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January 8, 2021: How has your healthcare system adapted this year? Jeff Sturman, CIO for Memorial Healthcare talks vaccine distribution, one-click telehealth visits, care at home, call centers and social media. Is the silver bullet the vaccine? We have to hope that's the case. How are you going with your planning, testing, piloting and protocols? What are you looking at in terms of a frictionless workflow for one-click telehealth visits? Is Epic playing a major part? What about FaceTime, Doximity or American Well? During a pandemic you have to make whatever IT you have available work for you and your patients. Going forward, how do you clean it up and bring everybody into a standard workflow and standard procedures? What are some of the ways you're utilizing new channels to connect with patients and your community? And is there a change in how we're thinking about new acute care facilities or clinics? 

Key Points:

  • What is the workflow for a one-click telehealth visit? [00:12:55
  • Investing in an Epic remote patient monitor [00:22:55
  • Hand washing compliance technology [00:20:50
  • Changes in regulatory resulted in an explosion of telehealth earlier this year [00:22:30
  • Moving from work from home to hybrid hoteling type solutions [00:25:20
  • Bot technology, omni-channel texting and chatting functionality [00:30:45
  • Memorial Healthcare System
Transcript

This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the most intelligent robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

 Thanks for joining us on this week in Health It Influence Today. Jeffrey Sterman, CIO, for Memorial Healthcare System out of Hollywood, Florida joins us and this is a continuation of conversation we started back in March. He came on during the initial surge in southeast Florida. March of 2020 and we met up again in late December to talk about what things they have solidified at their health system and what things they were planning to do.

Moving into 2021 and, uh, great conversation. I hope you get a lot out of it. My name is Bill Russell, former healthcare CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. Special thanks to our influence show sponsors who are investing in our mission.

To develop the next generation of Health IT leaders series healthcare and health lyrics. If you wanna be a part of our mission and become a show sponsor, please send an email to partner at this week in health it.com. A quick note, we launched a new podcast today in Health it where we look at one story.

Every weekday morning, uh, check it out, subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. You can see our website and subscribe there. You can just go to Apple, Google, you, you get the picture. Uh, we have a new schedule for our podcast for 2021. Monday we have News Wednesday we have an Influencer Solution showcase episode, and on every Friday we're gonna have an influence episode like this one.

Be sure to check back for more great content now onto today's interview. I, I, I don't really like doing these things, but for.

I, I didn't think I would like doing it, but, uh, it's, it, it's been a lot of fun. All right. I'll get it. I'll get kidding. Obviously, , I'll, uh, I'll get us started. All right. Today we have Jeff Sterman, the CIO for Memorial Healthcare out of Hollywood, Florida, with us to discuss, uh, well a lot of different things.

There's been a lot that's happened since we talked in May. Uh, good morning, Jeff. Welcome back to the show. Phil, thank you. Nice to see you again. Wow. We're gonna cover a lot of ground today. You're, you're one of those, uh, CIOs that I feel comfortable just throwing a lot of different questions at. But before we get started, last time, you gave us such a great, succinct background of your health system.

But for those who haven't listened to that episode, give, give us a little background on Memorial Healthcare. Sure. I'm sure it wasn't succinct, uh, as I usually am not, but, but I'll be happy to tell you about Memorial. So, Memorial Healthcare System based here in South Florida. As you mentioned, Hollywood, Florida is our, where our flagship Memorial Regional Hospital is.

We're six hospitals, so we are, uh, also known as the South Broward Hospital District. About 2000 beds in total, 2300. Physicians are our medical staff, about 15,000 employees, two and a half billion dollars in revenue and growing. So we are a safety net hospital system here in the southern part of our district.

To the north is about two thirds of the populations actually served by the North Broward, where Broward Health District and uh, the other third of the populations covered by Memorial Healthcare System. And we, we enter, uh, and border into Miami-Dade. So get some population there as well. But growing great healthcare system.

Really proud to be here. So you're, you're north of Miami, south of Lauderdale, or north of Lauderdale as well? E exactly. So just north of Miami, just south of Fort Lauderdale. So Hollywood is probably the largest city in our Hollywood. Davy Pember, p Pember Pines. Miramar are, are the major cities within our population area.

So you've had an influx of northerners into your area, I would imagine. You know, it's interesting. I'm glad you said that. We, we have, and, and in large part, that's probably why you see an uptick in our volume of covid patients. Through the course of the pandemic. Because of that order of Miami-Dade, we've seen actually more spikes and more covid patients than those to the north of us, which is just because of where the population is.

Well, I, we talked about this last time. I, I moved to, uh, Naples and it's. Naples is on the other side of, of the, uh, state. But what we're seeing right now, when I moved here in March, it was starting to thin out. So people were starting to leave and I thought, man, this is a really quaint small town. While it's not anymore.

Right after Thanksgiving, people came down and they're telling me right after, uh, new Year's, just a ton of people come down from all over. They come from the Northeast, they come from Canada, they come from. Upper Midwest, Chicago, and, and you name it, they come from all those places and they're gonna, they're gonna come into your, your region.

I mean, so are. Are you guys concerned about that? I, I would assume you're concerned about everybody around here is concerned about it. We're, we're always concerned, certainly during, during season as we call it. Right. I mean, and season is a little bit delayed this year, I think we haven't seen the influx of, uh, that migration of patients or consumers from the northeast that we usually see on the east coast of Florida.

And I know in Naples and the west coast of Florida, actually that 75 i 75 corridor. I get a lot of patients and consumers from Ohio and Michigan, even though my family has always come to the east coast and, and we're, we're from Detroit originally, so yeah, we're, we're, we're concerned about it. Obviously the disease and the infection rate we've seen in the Northeast and the Midwest to be much greater in the last couple months than what we've had down here, thankfully down here, but we're prepared and I think we're ready for it.

Again, the numbers have been a little bit slower this round. Our spike was actually last after we spoke, so it, we spoke in May and our spike in surge was really more in the June, early July timeframe. We had a tremendous spike then. Yeah, so. It's interesting that those are your numbers. Let, so let's talk about how you've, how you've sort of adapted as this has progressed.

'cause now we're looking at, we're looking at potential vaccine distribution. We're looking at a, a lot of different challenges than what we looked at before potentially. So what, what are some things that you've, you've changed telehealth, work from home. Vaccine distribution. What, what are some things that you've adapted?

Yeah, I mean, we're really doing more of the same. I mean still, still obviously we learned a lot very, very quickly. So that more of the same of dealing with testing and dealing with just the infection and making sure we're treating patients in the best way possible. It has been fairly consistent. We were lucky, and I spoke about this last time.

I think we were lucky in, in our history around PPE and overall supplies. Certainly the whole country's been affected, the whole world's been affected by PPE, so we're not, we're not safe from that. We haven't, you know, gotten out of the idea that we, we need to conserve, we need to plan, and we need to make sure that we have appropriate PPE to take care of our own providers and our patients.

But we've really been fortunate to be able to work with Premier and other organizations to help fulfill the needs that we have. We, like I said, our spike was in June, early July, and so total inpatients were approaching 700. For Covid and that that's about half of what our census typically is. And so clearly we did all the things that every other organization across the world do does in these things with surgeries being canceled and elective procedures being delayed, we have picked that back up.

And whether or not that remains, I think remains to be seen. We're concerned, very concerned about where things are today. I. I, I'm just looking at, at my statistics for today, for example, and we're at 196 inpatients with Covid 28 in process, so probably close or if not over 200 patients in-house with Covid, and we can manage that quite effectively.

That's a, that's a big number that has increased in the last probably four or five weeks for us. 'cause we were closer to a hundred patients, even probably eight weeks ago, a hundred patients. And that had been fairly consistent since August. And so in the last month, or maybe six, eight weeks, we have seen a gradual increase in the number of inpatients.

To your earlier comment really makes sense given where we are in our season. So as we see more, more and more folks coming from the northeast and the Midwest coming to our beautiful, nice weather that finally has turned here, we're gonna see that increase, uh, more so is this silver bullet the vaccine? We absolutely, I think we, we have to hope that that's the case.

And so we are doing an inordinate amount of planning, testing, highing. Vaccine pathways and protocols as well as overall programs. So we're one of five healthcare systems in the state that's been given the authority from the, uh, federal government to receive this vaccine as early as they release it, which we hope is actually at the end of this week, as everyone probably knows.

And so how we're treating the pandemic, how we're treating the infection. Is, I think we've gotten a little smarter. Unfortunately, I don't think from a clinical standpoint, we still truly know everything about this thing. And so maybe not as many patients today are in the ICU. Not as many patients are, um, on ventilators, so we're treating this with high flow oxygen.

We're treating this with certainly antibodies, which may have some relevance and maybe don't have relevance. We're not really sure. But I think we're doing so much of what others are doing across the country. Yeah. And just to give this context, because this is. We're recording this on December 7th, 2020.

'cause by the time this airs, I mean this stuff is moving so quickly at this point. If, if this doesn't air potentially until January, people are gonna be saying, Hey, what's he talking about? So this is, this is early December vaccine by the end of the week. That's what, that's what I'm hearing across the country.

Talk to me about how you're going to do the tracking. So, there's a couple of challenges with this. Obviously it's a. It's, it's not enough to just get the first, you have to get the booster as well. There's tracking internally into the EHR itself. There's, uh, tracking and registries and, and those kind of things to make sure you're tracking it across the community.

There's a lot of, there's a lot of interesting challenge data challenges for, for an IT organization. How are you guys approaching that? That's a, it's a great question and unfortunately I think it's a little bit of a moving target. We've been getting different information almost, I was gonna say daily, but probably more than daily.

Up until even Friday last week, we were getting different information from the state, from the federal government, from when this therapy, when this vaccine would be released. So we think that we're gonna get this at, like you said, at the end of this week, we are putting in. Epic, REHR. The tracking mechanisms to make sure that both doses are going to be tracked for our employees.

We are going to share the vaccine with our local other healthcare systems that may not initially be, uh. Provided the vaccine so that they can also track it in their electronic health records. We're gonna do this specifically for Memorial and for our employees. So we're putting in essentially three phases of our thinking right now of, uh, vaccination for our 15,000 or so employees, those that decide to actually take it.

So obviously Covid units, ICU providers who are directly impacting Covid patients will be, uh, the first to receive this and, and certainly close thereafter, will be nursing homes and long-term care facilities and those providers. So all, all that being said, you're right the way the logistics are working and how we're gonna manage and monitor this.

Are a little bit in Fluxx, but I think we have good plans with regard to how we built out Epic, how we built out the scheduling. Practices. So much of this is rooted in making sure that we're scheduling our appointments and actually tracking the patients or our employees in this case initially, first and foremost.

Yeah, I, I mean there's a, a ton to explore there, but I, I, I wanna go back to, I read in preparation for this interview, I read the, uh, transcript from our last conversation, and you mentioned this whole idea of one click telehealth visits, and. I, I, I wanted to explore that a little bit with you. Can you, can you share what you're looking at in terms of a workflow for a one-click telehealth visit?

Yeah. Really simply, I mean, I honestly bill, what we, what we're trying to do is create this frictionless environment so that we can create for our consumers and our providers a much easier workflow. Not to say that we don't love Epic, and we, we are an epic first strategy when it comes to our telehealth, our virtual capabilities, and our electronic health record, and we're pretty robust.

Epic user and so long term I think Epic will get there from a one click, very easy to use practice for telehealth in the period. In the last few months, we've explored probably way too many options, but the reality is we wanted to explore so many options 'cause we really just didn't want to get in our, in the way of our providers providing care the way they needed to.

So we said, use whatever capability that you have at your disposal, whether it be Epic, whether it be xi, uh, whether it be FaceTime. So all of those different solutions have been in play here, plus probably another dozen. What we've come down to and our experience with telehealth is we, we white label, um, American well to be what we call Memorial Doc now.

So that's our telehealth based out to the consumer world. We've also now used Amwell for a one click scenario, and this is very new. So we finally have arrived at this consensus and consistent practice by which we can provide a very easy to use experience for our consumers and our providers. So when Epic doesn't work or a, or a customer doesn't have MyChart, they'll be able to get an email or a text message simply to their device or their email, and they can click that link and they're essentially right into a telehealth visit with our provider.

So we think this is a kind of a, a simpler, easy to use method. It's not, um, again, a silver bullet and we plan to use both Epic ongoing, which hopefully is the lion's share of our telehealth visits. But for those consumers that either again, don't have MyChart or are having technical difficulties or. Or for whatever reason, we're gonna provide this other solution.

And again, uh, provider logs into their portal. They send out to the patient either to their phone or to their email. A simple link. That link is clicked on and, uh, the patient's automatically in a telehealth visit. So do they have to install an app or anything on their, on their side? They don't. So that's the, that's the nice part of this I Amwell solution.

And like I said, we looked at so many. Some from Cisco, some, uh, others as well. And, and there's so many out there, so it's hard to get your arms around all of the different solutions and which one really works the best. But we're hopeful that, uh, the American well solution for us works well and, uh, we're already seeing some good wins there.

Did, did American Wells scale well for you during Covid? Covid? Yeah, they have. So American Well has always been our consumer-centric telehealth service. Pre Covid, we were only seeing about 2000 patients a year through telehealth. We're at a hundred and I think 80,000 now, 180,000 telehealth visits between now and March.

And uh, most of that's not going through Memorial Doc now, although that that's seen a large uptick. And American well has scaled extraordinarily well for us. But we've done so much internally as we've talked about. So as the CIO will you go back and clean up. So it's interesting that you took the approach of, okay, go ahead and use whatever works, which makes sense during a pandemic, Hey, crisis use, whatever works for you, you and your patients, let's, let's make it work.

Are, will you have to go back and sort of clean that up and, and bring everybody into the standard workflow and standard procedures? Yeah. I think we already have to some degree. I think we need to do a lot more of that. There's a, there's a big learning curve. So, you know, nothing's perfect. And, uh, sometime in the near future, I think we'll get to a much more consistent platform.

We already are there to a large degree. So there's education, there's marketing material, and when I talk about education, we're talking about education to our providers. We've created nice videos. But also education in those videos for our consumers that sit on our website so that they can really see how to make best advantage of the technology.

Yeah, as you would've imagine, I do these video podcasts and whatnot. I, when, uh, I went to St. Joe's, we brought video in and we did video for every, almost every rollout and every project we were doing. And that was one of our huge successes was. Letting people just whenever they needed it, real time, just in time kind of training and, and downloading of the, of the, of the information.

So that's a, that's a phenomenal approach. Let's go, let's go in this direction. So. I've been, uh, uh, I've been talking to people there, there are some people who have building projects going on. They're still building acute facilities, they're still building clinics and those kind of things. A as we've sort of progressed through this pandemic, this, uh, question I like to ask people is, do you see a change in how we're thinking about either any, any new facility, a new acute facility, a new a, a new clinic of some kind?

Are we, are we thinking differently after having gone through the pandemic? Yeah, I, I love this question. I think it's a great one. I, I think one thing, we'll, we're gonna be thinking about post pandemic is not building these acute care facilities quite as much because we're gonna be more focused on the outpatient ambulatory care at home environment, remote patient monitoring, which I'm sure we'll talk more about as we did last time.

But for the inpatient side and the hospital, and hypothetically, if we were to be building a new hospital. And the healthcare systems our size and, and larger and probably all healthcare systems are always going through construction. So we are thinking about new ways that we can deliver care, even in the hospital setting.

And things that were, that come to mind obviously are more video capabilities. The idea that we have six disparate facilities, main acute care hospitals geographically dispersed, but yet not all doing the exact same thing. The idea that we can manage care from a kind of a command center type presence in a central area, but as long as you have the camera capability and you have the video capability.

We can do so much more remotely. And so I think one of the big opportunities for us being an Epic client is our investment in Epic Monitor and, and again, taking that virtual capability and extending that into the hospital. I. Whether that be for the way we think about it initially for sitters so we can have sitters be remote and monitoring patients electronically.

Whether that be looking at uh, BPA, so alerts in Epic and looking at that from a central station so that we can really not have our consumers, or rather our providers have this alert fatigue process that they go through all the time that we can manage and monitor this remotely and really tell them.

This is an alert you need to pay attention to because you hear beeping and buzzings all the time in hospitals. The idea of voice recognition, so the Alexas of the world, the Googles of the world. Things that we're doing to pilot voice recognition in the in the hospital environment. As simple as turn my lights off, lower my shades, lower my temperature, talk to the nursing unit in a electronic way.

We did this early in the pandemic to cut down on PPE with other solutions, but I think there, the use case there can apply so broadly in the hospital setting that I think we'll see a lot more of that. The last one, I'll finish with Bill 'cause I think it's a really important one. Maybe not all that sexy, but certainly important is the ability to cut down on infections in the hospital.

And so looking at hand washing compliance technology, we've done this through visual observation for so long and it's worked pretty well. But it can be so much better. And I think the idea that there's technologies out there, one in particular that we're working with, uh, right now to look at infection control and, and, and contact tracing, will just be something that currently is very important and will stay for the future.

It's, uh, it's fascinating. I, I did see one of those solutions for hand washing. We had a badge type solution for hand washing that we were, uh, experimenting with back in the day, but I saw one with thermal that actually is sort of monitoring everything that's going on in the room. And so they can monitor hand washing, but they can also monitor falls and those kinds of things.

The, the technology's really advancing. It's it. It is, it's really fascinating to see what they, what, what they can do with in-room monitors these days down, down to like the centimeter, right? I mean, we, we used to have to be arms distance away. Now we're down to the centimeter and it's amazing. The, the technology, um, that we're we'll be using is really, really, it's the same technology that you use to start your car with the push button.

In the car and your key fob on you. It's that same technology and it's really amazing. Well, but that begs the question it can't, well, okay. It doesn't beg the question. I mean, people are seeing this. So CMS just increased flexibilities for acute care out of the home, which is really interesting 'cause there, there changes in regulatory really changed how we approach and the explosion of telehealth earlier this year.

And I think they're thinking the same thing could happen with regard to providing those kinds of services in the home. Are you guys looking at that and how are you exploring that? Yeah, I think, I think hospital at home care at home is absolutely something that's gonna be something that we, as well as everyone else puts on their radar, we're gonna make a tremendous investment this year in remote patient monitoring and look at the different tools.

We're piloting this for some of our population health value-based care programs right now. And so, absolutely. I mean, hospital home is where things are going. I talked about this recently with a audience not so long ago in that we're coming full circle from maybe a hundred years ago. And that that patients and consumers are gonna be treated at home much more so than where we are today.

We've, we've as hospital executives have really always thought, okay, patients are gonna come to us 'cause we're the hospital setting. I think we have to think about that differently. I think we need to think about how we can go to them and give care and provide care to where again, they want it. We all know that care at home and it is a high level of satisfaction, maybe even quality, uh, being better and it's where patients wanna be treated.

So more to come there. Yeah, that, that'll be interesting. All. Let's talk the work from home experiment. I, I, I keep calling it an experiment 'cause nobody really planned to do it. It's sort of, we're, we're figuring it out as we go. How, how has that progressed for you guys? Where, where are you at in that journey?

Yeah, I mean, so you can see I'm in my office today and, and you and I were talking earlier, uh, before we started that I'm in my office. We've been going through some construction in my building, which was timed nicely so that people aren't here anyway. But I have no intention of bringing people back to a behemoth of a building when we're being effective in what we do.

I would even argue probably more efficient, more effective, and productive in what we do. We do have some monitoring tools in place that help us with that to make sure that we are actually doing what we need to be doing. But all in all, our corporate divisions that work, whether it be marketing or finance or IT, or hr.

We're all working from home a lot still, and I don't think that'll ha that'll change. Clearly, we've made the investment with moving technology to that home setting, and we've proven out this experiment that it, it works. That being said, it's not gonna stay probably in the same levels that it is today, and we'll have this hybrid world that we live in.

Probably for the, for the future. And so we're putting some investment to hoteling type solutions. I'm sure everyone knows what hoteling is, but, but I come from a consultant background where we always had hoteling in the big, in the big consulting firm. So you come in, you, you call a phone number, and you get a cubicle in office for the day.

There will be some people that in my environment, will want to have a space in our building all the time, and we'll certainly offer that up. There will be a lot more people that will wanna take advantage of hoteling as an option and not just it, but I think corporate wide. And so our radiologists and even some of our physicians who can be remote, we've made investment there in the technology at their home, and I think that'll also stay in place.

I, I, I've worked from my home for, I mean, I've owned three businesses, my own businesses and whatnot. I've worked from my home for a fair amount of time, and I think you've worked from your home a, a fair amount of time as well. Here's my only concern with this. The, the idea of working from home is not for.

Everyone, and it's not for everyone because of potentially the work environment, although we've gotten more flexible in terms of seeing the kids on Zoom meetings and actually encouraging some of that as well. But just from a discipline standpoint, I just know having done it myself, it takes a fair amount of discipline to go into your office and work knowing that.

All the things that you normally play with your kids, your tv, your hobbies, your whatever are just on the other side of that door. Sometimes that could be really hard. You'd need that kind of discipline. Have you, have you found that you have to adapt to certain people as certain people struggle with the environment?

Absolutely. And so I think you're right on, I mean, you, you can probably more often than not and, and not today, 'cause I'm in my office, see either my mother-in-law or my kids walking behind me. And sometimes when you see my kids walking behind me, they don't have a shirt on. And if they have shorts on, we're lucky.

So I, I do think, I think, I mean, it's been so hard for even these kids who are, are in school at home and you hear stories about so much. Mental anguish and behavioral issues coming out because of, uh, this, the schooling from home. And so I think the same thing applies to us as adults, that some of us can work very effectively from home and some of us just can't.

Maybe we don't have the discipline, maybe we don't have the office space. And, and the fortunate scenario that maybe some of us, uh, have a dedicated office in our home. And if you have that, that's great, but a lot of people don't. So I do think it's really important as an employer, uh, that's very focused on our people, that we give them this option, that we have this hybrid world as an option for them, uh, in the future.

And, and let them work in an environment that they're most comfortable in, whether it be at their home or whether it be in an office setting. So discipline is critical to that. Yeah. Interview with somebody who. Had this really nice background, but they were actually in their garage 'cause they couldn't find anywhere to, to, to be, have a quiet interview.

I think everyone thinks that Florida is the wild West, by the way. But I, I've not found that to be the case. Every time I go out, everybody has masks. Masks on. It's not mandated by the, the governor per se, but. Every restaurant I go to, every store I go to you, it has a sign that says you can't come inside without, without a mask.

Is it the same thing on the, on the, uh, east Coast of Florida? Yeah. I, I mean, I hope that we're highly educated and certainly I'm in healthcare, so, uh, and probably all the folks listening to this are in healthcare. So maybe, maybe we have a different level of discipline and attention to this. So, wearing a mask is just almost a second nature at this point for all of us.

I do think that there are pockets that we're seeing, unfortunately, not adhere to these guidelines where I live and where you live. It sounds like we're probably very similar in that I'm seeing everyone wear a mask. I'm seeing restaurants and people do what they need to do to stay safe. But there are too many stores and too many things that we, we all see on the news that certainly don't, don't seem to be, uh, taking the same thoughtful approach.

Yeah. Alright, so again, I went through the, I went through the transcript. This is like a test, test on the last interview I did with you. Here's the quote. Uh, the whole idea of engaging our, our consumers in the most effective way. Has always been something on our mind in the last year, and it's even more front and center now.

What are some of the ways you're utilizing new channels to connect with, with patients and your community? Yeah. Again, I'm glad you're, you're, you're bringing it up and, and refreshing my memory as well. So consumer centric model and the way that we engage our consumers is absolutely changing and different than it was in, in years past, and, and I think that's a good thing.

This omnichannel presence of talking to a consumer just through a phone has gotta be different. In healthcare, we're we're behind other industries. And so learning from those other industries, whether it be robot technology and bots that we've put in place because of the pandemic and how that then influences our future is something that we are constantly looking at today.

So bot technology, omni-channel, texting, chatting, functionality. So a big initiative for us this year, and probably will be for a couple years, is our contact center presence and our call centers. And right now we are very disparately organized from a call center standpoint, which then at the end of the day means that we're disparately.

Talking to our patients in different ways. And so I think we need to create some level of consistency, standardization in our contact centers. And so we picked new technology through an RFP just recently, and we're gonna look to standardize our, our, uh, learnings from a contact, uh, consumer standpoint. And so we're really excited about it.

It's a big initiative. It'll change the way in which we really interface or interact with our patients. Another really cool area, which I'm really excited about is, is the idea of social media. So we, we have so many lessons learned in the world of social media and it seems like you can't go to a website, a social media website, and they not know more about what you're actually there for than.

And so if that makes sense. And so the idea that we have so much data in our healthcare system about our patients, about our consumers, and that we can use that to better take care of them so they can more proactively take care of themselves. So shift to this wellness type environment is really, really interesting.

So serving up. Information and education to our patients. Whether you're an expectant mother and you're in your third trimester and you're at home and you wanna learn something about how to take care of your, your baby in the first couple weeks of, of birth, or maybe you were a rehab pa, maybe you're a rehab patient of ours.

Maybe you had an orthopedic procedure at our hospital and now you're at home and we can serve up education about rehab and therapies. Or you walk into our hospital and we know that you're there because of your cell phone. Essentially, location services tells us you're there and we can welcome you to our hospital without you ever going to registration.

So this idea of touchless check-in touchless registration. Again, all of these ways of interacting with our consumers are, that's the exciting part of the job and that's the digital transformation. I think so many of us are thinking about. We talked about care at home, remote patient monitoring. I think we talked about that last time in May.

Uh, so I won't belabor it, but that's gonna take huge root for us over the next year. It's interesting. Social media is interesting to me actually. There's a couple of topics I'd love to follow up on there, but social media is interesting to me 'cause it used to be a nice to have, Hey, look at our health system.

We're doing nice things in the community, that kind of stuff. Now there's, there's almost a, a potential for a direct one-to-one relationship through social media. They, they know so much information you can get so targeted. You could actually, you, you could actually put that into the feed of, of all those who are expecting in your community that, that kind of course for first time pregnant mothers and, and those kind of things.

What.

Uh, realize that it needs, I was gonna say develop, maybe not develop yet, but definitely realize that, that they need to be more savvy in that space. Yeah. And, and we can use this not only from a marketing and social media standpoint as we all know it today, but even in getting the word out for vaccines.

Even in the work, in the, in the ability to make sure that we're using the data, that we have our analytics, and that we can go after patient populations and help them understand what their next steps are in this vaccine approach that we're all dealing with right now. Yeah, no, that's a, that's a great use case.

The, the other thing you mentioned was call centers and I, I, it's, it's amazing to me how many call centers, health systems still operate and. And it's a significant portion of, of, of what they do. And you said you, you're analyzing new technology might, might be a little behind, but that's been my experience across the country.

Most health systems, if you ask them to define their call center function and you say, would you say you're in the top percentile or whatever, generally what you're gonna get is AC or AD grade. It's like we, we do it. We do. Okay. That's kind of disjointed. We do a lot of still handoffs and, and and, and those kind of things.

We're, we don't have a great set of tools to manage the people who are in the call center. We don't have a great set of metrics to see if we're really driving to towards the right things. I, I mean that's, that's what I'm hearing and I. Is, is, is this a technology solution or is it, is it bigger than that?

Is it really a stepping back and rethinking how we do call centers? It, it is so much bigger than technology. Technology's the foundation and that's how we're starting this because we think it can, again, lay that foundation for how operations can be managed differently. But this is a huge cultural transformational operational improvement effort, much more than just technology.

So. We talked about omnichannel presence and the idea of texting and chatting and emailing. I don't know why, but we in healthcare have said for so many years, for forever probably, that we actually have to talk. We actually physically have to talk to a patient about a bill or a scheduled appointment or.

And, and so that, I'm not sure a true statement any longer. I think our, our consumers actually want to get things done quickly and we can automate so much of this, so. Why do I need to talk to a human being about a scheduled appointment or how to pay a bill? We do this in every other industry now, and we just haven't, this hasn't caught, uh, the, the fire yet, I guess in, in, in healthcare and I think, I think it will.

And so technology's gonna lay the foundation. It's the first phase of our contact center process, but we're quickly moving to phase two, which is really all operational improvement, which gets to people, process, and governance really. Yep. All right. So I, I had a bunch of other things to talk to you about, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna close it up.

I'm gonna bring it home with this one question, and I've been asking all the CIOs who have been on, uh, recently this question is, is, and it's been interesting to me. I've gotten a lot of different answers. What do you think the lasting impact of the pandemic it's gonna be on health It specifically? I think there's a few, a few that we've mentioned.

Clearly everything digital. So this world of digital transformation and how you define digital is gonna be something that is taking, um, much more root in, in everything that we do. So again, I, I'm very focused on this consumer centric model and engagement. So the experience of the way in which we access care and deliver care, it's gonna, technology's absolutely a new way, a new paradigm, a new, a new shift in access.

But clearly virtual health, telehealth, remote patient monitoring care at home. The whole, the whole idea that we need to meet our consumers where they wanna be met as opposed to where we wanna meet them, meaning the old way of hospital thinking. I think that's the biggest change that we're gonna see as a result of the pandemic.

And that means, again, more virtual care. Yep. Absolutely. Well, Jeff, thanks again for your time. I, I heard all the Microsoft music going on in the background. I'm, I'm sure our listeners are like checking their, their email and stuff as they're listening to this show and they're like, oh, I need to remember to turn that off.

they're, they're probably in there going, oh, that's not mine. It's Jeff's. And yeah, you had a fair amount going on, so you're staying pretty busy. Hey, thanks. Thanks for your, appreciate Just close also by saying thank you to you. I, I watch a podcast. You're keeping us all informed through your, your audiences and, and your, your other, your other guests.

I mean, we really appreciate, uh, what you do. This is the new way of us staying connected, so thank you for this. Absolutely. I'm looking forward to towards the, the day when we can actually sit in a restaurant across from each other. It should be fun, no doubt. All right. Take care. What a great discussion. I really enjoyed my time with Jeff and appreciate him taking the time to, uh, come on the show and share his wisdom with our community.

Uh, if you know of someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com or wherever you listen to podcast Apple, Google Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher. We are out there so uh, they can find us there. Uh, we want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health IT leaders.

VMware, Hillrom and Starbridge Advisors. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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