Meet Saffron – The Disruptor

By Saffron Wanger, CHCIO, CPHIMS, chief information and innovation officer; HIMSS Champion of Health

Saffron is a chief information and innovation officer in Arizona. She is disrupting the status quo by challenging concepts, providing solutions, and positively impacting patient and employee experiences through health information and technology. Her favorite part about her work is when a team or individual has a discovery, designs something new, or successfully shifts course or opinions.

My main role is as a catalyst of change and an innovator.

I oversee IT, business intelligence, informatics, development, facilities and medical records. I set information and technology strategy and continually look for new opportunities beyond my area of oversight throughout the organization.

I mostly work out of our administrative or central location in Midtown Phoenix. I work with our executive leadership team, our operational leadership team (cross-functional team of clinical and operational leaders), and our service excellence team. My team has a suite with an open floor plan. We are professional, but we have a space and team that promotes collaboration, constant learning and humor.

Except for some vacation time taken each year, I am essentially always on. In addition to long workdays, I usually have a few evening events each week that I attend for work, community or personal. To relax outside of work, I listen to a lot of audio books. I also cook and experiment with vegetarian meals, binge on quirky shows and go to concerts.

My challenges come down to time and resources.

The issues I’m focusing on the most right now are cybersecurity – with an ever-increasing emphasis on employee education and accountability – as well as population health, analytics, process improvements and automations.

My motivation is building a dynamic and empowered team.

One of the favorite parts of my work is that I work with dedicated, intelligent, innovative and collaborative team members. Another motivation is the knowledge that things will get better in a matter of time, as they are always changing. Advancements in technologies, treatments and more continue to help us design solutions that transform lives.

My favorite health information and technology success story is about care coordination.

In our crisis services, we designed and implemented a solution that placed data in the hands of our clinicians working in the community. A critical part of the solution was to integrate systems with a partner organization responsible for call triage from police, fire and community, as well as dispatch to crisis services providers.

We were able to significantly cut down on time to scene by developing a bidirectional real-time exchange, dispatching the next available and closest team using geomapping and vehicle state (idle, moving, parked, etc.), and ensuring that the team provided immediate coordination back to the dispatchers with no extra steps in the workflow.

This solution has allowed our clinicians to provide:

  • Better care for our patients, as they have key information available before arriving on scene
  • Faster care for patients in crisis, as the closest available team gets dispatched
  • Lower cost for care, as teams no longer drive back to their home base between calls as they receive everything they need while in the field

My superpower is my resilience.

Despite a given situation, I know there are always options. I find the ability to recover quickly and move on to the next challenge is critical.

My kryptonite is the status quo.

I am a firm believer that every technology, process and human behavior can be improved upon. I find my natural inclination is toward change and continual evolution.

I am a champion of health because…

I embrace the imperative set for our field to enable better health through information and technology, and I work each day alongside so many others toward making our contribution a reality. I am drawn to technological advancements that make us more effective and efficient, mitigate disparities and converge to create remarkable solutions.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.


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