3 questions for Maia Hightower

Maia Hightower , MD, MBA, MPH, chief medical information officer for University of Iowa Health Care, was named one of the Most Powerful Women in Health Care IT for 2017 by Health Data Management magazine.

How did you enter IT?
My first practice (in Oakland, California) was an early adopter of EMR in 2007. At the Wharton Business School executive MBA program in San Francisco, I was the only physician. Having classmates involved in technology and informatics, or IT start-ups, was a huge influence.

In what way has IT influenced your career?
Initially, I considered primary care with organizations like Doctors Without Borders or the World Health Organization. But one thing IT has taught me is how technology can actually break down divides, and, within an instant, the data I collect today at the University of Iowa can reach across the globe.

How can informatics solve health challenges?
A better digital representation of what we have actually done—of the whole pathway through our system—can help us understand why one patient did well, and another did not, and be able to identify those key variables to improve outcomes.