UF Health appoints new chief medical informatics officer
Robert F. Donnell, M.D., has been appointed UF Health chief medical informatics officer and UF College of Medicine assistant dean for clinical informatics. He joined UF Health on Sept. 1.
Donnell hails from the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network. For the past five years, he has served as enterprise vice president and CMIO, and he was an associate dean and associate professor of urology. The Milwaukee-based integrated health system serves patients from throughout the Midwest and nation and includes eight hospital locations, a medical staff of about 2,000 physicians, and more than 45 health centers and clinics.
“As our corporate CMIO for the ever-expanding academic health center, Dr. Donnell will help guide our IT strategy and serve as a liaison between our technical teams and the physician and provider community across UF Health,” said Gigi Lipori, chief information officer for UF Health. She says Donnell will continue with a college appointment on the UF College of Medicine urology faculty.
“It’s really important for our CMIO to be an engaged physician who truly understands patients’ needs and the role of technology in medicine,” she added. “We’re confident in his expertise to help ensure we remain insightful about clinical best practices and trends and how to support our providers in the delivery of quality care.”
Donnell earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed his urology fellowship in a combined program of the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Riverside Research Institute (New York) and the University of California (Irvine). He credits his undergraduate engineering degree from Marquette University (Milwaukee) with his preference for strategic decision analysis and support.
“As UF Health evolves and expands, Dr. Donnell will ensure the strong partnership continues to thrive between IT and our College of Medicine faculty to meet their informatics needs and support their patient care, research and teaching priorities,” said UF College of Medicine Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A.
The UF Health lead CMIO serves on the CIO’s executive leadership team and guides a cohort of physicians appointed as associate medical information officers in Gainesville, Jacksonville and now Central Florida. The CMIO dual role is a bridge between UF Health IT and the rest of the academic health center. Donnell will connect with and support college, hospital and administrative leaders as well as faculty and credentialed providers, outpatient medical practice teams and nursing informatics —everyone who provides care and clinical documentation. He will also direct his interest and expertise in health informatics to facilitate the use of information, data and tech tools for medicine, medical education and research.
It’s a highly technical role, Lipori explains. The CMIO manages the IT training team that provides software instruction and troubleshooting specifically for physicians and credentialed providers. They work closely with the IT software coders and analysts to customize tools and support operational effectiveness.
“The CMIO has to truly understand and support the design, integration, training and implementation of health technology among faculty and staff. This includes the Epic electronic medical record, for example, and physician order entries, electronic documentation and health information exchanges,” Lipori said. “Our CMIO and team become a catalyst for clinical and operational efficiency.”
Donnell will take over from the highly esteemed Donald A. Novak, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist who, after a long and successful career as UF College of Medicine vice chair for clinical affairs and UF Health chief medical informatics officer, has stepped down from this IT role. Novak was the IT liaison and faculty/provider champion as the UF College of Medicine and UF Health Shands evolved and integrated over the past 11 years. He paved the way for great partnership and understanding between IT and the College of Medicine and hospital teams, Lipori said.
Now that UF Health is poised to expand further into Central Florida and grow services in Northeast and North Central Florida and the state, Lipori sees Donnell building on this role of ambassador. He is up for the task.
“It’s an exciting time to step into this challenging position, as UF Health builds on everything Dr. Novak has established,” Donnell said. “I’m committed to physician and clinical leader engagement and involvement. Our success relies on a strong IT partnership with clinicians and leaders to implement technology that supports their goals for patient care outcomes, safety and efficiency.”
He explained, “With the rapid evolution of technology, we rely on the buy-in and trust of our stakeholders. We’re here to work with our clinicians and leaders to bring new tools and technologies that make it easier to deliver better care because we value their help to adopt these technologies in a fashion that fits natively into an effective workflow. The future of medicine is one where the electronic health record works for the clinician, and we will get there with invested clinical experts who partner with a dedicated IT invested in the UF promise to deliver the best care to every patient who seeks our expertise.”
Lipori added, “Dr. Donnell will be a fantastic addition to our executive team at UF Health. We’ve been impressed with his knowledge a savvy subject matter expert, and we’re just as delighted about his leadership expertise, commitment to patients and stakeholders and his enthusiastic focus on collaboration.”