Monday, May 1, 2017

HCSI Interview with Christopher Kunney of Infinite Options Technology Consulting Episode: 16

This interview of Christopher Kunney, CIO and managing partner of Infinite Options Technology Consulting (www.iotechconsulting.com) was sponsored by Healthcare Compliance Solutions, Inc and was conducted by Lance King. (www.hcsiinc.com)



Christopher Kunney, Background
Christopher Kunney's family was one of the first in his neighborhood to get an Atari when he was growing up. His parents encouraged science and adoption of new technology from a young age. Christopher learned to value education and perseverance from his family. His grandmother was a college graduate and a teacher. His father not only held a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, but was a teacher and entrepreneur.  Christopher says that the sheer determination his father and grandmother showed in hard times laid the path for him to become who he is. He attended Fort Valley State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/Mathematics and then went on to earn an Executive Master of Science in Management of Technology degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Failure—One of Life's Greatest Teachers
After he had graduated and held a few different positions, Christopher decided to buy a web development business in the late 1990s. The company did so well that Christopher decided to quit his job. Unfortunately, about 6 months later, the tech bubble burst, leaving him with a failed business and no income. Falling back on his roots, he decided to try adjunct teaching, where he discovered a passion for education.  He remembers teaching his students about emerging markets and taking advantage of trends in technology and business. He went home and asked himself why he wasn't taking advantage of trends he saw in healthcare and technology. He applied for a position at a healthcare company and became the Chief Information Officer within five years.  Through that experience, Christopher learned to ask himself two questions when taking a risk: “What's the worst that can happen?” and “Can I survive it?”  He says the answer is almost always, “Yes, I can survive it and I'll learn from it.”

Infinite Options Technology Consulting, The Ronin Samurai of Healthcare Technology
One of the risks that Christopher took which paid off was becoming part of Infinite Options Technology Consulting. Christopher likes to think of the Infinite Options team as the Ronin Samurai of Healthcare Technology. Ronin Samurai had no master, but had passion and worked within a set of standards to accomplish good. Infinite Options team members also have passion and work within core values to help make healthcare companies successful.
The firm provides many services, including management of electronic health records, cybersecurity consulting, analytics, diagnostics, network performance evaluations, system acquisition, and even acting as the virtual CIO. Infinite Options takes a clinical approach to consulting: first, the team asks about concerns within a company; second, it conducts and assessment to identify causes of problems; finally, it prescribes a remediation strategy. It will be there to help find solutions to every issue and act as an extension of the leadership team, long-term.  Just as a person does not visit the doctor once in his life to maintain good health, a company would not receive one consulting session to remain strong. Infinite Options prides itself on building long-term relationships with clients.  Please visit www.iotechconsulting.com, connect with Christopher Kunney on LinkedIn, follow him on twitter @healthITprof, call him directly at (404) 276-0738, or call Infinite Options toll-free at (888) 699-6992.

Cybersecurity Breaches: One of the Biggest Threats for Healthcare Providers
In Christopher's experience, he has determined that one of the biggest (if not the biggest) threats in the healthcare industry is cybersecurity breaches. He said that unfortunately, providers tend to take the “head in the sand” approach to cybersecurity, which opens huge gaps in the virtual wall around patient data. According to Christopher, “Most [healthcare service providers] have experienced a breach and don't know it yet.”  Doctors, nurses, and other providers are focused on their core mission of helping patients and delivering good healthcare, plus this level of reliance on technology to deliver that care is relatively new, so people are not used to thinking about how to protect the data. Infinite Options educates healthcare service providers about possible points of breaches, like stolen/lost flash drives, laptops left unsecured in cars, sharing computer passwords, and texting or emailing patient information without proper encryption. The company also tries to close the 'gaps in the wall' by recommending services, software, and practices that maintain security.

Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship requires commitment. It is not for the faint or lighthearted, but once you go down that path, it is very difficult to go back. It is a rewarding and liberating but difficult position to be in. Christopher says that at Infinite Options, they live by the saying, “You eat what you kill” meaning you have the ability to control your own destiny. You get to reap the rewards of your own effort.

Christopher Kunney's Legacy
Christopher hopes to leave a legacy of service. He is servant-minded, like his grandmother and father. He has served medical missions to Africa, served as a charter school chair, taught inner city kids about tech jobs, and went on a trade mission to Central America to mentor people in technology companies, as well as those working in countries' ministries of health. He looks forward to the service he can yet render in similar capacities.

Three Truths to Live By
1. Nothing is more important than family. Maximize your time with them and don't take them for granted.
2. Failure is not a bad thing. It strengthens and teaches you. Failure is not a permanent condition.
3. Find a hobby or a passion in life. His hobby is drawing and painting. His passion is giving. “Nothing gives him more satisfaction than giving.”

Christopher Kunney, Bio
Christopher Kunney is the Managing Partner and senior level healthcare information technology executive and strategist of Infinite Options Technology Consulting Group. He is called upon by his clients to provide guidance and thought leadership specific to emerging healthcare technology offerings, compliance related issues and technology adoption. His recent roles include serving as Director of Emerging Healthcare Technology for AT&T, Vice President & COO for Health Innovation and Vice President and CIO for Piedmont Healthcare. Christopher currently serves as managing partner of Infinite Options, LLC. network of seasoned IT leaders with the passion to educate and lead industry transformation effort. He has a track record of successfully implementing and providing strategic enterprise-wide solutions that address the current issues faced by health systems including; governance, meaningful use, PPACA, HITECH Act, HIPAA, EMR Adoption, CMS quality measures, and HIEs. In addition, Christopher is an experienced IT leader with demonstrated ability to build peak-performing teams and achieve cross-functional business objectives that effectively integrate within the clinical setting. As a valued member of senior management teams, he’s contributed a seasoned, broad-based perspective with the maturity to lead IT transformation efforts in all areas of the healthcare business. His business philosophy is to create pragmatic IT strategies and implementation plans designed for maximum return. Christopher serves as instructor-at-large for Emory University Healthcare IT Certification Program and is industry advisor to Minority Business Development Agency Business Center-Atlanta & Georgia Institute Of Technologies - HIT Cluster Program, ITT Technical Institute, Georgia State University and DeVry University – Atlanta. He also serves on the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce HIT Public Policy and Bioscience Taskforce and Health IT Leadership Council. Christopher was also selected as a reviewer for 2014 CMS Innovation Awards and served as an advisor Georgia Hospital Association ICD-10 Transition Forum and is currently advisor, industry thought leader for the Georgia Hospital Association Healthcare IT Executive Leader Forum, Village Capital Health Technology and “The Combine” Technology Business Accelerators. He is also a member of Governor Deal’s High Demand Career Initiative - IT Task Force. Some of his current leadership roles include, FY14 President of the Healthcare Information Systems Society (HIMSS)- Georgia Chapter, FY14-15 HIMSS Southern Chapter Advocacy Roundtable, Chairman - FY16-17 HIMSS Chapter Leaders Taskforce, Board of Trustees, CaringMeds Foundation, Past Board Chairman of Ivy Preparatory Academy of Schools, past chair of Dr. Ben Carson Foundation Atlanta Chapter and board emeritus for the Men’s Health and Wellness Center. Other previous professional organizational memberships include: Georgia Association of Healthcare Executives (GAHE), Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Healthcare Service Executives (NASHE) and National Black MBA Association. Christopher is a graduate of Fort Valley State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/Mathematics and Executive Master of Science in Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition to his formal education, he’s received various certifications in the areas of healthcare information technology (CPHIT), customer relationship management (CRM), technical management, total quality control, project management, and other various I.T. related fields of study. Christopher is a recipient of the Seaborn Lee Middle School Trailblazer Award; 2006 Minority Scholarship Award from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). Along with this award he also was selected to participate in the CHIME’s CIO Boot Camp for high achieving business leaders. Christopher was also selected to deliver the commencement address for the 2007 & 2009 graduating class at ITT Institute in Atlanta, GA. He has appeared as a subject matter expert at various healthcare IT industry conferences and events. Christopher has appeared in various publications including The Atlanta Business Chronicle, Modern Healthcare, 2006 thru 2012 editions of Who’s Who in Business and Industry, Who’s Who in Black Atlanta and was featured in a spring 2006 article on “Minorities in Healthcare” published by the Atlanta Hospital News. He’s also been featured in Black Enterprise Magazine’s executives “On The Move” section. He’s co-author various articles, whitepapers and presented nationally on topics surrounding the impact of health information technology on the clinical ecosystem. Christopher is an avid blogger and shares his perspective through various social media outlets including, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus. Visit Infinite Options Technology Consulting's website at www.iotechconsulting.com.


Thank you for joining Healthcare Compliance Solutions, Inc for this interview. Please visit our website, www.hcsiinc.com to learn more about OSHA and HIPAA compliance. Connect with us on our blog, listen to the Doctor Entrepreneur podcast, and watch other interviews on Facebook @hcsiinc. Make it a great day!


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