Fairview Health’s Jim Brady discusses his dual role at Fairview, the technology transformation the organisation is going through and why people are his biggest asset as an IT leader

Fairview Health Services is an award-winning non-profit organisation with an extensive network of healthcare offerings for hospitals, clinics, senior facilities, pharmacies, rehab centres, and more, across Minnesota. Fairview is a ‘health service that heals from the heart’. Its goal is to utilise its technology transformation to provide compassionate care across 100 hospitals and care centres, with over 100 specialities, and 34,000 employees delivering that care.

Jim Brady wears two hats within Fairview – VP Information Security & Infrastructure/Operations, and CISO. He began at Fairview as interim CISO and VP, before a CTO-type role in infrastructure also opened up and it was offered to Brady.

Breaking down silos

“There were some silos for a number of years between security and infrastructure, because they fell under different leaders and sometimes there were competing agendas and budgets,” Brady explains. “Having all of it under one umbrella was helpful to bring those leaders and teams together into more of a collaborative partnership. We’re now all rowing the boat in the same direction and supportive of the group goals.”

The second thing Brady did to merge IT into one supergroup was give everybody a security role within the infrastructure group. Security is a vital area of IT in health and an organisational imperative, and having everyone understand that – and the reasons why – has made an enormous difference compared to leaving security purely to the security team.

“As we began to spend more time together planning, partnering, and problem-solving during our technology transformation, I soon started to see people work closely, collaboratively,” says Brady. “It definitely helped us. Oftentimes, one leader would pitch in and help with something that maybe wasn’t their area. When you see that happening, you know you’re functioning well as a team.”

People bring progress

Given his passion for collaboration, it’s no surprise that Brady is a person who’s driven by helping people. While he considers himself something of an introvert, he can be extroverted when it comes to leadership and describes himself as having a Type A personality – high-achieving and motivated, excellence-driven and, more importantly, mission-driven.

“I spent the first part of my career working in a faith-based non-profit organisation, and I found that when I shifted to healthcare, it’s an industry that people don’t choose to work in to primarily make money or climb the career ladder – there’s always a bigger reason,” says Brady. “I love people, helping them and interacting with them in a positive way. There are several hundred people on my team, but I still spend time with them one-on-one and in small groups, even now that we’re largely working remotely.”

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