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Interview in Action @ CHIME '23 - Barbara Franta, UChicago Medicine

December 27: Today on the Conference channel, it’s an Interview in Action live from the 2023 CHIME Fall Forum. In this episode Karla Arzola, Chief Information Officer at Rocky Mountain Human Services speaks with Barbara Franta, Executive Director, Applications & Digital Solutions at UChicago Medicine. They discuss AI, CIO priorities from last year, and the future of work. What does the unexpected surge in focusing on AI mean for other priorities like cybersecurity? Barbara also addresses the crucial question of workforce adjustment as AI has the potential to take over certain roles.

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

Welcome to This Week Health Conference. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Week Health, a set of channels and events dedicated to leveraging the power of community to propel healthcare forward. Today we have an interview in action from the Fall Conferences on the West Coast.

Here we go.

Hello everyone, we are here at Chomp Club Forum 2023 and my name is Carla Arzola and I'm the CIO at Rocky Mountain Human Services and this is one more interview in action

we're here with Barbara. Thank you for stopping by.

Thank you, Carla. This is Barbara Franta, University of Chicago Medicine. I'm Executive Director over Applications and Digital Solutions. It's wonderful to be here. Thank you. And thank you for the

introduction. By the way, she's one of my good. Friends and colleagues, and I cannot believe I'm getting nervous in front of her.

No need to be. It's just like two girlfriends talking.

It's just like two, yes. So Barbara uh, you've been, very active and you went to Becker's and you were here at the time. And is there anything that you have learned, you know, in the conferences that you have been?

what is the main concern? What is the top of mind initiative that you can think of for your organization to

present? So for our organization, it's definitely about how are we going to expand and grow. We all have heard about margins. Our hospital margins are of significant concern. We need to watch how revenue and reimbursement is being tracked.

And so we are absolutely focused. on the IT initiatives that are going to lead to that. From our IT teams, and the things that I'm hearing about, certainly at Becker's, at some of the summits that I've been to, as well as here at CHIME, we're all also talking about what happens with AI when we start adding that in, right?

It's not the AI like we talked about yesterday. It's not the AI that we've all kind of known and grown up with over the last few years. It's that disruptor that is generative AI. And how do we deal with these large language models? that are going to be that wild west and that new frontier that's going to give us all something to think about and learn how to deal with.

Yeah. So

there's two things that I want to talk to you about. So one, yesterday you mentioned some statistics, right? Yes. Last year the priorities or the, yeah, the main

priorities. Grade where, yep. CIO concerns for 2022 concerns. 2022. . And


why don't you go over them? So in, the interesting thing was that in 2022, you as a CIO were really focused on cybersecurity.

And interoperability. Mm-Hmm. .. Those were the top two items that CIOs were really focused on. And now, in 20 23, 1 year later, AI. And it's generative AI. AI has led the pack. And as you rightly pointed out when we were having our group session, we've had AI and it transcends all the different areas, right?

It's in cybersecurity, it's in interoperability, it's in BI, it's in cloud computing. We're going to have to learn how to use AI and how to spend on AI technology in all of these different areas. So it really is going to weave in and be that concern. But as I mentioned that focus on AI has exploded by five times from last year.

That's huge growth in just 12

months. Yeah. Yeah, and the percentage was very interesting because last year it was like six percent. It was six percent. And now it's like 30 percent. Now one of those, one of the potential causes of that could be that people now are seeing AI as this technology that is going to solve cyber security and patient engagement and patient and physician burnout, like right.

But now it's like where do you focus your efforts, right? Yep. You mentioned something interesting as well yesterday in our conversation, you were talking about potentially in revenue cycle, implementing something like that. And the potential impact, if we don't take the right approach, it wouldn't do our diligence, and we just go with the buzz, right?

Like, oh, AI is going to solve our world. Why don't you walk us through that?

So, as I mentioned, I am definitely a proponent of the technology. I don't believe that the machines are going to rise up and kill us like we've seen in Terminator. So, I am excited to see where we are going to go with this technology.

But I also urge caution, because when we have something new and something shiny and the brand new toy that we all open up on Christmas. It's really easy to just focus on that and let all of the rest of the chips fall around wherever they're going to, right? And so, the story that I had related, having come out of Becker's in October, was that when we've seen these new technologies come up, the economic development that's happened, we saw it in the Industrial Revolution.

The economy has shifted and it moved people out of fields and into cities, and the economy boomed. And it created a burgeoning middle class. That was fabulous, and we've all benefited from it. Then we've seen where we've had an outsourcing economy that happened, and we created economies that were built around that.

Then we had an offshoring economy that was built, and globally, that produced huge economic booms. Well now with AI, you don't have to pay a computer model. And so what happens, there isn't going to be an economic boom. We have to be careful with an economic bust. And so in the room that we were talking about yesterday, one of the cautions is that we're talking about folks who are looking at, we may be able to eliminate departments.

And replace this with bots, and replace this with technology, replacing people with technology, which is an accounting decision, fabulous accounting decision, but we need to also think about how are we going to re skill the workforce so that we aren't decimating an economy while we are doing that, and that was the point that was really important that came out for me from Becker's is that you need to balance technology.

With the real human element on the other side of it, because it's extremely important. Right. If you don't think about that, technology is only as good as we make it. Yeah.

📍   📍 We want to thank you for a wonderful year. As you know, we have celebrated our five year anniversary at This Week Health, and we are going to enter our sixth year of doing this. And we set out a goal to raise 50, 000 for childhood cancer this year, and you did not disappoint. We have raised close to 60, 000 this year for childhood cancer, and we really appreciate you.

We appreciate you. The community coming together. And we hope to do more of this next year. We hope that you'll join us. 📍 📍  When we talk about replacement, like you said, I don't believe we can replace because I feel like there's so many areas of opportunities Yes.

Within our healthcare systems. I feel like we can shift, right? Shift those skills and and educate our resources to do something different because we're going to solve one problem. There's like a million other things that we have to do on this side, right? Absolutely. I guess that's one way of seeing it.

We don't want people to worry about, you're going to be replaced by something. We just want to be We just want to create awareness, I guess, as technologists. Exactly. That we have to be prepared to, for

a change, right? Definitely. Definitely. And so that's the reason that I asked that question of the room, right?

Because we, again, we focus on the shiny object, but we really also have to be thinking about how are we going to up skill, re skill Our workforce, and if we're thinking about, I get to take this pod of people and we're not going to need that group anymore because technology is intending to replace them.

Here's what the offset is and where we're going to redirect their focus. Because we really need to have creative minds that an algorithm isn't going to be able to replace. We haven't figured out what those prompts yet are. And so let's pay people the 50 hours here and let the bots do the 50 cent work over here.

That's what's important.

Awesome. So, you're thinking now about the future, right? You definitely need to be ahead of the game. Yeah. Projects or initiatives that you work on 2023. Anything fun that you want to share with us?

Oh, fun. So fun stuff. Yeah. The fun stuff that we have going on. Fun is always, for us, is how do we help right now with some of the ambient speech recognition for physicians.

I've had an opportunity to listen to our Our ambulatory, CMIO, talk about how he wants to be able to explore some of the new technology that's coming up in that space. in order to leverage technology again to help with provider burnout. And to cut down on physician time that's being dedicated right now to some of the less critical work that they do in the medical record like we saw in yesterday's keynote, presentation, which I thought was fabulous.

Those statistics were amazing. So that's going to be A really interesting initiative for us. We're working with our HIM team for some augmented intelligence augmented intelligence technology as well for productivity. And to be able to help them get through where they may not have enough staff and according to what we're seeing, we should be able to help make that team a bit more robust, again, with the use of technology there.

Same thing with revenue cycle. So we've got some exciting things going on in our space.

Yeah. And I'm assuming that's going to run to 2024. It

does. We haven't heard about 2024. It does. It runs us through, at least through our field. Fiscal year here, so we've got some exciting things going on and then continuing with that network expansion, making sure that we've got our usage plans in place and that we continue moving forward with the UChicago Medicine brand.

Awesome, that's amazing. Yes. Anything else you want to share with us? Carla, no, I'm good. Awesome,


appreciate the time. so much for stopping by. You're a great leader. I am so happy that you're a part of this amazing team of people. Executives and technology leaders that are trying to move us forward, right?

So, thank you again for your time.

Thank you so much. Thank you for your time. I appreciate

it. So good

to see you. So good to see you too. Thank you.

 Another great interview. I want to thank everybody who spent time with us at the conference. I love hearing from people on the front lines. It is phenomenal that you shared your wisdom and experience with the community and we greatly appreciate it. We also want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

They are CDW, Rubrik, Sectra, and Trellix. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.


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