TMC Sr. Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Technology Named a "Hero in Healthcare"
Heroes in Healthcare
Truman Medical Centers
Few people in have a line-item like this one on Mitzi Cardenas’ resume: “Dancer, Chicago Lyric Opera.” If you know what it takes to achieve success as a performing artist—the countless hours of practice, seven days a week, for years on end, you know that Cardenas had what it would take to succeed in health care. “The discipline and perseverance that I learned as a dancer has helped me throughout my life in both school and in my professional career,” says the chief information officer for Truman Medical Centers.
The Dallas native, following a natural interest in continuing to learn, earned a business administration degree from Texas-Arlington, and a master’s at Troy State. Her grandmother encouraged her to explore a health-care career, but “I soon realized that I was probably better in a support role than as a hands-on caregiver,” Cardenas said.
And yet, she still is responsible for improving the outcomes of patients that might never know by name. No role in health-care administration is as charged with change as information technology, and Cardenas has been a key figure in directing TMC’s embrace of health-care IT and applications of metrics. Among the data-driven improvements, Truman has seen reductions of at least 75 percent in pressure ulcers and blood clotting often associated with hospital stays.
As a woman, she was a rarity in that field 20 years ago, and even today, she says, only about 25 percent of technology leadership roles are held by women. Perhaps the most gratifying change she has seen is the evolution of IT itself, moving from a back-office function to a strategic role supporting the business and the clinical sides. The challenge of effectively applying that technology, she says, “is really the exciting part for me—the opportunity to innovate every day to provide and implement solutions that help our caregivers do just that—deliver safe, high-quality care to everyone that walks through our doors.”