Patient Care

Thomas L. Barnett Appointed Chief Information Officer at URMC

Aug. 30, 2016

A seasoned Information Technology (IT) leader has been recruited as the University of Rochester Medical Center’s next Chief Information Officer (CIO).  Thomas L. Barnett, MBA, brings more than two decades of experience building and leading information systems functions in complex health care settings, higher-education, industry, and IT consulting arenas.

Barnett is expected to assume his new role on October 10, 2016, succeeding long-time CIO Jerry Powell, who retired earlier this year.  Barnett will report directly to Mark B. Taubman, M.D., URMC CEO and Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

Barnett currently serves as Vice President of the NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois, a network that encompasses four hospitals, 70 clinics, and an 850-member physician practice.  There, he has led the planning and deployment of initiatives such as electronic health record (EHR) and revenue cycle systems, enterprise data warehousing, Meaningful Use initiatives, IT Security, mobile app and telemedicine strategy.  Barnett also drove IT participation in key population health efforts, including the development of advanced analytic platforms for ambulatory and inpatient reporting, as well as predictive modelling for patient risk registries, care gap analyses, and risk-based contract management – all essential capabilities UR Medicine will require as it advances its own population health strategy. 

While at NorthShore, Barnett was appointed to lead the system’s Digital Health Initiative, through which he collaborated with EPIC’s product development team for MyChart, Cadence, Ambulatory, and Healthy Planet products.

"I am very excited to be joining the ISD team at University of Rochester Medical Center. URMC is preparing to complete the full integration of its EHR with new patient access and financial systems,” Barnett said.  “I am confident in the team and the organization to implement a system that positions URMC to not only capitalize on its rich legacy, but make some significant strides forward in the technology that is offered to our researchers, physicians, clinicians, and to our patients."

“Tom clearly has the technical expertise, management sophistication and experience to lead a progressive IT function in a complex, multi-mission academic medical center,” Taubman said.  “We were especially impressed with his proven experience with EPIC, our EHR vendor, and his track record of maximizing information for clinical research.” 

The Medical School’s Vice Dean for Research Steve Dewhurst, Ph.D., expects that Barnett will strengthen URMC’s informatics capabilities, helping to leverage our clinical data for research purposes through an enhanced data warehouse that’s essential for population health studies.  “Tom’s previous experience with health care data warehousing and analytics, with his knowledge of device and application integration will allow us to leap forward in areas like personalized medicine, including genomics,” Dewhurst said.  “He will be an invaluable collaborator in projects at the intersection of data science and health, and through the Goergen Institute for Data Science.” 

Barnett is known for forward-thinking strategy as well as measured, effective project management. Prior to his tenure at NorthShore, Barnett spent seven years at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System as Executive Director of Information Technology before being promoted to Vice President in 2012. At Henry Ford, he was responsible for the system’s EPIC implementation, including the migration of an acquired hospital, as well as for oversight of the network’s legacy applications portfolio. 

“Now, more than ever, technology is at the epicenter of the daily work life of our clinical faculty and staff as we strive to deliver the finest patient care possible.  It’s critical that we have a visionary leader who understands the myriad issues surrounding EHR implementations as well as how to transition to population health,” said URMFG CEO Michael F. Rotondo, M.D.  “I am impressed with Tom’s insights on all aspects of technology and health care, and I look forward to our faculty practice collaborating with him.” 

Taubman acknowledges URMC CFO David Kirshner, who led the search process, which also included representatives from across the enterprise to ensure that appropriate attention is focused on clinical, research, and education technology needs. Kirshner also worked with University Provost and IT leadership to designate shared functions, such as IT Security, that have University-wide responsibility. As a result, Barnett will be part of a more cohesive function for the entire enterprise.

“Never before has technology had such a pivotal role to play in the transformation of health care,” Kirshner said. “Tom is the right person, with the right set of experiences, at the right time for our institution.  He won the unanimous support of the Search Committee, faculty leaders and ISD management and staff.  We are thrilled to welcome him.”

Before venturing into health care IT, Barnett held leadership positions at Lockheed Martin’s Affiliated Computer Services, Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration, project and technology management consultants Management Technologies, Inc. and Great Lakes Technologies Group.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a Masters of Business Administration from Oakland University in Troy, Michigan. 

Coauthor of The Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures, Second Edition, Barnett is frequently tapped as a featured speaker on technology’s role in Accountable Care at national conferences.  In 2015, he was named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of 100 Hospital and Health System CIO’s to Know, and earlier this year was named one of Computerworld’s 2016 Premier 100 Technology Leaders.