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The landscape of Health IT has seen rapid evolution, with the core driving forces being advanced analytics and the intelligent use of data. In a keynote episode, Bridget Barnes, CIO for Oregon Science and Health University shares how the crossroads of technology and healthcare are poised to redefine patient care, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) taking center stage.

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare

Bridget Barnes Headshot

“There’s a distinct transition happening with the building of advanced analytics teams,” Bridget Barnes, CIO for OHSU mentioned, emphasizing the importance of data access for IT departments. AI isn't just revolutionizing healthcare functions; its implications stretch even further. She recalled an incident where AI played a pivotal role in crisis communication during an active shooter event, showcasing the broader application of AI.

Governance in the AI realm

When asked about governance, Bridget Barnes shared, “We took the initial steps to establish principles like transparency and attribution.” National collaborations are now in place to standardize these principles across academic medical centers. With talks about establishing a robust AI governance process, the healthcare community seems poised to address the challenges head-on.

Quality Assurance in AI Deployment

Understanding AI systems before deploying them remains paramount. Distinguishing between basic algorithms and ever-evolving AI is essential to ensure a successful application. “You have to trust in AI's capacity to learn and adapt,” she pointed out, highlighting the underlying faith professionals have in AI.

The Pervasiveness of AI in Various Fields

Interestingly, AI is making waves beyond healthcare. Bridget Barnes mentioned its application in graphic design, particularly within the Adobe suite. However, there was a note of caution. “We need to be wary of the potential pitfalls of over-reliance on AI systems,” the expert cautioned.

Addressing Clinician Burnout through Technology

Perhaps one of the most significant challenges in healthcare is clinician burnout. She cited documentation as a notable contributor. “We’ve seen tech initiatives supporting clinicians through virtual nursing support centers,” she shared. Furthering this, wellness sprints have emerged to offer personalized training and care optimization for clinicians, all aiming to streamline their workflow and enhance patient care.

Cyber Security as a Prevailing Concern

The ties between AI and cybersecurity are intricate. “There's always a wave of interest around cybersecurity,” Bridget acknowledged, emphasizing the importance of securing AI-powered systems in the healthcare domain.

Collaborative Improvement in the Healthcare Community

The vision for the future is clear: interconnected AI models spanning various health institutions. “There’s immense potential in collaborative growth in the healthcare IT sector,” she highlighted, showcasing a promising horizon for health professionals and institutions alike.


With AI at its core, the trajectory of Health IT promises enhanced patient care, streamlined operations, and robust cybersecurity measures. The intertwining of these themes will undoubtedly shape the future of the healthcare industry.

As digital transformation continues to reshape industries across the globe, its impact on healthcare is profound and multifaceted. In an insightful conversation with Jeff Sturman, the CIO of Memorial Healthcare System in Florida, we delved into this transformative power, the opportunities it brings, and the challenges health systems face.

The Digital Black Hole: A Historical Perspective

Jeff Sturman This Week in Health IT

Jeff Sturman, Memorial Healthcare System

There was a time when IT in healthcare was perceived as a black hole—an area of mystery, challenge, and, often, immense cost. Jeff Sturman, however, begs to differ. He believes digital transformation is not just about technology today—it's a strategic focus. "We really have to shift the way we think about IT," he observes. This new view is helping create immense value in patient care, operational efficiency, and even new revenue streams. One area where digital transformation pays dividends is opening new revenue streams such as remote patient monitoring. The ability to monitor patients remotely has significantly reduced hospital readmissions and improved outcomes, especially in a value-based care context.

Efficient Resource Utilization through Digital Transformation

Sturman brings an interesting perspective on how digital transformation can contribute to the optimal utilization of high-cost equipment like MRIs, CAT scans, and robots. He points out, "When we start using data in an analytical way, we could find ways to optimize the utilization of these high-cost equipment pieces." Indeed, effective data analysis can aid in making better decisions, reducing waste, and improving care delivery.

Enhancing Patient Care with AI

The role of AI in digital transformation cannot be overstated. "Let's bring AI into the consumer experience," Sturman suggests. Artificial Intelligence can enhance clinical guidance and prediction with its ability to identify secondary diagnoses, such as lung nodules, in imaging studies. These benefits extend beyond just diagnostic support, improving patient interactions and experiences.

Consumerism and Process Improvement in Digital Transformation

The focus on consumerism is not new in healthcare but gains new dimensions with digital transformation. Omnichannel communication strategies are becoming increasingly important. "They can chat with us, they can text with us, they can email, they can call us," says Sturman, emphasizing the need for diverse communication modes to cater to different patient preferences.

Challenges in Digital Transformation

Despite the numerous benefits, digital transformation does not come without its challenges. Sturman points to pushback against automation and AI, indicating the importance of incremental implementation rather than trying to "boil the ocean." He warns against doing too many things simultaneously, highlighting the need to focus on targeted areas for initial wins.

Case Study: Digital Transformation in Practice

Perhaps the most illustrative example of this philosophy in action is Memorial's recent implementation of an automated appointment cancellation, rescheduling, and confirmation system. "We just went live. With the ability to cancel, reschedule, and confirm your appointment in an automated way," Sturman shared. While this might seem commonplace in other industries, it's a substantial step forward in healthcare, signaling the incremental but impactful progress digital transformation can bring.


Digital transformation, while not a panacea, holds immense promise for healthcare. The conversation with Jeff Sturman underscores the need for strategic focus, incremental implementation, and an unwavering commitment to improving patient care. Sturman says, "It's strategic and process improvement at its best." With leaders like him at the helm, the digital transformation journey in healthcare continues to evolve, promising a future where technology and healthcare seamlessly intertwine to offer the best patient experience.

In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, strategic leadership is essential in delivering quality care to patients. A recent in-depth conversation with Luke Olenski, SVP & CIO for Main Line Health, highlighted the interconnected aspects that drive modern healthcare delivery. Through his rich and valuable insights, several key themes emerge; the centrality of patient experience, the role of digital strategy, the importance of vendor partnerships, and the critical impact of prioritizing employee experience. These themes collectively represent the crucial intersections where healthcare meets IT, forming a complex matrix that underpins successful health service delivery.

The growing interdependence of healthcare and information technology is undeniable. The digital age has paved the way for an unprecedented synergy between these two sectors, resulting in numerous benefits, from improved patient engagement to streamlined operations and enhanced decision-making. In the wake of these advancements, healthcare providers and institutions must adapt and align themselves strategically to navigate this new reality effectively.

Luke's candid conversation underscored how this integration of healthcare and IT plays out in real-world scenarios and its profound influence on the overarching healthcare journey. As we delve deeper into the discussion, we will explore how harnessing digital strategies, cultivating fruitful vendor partnerships, and bolstering employee experience can contribute significantly to the end goal: enhanced patient experience and better healthcare outcomes.

Patient Experience and Digital StrategyLuke Olenoski

When delivering quality care, understanding the patient's journey is paramount. Luke's insights reveal a keen focus on patient journey mapping, describing it as "a significant piece of work that involves understanding not only what we are doing today, but where we need to be in the future."

Patient journey mapping is a strategic process of capturing and analyzing the patient experience. It spans various touchpoints in their interaction with the healthcare system, from when they engage with a provider to post-treatment follow-ups. This comprehensive understanding facilitates identifying opportunities for improvement, contributing to a seamless and practical care experience.

Case Study: Use of Epic MyChart and SMS for Patient Engagement

As part of their digital strategy, Luke’s organization employed Epic MyChart and an SMS approach to boost patient engagement. The dual-pronged approach of integrating a digital health platform with a readily accessible mode of communication like SMS can significantly enhance patient engagement. It allows for streamlined communication, better health information management, and, ultimately, more proactive participation from patients in their healthcare journey.

Luke's conversation emphasizes a comprehensive, end-to-end patient journey, underscoring the necessity to enhance the patient experience at all touchpoints. He said, "It’s not just about technology. It's about the experience we're trying to create for patients from when they decide they need care to when they are home recovering." This perspective stresses the need for healthcare providers to view their service delivery through the patient's lens, ensuring that every interaction aligns with their needs and expectations.

Exploration of How Healthcare Institutions can Innovate on the Edges

Healthcare innovation, according to Luke, often happens where IT meets the edges of patient care. "A lot of innovation happens in that spot. Where you're pushing us but also listening simultaneously," he reflects.

This sentiment suggests that healthcare institutions can drive innovation by pushing their boundaries while remaining receptive to feedback. The most significant strides in patient care can occur in this balance of proactive evolution and responsive adaptation. It's all about being bold, respectful, and always keeping an ear to the ground, listening to those at the heart of healthcare – the patients themselves.

The Role of Vendor Partners in Healthcare IT

Luke's insights during the conversation highlight the vital role that vendor partners play in the landscape of healthcare IT. The strategic association between healthcare providers and technology vendors bridges technical expertise and clinical knowledge, which is critical in modern healthcare. In Luke's words, "Having that constant communication, that constant collaboration with your vendor partners, it's a must."

Developing effective vendor relationships, according to Luke, is a dance that requires balance. It's about forming solid partnerships, actively listening, and exercising patience. He reflects on his experiences, saying, "It's a lot of give and take. It's a lot of listening. It's a lot of patience."

Understanding that each partner has the expertise and acknowledging that the path to innovation is only sometimes linear are significant in developing robust vendor partnerships. Change is inherent in technological evolution and is no different within healthcare IT. Luke emphasizes that pushing for change, being bold, and maintaining respectfulness in these pursuits is vital.

"It is okay to push us," Luke urges, "if we don't have the right operational leadership lined up, or if we don't have the technical expertise, don't shy away from that conversation. Be bold, but be respectful."

Successful Innovation Through Vendor Partnerships

Vendor partnerships can pave the way for breakthrough innovation in healthcare IT, as evidenced by the multiple examples shared by Luke. True innovation can occur within this delicate balance of pushing boundaries and listening to feedback. Luke elaborates, "A lot of innovation happens in that spot. You know, where you're pushing us but also listening simultaneously."

His experiences reiterate the power of successful vendor partnerships in driving healthcare transformation through technology. From refining patient journeys to driving operational efficiency, these collaborations hold the potential to propel the healthcare industry into its technologically enhanced future.

Prioritizing Employee Experience

Luke posits that the importance of employee experience should be noticed in the digital era of healthcare. Good technology can indeed enhance patient experience, but it can also play a significant role in improving the work-life of healthcare providers and staff. Luke underscores this: "You must put that same level of energy, importance, and priority into your employee experience."

Digital platforms aren't just for patient engagement; they can also be instrumental in improving employee experiences. By streamlining workflows, reducing administrative burdens, and fostering collaboration, digital tools can significantly enhance how healthcare employees perform their roles.

"We have to think about the tools that we're giving our employees, not just our patients," Luke points out, underlining the value of a balanced approach to technology adoption in healthcare. He suggests that the collaboration of different roles within a healthcare organization, particularly the HR and CFO, can lead to a more balanced, productive, and satisfying work environment. "Our CFO, HR leaders, they're thinking about what are those employee experiences," He mentions, shedding light on how these roles contribute to the overall employee experience in the healthcare setting.

Case Study: Use of ServiceNow for Integrated Service Delivery

ServiceNow, a digital workflow platform, is a tangible example of improving employee experience through technology. Luke highlighted this tool's significant impact on their operations, notably in service delivery and request management.

"We've taken ServiceNow and pushed it to its limits," Luke reveals. This push resulted in an integrated service delivery model that significantly improved their staff's work experience, further validating the role of technology in enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction in the healthcare sector.

Infrastructure Maintenance: A Critical Aspect of Healthcare IT

In an industry as critical as healthcare, keeping IT infrastructure current is not just a requirement but an absolute necessity. Luke acknowledges this vital aspect of healthcare IT: "We have to ensure that we're staying current with our systems."

Interestingly, Luke suggests that healthcare IT leaders should adopt a risk-based approach to maintenance, prioritizing components based on their impact on healthcare delivery. This methodology ensures that essential systems are always up-to-date and ready to perform when needed. "Much of it is risk-based," he explains, "Really understanding what the risk is to the organization if a system goes down or a system isn't performing."

Effectively Communicating Infrastructure Priorities to Senior Leadership

Finally, the role of healthcare IT leaders extends beyond technology management. They also need to be effective communicators, particularly with senior leadership. IT priorities must be communicated clearly and compellingly to ensure they receive support and resources.

"It's not a conversation about technology," Luke shares. "It's a conversation about risk and the importance of staying up-to-date." By framing the conversation around risk and impact, IT leaders can help senior leaders grasp the importance of infrastructure maintenance in a way that resonates with their broader organizational goals.

The Interwoven Threads of Healthcare IT

As our exploration of this enlightening conversation with Luke concludes, we see the undeniable importance of four significant facets of healthcare IT: patient experience, digital strategy, vendor partnerships, and employee experience. Together, these elements form a matrix that underpins effective healthcare delivery in our modern era.

Patient experience is no longer an afterthought but a strategic pillar, with tools like Epic MyChart and SMS playing a transformative role in patient engagement. Simultaneously, healthcare institutions are leveraging digital strategies to innovate on the edges, creating a more seamless and intuitive end-to-end patient journey.

The role of vendor partners must be balanced, too. By listening, being patient, and forging solid partnerships, healthcare organizations can harness the power of innovative IT solutions. Likewise, fostering a respectful and bold culture can lead to transformative changes in healthcare delivery.

Finally, enhancing the employee experience is a priority that healthcare organizations must pay attention to. Employees benefit from integrated service delivery through digital platforms as the backbone of healthcare delivery, leading to improved experiences and, consequently, better patient care.

Future of Healthcare IT in Improving Healthcare Delivery

We are witnessing a pivotal moment in healthcare delivery as it intersects with technology. As Luke's insights demonstrate, the balance of maintaining up-to-date infrastructure while continually innovating is a challenging but rewarding endeavor.

In the words of Luke, "If you can build that culture that helps you recruit and retain people, it ultimately helps you deliver a better product to your patients." This synergy of technology and human-centric care is where healthcare IT will shine, ultimately shaping a future where better patient outcomes and experiences become a norm, not an exception. The end of healthcare IT is bright, filled with immense opportunities to improve healthcare delivery significantly.

The world of healthcare IT is on the brink of a revolution. As health systems accelerate digital transformation, cloud technology has quickly ascended to the forefront, creating an urgent need for robust and efficient cloud security measures. This seismic shift comes with its share of challenges and opportunities, making it imperative for healthcare IT professionals to develop effective strategies for a smooth transition.

To help navigate this emerging landscape, we turn to seasoned industry professionals Robert Cantu, Director of Cybersecurity Operations, Inova Health System, and Todd Felker, Executive Healthcare Strategist at CrowdStrike. Their in-depth knowledge and practical experience offer a wealth of insights into the complexities and possibilities at the intersection of healthcare and cloud security. From understanding the evolving threat landscape to overcoming staffing and budgetary constraints, their perspectives shed light on the crucial steps health systems need to consider in their journey to cloud security.

The Need for Cloud Security in Healthcare ITRobert Cantu

Cloud-based solutions have begun to dominate healthcare IT. Critical systems, like Electronic Health Records (EHR), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), are transitioning to the cloud. This shift prompts the need for robust cloud security.

Cloud technology offers the healthcare sector agility, scalability, and cost efficiency. However, its adoption brings challenges, primarily the constant evolution of cybersecurity threats. As Todd says, "These adversaries are continuing to evolve." This statement underscores the growing necessity for IT professionals to stay ahead of the curve.

Data protection and patient privacy are significant concerns as health systems transition to the cloud. As Todd suggests, half the world's data could be in the cloud within a few years, underlining the need for scalable and adaptable cloud security solutions.

Challenges in Moving to Cloud Security Solutions

Transitioning to cloud-based systems brings obstacles, such as staffing, budgetary pressures, and problems with existing on-premise data centers. As Robert points out, many of these centers are in sub-optimal locations and risk physical damage. "Your data center is sitting in closets. It's getting in a non-conditioned space. You've got water pipes waiting to blow through 2 million worth of network equipment," he explains.

These challenges highlight the pressing need for a shift in strategy towards cloud security solutions. The journey is complex, but the rewards of security, scalability, and operational efficiency make it worthwhile.

Strategies for Implementing Cloud Security Solutions

As we tackle the challenges and embrace the opportunities in the transition to cloud security solutions, it's vital to have a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategy. Two fundamental elements underpin successful strategies: choosing a reliable partner and careful budget considerations.

Todd's perspective on partnership choice brings to light the necessity of adaptability in a landscape where adversaries constantly evolve. "What you're looking for is a partner that's going to help you adapt as the adversary evolves," he explained, underlining the need for a dynamic response to a fast-moving security landscape. "As the cloud usage grows, expanding to the other clouds and having your tools work in both...Azure, but also AWS and critical."

These insights underline the importance of versatility and flexibility in a cloud security partner. Given the pace at which technology and cybersecurity threats evolve, adapting quickly is essential to a successful cloud security solution.

The element of cost is equally significant in transitioning to cloud-based solutions. Robert provides a pragmatic approach to budget considerations, recommending an in-depth review of the costs associated with current data center operations. He suggests considering "what you're spending for power, what you're spending for cooling, what you're spending for that space. That is your data center."

Highlighting these often-overlooked expenses can be vital in making a persuasive case for the cost-effectiveness of cloud solutions. It also underscores the importance of a holistic view of the budgetary implications, considering the apparent costs of cloud services and the potential savings from moving away from on-premise data centers.

These insights provide a strategic blueprint for health systems transitioning to the cloud. It is clear that selecting the right partners and having a comprehensive understanding of the costs associated with current and future states are integral to implementing effective cloud security solutions.

Achieving Economically Secure Cloud Solutions

While moving to the cloud brings about a transformative change in how healthcare IT functions, it is essential that this transition is both secure and economical. Robert's insights offer a roadmap for achieving this delicate balance, emphasizing the significance of partner selection in the process.

Robert stresses the importance of choosing partners who protect the system and help improve its state. "What I'm doing, what I think anyone in my position would do, is going out and picking the right partners that are going to A, help you protect, B, help you bring your system along and get it to a more secure state," he explains.

This statement speaks to the dual role that a good cloud security partner plays. First, they help bolster the system's defenses against cybersecurity threats. Second, they assist in the overall development of the system, ensuring it is robust, secure, and primed for future growth.

Moreover, Robert emphasizes the value of a partner who can seamlessly integrate into the existing IT ecosystem. "Three, they get along in the ecosystem so that you can maximize your investment," he adds. Such harmonious integration ensures that the chosen cloud solutions align with existing systems and processes, thereby improving overall efficiency and maximizing return on investment.

A crucial point that Robert highlights is the potential for cloud security solutions to limit staffing requirements. By selecting the right cloud security partner, healthcare organizations can reduce the need for extensive in-house IT teams, which is particularly significant in an era of staffing challenges and budget constraints.

"Limit the amount of stuff you have to bring to your premises so that you can achieve this in an economical, secure way," Robert suggests. This strategy allows healthcare IT professionals to tap into the expertise of their cloud security partners, enabling them to maintain robust and secure systems without the need for extensive personnel recruitment.

In essence, achieving economical and secure cloud solutions involves meticulous partner selection, prioritizing those who can offer comprehensive protection, facilitate system improvements, integrate effectively into the existing ecosystem, and help streamline staffing requirements. This approach ensures an optimized, cost-effective, secure transition to the cloud.


Healthcare systems increasingly turn to the cloud, requiring robust cloud security solutions. The insights from Todd and Robert highlight the complex challenges that healthcare IT professionals face and provide a roadmap for navigating this rapidly evolving landscape.

Strategic partner selection emerges as a critical theme. Todd believes the right partner will help health systems adapt to the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Robert provides a comprehensive view of what to look for in a cloud security partner, who should protect the system, help its overall growth, and smoothly integrate into the existing ecosystem.

As healthcare organizations migrate more data and systems to the cloud, the cybersecurity landscape in healthcare IT will continue to evolve. The need for reliable, adaptable, and cost-effective cloud security solutions will grow. As we chart the future of cloud security in healthcare IT, success lies in our ability to adapt, choose the right partners, and protect sensitive data. This journey may be challenging, but healthcare IT professionals can securely navigate this new frontier with the right strategies and partnerships.

At This Week Health, the newly established Executive in Residence program is set to play a significant role in shaping the healthcare tech landscape. Bringing together the collective wisdom of veteran healthcare tech professionals, it promises a deep pool of industry knowledge. Highlighted in this article are the insights shared by Sarah Richardson and Sue Schade, the first two executives of the program. Their vast experience and understanding of the field offer critical perspectives on the transformative potential of the Executive in Residence program.

The Role of Executives in Residence in the Healthcare IndustrySue Schade headshot

Fundamentally, the aim of the Executive in Residence program is to tap into the expertise of healthcare tech executives to benefit the wider community. Sarah Richardson and Sue Schade will play crucial roles in this initiative, illuminating the nuanced world of healthcare technology for the audience of This Week Health.

Moreover, the program expands its influence beyond tech development to foster social connections through events like the 229 Roundtable. This setting invites healthcare tech leaders to engage in intimate discussions about existing challenges and potential solutions. As Sarah puts it, "Every time you bring people together, you create bonds and new synergies and opportunities."

Philosophies of Giving Back to the Healthcare Industry

At its heart, the Executive in Residence program values giving back to the healthcare industry. It creates a platform for leaders like Sarah Richardson and Sue Schade to share their insights, generating significant ripple effects throughout the healthcare tech community.

Sarah resonates with this philosophy deeply: "As an executive in residence, you can give back and leverage the community to create a greater good." Echoing these thoughts, Sue underscores the importance of sharing knowledge, saying, "I have always felt it’s important to give back in terms of sharing what I know, what I’ve learned, and helping others."

Sarah Richardson, Senior Vice President and CIO, Tivity Health

The Impact of This Week Health on the Executives' Professional Lives

Participation in the Executive in Residence program profoundly transforms the professional lives of the executives involved. Beyond generating content and facilitating communal exchange, Richardson credits her involvement for keeping her updated on industry trends. She asserts, "It's a way to educate myself, educate other executives, educate people about an approachability for something unfamiliar."

Similarly, Schade finds the experience rewarding and emphasizes the value of building an insightful network. Both executives recognize This Week Health as a platform to broaden their professional horizons while serving the industry they hold dear.

The Influence of This Week Health in the Healthcare Tech Industry

Since its inception, This Week Health has made substantial progress in the healthcare tech industry. Encouraging a learning community among industry leaders has become a knowledge hub within the sector.

"That's what This Week Health is all about. It's education. The experience. And the camaraderie that goes with that," Richardson states. The platform continues to aim high, inviting more people to participate in these insightful discussions and advocating for a future where collective efforts drive progress.


Leadership, particularly in the constantly evolving field of healthcare technology, can sometimes feel isolating. However, the Executive in Residence program at This Week Health has built a community that alleviates this sense of solitude, fostering an environment ripe for shared knowledge and collective growth. The input of Sarah Richardson and Sue Schade has been instrumental in this community, enriching the industry with their insights and steering it toward a future brimming with exciting opportunities. Russell aptly summarizes it, "I hope we're creating that kind of community."

In the rapidly evolving world of healthcare technology, a key question on everyone's mind is the impact and the future of generative AI. In a recent interview with Bill Russell, Ben Patel, CIO for Cone Health, shares invaluable insights.

The Present and Future of Technology in Healthcare

Ben Patel

Patel begins by painting a vibrant picture of the current tech landscape. "Every technology is progressing at the same fast pace. No one technology is moving faster than the other," Patel points out. His emphasis on the importance of keeping up with all technological advancements, rather than focusing on a single one, reflects the dynamic and interconnected nature of the field.

This open-ended approach speaks to the growing interest in and importance of generative AI in healthcare. As Patel asserts, generative AI will not replace programmers; rather, it complements existing technical roles, from networking and cybersecurity to data management.

Technology and Education: The Perfect Blend

When queried about the relevance of education and choice of degree in a technology-focused career, Patel provides an intriguing perspective. "It is art and science. It's more, 80% people, 20% technology," he shares. The central takeaway is that, in this tech-driven era, one's passion and continuous learning may hold more weight than the specifics of a degree.

This doesn't downplay the importance of studying technology but instead emphasizes adaptability and constant learning – attributes vital in a world where generative AI in healthcare is becoming increasingly prevalent. The key, Patel suggests, is to focus on what one loves to do and never stop learning, as technological advancement is unrelenting.

A Glimpse into Patel's Own Tech Journey

Patel, who pursued his master's in computer science in 2003, reveals that he studied various programming languages, from COBOL to C#. He asserts, "When you study, you're studying concepts." This aligns with his broader perspective on education and technology, which focuses more on understanding concepts and evolving with technology rather than mastering a specific language or technology at a given time.

Moreover, Patel acknowledges the cyclical nature of technological evolution, highlighting Python's resurgence in recent years: "I still remember Python, towards the very end. It was one little assignment that we had to do in Python. And now I see that Python came back with a bang."

The Intersection of Technology and Economics in Healthcare

The conversation took an interesting turn when Russell asked about the relevance of studying economics for a career in technology. Patel, having never majored in economics himself, had a unique viewpoint to offer. He stressed the relevance of understanding the financial aspect, especially in senior roles like a CIO of a multi-billion dollar health system.

"In my journey, economics served me pretty well... dealing with budgets, understanding the financials of a billion-dollar health system. These are essential skills," Patel reflected. This underlines the multi-disciplinary nature of roles in healthcare IT and the need to grasp different facets of the business in addition to technology.

Generative AI, like any other technology in healthcare, cannot exist in a vacuum. It needs to be economically viable, understand the financial metrics that drive healthcare businesses, and ultimately contribute positively to the bottom line. This interconnectedness of economics and technology is a crucial aspect to consider in implementing and advancing generative AI in healthcare.

Embracing Change: The Constant in Healthcare Technology

Patel's closing remarks revolved around the inevitability of change in the technological landscape, especially about generative AI in healthcare. He emphasized embracing chaos and adapting to the rapidly changing environment.

"What we're learning today will not be valid in five years. So you need to make sure that you are constantly learning and adapting," said Patel, encapsulating the essence of working in healthcare technology. This reflects the agility needed in the face of consistent change, particularly with the rapid progression of AI technologies.

The ability to embrace and adapt to change is a requisite for healthcare IT professionals. This is even more pronounced with the emergence of transformative technologies such as generative AI. As the healthcare sector continues to leverage AI, professionals who can ride the wave of change, constantly update their knowledge and skills, and adapt to new methodologies and technologies will thrive.

The Role of Generative AI in Healthcare

When Patel reflects on the role of generative AI in healthcare, it's clear that he envisions a future where AI is a tool, not a replacement. This is a crucial distinction as we move forward in the rapidly changing healthcare landscape.

As the healthcare field becomes more digitized and generative AI continues to evolve, its applications in healthcare are seemingly endless. But Patel's perspective is a reminder that AI is not here to take over roles but to enhance and streamline operations. This further underscores the importance of ongoing learning in this sector to stay current with advancing technology and harness its power effectively in the dynamic healthcare environment.

In conclusion, Ben Patel's insights reveal the complexity and dynamism of the technology landscape in healthcare and how generative AI is making an indelible mark in the field. It's a reminder that while technology evolves at an exhilarating pace, the constant threads remain: the power of learning, the importance of adaptability, and the recognition that technology is a tool to enhance human efforts, not replace them.

As we find ourselves amidst a rapidly evolving technological landscape, generative AI (Artificial Intelligence) integration in healthcare has become a hot-button topic. Recently, Brent Lamm, a trailblazer in this sphere, conversed with Bill Russell, offering a deep dive into the profound implications and potential challenges of AI implementation in healthcare.

The Spreadsheet Revolution AnalogyBrent Lamm Headshot

Lamm kicked off the discussion by drawing a parallel with the transformative advent of spreadsheet technology. "Could you imagine what it would've been like to be a CFO, finance leader, or analyst before the advent of spreadsheets? I couldn't fathom how that would've been to manually do so much of the calculation with calculators or other technology," he mused.

Reflecting on his early professional journey, he reminisced about the physical labor of analyzing Nielsen Reports, a process he completed without computers.

In the modern day, the spreadsheet has become ubiquitous, finding utility across all organizational job functions, from physicians to administrative leaders. Lamm envisions a similar trajectory for AI technology. It's projected to permeate various job functions, enhancing productivity and efficiency.

The Challenge of Inclusion in AI Adoption

Lamm addressed the inevitable disparities in the adoption rate of AI in healthcare, with some embracing the technology early and others lagging. "How do you make sure that people are aware of the potential and bring them along?" he asked, suggesting that a critical challenge lies in avoiding the digital divide.

One approach to this issue lies in transparency, which Lamm strongly advocates. He proposed that we should be open about AI's role in workflows, suggesting that patients and third parties should be aware if AI were used.

Lamm explained, "We need to be more transparent than less transparent. This draft was generated by AI; humans are still in control, or an AI component did this. It's important."

However, he noted that achieving such transparency is still unclear. He believed awareness could lead to increased education about the topic, and this could help ensure that no one gets left behind in the process of AI adoption.

Ethical Standards and Trust

The conversation took a turn towards trust and ethical considerations with AI. Trust plays a crucial role in AI acceptance, especially in sensitive sectors like healthcare. As Russell pointed out, patients trust healthcare providers, expecting they uphold high-quality standards across the board.

However, Russell voiced a concern: if a notification declared, "This was generated via an AI model," it might introduce bias due to preconceived notions about AI. People's perception of AI is often influenced by fictional portrayals in popular culture, such as the idea that AI might turn against us, an idea propagated by movies like 'Terminator.' The challenge is to correct these misconceptions and ensure that AI is viewed as a beneficial tool, not a potential threat.

The Road Ahead

The conversation closed with an interesting comparison with self-driving cars. Lamm remarked, "We have how many hundreds or thousands of wrecks that are every day on our highways that were a human's fault. And, if a self-driving car makes one mistake, it will be a dramatically different story."

This, Lamm suggested, would also be true for AI in healthcare. The tolerance for AI errors is much less than for human errors, an issue that needs to be considered as we move forward. Despite these challenges, both Lamm and Russell agreed that the road to integrating generative AI in healthcare is promising and filled with potential for improving efficiency and care.

Brent Lamm's insights in this conversation shed light on the complex journey of AI integration in healthcare. As we navigate these uncharted waters, discussions like these serve as a compass, highlighting both the immense potential and the thoughtful consideration required for a successful voyage into the era of AI in healthcare.

In a recent engaging conversation, Kristin Myers, the Chief Digital and Information Officer at Mount Sinai, and Bill Russell, the curator of This Week Health, offered an illuminating perspective on the burgeoning role of Generative AI in healthcare. Their conversation peeled back the layers of the transformative potential of this technology and the challenges health systems may face in its implementation.

Embracing Transparency and Patient EngagementKristin Myers This Week in Health IT

According to Myers, a significant part of health systems' digital transformation involves embracing transparency and enhancing patient engagement. She highlighted an interesting shift in patient behavior, noting that "many of our patients create spreadsheets and go to multiple websites and look at all the patient comments around the internet on a particular physician." Acknowledging this trend, Myers indicated that Mount Sinai is working on incorporating more patient feedback into their website to provide a more comprehensive and transparent view of healthcare providers.

The Intricacies of Cost Transparency in Healthcare

The pair then turned their attention to the issue of cost transparency. "It's going to be a challenge," Myers admits. "We're lucky that we are an Epic environment, and so, they have tools that we're implementing that can show from insurance what the perspective cost will be." Yet, she also notes that this is less of a technology issue than an operational one. The health system must find effective ways to handle the surge in queries about healthcare costs, a shift that may necessitate considerable patient education and quick, efficient responses.

The Future of Healthcare: AI and Clinical Workflow Optimization

The future of healthcare, as per Myers, is undoubtedly entwined with Generative AI technology. She foresees the rise of APIs across healthcare products and the optimization of clinical workflows. "Look at even, we just talked about Epic and the clinician efficiency around administrative tasks," she says. "With the help of AI, generation of clinical notes, letters responding to patient queries is coming at us right now."

The impact extends beyond clinical tasks to research, too. With the integration of Generative AI with Azure, large language models could accelerate research, particularly in pathology, Myers suggested. She also predicted increased patient-facing chatbots and conversational assistants and a more straightforward generation of discharge summaries.

The Power of Platform Integration in Healthcare

An unexpected discussion point was the role of platforms like Azure, Epic, and ServiceNow in healthcare IT. "We are platform first and unless there is a compelling case to be made for best of breed," Myers noted. This platform-centric approach helps create a more seamless employee experience, optimizes cost, and avoids unnecessary pilots that don't scale across the organization.

Leading Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Myers's Chief Digital and Information Officer role is instrumental in leading Mount Sinai's digital transformation. She stressed that her department focuses on digital transformation, striving for a seamless experience within the organization. This trend seems to be gaining traction, with Russell noting that more and more organizations are merging the roles of Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a more integrated approach.

The Future is Hybrid

As we navigate the post-pandemic world, the future of work in healthcare IT seems to be a hybrid model. Myers shared her experience at Mount Sinai, where she and her leadership team work in-office most of the week, offering a glimpse into what work might look like for many healthcare IT professionals moving forward.

The conversation between Kristin Myers and Bill Russell provides a comprehensive view of the current healthcare IT landscape and the transformative potential of Generative AI. From improving patient engagement to optimizing clinical workflows, it's clear that Generative AI has

a significant role in healthcare's future. As we continue to navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, conversations like these offer invaluable insights, helping healthcare IT professionals better understand and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As we traverse through an age where technology is rapidly becoming an essential component of healthcare, various institutions are on a quest to harness digital solutions for improving patient experiences and outcomes. One of these institutions is Scripps Health, a healthcare system based in San Diego, California. Shane Thielman, the Chief Information Officer of Scripps Health, recently shared invaluable insights during a podcast interview with Bill Russell on This Week Health. Through this discussion, we gain a deeper understanding of how Scripps Health is methodically integrating technology into its day-to-day operations.

Empowering Patients with Bedside Technology

One of the remarkable strides taken by Scripps Health is the introduction of patient care technology at the bedside. Through this interactive platform, patients can access their medical records, which facilitates a better understanding of their health conditions, the treatments they are undergoing, and the medications they are on.

Shane Thielman reported that, "Right now, about 50% of the admitted patients are utilizing the bedside interactive patient care technology." This technology is not just a mere digital tool; it is an instrument for bridging the information gap between healthcare providers and patients. It propels patients to take an informed and active role in their healthcare journey. In essence, Scripps Health is using this technology as an avenue for enhanced patient engagement and empowerment.

Shane Thielman Scripps Health This Week in Health IT

Shane Thielman CIO of Scripps Health

Transforming Access to Primary Care with On-Demand Virtual Visits

For a long time, access to primary care has been a pain point in healthcare, with patients often experiencing long waiting times for routine appointments. Scripps Health has tackled this issue head-on by embracing on-demand virtual visits.

During the podcast, Thielman elaborated on this initiative: "We can create pools of providers that can pick up a patient between their other, scheduled appointments." He also mentioned the astounding response to this new service, saying, "I'll tell you the day we turned it on, the queue was full within the first 30 minutes." He further added, “The doctors love it because it keeps them productive between visits. It addresses when a provider has a no-show, they can jump in and pick up a patient in the queue.”

This initiative has been a resounding success and Scripps Health is now contemplating expanding this service beyond traditional clinic hours, potentially offering consultations after hours or on weekends.

Artificial Intelligence: Exploring New Horizons in Healthcare

Another area where Scripps Health is diligently exploring possibilities is the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare. Specifically, generative AI models like GPT are on the radar.

Thielman expressed his thoughts on the integration of AI in healthcare, acknowledging the challenges and ethical aspects that come into play. He stated, “The promise of generative AI chat, GPT, is something that I'm talking about with a lot of organizations right now.”

However, Scripps Health is not taking a plunge into AI without due diligence. Thielman shared, “We have some connections with Azure, GPT, and Codex and are doing some work in the background.” This points to a cautious and structured approach to AI integration, emphasizing the importance of transparency, oversight, safety, and ethical considerations.

Clinical Engagement as the Bedrock of Innovation

The successes Scripps Health has experienced in leveraging technology in healthcare didn't just happen by chance. According to Thielman, clinical engagement played a pivotal role, especially with on-demand visits. He said, “It starts first with clinical engagement. We have some great physician leaders in our organization. We've been talking about the possibility of doing these on-demand visits for some time for primary care.”

This emphasizes the significance of collaboration and having a shared vision amongst healthcare professionals within an institution. Such synergy ensures that the technology serves the users and not the other way around.

Looking Ahead

The journey of Scripps Health is a testament to the potential of technology when thoughtfully integrated into healthcare practices. With initiatives spanning bedside technology, on-demand virtual visits, and artificial intelligence, the overarching goal is to enhance patient-centered care. Thielman summarized the mission beautifully, saying, "We're dipping our toes and we have some connections with Azure, GPT, and Codex and are doing some work in the background."

The approach taken by Scripps Health serves as a guiding light for other healthcare systems to rethink how technology can play a pivotal role in healthcare. By pushing boundaries, experimenting, and carefully executing, Scripps Health has showcased that technology has the potential to significantly transform the healthcare landscape, ultimately improving patient care and outcomes.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been making transformative strides across various industries, with healthcare at the forefront of this revolution. Among the diverse facets of AI, Generative AI has recently been garnering attention for its promising implications for healthcare systems. In a recent enlightening conversation, Taylor Davis and Bill Russell discussed the potential impact of Generative AI in healthcare.

Generative AI: A Strategic Imperative for Healthcare

In the course of the discussion, Davis emphasized the importance of comprehensive strategic planning for healthcare systems aiming to effectively implement Generative AI. "Having a comprehensive strategy as a health system today is essential to be able to navigate the points of distance between the human and the model," said Davis. According to Davis, healthcare systems need a clear vision of their final destination before implementing Generative AI. The meticulous execution of this vision, Davis asserted, will "make or break health systems over the next five to ten years."

Taylor Davis Headshot

Davis's strategic emphasis on Generative AI in healthcare revolves around the need to bridge the gap between technology and human requirements, and the importance of foreseeing and navigating potential human resource challenges that may arise during the transition. He also underscored the necessity of identifying the ideal adoption points for this technology in the healthcare system. Davis articulated that the adoption of Generative AI is not a matter of if but when, with decisions around its implementation and integration set to significantly impact the success of health systems in the upcoming years.

The analogy Davis used of Generative AI being akin to fire speaks volumes about its potential. Like fire, Generative AI is a powerful tool that, when controlled and used wisely, can significantly benefit healthcare. It can streamline operations, enhance patient care, and revolutionize existing systems. However, Davis also cautioned about the need for understanding the 'dos' and 'don'ts' of this technology, highlighting that it, like fire, requires careful handling. Misused, it could lead to unwanted outcomes. Thus, the need for education and strategic planning in its adoption and implementation becomes paramount.

The Promise of New Opportunities

Bill highlighted the potential of AI to create new industries and job opportunities, much like the advent of the personal computer. The focus should be on how healthcare organizations can capitalize on these emerging opportunities. "I'd be looking for a model that I could train on our data... so that I could start asking it questions like, where do you see flaws in our workflows?" said Bill, outlining a potential approach to leverage AI for improving healthcare workflows, financial management, and overall efficiency.

Indeed, the rapid advancements in AI technology should not overshadow the crucial role humans will continue to play within the healthcare landscape. As Davis astutely remarked, "Just because the technology is moving exponentially faster doesn't mean that the humans are going to." While digital industries are expanding and creating new job opportunities, it's essential that health systems prioritize maintaining a healthy balance between technological progress and human-centered care. The emphasis should not merely be on efficiency and automation, but also on fostering a work culture that values and supports its personnel through these transformative changes. This approach will ensure the optimization of both AI technology and human resources, leading to a more resilient and effective health system.

Rapid Technological Progress and Organizational Challenges

The pace at which generative AI technology is advancing cannot be overstated, and the healthcare industry must navigate this change strategically. As Davis warns, "health systems over the next five to ten years" will face critical make-or-break situations depending on their execution of comprehensive AI strategies. With the potential of AI expanding rapidly, it is now a necessity for health systems to adopt and integrate these technologies into their operations. In a sector where efficiency and accuracy can drastically impact patient outcomes, the appeal of AI-driven insights is undeniable. Yet, for these systems to work optimally, there needs to be a careful and considered approach to their implementation.

With this unprecedented rate of technological progress comes significant organizational challenges. As Davis pointed out, it's not merely about adopting the technology but also about creating a culture within the organization that is accepting of it. He states, "How do you encourage it? How do you, what kind of training makes sense at this point it's, at a basic level it's prompt engineering." It's evident that an essential aspect of a successful AI strategy involves investing in people - in their training and their acceptance of this paradigm shift. Moreover, leaders in the industry need to initiate empathetic discussions with their teams, understand their apprehensions, and work with them to smooth the transition towards a more AI-driven future. With an intricate mix of technical and human factors at play, tackling these challenges requires an empathetic, inclusive, and foresighted approach.

Leadership and Workforce Implications

Davis highlighted the importance of empathetic leadership to effectively manage the transition to AI-based systems. The shifting technological landscape will require adjustments, including possible reskilling of some team members. "There's never been a time where leadership was needed more in healthcare than I would say today," Davis stated, acknowledging the strain on the healthcare sector in the aftermath of the pandemic. Leaders will need to have frank discussions with their teams and carefully manage the human aspect of this technological transition.

Preparing Healthcare Systems for AI Adoption

Preparing healthcare systems for AI adoption is a multi-faceted challenge. As Davis advises, the first step lies in educating healthcare executives about the potential and limitations of this groundbreaking technology. It's not enough to merely understand the mechanics of AI; leaders must grasp what it can and can't do within the context of their specific operations. "What are the likely can and can't do?" Davis asks. Executives, therefore, must engage in continuous learning to grasp the potential of generative AI fully.

Once this education foundation is laid, the next phase involves strategizing and communicating to build holistic plans for AI adoption. As Davis suggests, this involves navigating the distances "between the human and the model" and addressing potential HR challenges that may arise. Essentially, the successful adoption of AI in healthcare doesn't merely rely on understanding the technology itself but also on how it interacts with and impacts the people within the organization. By acknowledging the value of their teams and leading with empathy and foresight, healthcare executives can better position their organizations to leverage the immense potential of generative AI.


The adoption of Generative AI in healthcare holds great promise, but its implementation presents both challenges and opportunities. While technology races forward, the key to success lies in understanding these complex dynamics, investing in strategic planning, and fostering empathetic leadership. This transformation in healthcare is not just about the computational element; it's largely about the human element, making it an intricate dance between technology and humanity.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare IT, the words of Davis serve as a prudent guide: "This is gonna be largely about the human element and how are we going to adopt this technology and how are we gonna implement it?" The journey to AI adoption in healthcare will indeed be fascinating to watch, as Davis aptly put it.

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