UC Tech News recently connected with Julie Eastman, senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO) to learn more about her career journey, and her new role at UC Irvine Health.
Tell us about your career and what influenced your journey
I started my career a few decades ago as a registered nurse and quickly moved into the IT space by way of being a subject matter expert on an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I got the bug and never looked back. My career has afforded me the opportunity to try many aspects of IT delivery; software vendor, services vendor, and healthcare delivery organizations, playing a lot of different roles in each of those spheres. I find the most reward in being on the healthcare delivery side of things, however. The ability to see the improvements IT teams deliver playing out in day-to-day patient care processes is very satisfying.
It has always been important to me to connect my work into patient care and so I have been driven toward expanded roles that enable me to drive improvements in patient care by leveraging technology. I feel like that has been a pretty good framework for me and I will continue along those lines in any role into the future.
Are there any technical skills, leadership skills, or diversity factors that are important to you that you can share with the community?
Technical skills, leadership qualities, and diversity factors are very interconnected. When taking a well-rounded approach to healthcare IT delivery, it is essential to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the industry while delivering high-quality, patient-centered care. Healthcare is a diverse field by nature. Embracing diversity is not only an ethical imperative but also a strategic advantage. By fostering an inclusive work environment, we can harness the unique perspectives and experiences of our diverse team members to better serve a diverse patient population. I strongly believe that diverse teams lead to more innovative and effective solutions, which is critical in healthcare.
What do you find most meaningful about your work?
One of the things I find most meaningful in my work at UCI Health is enabling teams to solve clinical or business problems, with or without technology. At the end of the day, IT professionals are problem solvers and technology never stands alone. It is through the lens of people, process and technology that real problems get solved. I get a lot of joy in challenging my teams to develop themselves toward solving problems in all three dimensions.
It has been extremely valuable to me, being new in my role, to have access to the wealth of resources and expertise across the entire UC system. I love the collaboration benefits of being part of a larger system. The IT teams across the various UC Health systems share so openly that none of us should ever feel alone in trying to work through new challenges. The CIOs across the UC Health systems have such diverse backgrounds and experience within UC and outside of UC, that they are one of my strongest resources as I am acclimating into my new role. UC Healthcare organizations are paving the way with technological advancements, and we have the power of collaboration and scale behind us to really advance in this area across the entire state of California and beyond.
What is a typical day or week like for you?
There is not much typical about my days or weeks these days. I am still relatively new to this role, so I am balancing the work that I used to do and a whole new set of routines. Thankfully, I had the opportunity, as associate CIO here at UCI Health, to understand what needs to be done to drive improvements in service delivery and have been implementing components of that plan for some time. I have been actively involved in a great organization that brings people together across the UCI enterprise, called Women in Technology. It’s an organization that is focused on ensuring that issues surrounding women in technology are understood toward improving equity for ALL in technology. The values of this group are simple but impactful, which is one of the reasons I am inspired to be a part of it: Advance, Inspire, Empower, Act.
[Cover image: #altext: Julie Eastman, CIO, UCI Health: “At the end of the day, IT professionals are problem solvers, and technology never stands alone.”]