Robert Tennant, CIO, Legacy Community Health

Tennant talks about the significance of constructing the right team culture and fostering IT comprehension

Robert Tennant joined Legacy as the company’s Chief Information Officer in August 2019. He has got a rich experience of 20 years of working in the healthcare IT space, for KPMG and Beacon Partners, as well as being the head of his own firm, IT for Doctors. 

“Its been almost a year, being the CIO of Legacy,” he recalls. “I had an exciting and challenging opportunity and since then I’ve been trying my best to make a lot of significant changes in a short amount of time.” 

While building a culture and heading a team, Tennant notes that there must be an important balance between being task and people-oriented. “It’s really about both,” he insists. “We have to make sure that people get the tasks done and we’re doing the tasks to benefit people, whether that’s the patients and customers or our own staff.” Tennant explains that his style revolves around hiring and working alongside people with deep expertise and a high level of independence who “are self-guided and self-directed, and share our vision. “According to me, I think that my role is to paint a vision for the team and provide direction, not micromanage. I have got efficiently self-directed people but that doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to be hands-on when necessary, I’m always there for my team” 

Tennant also explains some of the main areas he is working in with regard to integrating new technology into Legacy’s operations. “I’m a big believer in really understanding why we’re doing something,” he explains. “I’m the one asking and trying to understand why we’re buying a particular piece of software, why we’re hiring three more people to work in the IT department, or what’s the value proposition of a new piece of business intelligence software.” He emphasizes the relationship between IT and the finance department in the organization, and that a successful IT leader must work as if they’re a financial stakeholder in the business itself. Most technology solutions need to deliver a financial return and/or add value to the patient experience. 

“The 80-20 rule is basically what I go with in regards to most technology implementations. 80% of the success of the implementation is related to things outside of the technology product itself,” he says “It’s mainly about how well you implement it, how well you plan, train and roll it out. Only 20% of the success factor relates to the technology itself. I wouldn’t call it a hard and fast rule but it applies more often than not.”

Tennant has studied Chemistry at Alma College and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Ambassador University. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *