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January 10: Today on TownHall Reid Stephan, VP and CIO at St. Lukes talks with Aaron Miri, SVP, Chief Digital & Information Officer at Baptist Health about their implementation of two Moxi robots to help alleviate their burnout and staffing issues. What was Aaron’s career path to his role at Baptist Health today? How did the implementation of the Moxi robot come to be and how did he identify the opportunity? What sort of tasks can Moxi be used for? How long did it take to train?

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Transcript

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

Today on This Week Health.

So we got Moxie. I'm sitting in the lobby of our Wolfson Children's Hospital.

. A little child. Walks out with his mom. . He looks at it, he runs it, gives it a giant bear hug, just right there, totally unprompted like this is.

Wow. Yeah. So the reaction from the patients has been tremendous. It's one more nugget of gold, of a differentiator

Welcome to this week, health Community Town Hall is our show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell. I'm creator of this Week Health, A set of channels dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. For five years now, we've been making podcasts that amplify great thinking to propel Healthcare forward. We wanna thank our show partners for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders now onto today's.

Welcome to this week, health Community Town Hall conversation. I'm Reid Stephan, VP and CIO at St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho, and I'm joined today by Aaron Mi, senior Vice President and Chief Digital and Information Officer at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida.

Aaron, thanks so much for making the time.

Thanks my friend. Good to have you. Good seeing

you

again.

Yeah. Take just a minute and explain to our listeners exactly who Baptist Health.

Yeah, so Baptist Health I've been around the community for over 65 years here in northeast Florida. Largest locally governed health system in the region.

Our service area goes from just south of Atlanta to just north of Orlando, so a giant swath of the country. We are full service idn end-to-end between pediatrics and adult ambulatory, and. Multiple hospitals, multiple clinics, and quite a large geographic area that we support as well. So, been here now a little over a year, year and a half down this journey.

We just went live with the Epic Electronic Health record about two and a half months ago, so we're well on the fun of that. And we're about o ready to open up our newest hospital here, our Clay Hospital on Fleming Island in December. So exciting times here at Baptist.

So just a few things going on there.

I love it. . Take a minute and just share a bit more about, you talk about your education background, your career path, like what's led you to the role you have today at Baptist Health.

Yeah. I would say fundamentally the quest for new knowledge, right? That curiosity. Always be curious, even as a little kid.

I was always the one trying to fix the broken computers or put back together something that was horribly amiss. And so I just, I loved really complicated, messy things. I like to fix them and make it right. And what's messier than healthcare? Mm-hmm. . So when I got into it, I actually started off as a software developer working for Comcast and Dallas Fort Worth, and we were required by Time Warner, so I found myself a free agent.

And this is before the American Recovery and reinvestment. And then I got a phone call out of the blue from a health system there in town saying, Hey, we wanna do this thing called digitizing medical records. I'm like, oh, that sounds interesting. Can I go from being a software developer? to actually digitizing medical records and what that means.

And so what was interesting is that I really fell in love with the business of healthcare, with actually seeing my IT work go into effect and actually materialize as somebody getting better, faster, and a lot happier. And the very first project I did was a fetal monitoring project where the mother could finally listen to her baby in the womb and hear their heartbeat and the look on their faces when they could hear the heartbeat for the very first.

Was like the whole sun lit up the room. It was infectious. And from that point forward, I fell in love with healthcare it and really just doubled down on it. So my educational career path really went and intersected with healthcare. I got my MBA with a healthcare administration focus. I'm in the middle of my doctoral right now with healthcare administration, so hopefully I'll be done here in the next year, year and a half.

And then from a give back perspective, I teach the Chime CIO bootcamp. I teach in local universities here in Jacksonville. I try to give back my time as much as possible. And also what's important is that, Work with the community and the community leaders to help build the next generation of workforce.

Recently I was appointed by Governor DeSantis here in Florida to the board of trustees from Florida College of Jacksonville. And so it's my hope to be able to work with students and work with the next generation of students and really developing and cultivating them to becoming a really productive worker in the healthcare environment, which we so desperately need them.

So from my perspective and my career, it's about that curiosity about chasing those fun project. Falling in love with the actual business of healthcare, and let's be honest, it's really, really, really hard. Now, I did deviate for a little while. I was a CIO in Dallas, Texas at Walnut Hill Medical Center, and I said, you know what?

I give these vendors a lot of grief. I gave 'em a lot of grief. I said, let's go join a vendor. Actually work with product, look at what that means, be accountable to Wall Street. So I went and joined a cybersecurity company outta Boston for several years and had teams around the world. So I was global CIO and VP of government relations, and really had a chance to interact with health systems around the globe.

And what was interesting to me at that point, besides owning product and sales cycles and all those things that you suddenly have to really be exposed and really be ingrained in was the fact. It's not easy being on the product side, and it's not easy selling into people like you and I Reid, where you gotta convince us that yeah, you have a better widget than the competitor.

But at the end of the day, what I realized is that it's that symbiotic relationship, it's that partnership that really was where Robert beats the road. And so as I came back onto the provider side, because we got acquired, so it's a good thing. As I came back to the provider side, I really have taken that to heart with how can we co.

And build for the future and also push the bleeding edge to a level. Never seen.

Yeah, I love that. And that partnership is so important, right? That vendor, client doesn't have to be adversarial. It can be very collaborative and it can be a partnership where both interests can serve the greater good. I love, and what you described, like that's, that's what drew me to healthcare as well, it's the mission that really connects to your heart and what I especially love about healthcare, is It really is about the one.

And so the joy you get of doing something and if it just improves the life of one person, it's a home run. And you feel that like there's not necessarily always this pressure to, well, it's gotta scale to this. Yes, we wanna be efficient, we want things to scale, but at the end of the day, it's about individuals.

And if you can make a difference in somebody's life, you know, bring sunshine into the room like you described, like that is a huge bucket. filler To the point I could never not do Healthcare.

Yeah. One of the things I like to do for fun anytime I'm feeling like, man, there's a lot of things going on. I just need a break.

I'll go around the hospital and one of my favorite things to do, especially at our Baptist South location, which is where we deliver a lot of babies, is go by the nursery and just look in the window. Right? Just look at the window with all these little tiny faces counting on you. To make it right. Nothing inspires you more than that, right?

Just those little nuggets of gold that we have in the provider community is priceless. And while I agree, you could make a lot more money building product or working for Amazon or Facebook, whatever, there is nothing that can replace the intangibles of exactly what you're talking about, making an actual difference for people.

nd. It is priorities for:

Yep. Well said. Well said. Okay. I want to talk just for a minute about I think it's been about a month ago, I saw the press release that you went live with a Moxi robot. Yep. And maybe it's even more than one, so just kind of share with us, how that came to be, how you identified the opportunity, but then in particular, I saw the pictures, the robot is adorable.

Like, how's it going?

It's going well. Great question. So what's interesting is I spent the first. Four months here at Baptist Listening. Yeah. My CEO has a great saying. He said, God gave you two ears and one mouth, so go listen before you talk . So I spent the first four months rounding every facility, every hospital, sending both time with my staff as well as the clinicians.

And what I was hearing was exactly what you read in the papers every day, and I'm sure what you're experiencing there at St. Luke's, which is staff shortages, right? Yeah. we don't have enough nurses to go around and our nurses. Really were doing heroic work, right? Running around like the power of three people to one, doing whatever they could.

But the problem is that that's how you increase burnout and you have staff attrition that increases because of that, because you just can't fill those positions fast enough. So as our chief nursing executive would say, she said to me, Aaron I really want my nurses to work top of license. Meaning be able to be a nurse, but then also be freed up from having to go retrieve linens and go get medication from the pharmacy and go run and get blood from the blood.

bank So how do we automate this and use technology to help us? So thus began our investigation. What is out there that is, that's secure, that's safe, that's stable, that's automated, that we do not have to have an army of IT people to support that is workable and it's usable Out comes this company called diligent Robotics with a product called Moxi.

They were incubated at UT Austin and really a lot of people support them And I talked to Cedars Sinai and other healthcare organizations who had implemented them, and they realized tremendous, tremendous uplift of their nursing staff by simply automating very routine things like retrieving medication, retrieving linens, retrieving blood bank.

The ROI was clear besides time saved and steps saved. It was also a staff satisfier, so much so that we have now had nurses end up almost wanting to talk to Moxi privately one-on-one, just to kind of vent about the day or whatever else. And that wasn't an initial part of our hypothesis, but it's amazing how much of a staff satisfier this is, as well as an actual return on investment.

So we have two Moxies right now as sort of the proof point. Is there clear? ROI with a true business plan of if there's ROI after eight months to scale this program and really ramp up not to replace. the goal is not to replace nurses, but the point is to make them more effective and efficient with technology that actually works.

So it's going really well. We have some audacious plans with robotics around Baptist, Jacksonville. And I would also say that the key to all of this is an engaged clinical team. And the only way that happens is that they actually feel that you heard them. So where it all began was listening, where it's all ending up is executing on the listening.

Yeah, I love that. And so what are some of the things that Moxie kind of helps deliver? Can you describe like mm-hmm. and how much can it carry? Like just practically trying to understand this.

Yeah, so it's got secure bins where you can literally badge tap to be able to access the bins, which allows it to retrieve medications from like the pharmacy and bring it up.

We know we have a tube system at some of our hospitals, pneumatic tube system, but even that, gets really gummed up and it's old and sometimes has issues. Anybody with pneumatic tubes knows it's a bug move from time to time, but moxie, the way it works, it actually maps all of your floors.

It automates itself. Think of it as a room. A very complicated, sophisticated Roomba with a articulating arm that can be able to pick up, retrieve things of several pounds and be able to put it in its bin and then of course, lock it, secure it so that only patient or nurse Aaron, or whoever Aaron that was going towards can unlock that drawer.

We've been using it for in initial stages as food delivery. It's amazing how much nutrition and food deliveries there are on the floor, especially on the weekends and after hours. Two blood, blood is always in demand. It's like a constant. , just caravan, going back and forth to the operating rooms and back, and of course three pharmacy, right?

A lot of pharmaceuticals. We have not gone into either DEA or schedule two type drugs yet. That's on the radar. Can we do that workflow securely? We're still trialing that out. But for normal things like bags of saline or other things that you would normally get, Those are easy to stack up into a Moxi and it comes to you.

The turnaround time is fantastic. In two hours, it can be fully charged and almost last for 22 hour full shift. What's also amazing about Moxi is that it has a built-in series of sensors to it, so it won't run into you, it won't tip over, it won't run into the wall, and it can even go on elevators and be able to press the button of where it's going.

It's truly a remarkable little piece of te. , but more importantly way it was designed. I feel like I'm selling the thing, but the reality is it's so enamored with it, is that it actually works in what it's doing. Yeah. Funny story. So we got Moxie. I'm sitting in the lobby of our Wolfson Children's Hospital.

Beautiful lobby, pediatric hospitals. Beautiful art around us. Yeah. Elevators door open. A little child. Walks out with his mom. He's gotta be five, five and a half years old. And I'm like, okay, let's see who his reaction is. His robot sitting right here just happened out sitting outside the. . He looks at it, he runs it, gives it a giant bear hug, just right there, totally unprompted like this is.

Wow. Yeah. So the reaction from the patients has been tremendous. Yeah. And to them, it's exactly what Baptist is, which is a very advanced, forward-leaning health system. But it's one more nugget of gold, of a differentiator and being the first hospital system in Florida with it, I feel pretty proud about the work we've done.

Yeah, you should. How long did it take to train it? What's that look?

Yeah, so it's about a two month training period. So the first month is really mapping out the floors, AutoCAD designs. It has sensors, as I said, to be able to just make sure that it knows how to maneuver and can really see things well. And then the second month is the actual workflows, right?

Mm-hmm. making sure that those use cases you're going to do truly are mapped up end to end, and people know how to summon Moxi, we, we chatted into Boser batches, so you can use Boser to summon Moxi, those workflow things to make sure it works seamlessly, so that at two in the morning on a Saturday that it works and people know how to use it as, shifts change.

So the reality is it's about two months of training it and trialing it, and then you're in action. And so that's where we started. We started in late August, early September, and it went live just two weeks ago here at Baptist. And it's been a success thus far.

Yeah, that's great. And I love how you described it's about augmentation.

It's about like elevating in particular the role of the nurse. And what's really powerful about that to me is the more you talked about kind of the staff shortages, the more we can help our nurses like operate at a higher level, their licensure, the more we can take off some of the work today that's needs to get done, but it's repetitive.

It takes them away from the bedside. The more they're gonna fall back in love with the profession they chose. The more patients are gonna feel like the nurses are there, like interacting with them and not with the equipment around them. It's just just tick a lot of boxes. So congrats and thanks for sharing that.

You're welcome. Thank you. Yeah, and many more inventions to come out. Trust me, we have a whole innovation program that's really rolling here at Baptist, so we're excited by it.

All right. Well maybe we'll get together in the future and talk more about that.

Happy to Reid, always my friend.

Yeah, Aaron, thanks for the time and have a great day.

Cheers.

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