This is the first of a new “10 Questions” series, which will feature the answers to 10 questions posed to a diverse group of professionals in the women's health community.
1. Please state your name, title, and the organization you work for.
Michael J. McCoy, MD
Chief Health Information Officer
Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
2. How did you get to where you are today?
It has been a somewhat serendipitous path, with my foray into informatics occurring later in the course of my clinical (private) practice. After helping pilot implementation of an office EMR for my practice within our hospital system (and being a part of the due diligence team looking at a variety of candidates across the country), the progression to CMIO for the system, and ultimately selection of an acute care (hospital) system, I became visible to some in the health IT sector and was offered an opportunity to move from clinical practice to the EMR vendor world.
From there, I’ve had many “learning experiences,” as transitioning from a system where one is complete ruler of one’s domain (my office) to the corporate environment where being right is not enough! Having worked with two different vendor systems from the inside—from consulting practices where helping organizations reach the proper conclusions on strategic (and operational) matters and helping with standards development to improve both patient care and usability of electronic health information by clinicians—my current position has cascaded from that transition.
3. Initially, why did you choose obstetrics and gynecology as your specialty?
When I started medical school, I had no idea what I would like to do. Most rotations were fun and could have been a path, but after doing my Ob/Gyn rotation, I knew that had the best combination and balance (medically/surgically speaking) of the bunch. To me, it provided the opportunity to see patients both short- and long-term, generally for happy events, with an office component and a surgical one. Obstetrics and gynecology as a field has long been among the technology leaders within medicine, with early adoption of laparoscopy, lasers, electronic fetal monitoring, etc.
4. What was your favorite thing about obstetrics and gynecology?
I most enjoyed the surgical aspects, and think I was technically very proficient. (My quality scores were near the top, if not the top, among my peers.)
5. What was your least favorite thing about obstetrics and gynecology?
The lack of sleep was the worst, as I was in solo practice (sharing call every other night and weekend with another solo practitioner). My wife says I am a much nicer person now that I am not sleep deprived.