A champion for health information technology in small hospitals, Randy McCleese has been named the 2017 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year award.

The award recognizes McCleese’s years of service, both as a CIO at healthcare organizations and to professional health IT organizations. The selection was jointly announced by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

McCleese is currently CIO at 192-bed Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Ky., which also operates a 25-bed critical access hospital and 19 practices in a physician network. He came to the position on April 10, 2017, after a short-lived retirement after being the long-time CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky.

“I retired, and I did not like retirement; I realized that after two weeks,” he said. “I’m in the same role that I had at St. Claire, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I was out of work three months and 10 days. I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and I realized very quickly that I had to continue doing it.”

Randy McCleese
Randy McCleese

McCleese has represented small hospitals in a variety of ways in both HIMSS and CHIME. He believes he is the first small hospital CIO to receive the CIO of the Year award.

“I am extremely happy to have been a part of CHIME, to have been elected to the board of CHIME and to be the chair of CHIME,” he says. “Receiving this award is the ultimate thing for a healthcare CIO, and being recognized for this award is just outstanding to me.”

The John E. Gall Jr. award is given annually to a CIO who has shown significant leadership and commitment to the healthcare industry during his or her career. The recipient is selected jointly by the boards of CHIME and HIMSS.

McCleese has been a member of CHIME since 1998 and an active participant in CHIME's public policy initiatives since the program's inception about a decade ago. He has held numerous leadership positions, including a member of the CHIME Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2015; CHIME Board chair in 2014; CHIME Foundation Board chair in 2015; and chair of the CHIME Policy Steering Committee in 2015.

In 2016, he won both the CHIME Federal Public Policy Award for CIO Leadership and the Outstanding Service Award.

Also See: McCleese selected to receive CHIME public policy award

He has been active regionally and locally, too, helping to found the Northeast Kentucky Regional Health Information Organization and serving on the Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE). In 2012, he was invited to represent KHIE at a White House town hall meeting on health IT, where he and 80 other healthcare IT leaders were recognized for their accomplishments. He also has taught IT courses as an adjunct faculty member at Morehead State University.

“I like to work with HIMSS and CHIME to make sure that our voices are heard at the state and federal level,” being involved in both of those organizations opens up a tremendous amount of networking, and I learn from so many different people in these organizations.”

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