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Interview in Action at VIVE 2022 with Cara Babachicos with South Shore Health System.

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 Today we have another interview in action from the conferences that just happened down here in Miami and Orlando. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health, A set of channels dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. We wanna thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders, Gordian Dynamics, Quill Health, Tao Site Nuance, Canaan Medical and Current Health.

Check them out at this week, health.com/today. Here we go. All right. Here we are, 5 20 22. We're here with Kara Baba, Chicos, right. South Shore House System. Great. Wow. What do you think of the conference so far? It's, it's actually really exciting. It's, it's different. Yeah. Yeah. I like the vibe. Yeah. The vibe of Vibe.

The vibe of, yes. And I've talked to some people who are here and they're just trying to survive. There's a lot of acronyms coming out of it. , it's, it's really interesting. Tell us a little bit about, uh, south Shore. So, south Shore is a regional community health system. Uh, about 10 miles south of Boston.

We're actually in our hundred. Year anniversary this year. So we're celebrating a hundred years as being a hospital. The health system, we're actually trying to do a lot, you know, with as much as we can. We're trying to be the provider of choice in the community. We're the place that, you know, you go to for health and wellness.

We've, um, expanded our population health platform. We are mobile integrated health. We have urgent care centers. . Ambulatory practice for a 400, um, bed hospital with an extremely busy emergency room. So you're one of those people who has a bunch of thousand consonants in your title . So you're, you're Innovation and Chief.

Digital, digital and Information officer. Okay. So what's really interesting is it's a new title for me. I, I just got it, um, actually a few months ago. But to me, and my elevator pitch, if you will, for that job, is that it's trying to take what we already have and bringing value to it, right? So we have all the big systems, you know, we have Epic, we have Workday, we, we, you know, keep buying a bunch of great systems, but how are we using them and leveraging them to actually make our patient's life better, our provider's experience better, how we take an extra steps out of the process.

That's part of what I see my job as. It's, it's really interesting. We we're having a lot of conversations. 'cause I, I just look at you guys and I go, what's top of mind? Yeah. And experiences. I mean, obviously cybersecurity and pandemic. Yes. But the, it's orchestrating an experience is almost a new muscle for healthcare.

We're, we're trying to develop something that we haven't had before. So when you look at that, you know, what kind of experiences do you find are important to the consumer and how are we addressing those? One huge one is getting to see a provider in time and getting in to see a specialist. And you have to have open schedules and availability so we can give them all these great apps.

But if you actually go in to find a, make an appointment and there's nothing there. Right. We've got a problem. So we're trying to actually get more efficiency and optimization, even in the provider schedule and trying to get them more templated so that we can do a lot of more of the automation. So a lot of that ends up being operational work, doesn't it?

It's not. It is. It's not technology per se. We can, yeah, we can do it, but when we go to the back end, we go, oh wait, we have 17 different intake forms and we have, yes, 15 different. Scheduling and the, the physicians aren't providing their, their open time. I mean, there's a lot of, it's a lot of culture change.

And, and you know, my whole mantra is people, process and technology all day long. I feel like most of what I do is negotiation and, and helping people understand the people in the process. And that the technology's just there for the ride, right? Like, we try to enable it, but without those two pieces, you're, you're dead in the water.

You know, if I, when you talk about the culture, I'm, I'm curious with your, your culture. When I went into healthcare, this was a while back, so 20, 20 12, I remember the first meeting I went into, I said the word consumer . Yeah. And I got hammered. Yeah. Just absolutely hammered. Yeah. Have, have, we have, we made it past that.

And, and is your, is your culture now saying, look, we, we want to compete for building a better experience for these people. So we use the word consumer, but I think you still have to know what room you're in and when to use it and in what scenarios. So when we're talking about looking at our call centers and you know, our turnaround, I try to use the word consumers, but when we're talking about CVD and patients on the floor, I don't feel like that kind of used the right word at the right time.

Right. 'cause a consumer denotes choice and those kind of things. . Yeah. I mean they're, you know, people who are coming into your er. Via an ambulance. Mm-Hmm. , they're, they don't care about your scheduling and your online app, those kind of things. Yeah. Then, then they want you focus in on the quality, the quality of care, and those kind of things.

Right. And, and the ccio O role really has to cover the gamut. We'd love to talk about digital. Yeah. Yeah. But at the end of the day that EHR has to work, we have to keep making it, you know, a better workflow. So what's, what's top of mind for you right now as you sort of look forward? So part of what I'm trying to do is we put in Workday and we went live during the pandemic and part of it is now going in and making sure we're really getting the efficiencies out of it.

So we still have processes that we're kind of overlaid the technology. We have entirely new leadership with great vision and big thinking, and they want the data and they want the metrics. And when you write, put these reports in, these systems in, and you don't think about what the end's gonna look like, you're often found that you're handcuffed and you can't do anything.

So we're going back and, and trying to reorganize and rejigger and change processes and make sure the data is highly like credible. We keep coming back to this, is it? Yeah, we, we, we did Workday, . Where I was CIO and it was a two year process before we actually got on Workday. And people were like, what were you doing?

They're just sitting around doing nothing. I'm like, no. We had to redo everything in the backend. Yeah, we had too many job descriptions. We had, we had some union labor, some non-union contracts. 'cause we were in different states and whatnot. Mm-Hmm. . And at the end of the day they're like, look, we need, you need to clean up almost a hundred years of.

Yeah. HR policies, practices exactly. We to, we do job descriptions and all sorts of stuff and policies and procedures. Even simple little things about how we do a work change. You change your hours. It's a policy that you have to put a rec in to change hours for someone, which causes all this confusion in the system, and you have to go back to, you know, stuff that isn't that technology driven, but it's part of like

The foundation and I found Workday, it'd be pretty flexible. Yeah. But I almost get scared when a, a tool is too flexible because our organization would've demanded to use all the flexibility, but then you have to support it on that, on the other side. Yeah. So I think the flexibility is good, but you have to have a, a plan.

And you have to have a vision for what it wants to look like. 'cause that flexibility can just be your junk drawer Moving into a new system, it does have a fair amount of guardrails. So, which I did like is when we went live, you started to find out about the things that, where people were doing that was a one-off and they couldn't get around it anymore because we did have some guardrails that forced you into kind of a, a bit of a process that we, that was better than where they were.

But, but the experience for the employee. On Workday versus what we had before was like night. They, they, yes. They're like, Hey, thank you for bringing us into the 20th century. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It was, uh, it was really interesting. So what do you, you know, what do you expect to get out of this conference?

Are you, are you looking at There's some really small booths over there. Companies I've never heard of. And you could see like the owner, the founder is sitting there at the movie plate. I know. It's so cool. Are you looking at some of those companies or is it Well, . I kind of like this because it helps me think about what's possible.

I feel like a lot of times I get stuck on the, uh, the treadmill. You know, you come into the office, you know, what are your strategies you're working on? You don't always have that time to kind of think about where you wanna go and, and you know, I was just sitting and doing one of the hosted buyer meetings and you know, kind of learning about a product in 15 minutes, and I'm like,

Love it. I, you know, this could be something we could offer. And this is, you know what, and I feel like sometimes when I come to this, it can be overwhelming. 'cause you realize how much you don't know about what's going on in the industry, even though you try to stay up on everything. Yeah. And you can only do so many projects.

Yeah, exactly. So talk about the hosted buyer program. I've, I've heard really positive feedback from both sides. Yeah. It's, for lack of a better analogy, it's speed dating. Yes. Or meeting with the, with the solutions. Yeah. And I think it's kind of like, if you got the pitch down. And you can kind of get to like a quick elevator pitch around what you, what it is your product does.

Then you can get into the conversation of how it might fit in the organization. I think it's great. It's, it kind of takes, you know, hundreds and hundreds of emails and all the things that we get, you know, bombarded with it. I love it. It's like the QuickBooks, like, you know, the cliff notes of, of what you need to know.

It's 15 minutes. Yeah. And, uh. You know, after the first five, you know, whether there's a fit or not. Yeah. And then I've heard somebody say, you know, after the first five we knew it wasn't a fit. And so we just had a conversation about the industry and what was going on and that kinda stuff, and just sort of traded notes and whatnot.

And it, you could 15 minutes, you could build a relationship. Yeah. I mean even, and then I love how we have this, and then there were education sessions and then there was also some of the focus groups. So I feel like I've got a good, like mattering of different things going on to keep me busy. Kara, I want to thank you for your time.

All right. Thank you. Thanks. Thanks. Another great interview. I want to thank everybody who spent time with us at the conferences. It is phenomenal that you shared your wisdom and your experience with the community, and it is greatly appreciated. We also want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders, Gordian Dynamics, Quill Health, Tao Site Nuance, Canon Medical and Current Health.

Check them out at this week, health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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