Q&A: Hospital CIO Takes a Personal Approach

He says common interview mistakes include one-way conversations and not defining your exact role in previous projects.

By Sonia R. Lelii
Dice News Staff
| December 2008

Martin J. Belscher is vice president and CIO for Emerson
Hospital, a full-service, non-profit community facility in Concord,
Mass. The hospital provides advanced medical services to more than
300,000 people in 25 towns via 280 primary care doctors and
specialists. Belscher recently talked to Dice News about the hospital’s
technology plans, and how he finds the staff to implement them

What are some of the biggest mistakes candidates make on their resumes and during interviews?

the resume front, a common mistake is when a person indicates they were
"involved" in a project. It makes it sound as if they were off on the
sidelines and not in the heart of the project. That does not help me. I
want to know exactly what they have done. What I am looking for is
someone who has been involved directly.

The biggest
interviewing mistake is made by talking too much instead of asking
questions. It¿s better to have a conversation rather than a broadcast.

How do you approach an interview?

read the resumes and circle aspects of the resume I want to hear more
about. Typically, I want to concentrate on parts of the resume, and the
person, that will make or break them (for consideration of the job). I
also like to know something about them as a person. What they do
outside of work, if they are part of a family and where they live. I am
interested in their hobbies and health. I want to see the whole person.

How do you judge a candidate?

judge them based on experience, ambition, accomplishments, education
and the companies they have worked for. I am also very interested in
their presence.  

What advice would you give
to someone who is starting a job search, whether as a college graduate
or someone who is looking for a new opportunity?

network, network. Talk with anyone in your field of interest, (so you
can) become as smart as you can about the industry and profession you

What are the top challenges your IT operations currently face?

the recent world-wide financial situation, everything is about money.
Money is tight and it¿s not allowing us to hire the people we need.
Also, budgets are putting constraints on all IT acquisitions.

What types of IT technologies are you implementing, or plan to install in the next six to 12 months?

have a lot going forward. In healthcare, we are putting in advance
clinical implications to improve the quality of patient care. On the
tech side, we have a major storage upgrade and we are putting in server
virtualization. We also are implementing single sign-on and biometrics
sign-on, and are implementing wireless technology in physician offices.
We are working on physician mobility technology wherever physicians see

Do you find there is a communication disconnect between your IT operations and the business side of your company?

we have done a lot in that area within the last year. Our staff is
learning to speak the healthcare language while executives and
providers are learning to speak the IT language. We have drafted a
three-year strategy and I¿ve convened a group of physician leaders, and
we are coming together on the plan. I¿ve done some work with the vice
presidents and I¿m also working with the board of directors. With these
three groups, we will come to a consensus on the long-term strategy.

on the technology level, my leaders will work on the requirements of a
project and develop an ROI. In this process, my IT leaders are gaining
a deeper knowledge of health care.  

Sonia R. Lelii can be reached at sonia.lelii@dice.com.