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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 conference in San Diego. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former 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. Just a quick reminder. I wouldn't be dropping interviews over the next couple of days and into next week from the chime conference. And then I'm going to have some more interviews from the next conference I want to be going to, and then eventually I'll get back to Florida and to the studio where we'll start looking at the news. Once again. Hope you enjoy this interview. All right. Another interview from the floor of China, we have chiro Goswami CIO for university of Wisconsin health. You're at Madison. That's right, Sarah. Wow. Congratulations. Well, we met each other. You were at BJC. That's right. Gosh, I just had a Donald. And I said, you know, we met at, at, uh, epi, just what were you doing

Chero Goswami:

at BJC? So it was one of the vice-presidents at BJC by last stint over there was leading the epic implementation and doing some strategic.

Bill Russell:

Yeah. And she commented on how, uh, fun it is to have an epic implementation across two. I mean, it's an academic medical center, but across to. I forgot what you called

Chero Goswami:

it. It's two different legal entities who legal and different legal entities, the health system, and the university of Washington universities, the academic part,

Bill Russell:

and doing an EMR implementation is challenging at an academic medical center. But when you add even more complexity audit, I can only,

Chero Goswami:

I used to have hair as I joked before I did

Bill Russell:

that. So, um, but, but you guys earned your stripes. You, you, you know, and both of you have gone on to CIO. So tell us about the journey I do. How did you, uh, make that move? How'd you make that.

Chero Goswami:

Well, first I'll say BJC is a great, great place to work. And working with Washington university learned a lot and it's like, they see it just by parents, raise your kids and then send them off to college for greater things. And that's how I feel. I gave them to a university of Wisconsin and Madison. So I got there January of 2020 right before COVID came in and thank goodness for some good coaches and mentors at BJC and other places, uh, putting all those learnings to use everyday

Bill Russell:

while. So you came in. So.

Chero Goswami:

Post pandemic. So technically I started gen six, which is the first day that the first case of, uh, COVID actually happened in the United States. So Madison Gossett's first case with the end of February.

Bill Russell:

So how do you come up to speed? I mean, you come in, it's like, Hey, welcome. We appreciate you coming in here. And oh, by the way, we need to prepare for this. And then like, I assume like a month or two later, it's like, Hey, everybody's going home. We need to do all these things. I mean, you don't have. Background, you really have to

Chero Goswami:

rely on your people. I would imagine. So bill, you and I have worked before, so, you know, my style, you know, it's a good thing. Every, every challenge is an opportunity. So when it came to the pandemic, there was no textbook written. So nobody could tell you there's a different way of doing these things. So it's actually worked out to be a blessing because as we all know, healthcare is resistant to change. So pandemic presented that opportunity where we could just try new things, uh, without the fear of failure, knowing that the alternative was always worse. The organization welcomed me the thoughts. I had a great, still have a great team to work with. So it turned out to be a very good opportunity to drive value enablement and innovation into that

Bill Russell:

culture. You know, when, when I, I always ask CIO is what was your a hundred day plan? And that kind of stuff. When we do the longer form interviews and they share them, and a lot of them are, you know, I try to meet and talk to everybody on my. Were you able to do that? Were you able to make those kinds of connections? So,

Chero Goswami:

no. No. I mean, that's one thing I say COVID told for me because I'm a very relationship based person and I call them meet and greets. And, uh, it's funny because even now I show appointments on my calendar, it says meet and greet revision, number 17, like, you know, or something like that. The good thing though is, um, we were still meeting, uh, in the first six or eight weeks. So I got some time to set those relationships, but over a period of time, Again, virtual meetings became efficient, uh, and more convenient in some ways.

Bill Russell:

So it's so you, it's interesting. Cause you talked about the fact that, you know, the, the, the pandemic created some interesting situations and for you, you never got used to working in the office with all these people. Not until I know there's a lot of CEOs are talking about the transition and how it's been difficult. Cause they, they had a one way of working and now they're doing another, you came in and had to start with. I mean, pretty

Chero Goswami:

much a new way of marketing, so very much. So we have a pretty big building in one of the suburbs of Madison Middleton where it seats about 450, uh, team members, uh, ISS about six 50. And I still go into work three or four days a week and meet a few people. But, uh, pretty much it was a ghost town. It was a ghost town. So

Bill Russell:

you're, you're in the shadow of, of epic. I assume you have some former African people.

Chero Goswami:

We do have some former epic employees and epic in your w health have a long, long relationship. In many ways epic was installed at UWO health.

Bill Russell:

I, you know, there's part of me that wants to ask questions, but I won't do that to you on the thing. He's like, you know, do you ever like go over and just knock on Judy store and say, Hey, can you come on over? And, um, and I would imagine that has its pluses and minuses being in their backyard.

Chero Goswami:

Absolutely. Well, I'll tell you one of the reasons I took the, I took the possession now over there, I talked to a few epic leaders before I took the position because it's also an opportunity to do some very innovative, uh, joint collaboration work. And so we are exploring and working on some of

Bill Russell:

those things. Talk to me about an innovation. So your chief information officer, um, how does your digital and innovation work at? Okay.

Chero Goswami:

So again, if I don't think the world has defined a very. Demarcation between the word technology and digital. I mean, everything is called digital nowadays. So I am the chief information officer for the digital program. I co-leading with a very dear close colleague of mine. She's the chief ambulatory officer. Uh, so on the digital aspect, we laid out the strategy in the last 12 months. Now we are starting to implement some of the things on the digital front door side, um, artificial intelligence and robotics process automation. On the innovation side. It's interesting. A less known fact is UWO health also has an innovation arm or venture capital arm called isthmus. And we have a chief innovation officer over there. Who's also a very good partner and I sat on the board. So as long as the three partners work together among other things, um, things get done. It doesn't matter what the label of the, uh,

Bill Russell:

thesis areas for innovation.

Chero Goswami:

Um, part of it is actually. As simple as I, Jonathan Fritz, who probably everybody knows is a it, the chief innovation officer here, Jonathan and I, Joe innovation is different than invention. Right? Innovation has to solve a problem. Innovation has to make something better. So when we think of innovation, we always look at what's the problem we are trying to solve. So again, for the rest of the other industries, that may not be innovation, but we are finding ways where we are using data as a currency, we are using information. Bring down our AR days. We are our prior auth and pieces like that, where technology is now becoming more of a revenue generator than anything else. So that's one very simple case of innovation, uh, in the world of artificial intelligence, we are using imaging and non-structure data, you know, to start creating data models. So that's another case of innovation, anything

Bill Russell:

in the area of, uh,

Chero Goswami:

Starting to explore. Uh, I'm assuming you mean RPAs and robotics process automation. We're starting to explore by choice. We are respecting the, the, the workforce shortages and all the challenges in the clinical areas. So we're starting to look at nonclinical areas. Supply chain is one finance, HR recruitment, which everybody is struggling to recruit. Right now we are building an automated processes to reduce the turnaround times. So what's the

Bill Russell:

biggest difference between, um, BJC. UWA. I try to tell people it's like, you know, every academic medical center is a little different. Every IDN is a little different, every, I mean, what's, what's the biggest difference that you

Chero Goswami:

found? Uh, on a humorous note, I would say is it's a lot more colder at UWL compared to BJC. Uh, other than that, I would say one big difference that I feel is, uh, what's typically known as the faculty practice plan it, most academic medical centers here, the faculty practice. It was very tightly integrated with the health system. So I have responsibilities for both the, the, the systems of the faculty practice plan rounds and, uh, the health system, Johns, which is very different than a BJC in wash WashU, other than epic. It's two totally different it shops. So that's a big, big difference. The

Bill Russell:

thing I found with academic medical centers, governance has been wealth usually well thought out. Um, in fact, I haven't even thought of, of an area, an academic medical center I've gone into. Hasn't really thought out there, their governance process really well. Have you, have you found that to be so,

Chero Goswami:

um, I would say the governance structures in my experience are well-taught out of, but does it work all the time? Right? Tell me different things. And so I I'm on the philosophy that every governance structure should renew its license at the first of the year. Um, so with that in mind, we are actually recreating some of the

Bill Russell:

times

Chero Goswami:

that keep you from getting things done. Exactly, exactly. And so you use the thing though. I mean, think about Kobe and the decisions we made at two hours. Right. Why do we need another company to help us make those decisions?

Bill Russell:

So I'm trying to, I'm trying to find somebody who look, we just, we all experienced code the same way we made decisions as quickly to say by I'm trying to find somebody who said, yeah, look, we've looked at that and said, we want to be like that more. And they changed a bunch of their structure moving forward. But what I'm finding is a lot of systems are just sort of slowly leaning back into what they did.

Chero Goswami:

So I use a phrase. We at the crossroads of nostalgia and ambition, that's pretty much what it is. We want to be different, but it's our past that keeps pulling us back. And so one of my roles in being a new leader in the organization is to be the backstop room. Ask why, ask why the suspect tradition, but don't go into reverse gear. So, um, no that that's a challenging job, but I'll tell you for the right reasons when you show it works, people start believing in it. So, yeah.

Bill Russell:

Fantastic. Sure.

Chero Goswami:

Thank you for your time. Thanks for having me over.

Bill Russell:

Don't forget to check back as we have more of these interviews coming to you, that's all for today. 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 podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, you get the picture. We are everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health. VMware Hill-Rom Starbridge advisors, McAfee and Aruba networks. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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