge from any other industry. Most companies, she says, “think about technology to reduce cost. We think about how do we keep people healthy and allow them to make more informed decisions.” The accomplishment for which Reel is best known, Hopkins’ electronic patient record system, does just that, giving health providers access to every detail about a patient?including test results, physician notes and radiological images?and is device independent. The system was widely recognized as the most advanced of its kind and has won numerous medical and IT awards.

Ronald Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins health system and hospital, says that his CIO has great communication skills and calls her “a consummate politician.” Reel laughs and says that she basically just told the new doctors and residents that they should use the system, adding, “Doctors have an intense desire to do their jobs better.” So does this CIO.