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Consultant Corner | Getting to Know Jason Thomas

Coincidentally, my first iMethods event was also the first for a special friend of our organization and true healthcare IT professional. Jason Thomas and I had spoken on the phone a week before our annual iMethods Education Summit (held last year in Cleveland, Ohio) for this very blog in hopes of better understanding his journey in the industry and his connection to iMethods.

While my previous experiences have been in the entertainment and hospitality industries, Jason has spent his career in healthcare, impacting patient lives in numerous ways. As I work to understand the scale and complexity of the healthcare landscape, I found that Jason’s ability to make detailed industry information easily digestible hugely beneficial to this healthcare IT newcomer.

We kicked off our initial conversation by discussing how Jason started his career. A nurse by trade, his years of experience at the bedside gave him insights into the patient experience, as well as unique perspectives on how many business decisions clinicians are required to make. In 2008, he moved away from clinical practice into healthcare IT (where both clinical and business expertise are critical to success), focusing on electronic medical record systems.

Jason and I discovered that we share a deep appreciation for family, whether down the street or across the country. This focus on family is what made Jason’s first few contracts as an EMR consultant so impactful. While working part-time at his home hospital at the University of Iowa (UI), Jason was also able to work with his brother on projects while he was living in Florida. Not only did he continue to make great strides in expanding his knowledge of the EMR and impacting patient care through technology, but he did so while spending quality time with his brother.

Upon his return to full-time work at UI, Jason started as an EMR superuser in his nurse capacity in the Emergency Room. Here, he worked to assist providers with at-the-elbow support of this new system. He also began to enroll in further training to assist his peers and quickly found a passion for application development, which has been his area of expertise since 2011. This depth of knowledge, and years of experience within the Epic Orders module, led Jason to his current role at the University of Kentucky (UK). As we talked further about his experiences working at UK, we discovered that we had other common interests.

For example, when I asked what he liked to do in his spare time, my eyes lit up as he mentioned his affinity for smoking meat. As a resident of North Carolina, this is something I also love and find interesting as my family has a deep Carolina-style barbeque tradition. As we shared some of our favorite recipes and recent experiments, it was easily noticed that Jason was equally excited when talking about barbeque as when discussing healthcare IT. It was abundantly clear that he truly loves what he does and, based on client feedback, he is exceptionally good at it.

We concluded with a brief mention of upcoming travel. I would be attending my first iMethods Healthcare Education Summit in Cleveland, and – I was pleased to hear – so would Jason. I was elated at this news since (in full transparency) I was a bit nervous to attend my first conference. Leaning on my still-growing knowledge of Healthcare IT, I was eager to meet other professionals and learn as much as possible and especially excited to meet Jason after our conversation.

After arriving in Cleveland and wrapping up preparations for Day 1 of the event, I quickly found one of the last remaining empty seats towards the back in time for opening remarks. As I looked across the table at my new companions, directly across from me I read the name badge. . . “Jason Thomas | University of Kentucky.” I was thrilled that – of the 80+ people in this meeting space – I had the good fortune to be sitting across the table from my newest iMethods connection. Over the next two days, in between sessions about data-warehousing and interoperability, I was finally able to meet up with him in person. We picked up where we left off on our phone call, discussing family and new recipes we tried since we spoke earlier. And, as I observed in our telephone conversation, Jason is passionate about his work, his family, his values and his food. We are grateful at iMethods to have a friend like Jason who always represents us so well.

I can whole-heartedly say, that without my conversations with Jason, I would have had a very different experience, and for that, I am so thankful.