Ep 22: Jacqueline Rosenblatt: Positive Egalitarian Leader

Diva Tech Talk interviewed Jacqueline Rosenblatt, President, Elect, for the Michigan Chapter of HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) and Vice President, Clinical Operations at MPRO.  

MPRO is an independent nonprofit specializing in health care quality improvement and medical review; and also provides consultative services, medical and utilization review and data analysis to federal agencies, state Medicaid and public health agencies, health care facilities, private health plans and other third party payers.

Jacquie’s 30-plus year career has been a “really interesting path” as she describes it.  After receiving her Bachelors of Science degree in Clinical Nursing at the University of Michigan, she began as a clinical nurse in the pediatric ICU department at the Yale New Haven Health System in Connecticut. While she was happy with the work, she says: “I knew I wanted more.”  An emerging topic that fascinated her was the process through which new parents and critically ill newborns tried to attach to each other.  Jacquie subsequently got her Master’s Degree to study that issue.  “I never knew where I was going to end up,” she says.

That field of study, and her own experience as the mother of a child with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) inspired Jacquie to pursue a PhD, specializing in the issues of attachment and learning disabilities.  In an ironic way, this also bought her to the field of technology, as Jacquie quickly learned that libraries no longer had card catalogue systems, since everything was computerized!  To afford the advanced degree, she also pursued parallel career advancement, and accepted a role at POH Medical Center in Pontiac, Michigan where she worked directly for the Chief Information Officer.  “I was hired to act as a liaison between the information technology department and the clinical staff,” Jacquie explains.

“The CIO gave me a lot of challenges and encouraged me to figure things out,” she says.  It was through one of those challenges that she began to get involved in coding after analyzing issues with a DOS-based order entry system.  It was also this period that encouraged Jacquie to learn everything she could about health information technology. Coincidentally, it was also the timeframe in which clinical informatics was coming to the forefront of the industry.  Through hard work, addressing those assigned challenges, Jacquie was promoted to become the Director of Clinical Informatics for POH, and held that role for 7 years. One of her observations about this period is that “there weren’t a lot of women and nurse in IT.  Nurses have taken a long time.  It’s only really recently that nurses have gone full-force into informatics.”  

How did that phenomenon, coupled with what she terms discriminatory “cultural expectations” mold her approach to her career?  Jacquie bluntly says that “It got to the point where I didn’t even want to acknowledge my nursing degree, because there’s an expectation that a nurse is a ‘helper’ and is subservient to the physician.  Rather than fighting that battle, I went to my highest degree.  I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed.”

After POH, Jacquie went on to join and hold succeeding roles of responsibility at MPRO.  Her current Vice President role there is “overseeing all the clinical contracts.”  Among other things her team leads quality reviews; helps empower information technology adoption; and recommends and manages workflow design and process redesign.  Ultimately, she considers her major contribution to be “ensuring that MPRO has a strategic vision” for itself and its customers.  “I am back to where I started,” Jacquie says, “translating all these technologies and initiatives to the providers so they understand them.”

With her rich background, Jacquie has some key success concepts she emphasizes:

  • Have respect for others — “Respect the people you work with, and your leaders.”

  • Gain the respect of others – “Continue to always do good work and if it doesn’t go anywhere, resolve to move on.”

  • Understanding – “For one thing, you need to understand that not everybody does things the same way.”

As a team leader, she says her #1 job is “to stay out of the way of people and allow them to do a good job, and also allow them to fail” without personal criticism or blame.  “It is also important to tell people when you don’t agree. But then it’s important to trust them.”

Jacquie emphasizes how crucial it is to retain a thirst for knowledge and “learn from everyone!”   Her final words of wisdom are:  “It’s also very important to resist the temptation to become a negative leader.  The key is to try and be a very positive leader.  No ‘trash talking!’ ”

MPRO can be found at www.mpro.org and Jacqueline can be contacted at jrosen@mpro.org

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