Spotlight: How CIO Cara Babachicos is enabling transtions of care

Partners HealthCare executive is using IT to improve continuity of care for patients.

Health Data Management recently announced the honorees in its program to recognize the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT. All will be recognized at our event May 12 in Boston. In leading up to that event, HDM editors are highlighting some of the honorees—today, we feature Cara Babachicos, who is vice president and chief information officer at Partners HealthCare. At Partners, Babachicos oversees operations and strategy for nine community hospitals.

Name: Cara Babachicos

Title: Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Organization: Partners HealthCare

Number of Years in HIT: 25

Previous Positions:
  • Associate Faculty, CIO Boot Camp, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, 2012-Present
  • Adjunct Faculty, Northeastern University, 2013 – Present
  • Vice President, CIO, Partners Continuing Care, 2001-2011
  • Adjunct Professor, Emmanuel College, 2000-2011
  • Associate Director, Information Systems, Winchester Hospital, 1996-2001

Current Job Responsibilities:
Babachicos leads oversight of a $25 million information systems organization, including operations and strategy for nine community hospitals, more than 30 post-acute outpatient locations and 150 FTEs associated with Partners Healthcare. Her primary responsibility is to support and advocate for the associate director of IT at each of her sites, and provides executive-level support to her direct reports and the executive teams of the respective hospitals. In managing the technology requirements for both post-acute sites and acute care hospitals, she oversees IT staff hiring and retention.

Primary Achievements:
  • Build out of one of the first successful transition care applications to seamlessly transition patients throughout hospitals in and outside of the Partners’ continuum of care.
  • Creation of IT systems and processes to advance the support of home care, private duty and remote patient monitoring.
  • Implementation of a new EHR system, with Partners Healthcare at Home as one of the first successful go-live executions.
  • Leadership in the selection, implementation and governance process for a vendor system archival retirement platform.

Impact on HIT:
The most demonstrable impact Babachicos has had on HIT centers on her ability to recognize the critical need for a legacy system initiative that would enable the organization to retire a vendor system archival platform. This initiative involved the successful and safe retention of clinical, administrative and financial data for the federally required 20-year timeframe. At a cost of $4 million, the organization will benefit from avoidance of long-term costs associated with maintenance of the legacy vendor’s software and maintenance.

Throughout her career, Babachicos has focused on the importance of education and excellent staffing as it relates to improved outcomes. Now representing large and small hospitals as well as post-acute sites that have a host of varied IT needs and regulatory requirements, Babachicos is focused on advocacy, and works with each site to hire and retain the best talent to help champion those varied needs. Working with Human Resources, Cara created a business plan to hire new college graduates into IT, and created a custom on-boarding and training process that includes a 6-week curriculum. Babachicos also engages existing staff on the positives of retraining and retooling their skills so they can be successful in their respective roles.

To that end, Babachicos also advances the impact of HIT as an extension of the Partners’ organization. She serves on the Board of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), actively teaches at CHIME’s Boot Camp, and promotes HIT through her teaching of a master’s level class in Patient Informatics at Northeastern University. Babachicos also serves as a mentor to women advancing their careers in HIT.

Leadership style: I'm a participatory manager who likes to develop my team. I also like to tackle challenging problems with negotiation and creativity.

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