This Week Health

Chero Goswami, CIO of University of Wisconsin shares his experience of taking over as CIO as the pandemic emerges.

Transcript
Bill Russell:

Today in health, it interviews from the chime

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conference in San Diego.

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My name is bill Russell.

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I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in health.

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It a channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged.

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Just a quick reminder.

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I wouldn't be dropping interviews over the next couple of days and into

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next week from the chime conference.

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And then I'm going to have some more interviews from the next conference I

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want to be going to, and then eventually I'll get back to Florida and to the studio

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where we'll start looking at the news.

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Once again.

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Hope you enjoy this interview.

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All right.

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Another interview from the floor of China, we have chiro Goswami CIO

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for university of Wisconsin health.

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You're at Madison.

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That's right, Sarah.

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Wow.

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Congratulations.

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Well, we met each other.

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You were at BJC.

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That's right.

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Gosh, I just had a Donald.

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And I said, you know, we met at, at, uh, epi, just what were you doing

Chero Goswami:

at BJC?

Chero Goswami:

So it was one of the vice-presidents at BJC by last stint over there

Chero Goswami:

was leading the epic implementation and doing some strategic.

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Yeah.

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And she commented on how, uh, fun it is to have an epic implementation across two.

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I mean, it's an academic medical center, but across to.

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I forgot what you called

Chero Goswami:

it.

Chero Goswami:

It's two different legal entities who legal and different legal

Chero Goswami:

entities, the health system, and the university of Washington

Chero Goswami:

universities, the academic part,

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and doing an EMR implementation is challenging

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at an academic medical center.

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But when you add even more complexity audit, I can only,

Chero Goswami:

I used to have hair as I joked before I did

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that.

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So, um, but, but you guys earned your stripes.

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You, you, you know, and both of you have gone on to CIO.

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So tell us about the journey I do.

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How did you, uh, make that move?

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How'd you make that.

Chero Goswami:

Well, first I'll say BJC is a great, great place to work.

Chero Goswami:

And working with Washington university learned a lot and it's

Chero Goswami:

like, they see it just by parents, raise your kids and then send them

Chero Goswami:

off to college for greater things.

Chero Goswami:

And that's how I feel.

Chero Goswami:

I gave them to a university of Wisconsin and Madison.

Chero Goswami:So I got there January of:Chero Goswami:

for some good coaches and mentors at BJC and other places, uh, putting

Chero Goswami:

all those learnings to use everyday

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while.

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So you came in.

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So.

Chero Goswami:

Post pandemic.

Chero Goswami:

So technically I started gen six, which is the first day that the

Chero Goswami:

first case of, uh, COVID actually happened in the United States.

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So Madison Gossett's first case with the end of February.

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So how do you come up to speed?

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I mean, you come in, it's like, Hey, welcome.

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We appreciate you coming in here.

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And oh, by the way, we need to prepare for this.

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And then like, I assume like a month or two later, it's like,

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Hey, everybody's going home.

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We need to do all these things.

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I mean, you don't have.

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Background, you really have to

Chero Goswami:

rely on your people.

Chero Goswami:

I would imagine.

Chero Goswami:

So bill, you and I have worked before, so, you know, my style,

Chero Goswami:

you know, it's a good thing.

Chero Goswami:

Every, every challenge is an opportunity.

Chero Goswami:

So when it came to the pandemic, there was no textbook written.

Chero Goswami:

So nobody could tell you there's a different way of doing these things.

Chero Goswami:

So it's actually worked out to be a blessing because as we all know,

Chero Goswami:

healthcare is resistant to change.

Chero Goswami:

So pandemic presented that opportunity where we could just try new things, uh,

Chero Goswami:

without the fear of failure, knowing that the alternative was always worse.

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The organization welcomed me the thoughts.

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I had a great, still have a great team to work with.

Chero Goswami:

So it turned out to be a very good opportunity to drive value

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enablement and innovation into that

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culture.

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You know, when, when I, I always ask CIO is what was your a hundred day plan?

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And that kind of stuff.

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When we do the longer form interviews and they share them, and a lot

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of them are, you know, I try to meet and talk to everybody on my.

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Were you able to do that?

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Were you able to make those kinds of connections?

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So,

Chero Goswami:

no.

Chero Goswami:

No.

Chero Goswami:

I mean, that's one thing I say COVID told for me because I'm a

Chero Goswami:

very relationship based person and I call them meet and greets.

Chero Goswami:

And, uh, it's funny because even now I show appointments on my calendar, it

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says meet and greet revision, number 17, like, you know, or something like that.

Chero Goswami:

The good thing though is, um, we were still meeting, uh, in

Chero Goswami:

the first six or eight weeks.

Chero Goswami:

So I got some time to set those relationships, but over a period of time,

Chero Goswami:

Again, virtual meetings became efficient, uh, and more convenient in some ways.

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So it's so you, it's interesting.

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Cause you talked about the fact that, you know, the, the, the pandemic created

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some interesting situations and for you, you never got used to working

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in the office with all these people.

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Not until I know there's a lot of CEOs are talking about the transition

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and how it's been difficult.

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Cause they, they had a one way of working and now they're doing another,

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you came in and had to start with.

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I mean, pretty

Chero Goswami:

much a new way of marketing, so very much.

Chero Goswami:

So we have a pretty big building in one of the suburbs of Madison

Chero Goswami:

Middleton where it seats about 450, uh, team members, uh, ISS about six 50.

Chero Goswami:

And I still go into work three or four days a week and meet a few people.

Chero Goswami:

But, uh, pretty much it was a ghost town.

Chero Goswami:

It was a ghost town.

Chero Goswami:

So

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you're, you're in the shadow of, of epic.

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I assume you have some former African people.

Chero Goswami:

We do have some former epic employees and epic in your w

Chero Goswami:

health have a long, long relationship.

Chero Goswami:

In many ways epic was installed at UWO health.

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I, you know, there's part of me that wants to ask questions, but

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I won't do that to you on the thing.

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He's like, you know, do you ever like go over and just knock on Judy store

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and say, Hey, can you come on over?

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And, um, and I would imagine that has its pluses and minuses

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being in their backyard.

Chero Goswami:

Absolutely.

Chero Goswami:

Well, I'll tell you one of the reasons I took the, I took the possession now over

Chero Goswami:

there, I talked to a few epic leaders before I took the position because it's

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also an opportunity to do some very innovative, uh, joint collaboration work.

Chero Goswami:

And so we are exploring and working on some of

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those things.

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Talk to me about an innovation.

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So your chief information officer, um, how does your digital and innovation work at?

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Okay.

Chero Goswami:

So again, if I don't think the world has defined a very.

Chero Goswami:

Demarcation between the word technology and digital.

Chero Goswami:

I mean, everything is called digital nowadays.

Chero Goswami:

So I am the chief information officer for the digital program.

Chero Goswami:

I co-leading with a very dear close colleague of mine.

Chero Goswami:

She's the chief ambulatory officer.

Chero Goswami:

Uh, so on the digital aspect, we laid out the strategy in the last 12 months.

Chero Goswami:

Now we are starting to implement some of the things on the digital front

Chero Goswami:

door side, um, artificial intelligence and robotics process automation.

Chero Goswami:

On the innovation side.

Chero Goswami:

It's interesting.

Chero Goswami:

A less known fact is UWO health also has an innovation arm or

Chero Goswami:

venture capital arm called isthmus.

Chero Goswami:

And we have a chief innovation officer over there.

Chero Goswami:

Who's also a very good partner and I sat on the board.

Chero Goswami:

So as long as the three partners work together among other

Chero Goswami:

things, um, things get done.

Chero Goswami:

It doesn't matter what the label of the, uh,

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thesis areas for innovation.

Chero Goswami:

Um, part of it is actually.

Chero Goswami:

As simple as I, Jonathan Fritz, who probably everybody knows is a

Chero Goswami:

it, the chief innovation officer here, Jonathan and I, Joe innovation

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is different than invention.

Chero Goswami:

Right?

Chero Goswami:

Innovation has to solve a problem.

Chero Goswami:

Innovation has to make something better.

Chero Goswami:

So when we think of innovation, we always look at what's the

Chero Goswami:

problem we are trying to solve.

Chero Goswami:

So again, for the rest of the other industries, that may not

Chero Goswami:

be innovation, but we are finding ways where we are using data as a

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currency, we are using information.

Chero Goswami:

Bring down our AR days.

Chero Goswami:

We are our prior auth and pieces like that, where technology is

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now becoming more of a revenue generator than anything else.

Chero Goswami:

So that's one very simple case of innovation, uh, in the world of

Chero Goswami:

artificial intelligence, we are using imaging and non-structure data, you

Chero Goswami:

know, to start creating data models.

Chero Goswami:

So that's another case of innovation, anything

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in the area of, uh,

Chero Goswami:

Starting to explore.

Chero Goswami:

Uh, I'm assuming you mean RPAs and robotics process automation.

Chero Goswami:

We're starting to explore by choice.

Chero Goswami:

We are respecting the, the, the workforce shortages and all the

Chero Goswami:

challenges in the clinical areas.

Chero Goswami:

So we're starting to look at nonclinical areas.

Chero Goswami:

Supply chain is one finance, HR recruitment, which everybody

Chero Goswami:

is struggling to recruit.

Chero Goswami:

Right now we are building an automated processes to reduce the turnaround times.

Chero Goswami:

So what's the

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biggest difference between, um, BJC.

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UWA.

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I try to tell people it's like, you know, every academic medical

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center is a little different.

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Every IDN is a little different, every, I mean, what's, what's

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the biggest difference that you

Chero Goswami:

found?

Chero Goswami:

Uh, on a humorous note, I would say is it's a lot more

Chero Goswami:

colder at UWL compared to BJC.

Chero Goswami:

Uh, other than that, I would say one big difference that I feel is, uh,

Chero Goswami:

what's typically known as the faculty practice plan it, most academic medical

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centers here, the faculty practice.

Chero Goswami:

It was very tightly integrated with the health system.

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So I have responsibilities for both the, the, the systems of the faculty practice

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plan rounds and, uh, the health system, Johns, which is very different than

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a BJC in wash WashU, other than epic.

Chero Goswami:

It's two totally different it shops.

Chero Goswami:

So that's a big, big difference.

Chero Goswami:

The

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thing I found with academic medical centers, governance has

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been wealth usually well thought out.

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Um, in fact, I haven't even thought of, of an area, an academic

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medical center I've gone into.

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Hasn't really thought out there, their governance process really well.

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Have you, have you found that to be so,

Chero Goswami:

um, I would say the governance structures in my

Chero Goswami:

experience are well-taught out of, but does it work all the time?

Chero Goswami:

Right?

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Tell me different things.

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And so I I'm on the philosophy that every governance structure should renew

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its license at the first of the year.

Chero Goswami:

Um, so with that in mind, we are actually recreating some of the

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times

Chero Goswami:

that keep you from getting things done.

Chero Goswami:

Exactly, exactly.

Chero Goswami:

And so you use the thing though.

Chero Goswami:

I mean, think about Kobe and the decisions we made at two hours.

Chero Goswami:

Right.

Chero Goswami:

Why do we need another company to help us make those decisions?

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So I'm trying to, I'm trying to find somebody who look, we

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just, we all experienced code the same way we made decisions as quickly to

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say by I'm trying to find somebody who said, yeah, look, we've looked at that

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and said, we want to be like that more.

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And they changed a bunch of their structure moving forward.

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But what I'm finding is a lot of systems are just sort of slowly

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leaning back into what they did.

Chero Goswami:

So I use a phrase.

Chero Goswami:

We at the crossroads of nostalgia and ambition, that's pretty much what it is.

Chero Goswami:

We want to be different, but it's our past that keeps pulling us back.

Chero Goswami:

And so one of my roles in being a new leader in the organization

Chero Goswami:

is to be the backstop room.

Chero Goswami:

Ask why, ask why the suspect tradition, but don't go into reverse gear.

Chero Goswami:

So, um, no that that's a challenging job, but I'll tell you for the

Chero Goswami:

right reasons when you show it works, people start believing in it.

Chero Goswami:

So, yeah.

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Fantastic.

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Sure.

Chero Goswami:

Thank you for your time.

Chero Goswami:

Thanks for having me over.

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Don't forget to check back as we have more of these interviews

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