Executive Q&A: Al Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, LifePoint Health

Sep 29, 2021 | Blog

The world of health care technology is accelerating quickly. As a leader within a major health system, how do you prioritize investments? What tech solutions excite you the most?

Like many CIOs, my plate is overrun with new technologies and projects. We try to tie technology investments to real solutions and those that give us a positive return in terms of financial, quality, or patient experience. These are the priorities that will keep our organization healthy in the long run.

The tech solutions that excite me the most are around the digital patient engagement.  Everything we do starts with our patients and if we can engage with them in new ways, it will drive value for the patient and ultimately for our health system.

What is the problem you most want to solve in healthcare?

Patient access. Many Americans live in places where access to quality and affordable healthcare is difficult. How we as an industry fill the voids to give these folks access to the very best care in an affordable manner is critical to our health as a nation.

As a member of the HIT Task Force for the Federation of American Hospitals, you collaborate with leaders across the country. What are the most common issues facing America’s hospitals from a tech perspective?

Addressing government regulations dealing with promoting interoperability, quality measures, and cyber security.

What made you want to get involved with Caduceus Capital Partners?

I was involved with a predecessor company and enjoyed learning about new digital health companies that could add value to our company. Caduceus Capital Partners gives me the opportunity to be involved in a more intimate way in the selection of new digital health companies and assisting where I can in their viability.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. We grow the most when we get out of our comfort zone and take on new challenges, learn new skills, or have new experiences.

For those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, what are the most important things they should consider before launching a company?

Know the market and know your passions. Talk to experts already engaged in the field to make sure the solution you are thinking about will drive real, tangible value to their organizations. Find the intersection between a valuable solution and something you are passionate about solving to be truly successful.

What is your favorite cause or nonprofit to support and how do you get involved?

Second Harvest Food Bank; Helping those that are food insecure in our community.  I started volunteering through work and have continued to volunteer on my own with my family.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Nashville?

Kane Prime. You can’t beat the steaks and the innovative sides and appetizers.

Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.

I’m a huge college basketball fan. Michigan State and UNC-Chapel Hill are my alma maters and favorite teams. Go Green! Go Heels!

What books made a difference in your business thinking?

“Managing at the Speed of Change” by Daryl R. Conner. This book really drove home the human side of change and how change management is the key to driving new systems, processes or technologies.

If someone is looking to invest in a venture capital fund, what advice would you give them?

Do your homework. There are lots of venture funds out there but find something that resonates with your interests, experience, and risk profile. Know and trust the management team. Ask yourself, “Are these the folks that you want to invest in and you trust to deliver results?”

Click here to read Al Smith’s bio.