OU Health Announces First Member of New Executive Leadership Team
Published: Thursday, May 6, 2021
OU Health has announced the first member of the new health system's executive leadership team. Maria Russo has been named OU Health Chief Information Officer.
The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine faculty practice, University Hospitals Authority and Trust (parent organization of OU Medicine) and OU Medicine, Inc. (hospital partner) announced the intent to merge their hospitals and clinics into one unified organization in March, creating Oklahoma's first truly integrated, comprehensive academic health system. The merger is expected to be finalized and additional leadership roles to be filled by July 1, 2021.
Russo has been serving as Chief Information Officer for OU Medicine, Inc., since October, 2020. In that role, Russo oversaw the Information Technology (IT) needs of the OU Medicine, Inc. organization. As the OU Health Chief Information Officer, Russo's oversight will expand to both hospitals and clinics. She will plan and implement major IT initiatives across the newly integrated enterprise, such as implementation of the new Electronic Health Record system. She will also oversee IT service delivery across the organization.
"Maria came to our enterprise last Fall with decades of healthcare IT experience," said OU President Joseph Harroz, Jr. "OU Medicine, Inc., and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine had begun implementation of a new Electronic Health Record system and had complex issues to address to integrate the system across the clinics and hospitals. We feel extremely lucky to be able to bring in someone with her level of experience in complex healthcare IT implementations to chart the course for the modernization of IT for OU Health."
Russo has extensive experience in healthcare IT, having served as a healthcare IT consultant at Arthur Andersen, First Consulting Group, Ernst & Young (EY) and Deloitte Consulting, where she managed large scale Electronic Medical Records implementations, developed strategic plans for healthcare organizations and ran managed IT departments. She has also worked as an executive in healthcare IT for several large health systems.
Prior to joining OU Medicine, Inc., Russo was the Chief Information Officer for Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and served as the University's Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy University Chief Information Officer. She had previously served as the executive director for Kaiser Permanente's Northern California region, where she led a team supporting the electronic medical record system.
"We are grateful to Maria for the wisdom and guidance she has brought to our system in such a short period of time," said G. Rainey Williams, Jr., Board Chair of University Hospitals Authority and Trust. "Her leadership has been invaluable in helping us establish a very clear direction to meet the demands of our system. Ultimately, our patients are the recipients of the value she brings to OU Health."
Russo will report directly to the OU Health integration steering committee until the national search for an OU Health Chief Executive Officer is completed.