Interview with Dr. Christopher Leonard – Conclusion

Today we have the conclusion to my interview with chief information officer Christopher Leonard. The stage was set in Part 1. In this conclusion, Chris explains:

  • how medical informatics has evolved,
  • whether to pursue an advanced degree, and,
  • how to enter this growing field.

What Is Informatics?

Chris was intrigued by the way information and technology could help solve problems for physicians and patients. He explains that the standard definition if “informatics” is “information science concerned with the dissemination and analysis of medical or patient data via applications of technology.”

Meaningful Use Requirements Spur Growth in Informatics

As a result of the Economic Stimulus Act, money was directed to the Meaningful Use program, which incentivized hospitals and doctors to adopt technology. “It was very clunky, but its intentions were obviously very good.”

chief information officer christopher leonard, DO
Chief Information Officer Christopher Leonard, D.O.

One goal was to increase efficiency. Patients would not need to constantly repeat their medical history. Instead, patients’ medical records would be accessible to physicians, and totally secure and protected.

It also spurred the integration of quality measures into the electronic medical record. This would allow for tracking and improving performance.

“Well, that's the utopia part of it, right? But how do you make this happen? Imagine a hospital system in 2011. You had 200 disparate systems all over the place, trying to interact and communicate with each other.”

“Imagine the size and scope of that problem. While everyone expedited their implementation of EHR systems… you had implementation teams and CIOs that are used to more operational problems. And now you had EHRs being introduced to the mix.”

“Informatics is basically the fusion of medicine at all its different levels with technology… But technology can't be a solution in and of itself. When we implement an EHR, we're going to have implementers… trainers…physician champions… We're accumulating a bunch of data. Now, we need data analytics.”

Announcing a New Career Course

I recently released my first formal career course How to Secure a Career as a Medical Science Liaison.

It’s designed to take you from where you are in your career, to your first job as an MSL in the growing pharmaceutical industry. This is a very popular, full-time, entry-level position in pharma.

I chose to focus on this career because it's open to both licensed and unlicensed physicians. I’ve taken everything I know and pulled it together in one place. As a result, the course will enable you to navigate the process quickly. You'll be better able to find available jobs, submit your resume, and ace your interviews.

The course is now open. It will be closed for enrollment soon. And the current price is the LOWEST price at which it will ever be offered.

To learn more, at no obligation, go to This could be your best chance to find that new nonclinical career you’ve been seeking.

Managing Mobile Device Systems and Maintaining Security

As data accumulates, so do security concerns. “What about people who walk into the hospital with their cell phones and want to log into the EHR? How will it be managed?”

“That's just the tip of the iceberg. You've got physicians treating patients. They need a tool to document that. In that tool is clinical decision support, which provides them point-of-care information and guidelines that they can look at, flags for reminders, (and) triggers like all the things you would imagine technology would help with.”

Informatics is basically the fusion of medicine at all its different levels with technology.

Christopher Leonard

Our Corporate Sponsor

We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike other programs, which typically run 1 – 1/2 to 2 years, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.

University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. While in the program, you'll participate in a company project, thereby contributing to your organization.

Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they've become entrepreneurs and business owners.

By joining the University of Tennessee physician executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to advance your career. To find out more, with no obligation, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or go to

Becoming Chief Information Officer

Here's Chris' advice on seeking a career in informatics (and eventually chief information officer (CIO) or chief medical information officer (CMIO)).

Engage a mentor. One way is to find like-minded people through LinkedIn. “These people are usually natural educators. They like to talk, they're passionate about what they do.”

Get involved at your organization. Look for opportunities wherever technology is being used to improve patient care or streamline a process.

And don't be sidetracked by thinking that moving out of patient care in some way is a “waste” of your medical education and clinical experience.

“There's discouragement sometimes, of going into a field where it seems like there's no clinical implications and your previous years of sacrifice are ‘wasted.’ It's never wasted. There's always context that you'll know that is just not attainable other than having gone through that clinical experience.”


In Summary

This 2-part series was a fairly comprehensive look at medical informatics. I was surprised to learn that there are so many new areas of specialization within the field. And that means that the opportunities in informatics are exploding.

You can download a transcript of the interview by clicking the blue button above. The transcript will include both Parts 1 and 2, so it will be twice as long as the usual download.

Check Out This New Career Course

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a brand-new course that will show you how to pursue a career as a medical science liaison. You can learn more about it by going to But don’t delay, I’m closing the course soon.

Links for today's episode:

Thanks to our sponsor…

Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at

I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.

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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business. 

Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career. 

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