Q&A with Dr. Michael Zaroukian, Chair, HIMSS North America Board of Directors

February 21, 2017
Dr. Michael Zaroukian
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HealthCare Business News caught up with Dr. Michael Zaroukian, chair, HIMSS North America Board of Directors, in advance of this year’s annual event. Zaroukian shared information about his background and offered insights about the role HIMSS plays in today’s healthcare arena.

HCB News: What was your inspiration for getting into medicine?
Dr. Michael Zaroukian:
My journey was initially inspired by my curiosity for how the human body functions in health and disease. I also wanted to translate laboratory discoveries into bedside therapies. But the deciding factor was discovering that the more I interacted with patients, families and health professionals, the greater my desire [was] to connect with, serve, comfort and advocate for them, which helped me become a better person, as well as driving my interest in using information technology to improve health.

HCB News: How did you get involved with HIMSS?
After many years of advocating for an EMR at Michigan State University, in 2002 MSU’s president assigned me to lead its EMR implementation. I saw HIMSS as important to our success, so I immediately became a member. I attended my first HIMSS annual conference in 2003, where I learned how to perform an EMR return-on-investment (ROI) analysis, used these lessons to achieve a strong ROI in my own clinic and published the results along with critical success factors and failure paths. I became a HIMSS volunteer to try to “pay it back,” but each time I received much more than I gave. But I keep trying!

HCB News: What do you think are the most important roles HIMSS plays?
First, I see HIMSS as a globally trusted and respected thought leader in improving health through IT. This informs many stakeholders, from patients and communities, to provider practices and health systems, to governments and policymakers, to the health IT developer and vendor communities, and beyond.

Second, HIMSS is unparalleled in its ability to convene communities to collaborate to solve challenges and recognize the value of health IT. With 65,000 individuals, 22,000 volunteers, more than 640 corporations and 450 not-for-profit partner organizations, HIMSS brings together the brightest minds in health IT to solve some of its thorniest problems we face today.

Third, HIMSS provides a robust and ever-expanding collection of resources (books, podcasts, white papers, webinars), tools (Health IT Value Score) and models (EMR Adoption Model [EMRAM]; Continuity of Care Maturity Model [CCMM]) to assist stakeholders in transforming health through IT. Consistent with HIMSS’ cause-based mission, many of these resources are publicly available on HIMSS’ website.

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