This Week Health
Marc Probst

Today on Insights. We go back to a conversation Host Bill Russell had with Marc Probst the CIO at Intermountain Health. The topic of discussion was Easing the Burden on Physicians and the Benefits of Partnering with Medicaid. How can technology help with easing the burden? And how can health systems become more focused on value-based care?


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Hello and welcome to another episode of Insights. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Weekin Health IT. A channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. Our hope is that these episodes serve as a resource for the advancement of your career and the continued success of your team. Now onto the show.

Today on Insights. We go back to a conversation host Bill Russell had with Mark Probst, the CIO at Intermountain Health. The topic of discussion was easing the burden on physicians and the benefits of partnering with Medicaid. How can technology help with easing the burden? And how can health systems become more focused on value based care?

You've been an advocate for easing the burden on physicians and patients. How have you seen technology being used to reduce that burden?

I think I started that when you asked me what I'm excited about what's happening in technology. I really believe our ability to capture information, not through traditional keyboards or poking on a screen but through voice, through image, through all these other capabilities that we have, that's going to be the biggest burden easer for our clinicians that's out there.

And then what we do with that data. Once we've got it into computable data, we've got all kinds of options but getting the computer out of the way of the clinicians or the consumer and making it just a facilitator of what they're trying to do. Tthat's the win here. I never thought we could teach a computer to see. Not one early in my career. We can. And it's amazing what you can do when you have some of these new capabilities.

So it's two directions, right? It's getting data in. So you see advances in helping us to just get the physicians, to get the data in a lot easier and then getting the data out. So one of the things I've heard from physicians over and over again is look, I've got to go to six different screens to get the complete picture.

And that's where we're going to see a lot of advances in the next couple of years is really consolidating that overall snapshot so that they can get that information very quickly. And also just getting the information in is going to be a lot easier.

Yeah. So I, in technology is it's really interesting where we're at. We think of the EMRs. The EMRs are fairly old technology. I mean, they've done a good job. Epic and Cerner and all the providers in refreshing some of the things that they're doing in modernizing some of the look and feel, but the baseline is they're pretty ... they're older technology, right? I mean, they're are like me, they're older. Doesn't make us a relevant or bad. It just makes us older. But some of the new technologies that are coming out today and our ability to be able to feather that into these core processing systems, pretty exciting. And I'm really excited about the future.

Yeah, absolutely. Your CEO is actually one of the CEOs I love to listen to at the JP Morgan conference. And he shared that Intermountain has partnered with Medicaid on a specific zip code that is sort of a an underserved or a a market with just generally poor health for various reasons. But you guys have partnered with Medicaid as assumed risk and regardless of if those reasons are it's a food desert or other issues, you guys are partnered with them. Can you give us a little bit of maybe background on that or how IT is playing a role in that initiative?

Sure. So our main office building is in downtown Salt Lake. And if you go up to the 22nd floor, which is our top floor and if you look out to the East, so you look out the windows that face East, we got the Wasatch mountains and they're beautiful. Great skiing up there. And then if you walk to the other side and you look at the neighborhoods that are going to the West, there's a massive differential, even in our estimate, you know mortality rate between those two vistas. Out to the East, very wealthy population, very educated. The University of Utah's up there. A lot of, it's just a really good demographic. You go out and look to the West, you have a different demographic.

And I believe it's like 10 years is the difference in mortality rate between those two areas. So that's really, I don't know that that's exactly what got Mark Harrison thinking about it because he's pretty wise anyway but it is a stark reality that there are things we can do to improve the health care across our community and that we have a responsibility to do so.

So we brought in a gal. She actually already worked for us but we made her a Senior Vice President over our community care and she's done an excellent job in aligning us with Medicare, aligning our own insurance products, aligning the delivery of care. And all of this requires technology, as you might understand, underlying it. The data requirements, even to understand those demographics and the difference, the hotspotting that exists in there. So we had a lot of analytics involved in it. Yeah. There's a lot of technology supporting it but really it's a moral issue, that just because you live to the East of our building, shouldn't make healthcare better than than any other area of our, of our state.

We're learning a lot. We are immensely committed to value-based care as an organization. I think we may be one of the leaders in the country and actually taking on risk, not in sheer numbers, but certainly on a percentage basis for the population. We have much smaller population than a lot of States.

But from a percentage basis of the work that we do, we have really moved a lot into value and that's caused us to build new tools, new data warehouses or data lakes and the analytics and support it. So it's been very good for us to take the challenge that Mark Harrison laid out at the JP Morgan conference.

Yeah. And I think health systems that assume risk in any way, shape or form. I know in Southern California we had about 250,000 lives at risk. And we had Sharp on, they have a lot of lives at risk and, and you have insurance product. And UPMCS is an insurance product. When you take that risk it really does sort of, help to fund, help to get you the investments you need to put the technology around that because the numbers, tell the story and it's pretty, pretty apparent.

Wow, thanks for tuning in another great episode. If you have feedback for us regarding this content and materials, or if you would like to help us to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward, which is our ???? mission, please send us a note at Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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