New GWU Online Executive MHA Degree Program on Process Improvement in the Health IT industry


On Friday, April 4th, I participated in the initial taping of the new online executive Master of Health Administration (MHA) Degree Program. Taping was held at Henninger Media Services in Arlington, Virginia with two distinguished colleagues including:

  • Jennifer Ford, Director, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Health Information (OHI) Product Effectiveness (Moderator)
  • Dr. Michael Weiner, Director, Healthcare Strategic Services at IBM International

The question and answer panel discussed a variety of topics including change management, process improvement, IT Strategy & Management and Product Effectiveness. I focused my responses on my industry expertise and AEGIS’ footprint in effecting process improvement best practices, lessons learned and thought leadership. I discussed AEGIS’ initiative to make investments in Health IT that hope to deliver positive outcomes and improvements.

I also talked about how the focus of Health IT today is to support better outcomes (reduce cost and better patient care – in that order), which is (to be) achieved through Meaningful Use, and eCQM directives – as vendors work to implement these requirements and providers alter/update/create (new) workflows within their organization.

Additional questions included what improvements have you experienced that have helped organizations acquire or develop Health IT in a more effective manner? I offered that moving from waterfall to agile process provides the ability to rapidly prototype, build, and deploy new Health IT solutions. This can be accomplished by working closely with the business owners, key stakeholders (doctors, nurses, etc.) and users of the Health IT systems to ensure usability.

Some of the final questions asked by the Moderator included “How have these post-measurement results helped to improve outcomes or process improvements within the organization?” I explained that AEGIS is a CMMI Maturity Level 3 appraised organization with strong process model implementations. Collecting metrics for improving performance is central to CMMI, especially as an organization moves to higher levels of maturity (3, 4 and 5). It essentially gives you the ability to “fly by instruments” to a certain degree as you manage the organization. This can be accomplished by holding lessons learn meetings after each iteration or sprint. Such activities help identify what went right, what went wrong, and how it could have been improved. In the long run, it helps to ensure the same mistakes are not made twice, and that others learn from your experience.

Participating in the taping was a great experience for me. As a graduate of the GWU School of Public Health and Health Services, I look forward to more involvement with the program. Here’s a little more info about the program:

About MHA@GW
MHA@GW is the innovative online Executive Master of Health Administration program offered by the Department of Health Services Management and Leadership at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS). The online Executive MHA program provides health care and health services professionals the opportunity to earn their Executive MHA degree from anywhere in the world through the use of advanced web-based technology. Alfred Hamilton PhD, FHIMSS; Assistant Professor. Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), US Army (Ret), leads the GWU new online executive Master of Health Administration (MHA) Degree Program. MHA@GW is specifically designed for working professionals seeking to develop their leadership skills. The program combines the flexibility of an online MHA program with the rigor and quality of an on-campus experience.


About Barry Dickman

Mr. Dickman is an accomplished Executive Consultant with 25+ years as an accomplished industry thought leader with experience in Health Information Technology, Program & Project Management Support, Standards & Interoperability, Enterprise Architecture, Business Development, Strategic/Business Planning, Client Relationship Building, Acquisition Management, Software Development and Requirements Management. He is a hands-on cross-functional leader who energizes and managed the successful delivery of consulting services and information technology solutions to the Federal and commercial markets. Mr. Dickman is responsible for tactical implementation and quality assurance of solutions and services. He supports various activities and communities of interest with senior-level consulting services with the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Health Agency (DHA), Veterans Affairs (VA) and Health & Human Services (HHS) on health information technology initiatives, including the electronic health record and health information exchange. He helps to ensure that projects & staff adhere to a process improvement approaches embodying the AEGIS CMMI-appraised process methodology ultimately providing clients with the essential elements of effective processes that improve their performance. As an effective communicator and leader, Mr. Dickman consistently demonstrates his ability to institute and carry out initiatives that drive positive change, improve efficiency and increased profitability. He brings extensive experience, functional knowledge and management skills to all consulting assignments. Prior to joining AEGIS, Mr. Dickman held senior level positions helping to create business solutions that help meet the healthcare industry's top challenges. Mr. Dickman has authored numerous papers, articles, newsletters and blogs. He graduated from the University of Maryland holds a Masters in Health Services Administration Masters of Health Services Administration from The George Washington University, School of Business and Public Management. Mr. Dickman currently serves at the President of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) – National Capital Area (NCA) Chapter.

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