This Week Health 5 Years


December 9: Today on the Community channel, it’s an Interview in Action live from CHIME’s Fall Forum with Shakeeb Akhter, CIO & SVP at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. How are they transforming healthcare for kids, not just in Philly, but all over the world? What are they bringing to the fields of digital culture, eating culture and strategies, Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics?


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interview in action from the:

All right. Here we are at the Chime Fall Forum, another interview in action. And we are joined by the CIO for children's Hospital of Philadelphia CHOP as it's affectionately known, and it's Shakeeb Akhter. And hey, thanks for stopping by. Thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here. It's the first time we're meeting and I'm looking forward to the conversation.

My experience with chop that's been predominantly through the JP Morgan conference. So you guys present every year at the JP Morgan conference? It's generally your ceo. Mm-hmm. and your cfo. Now the CFO's there to talk about the, the numbers. Sure. Cause it's the JP Morgan conference. Right. But the CEO.

Every year comes in with these amazing stories of the work that's going on at chop. Mm-hmm. they're inspiring. She's one of the CEOs I look forward to hearing from cuz it's just amazing the things you guys are doing. I don't know if there's a question in there. I'm just, I'm sort of awe of this stuff that goes on there.

Yeah. I came to CHOP three years ago from adult medicine at Northwestern in Chicago. And I can say the mission is just amazing and the people there really, truly care for the children that we. And it's extremely, one of the things in our DNA is innovation and breakthroughs. We have these, we call 'em breakthrough makers and creating breakthroughs every day.

So there's a lot of great work in the research institute and across all the organization to really transform. Healthcare for kids, not just in Philly, but all over the world. So every day I go there, I feel inspired to be there, to be able to work there.

the research aspect of it is interesting to me cuz that always leads me to the direction of talking about data and the application of data to the care setting and to research. Those kind of things. Yeah. And that's your background prior to being a cia? That's correct. Yeah.

Talk a little bit about, that's my old job. Yeah.

talk, talk a little bit about that, that foundation that's set up in order to, to really support that work.

Yes. So we have over the last three years, I came out as a vice president of data analytics three years ago. The work we've done is really create. A enterprise data analytics platform. So we have an enterprise data warehouse that ingests and integrates structured and unstructured data. We have a data trust office. That governs all the data, assesses the quality of all the data so folks can actually trust the data that they're looking at.

Right? And it's consistent across research, quality improvement and operational analytics. And then we have been on a journey to really create data literacy in the organization. So we actually started a DNA university, data analytics university. I always wanted to be a dean of university, so I said, what's the way I can accomplish that goal? And

in your own university? My own university, I assume it's not a.

It's not regretted, but it may be with some folks here at some point. Doing some work with, chime on that. So we have trained about 500 folks in organizations taking on like wildfire. We teach them on everything, on how to write sql.

So we'll have people that have no code to programming and SQL and R in a month two months. We also teach them how to analyze data, interpret data story, tell with data, visualize with data. It's been really great. So I think we have a very good structure there. We're now launching a data catalog that is a joint partnership, so we have an operational data warehouse.

We also have a program called Arcus, which is for PIs to be able to steer data amongst the. And then we integrate that data with the clinical data. We have the data warehouse. Now we're creating what we're calling kind of front door for data across the organization, and we're using a data catalog to be able to do that jointly across the work. So I think we made a lot of progress in that space.

So transition to cio. When I talk to children's hospitals, one of the things that, that fascinates me, cuz I was with a large idn but you guys are starting to function a little bit more like a integrated delivery network for children in the area. how do you think through digital and the experience for children and their families, I guess.

Yeah, it's really good question. It's really interesting for us because having been in the adult space and realizing that adults things are very predictable they have their smartphones, they're gonna behave a certain way, they're gonna be at certain events. For pediatric experience, very different. We have parents, we have teenagers who may be adults and wanna look at their own records and not share with parents who have proxies, et cetera. So the way we're looking at experience is kind of, A digital doors strategy and essentially saying that we wanna have a seamless patient experience that enables access through multiple mediums.

And so we're looking at right now everything from our provider directory, our online scheduling and the ability to book our mobile experience and what does that look like, and making that seamless and harmoneous. The other thing that we're looking at through that is to say that there should only be one application that you access services rather than an app for rpm, an app for for patient care. We would bring all that together seamlessly for a patient and say, this is the My CHOP brand, and bring it all underneath that. And so we're looking a lot of that. We're also looking at automation in the access center to be able to triage things, messages, have chat bots to be able for people to be able to interact with as you're trying to get services from my shop.

And our goal is two. things Increase access to care for kids and serve our underserved communities and really look at the great people that don't have access to care in Western Philadelphia, Southern Philadelphia, some of the neighborhoods around strong.

last time I was in Philly, I was out visiting a friend and I have family in Philly as well, and I noticed a, at least for me it was a new facility out in the main line. Yeah. So are you guys, are you guys in an expansion mode from a geographic?

Yes, absolutely. Growth is a top priority for us. We have built the secondary hospital, our first, second hospital and. It's in King of Prussia right next to the mall. And it's a great location. There's obviously a community. We are already at capacity in many ways.

I was gonna say it's not huge. Yeah. It's, it's, it I was want, that's where I was gonna go with this. Is that a strategy of know, these let's just call 'em medium size locations around the Philadelphia Metro?

Yes. I mean, part of it is we're looking at the market data to figure out where our next locations should. And then the way the King of PR hospital helps us is essentially provides care in a community that we're not, have not been in directly previously with urgent care ed, et cetera, but also then allows patients to interact with us in that market and then gets some specialty care services there as well.

Cause that's one of the challenges with children's hospitals is they're generally right downtown and there's no traffic. Quite like Philly traffic. Yes. Talk to me about, so the conference, you're here we have track sessions, we have focus groups. What kind of things are you focusing on while you.

I think there's a couple things. One, we are really resetting our approach on digital at shop. So there's a couple of sessions here around digital culture, eating culture, eating strategy for breakfast. And so we we're starting to build our strategy, but what I'm really interested in is understanding how people have built the digital enabling culture.

So that's one of the larger things I'm focused on. Others is really. Ai predictive analytics. We're turning a corner on the maturity of our program. We really wanna focus on automation and predictive analytics. So that's the other large opportunity. I see. And gonna focus on some of those sessions around

ai. Yes. I assume you're tapping into some cloud resources to, do that. Is that something that you are thinking of the foundation for that, or is that something. I mean, cuz you're a research institution, sometimes they just come to you and say, Hey, I got some money. This is what we're doing.

Right. If they even come to you. Sure. Yeah,


Right. Right. Exactly. So are you thinking through setting up a foundation where more and more of your researchers can tap into a, a foundation that's architected, if you will?

Yes. I mean, one of the things we wanna be able to do is we wanna be able to standardize the platforms to the extent that's but we don't want to inhibit innovation. So it's a fine line and balance, as and so the things that we're looking at is we're establishing an AI center of excellence having standard ML ops standard pipelines, certain extent, having a virtual cloud enabled area where researchers can use the tools that we've deployed.

But they can use their own creativity in building the models themselves as well. So we provide kind of a bench space, if you will, right? Just like you have in research, be able to do your work in a digital way and build the models that you need to build. But then we can govern that. We can see it, we can monitor the security on it, and then we can also validate before it gets deployed into, into.

th, priorities for:

So you're 10 months into the role as cio. Yes. What's the biggest surprise stepping into the role that you looked at it, you thought, yeah, I know that role. I can do that role, and then you step in, you go, that's a little different than what I anticipated.

Yeah. I think it's the magnitude. yeah I've been working with CIOs directly for some time, but you don't appreciate the magnitude of the role and its responsibilities until you're in the seat. Right. And the number of different types of things you need to be educated on.

That's the thing that shocked me. Yeah. It was like you go to one meeting, it's like, Hey, we need you to be an expert on supply chain. Exactly. You go to the next meeting, it's like, We're gonna do some things around the genome and we need you to know, talk through that. And not that we understand a genome, but we understand how we're going to process that amount of data and that kind of stuff. Then you go to the next one and you're talking about staffing and you're just like oh my gosh,

Your brain at the end of the day. Yeah, and to your point I think successful CIOs that I see are understand operations and technology. Yeah. So I spend a lot of my time and it's exactly that. We're talking about patient experience and engagement and supply chain and capacity management constraints and predictive analytics to be able to do that. And then you're talking cybersecurity. In the next meeting and a number of other things. So you have to be very versatile and you really have to understand operations and technology.

But the nice thing about data is that is a natural progression in cuz you've already touched so much of the organization.

Yeah, I was very fortunate because when I took the CDA role, I reported to my, the chief medical officer at chop, who is very good at Alex oriented and started quality improvement there. So reporting through his organization, I really got a very deep understanding of clinical operat. Which now helps me deploy technology and understand how it impacts operations. It's, it's a, I think data is a really good step into the CIO role or co.

Are you one of those people who grew up in healthcare?

No, so I've actually had kind a tale of two careers. The first, my background's in economics and statistics, did my first 10 years in financial services, consulting and banking, and then I switched to healthcare about 12 years. I've been in healthcare IT since then.

How did you find that learning curve from finance to healthcare?

I found the, the speed of healthcare to be a lot slower than in, in finance, but the level of complexity and execution is is through the roof exponentially high.

We have similar. Oh yeah, it's very, it's very interesting. I wanna thank you for your time. Thank you so much.

Great catching up. We'll have to do this again.

Great 📍 seeing you.

Another great interview. I wanna thank everybody who spent time with us at the conferences. I love hearing from people on the front lines and it is Phenomen. That they have taken the time to share their wisdom and experience with the community, which is greatly appreciated. We also want to thank our channel sponsors one more time, who invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. They are Olive, Rubrik, 📍 Trellix, Medigate and F5. Thanks for listening. That's all for now. 📍

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