Taking the helm in a pandemic: Incoming Intermountain CIO prioritizes partnerships

Ryan Smith is set to join Intermountain Healthcare as CIO during a coronavirus crisis that has accelerated virtual care initiatives. Here’s how he landed — and is approaching — the role remotely.

Taking the helm in a pandemic: Incoming Intermountain CIO prioritizes partnerships
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Companies are snapping up tech talent that can help put them in stronger positions on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. The trend extends to CIOs as well.

On that score, Ryan Smith will join Intermountain Healthcare as CIO on June 29, replacing long-time CIO Marc Probst, who is retiring in July after more than 17 years in the role. Smith is not new to the organization, having worked in various IT leadership roles for 19 years at Intermountain, the leading health-care system for Utah, Nevada and Idaho.

Smith, who left Intermountain in 2013 to become CIO of Banner Health, followed by a turn consulting at Health Catalyst, is joining during a COVID-19 pandemic that has posed significant challenges for health-care providers. With wary patients avoiding hospitals for anything other than emergencies, many hospital systems are experiencing dramatic declines in surgeries and other lucrative procedures. Intermountain reported a $435 million drop in revenue for its 24 hospitals and 215 clinics.

"This changed the industry overnight," Smith says of the pandemic's impact on the health-care sector.

Seeking opportunity in a challenge

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