Dr. Earle Charles brings over 43 years of experience as the newest MES Advisory Board member. He has served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Kedren Community Health Center, Inc. for the past 13 years, a private, nonprofit, public benefit, 501c (3) corporation, with an Acute Psychiatric Hospital & Community Mental Health Program (KSMHP). As a member of the executive team, Dr. Charles continually assess Kedren’s business operations for efficiency and effectiveness and, where and when appropriate he applies Business Process Reengineering efforts to utilize contemporary technological solutions to support the implementation of new business processes and strategies. In addition to his other business activities, Dr. Charles serves as an adjunct professor at California Lutheran University in the Business School, a role that he has enjoyed since 2010.


How has IT impacted your industry up to this point and where do you see it going in the next few years?

Being in the Healthcare industry for the last sixteen years I have had a front row seat to the IT changes that this industry has had to rapidly adjust to both for compliance as well as for its own survival.  Though many healthcare providing firms were contemplating embracing and implementing technology (especially implementing Enterprise Level Applications… EHRS, CRM, etc.) sooner or later, market forces as well as the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act caused the rearrangement of corporate priorities for many healthcare firms resulting in the implementation of Electronic Health Record Systems at a pace that we have never seen previously in this industry. Less than fifteen years ago, merely 21% of Healthcare firms had implemented an EHRS, today, the implementation rate of EHRS’ exceeds 88% of Healthcare firms.  With this move to an electronic platform, the demand for IT resources and technical expertise has risen to a level where the demand is outpaced by the supply.

Where this industry goes next is anyone’s guess however I believe it will continue to adjust to conditions that other industries have faced and embraced… which is to continue to do more with less while making sure that healthcare technology aligns with business strategy.  Healthcare will have to continue to evolve and automate while delivering treatments in a manner that consumers expect.  Consumers are more nomadic and utilize technological platforms as a part of their daily lives and as such expect their healthcare providers to meet them where and how they engage with other vendors.

What challenges do you face in your role? If applicable, how would you like to see this resolved?

As CIO in my firm, I have oversight and responsibility for everything that has to do with technology as well as the assurance of eventual reception of revenues.   My challenges are many however the primary among them is to assure that all phases of our Revenues Management and connected systems work flawlessly.  This is an ongoing challenge, but it is always top on mind for me.  

What goals are you setting for yourself and your team this year? How do you hope to achieve them?

My goal for this year is to have my part of the company operate like a symphony with me as the conductor where each department that is under my care will function flawlessly and properly in unison.  That has been my goal for many years… it has not yet been realized, however, because we are getting closer, I continue to be optimistic.

What advice would you share with midmarket CIOs and other IT leaders? How can MES help solve their pain points?

To other midmarket CIOs and IT leaders, I know we often fight the “latest fire” that sprung up in the firm.  I believe it is crucial to drive your role from the strategic seat and not the reactive seat. Attending MES is the perfect forum (especially with the Boardroom format) to meet and hear from a variety of vendors about the solutions they have to offer that can assist you in defining a strategic solutions vision for your firm.  The information that I usually take away from MES after a few days of meetings is normally not available throughout the rest of the year.  Because it is not possible for me to take meetings with every vendor who calls my office for one, I often do not hear of their solutions (though it is not their fault… I simply cannot make the time to talk to them all).  However, in the MES Boardroom as well as in the general sessions (Keynote and others), I usually depart from the MES meetings with a wealth of useful and actionable information.

Why did you get involved in MES?

I became involved with MES after being involved with another of The Channel Company’s business operations called the Healthcare IT Summit.  The business and operation model of the two organizations appealed to me greatly.  MES in particular is highly respectful of my time as an executive who is requested to attend one of their meetings. While at MES I always feel that each and every minute of my time away from work is used most efficiently.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

My final thought is to simply thank the entire MES team (the team from The Channel Company; the vendors who sponsor the event as well as the other attendees who share their experiences and solutions) for always making this event a top notch experience.