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Chris Petillo: Driving Digital Transformation and Innovating for the Future with Rhyno Healthcare

Exclusive Interview of Chris Petillo of Rhyno Healthcare. Edited by Powered Magazine


Chris Petillo
Chris Petillo, President and CEO at Rhyno Healthcare Solutions & Rhyno Healthcare International

Chris Petillo is a dynamic leader and technology enthusiast at the forefront of driving digital transformation and innovation in the corporate landscape. With a passion for leveraging cutting-edge technologies to propel businesses forward, Chris has established himself as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the realm of digital strategy and implementation. As a champion of digital innovation, Chris Petillo has helped businesses harness the power of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and drive sustainable growth. His keen ability to align technology initiatives with business goals has resulted in successful digital transformations across various industries. Join us as we explore the remarkable achievements and thought leadership of Chris Petillo and discover how his innovative mindset and strategic approach are driving digital transformation and propelling businesses toward a successful future.

Tell us about yourself and your business:

I, Chris Petillo a seasoned healthcare information technology professional with a passion for innovation and the betterment of patient outcomes through collaboration and strategic implementations of advanced technology. My journey in the healthcare sector began over 35 years ago, where I was lucky enough to be able to play with the “best toys” available at the time, as well as implement and optimize new digital imaging technologies across the US. I've since been at the vanguard of healthcare IT with several large academic medical centers, being an early proponent and adopter of cloud image storage, and involved in all aspects from electronic medical records, clinical ancillary systems, data governance, and custom development.

I hold a Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering, which has laid a solid foundation for my career. Over the years, I've developed a deep understanding of healthcare IT, enabling me to engage in all clinical areas of healthcare. My blend of technical acumen, leadership, collaborative, and risk management skills have been instrumental in driving my career trajectory and leading me to the founding of Rhyno Healthcare Solutions in 2016.

Rhyno Healthcare Solutions is a healthcare professional and advisory services company. Our mission is to provide experienced IT resources to healthcare organizations, with the aim of improving clinical efficiencies and patient outcomes. We pride ourselves on our unique approach, combining technical expertise with an in-depth understanding of the needs of healthcare providers, payers, and patients. We understand both the clinical & business requirements and how that translates into technical solutions.

In 2022, I extended our reach globally by establishing our sister company, Rhyno Healthcare International. The primary goal of Rhyno Healthcare International is to utilize our unique methodology in an international landscape, focusing on technical implementations including business process analysis, impact analysis, risk mitigation, and change management.

In addition to my work with Rhyno, I've had the privilege of sharing my insights and experiences through several published articles, focusing on topics such as PACS and Enterprise Imaging. Through these platforms, I aim to help shape the dialogue surrounding the role of technology in healthcare.

On a personal level, I am deeply committed to transforming healthcare through technology. I believe that by translating the requirements and expected outcomes across all stakeholders, we can drive meaningful change in the healthcare sector. My vision is to lead Rhyno in pushing the boundaries of what's possible, making healthcare more accessible, efficient, and effective for everyone.

In my spare time, I enjoy being with and cooking for my family, and sleeping next to my bulldog, Portabella. Bella and I have competitions to see who can snore the loudest.

How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career?

Over the course of my career, I've experienced numerous successes and failures. I view each as a learning opportunity that contributes to my personal and professional growth. Success has alway been from collective achievements, not just an individual one. Every success Rhyno has enjoyed has been the product of our dedicated team working hard to fulfill our mission. I make it a priority to celebrate these successes with the team, ensuring that each member's contribution is recognized and appreciated.

As for failures, I've always viewed them as an essential part of the journey towards success. In the fast-paced world of healthcare technology, setbacks are inevitable. Each failure presents an opportunity to reassess our approach, make necessary adjustments, and come back stronger. I believe in taking responsibility for these setbacks, analyzing them honestly, and using the insights gained to improve our strategies and processes.

Throughout both success and failure, I maintain a steadfast commitment to our mission. I continually remind myself and our team that we are working towards a transformative change in healthcare. This perspective helps us stay resilient, maintain a positive outlook, and keep striving for our clients goals.

What were your biggest challenges when starting your business?

The landscape of Healthcare Professional Service organizations has changed greatly over the last ten years. Growing vertically is much easier than horizontally, once you have partnered with your client and can prove your company's value. With the increase in both vendor management/procurement processes and security requirements, growing horizontally for a smaller company is extremely challenging. It can take months or years to execute the proper contracts just to be able to provide basic services. You have to be in for the long haul to hope to eventually break through.

What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market?

Staying competitive in the technology sector requires constant vigilance, education and a willingness to innovate. At Rhyno, we keep our finger on the pulse of industry trends and advancements. We strive to be early adopters and implementers, and offer our customers leading edge solutions whenever possible and appropriate.

However, Healthcare IT often seems to be behind the curve of using innovative technologies and solutions. Many healthcare vendors are not easily or quickly able to migrate to new infrastructure or software to stay on the leading edge. Healthcare IT budgets and manpower also make it challenging to stay technically competitive, having to deal with system mandatory upgrades and regulatory requirements. This makes for a mixed environment of product maturity and supportability.

To differentiate ourselves, we've built a strong brand identity that reflects our unique approach to healthcare solutions. This includes our focus on comprehensive business process analysis, impact analysis, risk mitigation, and change management, alongside our expert implementation of the latest technologies. Our key differentiator is to be able to communicate across all areas of the business and IT staff, who often need support minimizing the time it takes to resolve both simple and complex project issues.

We strive to maintain a customer-centric focus. We understand that the end goal of our work is to improve patient outcomes and increase clinical efficiencies. This commitment to our customers' needs and success guides our strategic decisions and helps us maintain our competitive edge in the market.

What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity?

My primary motivation is the reward of being a Solution Delivery provider. A full solution within every IT project can be a wide variety of things. It can be technical, operational, financial, translational or even just emotional. It amazes me how many issues can be resolved in a 20 minute phone call with the appropriate people. Issues that can remain unresolved for days or weeks, can be resolved in an hour. That is what Rhyno brings to the party and one of my most rewarding motivations. This motivation is not just mine, but one shared by the entire Rhyno team. Each challenge we face is a stepping stone towards achieving the right solution.

Additionally, I am driven by a deep sense of accountability towards the healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders who rely on our services. I am committed to delivering on our promises and to continuously push for improvements in our solutions, processes, and services.

Finally, our team is a crucial motivation for me. Their passion, commitment, and expertise are truly inspiring. In the face of adversity, we support each other, learn from our experiences, and come out stronger.

What advice would you give someone starting in your chosen field?

In the field of Healthcare IT, a strong foundation in technical knowledge, clinical/business/patient workflow, and system integration is crucial. This includes understanding different healthcare ancillary systems, IT infrastructure, data analysis, and more. But more importantly, you need to have a genuine passion for improving healthcare services and outcomes.

Be prepared to embrace continuous learning as healthcare practices evolve. Keep up-to-date with emerging technologies and consider how they can be applied to solve current healthcare challenges. Understand the balance of technology and operations required to improve all patient outcomes and always look for ways to integrate solutions to allow the caregivers to focus on what they should do best - provide patient care.

Focus on building relationships within the healthcare and tech industries. These connections can provide valuable insights, opportunities for collaboration, and support when facing challenges.

How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture?

Technological advances have been instrumental in shaping Rhyno Healthcare Solutions. They have enabled us to create and implement innovative solutions that have a real impact on healthcare providers and patients.

For instance, the advent of public cloud technologies has revolutionized how we deploy, support and access applications and data. This has been a game-changer in terms of efficiency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, it is still a change, and all change faces resistance if not communicated and planned effectively. A strong strategy and implementation plans will be needed to ensure that the new technology is sustainable both from a financial and operational perspective.

Advancements in data analytics have given us the tools to understand healthcare processes and patient outcomes better. We now have access to and can analyze large volumes of data to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement.

Communication technologies have made it easier for us to collaborate with healthcare organizations around the world. This has allowed us to expand our reach and impact, have access to the best clinicians, and to learn from a diverse range of healthcare systems and practices.

Technological advances have not only improved our business operations but have also enhanced the services we provide to the healthcare sector. We are excited about the potential of future technologies to drive further improvements in healthcare services and patient outcomes.

In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture?

Customer feedback is at the heart of everything we do at Rhyno Healthcare Solutions. It fundamentally shapes our goals and objectives. In the complex world of healthcare IT, we understand the importance of listening to our customers – the healthcare professionals who are on the frontline of patient care. This extends outside of our information technology partners and must include the business end users who understand and must live with the technical decisions implemented. Their insights guide our development efforts, helping us to focus on solutions that genuinely address their pain points and facilitate improved patient outcome. Often, Rhyno is engaged to ensure the translation of the business requirements are truly understood by the technical teams responsible to implement.

We also take customer suggestions regarding our service delivery very seriously. Whether it's a comment about our response times or a suggestion for a new feature, we take these into account when setting our operational priorities. It's this customer-centric approach that allows us to provide top-notch service and continue to innovate in the healthcare IT space.

What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development?

There are several key trends emerging in the healthcare IT industry that I believe will shape its future.

Firstly, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming increasingly prevalent. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by providing predictive analytics, enhancing diagnostics, personalizing medicine, and streamlining administrative tasks. Artificial Intelligence can take on the more mundane clinical tasks and allow our clinicians and caregivers to focus on more challenging & effective ways to improve patient outcomes.

Secondly, the adoption of cloud-based solutions is on the rise. As healthcare organizations continue to generate vast amounts of data, cloud technology offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for storage and access. This is particularly relevant for medical imaging, where high-resolution files need to be accessible to healthcare professionals in real time.

Another key trend is the increased focus on data security and patient privacy. With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, there's a growing need for robust cybersecurity measures in healthcare IT.

Interoperability is an often neglected but significant trend. There is a push towards creating systems that can seamlessly share and use information across different healthcare entities, improving coordination of care and patient outcomes.

At Rhyno Healthcare Solutions, we're excited about these trends and are committed to leveraging them to drive innovation and deliver exceptional services to our customers.

What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path?

Reflecting on my career in healthcare IT, I've had the opportunity to experience a multitude of rewarding and challenging aspects that have shaped my journey and defined my path.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been seeing the tangible impact of our work on patient care. Implementing and advancing technology in healthcare systems has led to increased clinical efficiency, improved patient outcomes, and has even saved lives. Knowing that our work makes such a significant difference is incredibly fulfilling.

I find great reward in the problem-solving aspect of my role. The healthcare IT sector is complex and constantly evolving. Navigating this landscape, identifying opportunities for operational optimization, and developing effective solutions is intellectually stimulating and immensely satisfying.

Starting Rhyno Healthcare Solutions and later Rhyno Healthcare International has been a significant milestone. Being able to lead teams dedicated to transforming healthcare through the application of technology has been a highlight of my career.

On the other hand, the path has not been without its challenges. The rapid pace of technological advancement in the healthcare sector, while exciting, can also be daunting. Keeping up with new developments and ensuring that we leverage them effectively for the benefit of our clients requires constant vigilance and adaptability.

Additionally, working in the intersection of healthcare and technology means dealing with stringent regulatory requirements and data security concerns. Ensuring ongoing compliance while trying to deliver innovative solutions is a delicate balance and a constant challenge. It was often frustrating not being able to implement real effective change due to having to spend a lot of time and resources on less than innovative requirements…so much so, that Rhyno was created to help balance both.

However, the rewards of working in healthcare IT far outweigh the difficulties.

Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field?

In the realm of healthcare IT, there are several skills and areas of expertise that I believe are essential for success.

A deep understanding of healthcare processes and systems is paramount. This includes knowledge about the functionality of electronic medical records, departmental and enterprise ancillary systems, integration, data warehousing, analytics, and other key components of healthcare technology.

Also, the ability to adapt to rapidly evolving technology is crucial. With innovations such as cloud image storage and AI making their way into healthcare, it's imperative to stay ahead of the curve and know how to integrate these technologies into existing systems for improved efficiency and patient outcomes.

I believe that strong problem-solving and communication skills are vital. The healthcare industry presents unique challenges that require innovative solutions. The ability to analyze situations, identify potential roadblocks, resolve misunderstandings between the different implementation teams, and devise effective strategies is key to overcoming these challenges.

How has working remotely or online impacted Rhyno Healthcare Solutions over the past year?

The transition to remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed presented challenges, but it has also offered opportunities for growth and innovation at Rhyno Healthcare Solutions.

As a company deeply involved in technology, we were able to pivot quickly to a remote work model, leveraging our technical expertise to ensure seamless communication and collaboration among our teams. We were very concerned about remote Command Centers for critical cutovers, but we found that we were able to successfully drive those remotely almost as effectively as being onsite. This transition has shown us that we can maintain productivity and high-quality service delivery, regardless of where our team is located.

Moreover, this shift has opened up a broader talent pool for us. We are no longer geographically limited when hiring new team members, allowing us to attract and retain top talent from anywhere.

On the downside, the shift to remote work has put a spotlight on the importance of cybersecurity. Protecting our clients' sensitive data is a top priority, and we've ramped up our security protocols to address potential vulnerabilities associated with remote work.

In terms of client relationships, we've found that the move to online meetings hasn't impeded our ability to maintain strong connections. In fact, it has allowed us to be more flexible and accessible to our clients. However, there is still something missed by those “random bump into in the hallway” conversations. So while remote work has been a successful (and forced) experiment, there are still some aspects that are missed by personal contact.

What tips would you like to offer to others in a similar position but looking to take their careers or businesses further?

In the ever-evolving field of healthcare IT, I would say one of the most important tips is to stay current and adaptable. I would encourage others to continually educate themselves about the latest advancements in health IT, whether it's advancements in standards to improve integration, cloud deployments, AI, or other technologies that can enhance patient care and streamline processes.

You also need to focus on understanding the needs of your stakeholders. In healthcare, these stakeholders include not just your team members and customers, but also the healthcare providers using your systems and the patients who are ultimately impacted by your technology. Being able to effectively translate between these groups to ensure everyone's needs are met is crucial.

Don't underestimate the importance of a strong team. As a leader, your role is to inspire and guide, but it's the team that executes the vision. Invest in your people - provide opportunities for growth, encourage innovative thinking, and cultivate a culture that values collaboration and mutual respect.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed?

One thing I would like to emphasize is the enormous potential for positive change in the healthcare sector through technology. We are at a pivotal moment where technology can drastically improve how healthcare is delivered and experienced. As professionals in this field, we have the opportunity to significantly impact people's lives by enhancing patient care, increasing accessibility, and improving efficiencies and outcomes.

I'd like to stress the importance of ethical considerations in health IT. As we harness the power of data and AI, we must also remember our responsibility to protect patient privacy and use this information responsibly. It's crucial that we balance innovation with ethical considerations to ensure we're using technology in a way that benefits all, without compromising the trust of those we serve.

I encourage all those involved in healthcare IT to embrace the challenges we face as opportunities for growth and learning. The road to transforming healthcare through technology isn't easy, but the potential rewards - improved patient outcomes, enhanced efficiency, and a more sustainable healthcare system - make the journey worthwhile.


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