Randy's life was cut way too short by a rare cancer called Leiomyosarcoma. Leiomyosarcoma is a soft tissue cancer. He had some vague symptoms and the cancer was diagnosed as an incidental finding during testing. By the time it was discovered it had already spread to his lung, liver and several spots in his bones. He continued to do well for several months, undergoing radiation therapy and participating in chemotherapy studies at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.
Randy fought long and hard but lost his battle on April 21, 2014-the same day as his 51st birthday. He is irreplaceable and dearly missed by all of those who knew and loved him. Randy would say he had a good life, with many blessings and that he just wished it could have lasted longer.
Randy began his career in IT in 1989 at Mercy Medical Center North Iowa. He began as an analyst in what was a very small department. He gradually worked his way up to director, a position he stayed in until he was no longer able to work. He saw the department grow not only in numbers but in responsibilities. Randy loved his role at Mercy and cared deeply about each and every one of his employees. They were just like family to him.
Randy's accomplishments during this tenure were great and plentiful; they include:
- Leading Mercy to the electronic age. When Randy begin his career at Mercy, there were less than 100 computers within Mercy Health Network – North Iowa, today, there are 4,200.
- Transitioning the hospital to an Electronic Health Record system (Cerner), as well as the clinics (NextGen).
- Serving as a Hospital Board Liaison for Regional Health Service of Howard County.
- Also under his leadership, Mercy – North Iowa was named a Most Wired Hospital for several consecutive years. He served as president of the Iowa HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society), was a member of CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives), and served as an inspiring community volunteer
- Randy was proud of his membership in HIMSS. He served as president twice.
- Amy Haskins
Randy Haskins was one of the first people I ever worked with in healthcare IT. While in college, I had a summer job at Mercy Hospital in Mason City, my hometown. Randy was assigned as my supervisor and we shared an office. Reflecting back, I think he was early in his career as well so we were both trying to learn the industry a bit. Over the years, our paths would continue to cross. After college, I worked for the central IT dept in the same health system where Randy was site director. Then, most recently, I joined Iowa HIMSS and took a position on the board and worked with Randy. By that point, both of us had advanced in our careers and were now fathers and husbands. Our kids shared common interests and he attended the same church as my parents. So there were always non-work things to talk about whenever we saw each other.
As anyone who’s worked with Randy will tell you, he always had a smile and his face and a can-do attitude. His contributions to Iowa HIMSS are immeasurable. He was always willing to help where needed, as evidenced by the fact he held nearly every leadership position in the chapter at some point. I and other often looked at Randy as the person we could go to for wisdom and guidance. His presence on the board, in the chapter, and in the industry as a whole is missed. I can think of no better person to name a scholarship after.
- Joe Wagner
I am deeply honored that you asked for my comments on Iowa HIMSS memorializing Randy Haskins by naming our scholarship program after him. What a wonderful and deserving idea, I only wish I could claim having thought of it.
It is very hard to describe Randy and do justice to the professional, the person and the leader that Randy personified throughout my knowing him. I first met Randy at Mercy North Iowa when a company I was with needed to exchange some data with Mercy. We had struggled in a trap for a couple months trying to get something rolling, and then I was referred to Randy. Within a couple weeks, with his help and guidance, we nailed the problem perfectly. Amazing what talking to a true professional and natural leader like Randy can accomplish in a short time. This was way back before my HIMSS days, probably in the late 90’s.
I went to Henry County in 2007, and decided to get involved by joining HIMSS. When the annual solicitation for volunteers came out, I volunteered. I got a call from Diana Capaldo and Randy Haskins asking me to serve as President-Elect for the 2010-2011 year. I had trepidations and told them both I could not step directly into that role because I did not know the organization well enough yet. They were awesome and said they would be there for me every step of the way. They would teach me the ropes. Diana then went to California, and Randy stepped front and center. With his help and Darren Clark who was President that year, I actually may have contributed a little value. By that time Randy had been part of founding the Chapter and already served twice as president, so he certainly knew the ropes.
The following year I served as President and we were to host the Regional Fall Technology Conference. Randy stepped up, along with you and chaired the Program Committee for the event, doing a masterful job. Additionally he served as our Advocacy Chair, and did Sponsorship somewhere along the way there.
The thing about Randy was you could always count on him especially when the chips were down. One might argue that he had paid his dues of service long before I came along, but that was not part of what made Randy the man he showed us all, all the time. He was just there for the things he believed in and Iowa HIMSS, HIMSS National, Health IT, Mercy North Iowa and family were things I know Randy believed in passionately. He lived and breathed support for all the above.
When I look back at my entire career, spanning 45 years now, few measure up to Randy Haskins, some, but few. Others come very close, but none surpass Randy Haskins. I consider it an honor to have known him, and to be able to call him a colleague and most importantly, a friend. Serving Iowa HIMSS with Randy was easy because he made it so, at least for me.
I am thrilled Iowa HIMSS wishes to memorialize our scholarship program in Randy’s name, and I whole heartedly endorse this move. Thanks for asking my comments, it was a humbling pleasure to write this note to you, in honor of a man who lived in pursuit of excellence, and gave so unselfishly of himself, my friend, Randy Haskins.
- Stephen M Stewart
Randy Haskins was a tremendous leader in the Iowa HIMSS organization. He was a mentor and advocate as well as a key knowledge resource for all who had the honor of working with him. His leadership, kind heart, and passion for Healthcare IT shone through in all that he did. He is greatly missed and will always be remembered as a strong, passionate leader in the Iowa HIMSS community.
- Tammy Flick
Iowa HiMSS was blessed to have had Randy as a leader, mentor and friend. We are deeply saddened by the loss of Randy in 2014 but are very excited to honor him with our Randy A. Haskins Memorial Scholarship. Randy truly lived and breathed the HIMSS mission through his work with Trinity Health as well as Iowa HiMSS. He provided incredible leadership, mentorship and professional development to those around him, not to mention his carpe diem attitude and determination.
Randy is the only president in Iowa HiMSS history to serve two terms 2003-04 and 2008-09. Prior to Randy’s presidency, Iowa HiMSS did not offer a scholarship fund. Thanks to him, we have a scholarship fund which we are now memorializing in his honor. Randy did more than be an incredible president during his time with Iowa HIMSS, he was also very involved in advocating in our state and at a national level for critical issues related to Health Information Technology. Additionally, he served on the Chapter Leader Task force as a member and a Co-Chair of that committee. This task force is charged with being the voice of HiMSS leaders across the country to improve our organization and mentor leaders. These are just a few of many roles that Randy played in making Iowa HiMSS a fantastic organization.
When I joined HiMSS as a student and a professional, Randy was right there to welcome me and to help me navigate the ropes of Iowa HiMSS. He always smiled, encouraged, offered suggestions, constructive criticism and a positive “You can do it!” attitude. With Randy’s encouragement and leadership it seemed that there was nothing that I could not do. He challenged me in so many ways and I am a better person because I was blessed to know him and have volunteered with him. I am so thankful for the time that we had with Randy and we miss him dearly. Please encourage yourself and others to rise above the challenges you face, fight the good fight and keep a smile on your face through it all like Randy did.
- Joy Selleck
When I first joined HIMSS I was an outright newbie; new to a large association, health IT, and chapters. One of my first responsibilities was to work with the Chapters Task Force. Randy was the current co-chair, and during the introductory call with the CTF leadership, I found an immediate ally. Not because we had to choose sides, but because he immediately put his trust in me and welcomed me without hesitation.
I knew there was only one way to manage my first full year with HIMSS and the CTF and that was with Randy as my Chair of the FY12 CTF. Randy was surprisingly humbled by the ask. He accepted and gave me the assurance that he would support not only the CTF but also support me in front of the leaders.
This was my toughest year at HIMSS as we implemented a few large scale changes with the chapters. Randy stood by me every step of the way consistently assuring me that everything was going to be OK. Even if he didn’t believe that it was, I never would have known because he gave me the courage to tackle the year. In addition, he stood in front of the leaders, sharing his belief with the leaders that I was doing the right thing and always had the best interests of the chapters in mind.
I wasn’t gifted with the ability to see Randy in person often having only been in the same room with him perhaps 3 times. But it was his voice that I will never forget. His calm demeanor, laugh, and how he always offered a compliment and ended with a sincere thank you. He never had to say “it’s Randy” because his voice was so recognizable.
When I heard Randy wasn’t feeling well we sent a care package with some HIMSS branded items as a way to remind him of how much he meant to us here. I still have his thank you card taped on my cabinet. Anytime I question why I do what I do, or when I have had a rough day, I look at his card for inspiration. Not only in his words to me about how important our work at HIMSS is, but personally as a reminder to fight it out and to leave a positive imprint on those around you each and every day.
With fondest memories of a great leader,
Senior Manager | Operations | HIMSS North America