CIO Gary Hall retiring from Estes Park Health
Estes Park Health has changed so much in this millennium, and in Gary Hall’s eighteen years at EPH, he’s been involved in most of that growth and change. Gary has now decided to retire and head off into the sunset.
Gary is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at EPH, though over the years he’s managed the facilities team, medical records, materials management, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, rehabilitative services, emergency management, dietary services, environmental services, marketing/media, and more.
“I’ve sometimes said that I do everything except IVs,” Gary said with a smile. “I’ve been Mr. Fix-It at EPH and I’ve tried to bring kindness to the process of supporting services across the enterprise. I very much enjoy working for a smaller organization like EPH, where you can truly impact the direction of the organization and therefore truly help support the best patient care possible.”
Gary has helped EPH through many great steps forward, including building the front (east) wings through the bond issue in 2006/2007, the emergency department expansion in 2009, the addition of the first MRI/CT suite in 2013/2014, the procurement of three houses north of the building to provide on-call housing for emergency management services and others, and much more. He’s been involved in all the information technology progress over the years, as so much work has moved to the cloud, and he likes to point out that EPH only had a single fiber link into town for many years.
“We had six megabits of internet access when I arrived,” Gary remembered. “Now, with Trailblazer, for which we were strong advocates, and other steps forward, we enjoy internet line redundancy and many gigabits of critical broadband service.”
Gary was highly involved in the creation of the Urgent Care Center in 2020, and also converted the entire radiology suite to digital equipment over the years, including the addition of 3-D mammography in 2020. He loves to create redundancy of tools at EPH to prevent downtime for patient care. In the laboratory, as opportunities arose, he made sure to procure “two of everything” so that lab tests are always available 24/7 for the community. Gary was instrumental in helping move EPH to an integrated electronic health record in late 2019 and has been continually working with UCHealth to ensure the best, fastest, 24/7 access to our hosted Epic platform at the UCHealth data centers.
Gary’s tenure has spanned the 2013 flood, when all internet/cell/long-distance access was lost. He and his team worked through a cyberattack/ransomware attack in June of 2019, and was proud to point out that no patient care was interrupted despite the challenges of that time. Gary helped set up a communication hub in Loveland (in a friend’s basement) during the great evacuation in 2020 for the East Troublesome Creek fire. He helped create negative-pressure rooms during the early days of the COVID crisis and built telehealth options during that time. He’s overseen the modern movement toward telecommuting, which he says has been hyperbolic since the COVID pandemic began.
Gary has been a strong collaborator with Colorado’s healthcare CIOs over the years and managed the “C4” group of Colorado CIOs for several years, helping to share useful information among this team that is so important to the progress of Colorado health care. In the past two years, Gary was nominated by his peers for, and was a finalist for, the CIO of the Year award in Colorado for this size of organization.
Gary also had a 27-year career in the for-profit world before moving with his wife Linda to Estes Park in 2003. He and his wife climbed all of Colorado 14,000-foot peaks between 2004 and 2012, and they still hike year-round. They were involved in founding the Estes Park Marathon in 2004 and Gary ran road races and marathons for 35 years, including the Estes Park race. Gary plays music around town and is a member of several different musical groups this summer. He’s also recorded much original music over the years.
“It’s been a wonderful time at EPH,” Gary stressed. “I’ve built lifetime friendships with many current and past employees, as well as community members. I’ve very much enjoyed being an ambassador for Estes Park Health and I’ll continue to do that even as I step away. Providing all these services is tremendous and difficult work on the part of the EPH employees and we’ve been fortunate to have many dedicated, highly skilled people providing or supporting wonderful patient care through all of ups and downs.”
Gary and Linda plan to stay in Estes and continue to enjoy our mountain paradise. As a private citizen, as well as an employee, Gary has advocated for and is in strong support of the potential affiliation with a larger health system, to provide long-term stability for our local hospital. As Gary often says, “Ever onward!”