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December 6: Today on the Conference channel, it’s a double Interview in Action live from the 2023 CHIME Fall Forum. First, Sue Schade, Principal at StarBridge Advisors speaks with Kevin Wiese, CIO at BestSelf Behavioral Health. Kevin talks about their mission to improve operational efficiency, become a leaner organization, and use technology to reduce manual tasks. He also shares insights on the use of artificial intelligence in health audits and cybersecurity, provoking thoughts on how technology can minimize risk and audit workloads. Next, Reid Stephan, VP and CIO at St. Lukes speaks with Brad Reimer, CIO at Sanford Health. They discuss the pressing challenges regularly faced by the healthcare industry, such as workforce and clinician burnout. Brad discusses the smaller, accumulative disruptions caused by current technology usage in healthcare. He suggests that reducing this incrementally intrusive technology might also lessen burnout. Are these points of friction within our technology enriching our lives or are they creating added stressors? Brad also discusses the need for human connection as we continue to merge the healthcare and technology industries. How can we embrace innovation but still maintain the fundamental human touch within the patient-caregiver relationship?

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Transcript

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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.

Here we are at the Chime Fall Forum with another interview in action. My name is Che, I'm a principal at Starbridge Advisors, and with me today is Kevin Weiss, who is the uh, CIO at Best Self Behavioral Health. So welcome.

Yeah, welcome Sue. Yeah.

Nice to be chatting

with you today. Yeah. And meet each other in person. Finally, right? Yes. . So tell us about Best Self Behavioral Health First.

Best Self Behavioral Health is the largest mental health and substance abuse provider in western New York State. We have about 30 locations, you know, throughout the region.

In addition to that, we do some residential treatment, we do some care management, a lot of school based services. We're a certified community behavioral health clinic, which is a federally sponsored government program that allows us to provide a different wide array of services. So, it's a way of providing services to the clients we serve.

Um, it's sort of a no wrong door approach model. Where they can come in, they can see a counselor, they can see a doctor, and maybe see a peer or a case manager, you know, all in the same day.

Okay, great. Yeah. How's the conference for you so far? Especially being in a specialty care area.

The conference has been great.

Uh, As usual, I've been coming to CHIME for probably about five years now. It's great to connect with colleagues. Yeah, always. And kind of hear about what everyone else is doing. So, yeah, it's been a really good week. Great. Yeah, a lot of good energy.

Good. So, what's top of mind for you these days?

I think we have a lot going on. I think, you know, for us, we just, we had a strategic planning retreat last week, you know, with our leadership team, and we talked a lot about, improving operational efficiency, right? So how do we approach that? So we have a cohort of staff going through a lean, program now.

We're trying to become more of a lean organization, right? And embed that within our culture. And then, you know, so it's, you know, people, process, and tech. So, you know, Lean will address the process piece, and then how can we leverage technology to try and take away some of that, you know, more of those manual tasks and just be a little bit more efficient with how we do things at the organization.

Okay. Anything in particular that you're working on that's going to support that efficiency? Yeah,

we do. We're sort of, shifting some staff around as well. We just promoted someone to a Director of Systems Analysis role. So he's going to really lead some of our process improvement efforts.

We do a lot of work with the Microsoft Power Platform so that we leverage some of Microsoft's, you know, process automation tools so we're at, you know, we're doing things today like, you know, just reading PDF documents, you know, reports that might come in, invoices that might come in, and then leveraging that technology to create dashboards in Power BI and store some of that data, you know, in different databases and repositories.

Okay, that

sounds like a nice suggestion. Segway to AI. So how are you thinking about AI and and what are your thoughts for 2024 on AI?

Sure. Yeah, there's been, I feel like there's sort of been like maybe three buckets, you know, here this week, right? So it's sort of addressing those administrative type tasks, like what technology, you know, can we use to help there?

I sat in on a cyber security focus group this morning that talked about what some of the bad guys are doing nowadays, you know, to leverage bad ai right? Bad, yeah, yeah. You know, to, , really essentially increase risk, I feel like. And then maybe how vendors can help and what they're doing with their products to try and deliver some tools to us, , to make our job a little bit easier.

Okay. I'm not sure I'll sleep any better tonight after that talk . But

you never sleep after cybersecurity talks, right? Never. Yeah. And I think, and I don't know how CISOs.

Right. And then I think we're also , we do a lot of auditing, , we're highly regulated like most healthcare is, right?

So can we leverage AI to help with, chart audits? You know, admission, continuing stay, discharge audits. We have staff who spend 60 to 90 minutes going through their audit process on just one single chart. So I did talk to a few folks this week who are looking to try and, you know, leverage AI to reduce some of that work.

We have a checklist of over a hundred items that we go through for some of our audits.

Great. So what else are you looking forward to in 24?

We have a new administrative building going up. And a new what we call our Child Advocacy Center. So that supports all of Western New York.

It's children who have been through sexual or some sexual abuse or trauma. So that's a really big project that's set to open middle of next year. So we're preparing for that. Getting that building ready, getting some technology in there. And, you know, looking forward to how that's going to better support the community in Western New York.

Good,

good. Have you opened new buildings before?

we Have, this is the largest, you know, we have, you know, this is a pretty big building. It's on the Buffalo Medical Niagara Campus, which is where a lot of the healthcare medical stuff is in the city. So we'll be excited to be there. So that's happening, looking at our contact center, doing some stuff with contract lifecycle management.

Continuing to evolve our project management office, so no shortage of projects.

Yeah great. Anything in 23 that you want to comment on in terms of innovations in your organization and things that you and your team

have done? Yeah, we had a Cernegul Live about a year ago so, you know, we've been using the past You know, 8 to 12 months to optimize.

And I won't use the word recover, but you get the idea. So I get things right after that on the reporting and the data side. We're just finishing up an integration with our virtual care platform. So we don't use Cerner's embedded functionality. We leverage a third party solution. So we're developing an integration there now, which is nice.

So that'll allow us to, move demographics back and forth. It'll also allow us to do some pre visit documentation. So we have, you know, if a client comes to us, they have to sign anywhere between 12 and 14 consents and releases. So with the new integration with our telehealth platform, we're going to push at least 50 percent of those electronically, so clients can review them, sign off on them, save them some time when they come into our clinics, and then of course save our staff some time, you know, from having to do that right at the front desk

window.

I would imagine virtual care is a big part of... Virtual care is a large portion of what... You deliver.

It is. So we pivoted, you know, when COVID hit, we went to 99 percent overnight you know, telehealth. And then now we're at a pretty steady state of about 40 percent of our services are delivered via virtual care.

Well, that's certainly higher than

an acute much higher for sure. Yeah. You know, traditional ambulatory setting.

Right. Yeah. It looks great. You know, we see individuals throughout the whole age spectrum from two all the way up until, you know, sixties. So it works great for our parents, to be able to do a telehealth session, right.

You know, if you're in the car or. None of it will take off of work. Oh yeah. So we see some good adoption there. Babysitter

for

the other kids? Yeah. Great. Good. Okay. Anything else about the conference that has been particularly exciting or inspiring?

I think there's been a lot of talk about patient engagement, right?

You know, we talk about that, the experience, for patients and for staff, you know, because we, you know, we try and address that at our organization too. So. You know, what can you do to get them more information in a timely and convenient manner, make it easier for them to get an appointment and reschedule.

So, you know, as part of our contact center, you know, modernization, we're looking to bring in some new tools to help on that side of things as well. Great. Good.

Okay. Well, thanks so much for stopping by. Sure. Thanks

for having me, Sue. Great chatting. Great. Take care. Okay.

📍   📍 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. 📍 📍

  📍 Here we are at the Chime Fall Forum, here with another interview in action. And my name is Reid Stephan, VP and CIO of St. Louis Health System. And I'm joined by my friend, Brad Reimer, who is the CIO at Sanford Health. Brad, how are you? Doing great, how are you Reid? Very good. So, I'm going to start off with where I kind of normally end these.

And I'm going to ask you right out of the gate, what's a problem or a challenge that kind of sticky wicky keeping up at night that you've kind of brought top of mind with you here to Chime? Just look. For those, the nuggets of insight and inspiration. Yeah.

So I think with everybody they're kind of challenged with this workforce challenge.

Clinician burnout. Yeah. Just workforce burnout in general and in rural America, obviously there's some issues that kind of compound that in terms of just the availability of workforce and those things get exasperated. So things that are gonna help us find different and unique ways of whether it's attracting talent or whether it's just being able to keep the talent Mm-Hmm. and make them. I feel like they really are part of the healthcare mission, even if it's some of the back office roles. And then also just this topic around clinician burnout, and what are those things that are adding to the fatigue? Uh, A lot of times we think about what are these big automations?

What are these things that can reduce hours upon hours of clinician time? And a session I was just in, it was talking about how can you just remove those little interruptions and the frequent things that are just frustrations, like, oh man, I gotta interrupt. And you think about the technologies that are out there today.

It knows the phone in my pocket. It knows devices on my wrist or my ring or whatever. And you've got multi factor authentication walking around with you everywhere. And why can't our solutions just recognize that and remove some of those little points of fatigue? So, I think there's some really promising things coming.

And excited about to see how those, come into healthcare and solve some of those problems. Yeah.

You know, I love that idea. Sometimes, you know, we think we have to swing for the fences. Yep. And deliver that. One big hit, that guy scores the run. But the reality is, those are outliers. More often than not, it's like the bunt single, and the cumulative effect then of getting people on base, so to speak, and then driving runs home that way.

So you talked about kind of the multi-factor authentication piece, and maybe the ability to remove the little points of friction along the way, that in the moment don't seem that big, but like cumulatively throughout a day, or a week or a month, become just a major source of frustration. Anything specific that you've heard Or seen here so far, that's kind of helping you identify even more areas of opportunity for those kind of singles that will help us.

Yeah, so the one that we were talking about was, you know, how you're thinking about multi-factor authentication. Okay. And there's a lot of things around that whole topic around, you know, like how many authenticator apps do you have in your phone, and which one are you supposed to be using?

And some of them you're looking for a location, some you're looking for a letter, sometimes you're trying to figure out how many of these pictures have a bridge in it. And it's just not a convenient fluid process for people. Again, it doesn't maybe take you a lot of time to get through it, but it's something that interrupts your day, it might interrupt a conversation with a patient, and in the keynote this morning, there was that dialogue around the picture that a pediatric patient drew of their physician, and the physician was over at the PC.

And I don't know if everybody's seen that picture, but it's real. And that again is one of those scenarios to where that's depicting a physician that is disconnected from the patient for minutes on end. But those little interruptions just throughout that interaction are something that still kind of is a barrier for that human connection.

And that human connection with the way that virtual is getting pushed into everything is something we need to work hard to preserve. Just make sure that it's, we don't overdo the technology and we use it to really augment and build a stronger relationship between the patient and the caregiver. And we, as technologists, need to find ways to remove those little points of friction.

Yeah, at the end of the day, the work we do is always going to be... Human to human. And so that, you know, technology, digital health, it's just a conduit. It's just a way to improve productivity, efficiency, maybe even accelerate workflows. But we need to, I think what you're describing is a mindset of how do we not replace, but augment that human to human interaction and make it so that the provider, then just in this, the example you're using, feels like, , they really are engaged with the patient.

And that story of the child drawing their view of the And yeah, he's in the room, but he or she is at the computer. Like, that is their focus, not on the patient who should be the center of the care.

Yeah. And in rural America, we a lot of times are working hard to try to bridge that physical distance.

And so, using that technology has been extremely advantageous, and it's something that we'll continue to push into. But, like we were talking about, that human connection, and especially in rural America, there's still that hometown feeling, I want to know who I'm talking to, I want to know who I'm working with, and I want them to know me.

So finding ways to be able to bridge that gap through some of the technologies, I think is something that is extremely valuable for rural, but it's the natural human nature for people to want to be able to connect.

So, last question for you. I think, on the same vein that we're talking about, for years we've talked about technology as an enabler, as a friction reducer, and largely I would say it probably hasn't been perceived as delivering in that realm.

Maybe even viewed as a necessary eagle. So as As we try and pivot and shift the narrative on that, what are you doing at Samford to help with the change management, to help kind of grow the trust bank so as we do have new capabilities, new technology, there's not an immediate thought of like, oh great, this is going to add even more friction to my day, versus, no, this is really going to be an enabler for me and make my life better.

So again, I think this is something that's not unique to Samford, but it's that concept of project or technology migrating into a product mindset. And the foundation that we're really grabbing a hold of is starting with the user first, putting the human at the center of how you're going to design the technology and the processes around that human, because they're the ones they're going to be interacting with.

And I think it's so easy, especially with all the great technologies and innovations that are coming out, but they're coming out in these little silos. And we've got to think about how we're going to stitch that together in a really unified experience and put that user journey really at the pinnacle of what we're doing.

And it's so easy for us to just very equivalently. So, it's not necessarily say, the patient's at the center, the caregiver's at the center, but truly is it in every conversation we're having when we're truly designing the solutions and the workflows? Or are we just trying to solve one particular issue in that silo that becomes a very disconnected, and again, those little points of frustration throughout the day.

So, I think that continuity of the experience is something that we're paying more attention to, and thinking about it more from that product management mindset. That really is, put that... Customer truly first, not just in thought, but actually in action.

Yeah, so I hear you describing as well, we want to avoid point solutions and really look for platform solutions that can solve a variety of challenges and opportunities.

Or platform solutions that can truly interact with each other seamlessly to provide that a continuous and a free flowing experience.

Yeah, great. Well, Brad, thanks so much for the time. Have a great rest of your conference. Yeah,

good to see 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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