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Cletis Earle with Penn State Health stops by to discuss sourcing top talent from across the country. I hope you enjoy.


All right. HIMS 20, 22. And we are here with Cletus Earl, the CIO, SVP CIO, and state health. Yeah, always good to catch up.

Good to see you. My friend, I saw you up on stage. Yeah. What a, what were you talking about? Upstate

talking about telehealth and where, what we've experienced and learned in the last two years. It's been a interesting. Journey

there's there. There's like two topics I don't want to talk about in this, in this session.

One is, , COVID and the other is telehealth or virtual desktops. And in doing that,

you almost can't help.

How could you not? They're a big part of what's going on. , , I mean, let's go in a different direction. So what what's what's top of mind, what's, what's the challenge that you're facing right now

at Penn state?

You know, it's interesting because it is somewhat of a segue. To, , you know, coping and everything else, but it's around resources. You know, one of the things that we, as at Penn state, what we're doing is we continue to look for the best talent around the country, no matter where, and the dynamic now that most people are.

And there's a good portion of people are working in a hybrid mode. There's a element that we have to compete in ways that we've never been able to compete before because people are now so dispersed. You know, it's interesting. We were looking for positions and, you know, looking for people to fill up. And, you know, you're starting to see people in looking for director positions and even at the VP level requiring to work remotely and not being able to relocate.

So those are, that's a whole different dynamic that we've never

seen before. So talk to me about your dynamic. Are you requiring people to live in Pennsylvania?

No. No, we're not. We've changed. Okay. Migraine, but the thing is about. We're competing with all other verticals. You remember a few years ago when data analytics, people were the challenge and cyber cyber cyber, right.

We're now talking about at the desktop level, everybody is actually able to, , kind of define their own, you know, , criteria it's, it's very difficult to do at the desktop level, but there's resources that are just all of the different skillsets that we're seeing are now part of this whole. , you know, wanting to work from, you know, they, there they are


So when people ask me, I say, roughly between 10 and 20% are still on site because we have to be, we have to have tech support locally that can, and maybe twenties high, but

yeah, and he's a little high, but, but, but still it's contingent of people.

So, so those people need to be there to do the. Did that stop Oregon stuff.

What about your analyst? So you're, you're like epic, epic shot every cancer against you, but your, your EHR analysts are those onsite. Are we doing that? Virtual? Sure.

Virtual or informatics people ever Juul, all of those resources of virtual. Now you need your informatics people to be onsite at times and speak to our clinicians.

But in many cases, some of those people are virtual. So it's a, it's a hodgepodge

of. Eric Decker from Intermountain. They're now hiring in 50 states. I talked to, , Andy Crowder from atrium. They're now hiring 48 states. I don't know which two they're not hiring from, but probably Hawaii and Alaska. You were 48.

Oh, you're

48 as well. There's two states that, , you have some, , labor challenges and we have to make sure we're mindful of that, but

will those people potentially have to come onsite from time to time? And now we're just thinking, Hey, we're going to give them a plane ticket. That is, that

is a, one of the dynamics.

Some people will, some people, you know, as we're defining some of the scenarios, we're building hospitals, we're going to need to have those people on site at some point. But for the most part, they're able to work remotely, you know, interesting enough. So I talked to, , one of the EMR vendors and they also said, Hey, we have a new methodology because before we used to spend X amount of money for all the guests, you know, it used to be very expensive, but now.

So we can actually do things much differently and at a different rate. So it's very interesting to hear how things have shifted

most acute areas for you to hire right now. What are those? I still,

, business intelligence people. It's very, you know, data analytics, anybody of that nature, but we're now seeing a challenge around our analytics.

You know, a year ago I had X amount of resources that were empty and then plus, , and it was a small amount, but now moving forward, you know, it's, it's a challenge as that. Increase exponentially with growth. And it's just a very interesting dynamic of trying to retain. So it's all over the place, but definitely how are you?

Yeah, so I knew it was going to happen, so I saw it coming. Yeah. So yeah, X amount of people are going to be doing that. , it's just very interesting. So

when we had, , about 700 people, but we always had about 40 positions open what's that percentage about. Between 10 and 20% of open positions. But now about about 10% is roughly what we're looking at is, are we still looking

at that for sure.

For my organization, we were under, when I first got here about four to 5%, which is amazing. And then over the years, you know, through COVID it's exponentially increased. So we're now roughly around 15 to 18,

I'm doing the math in my head. As far as I said, that it's 5%, most my number it's

usually around.

So we were, we were there, but now that number has increased.

, so BI business intelligence, data analytics, , cybersecurity or

cybersecurity. So cyber at this organization doesn't report to me, but I do know that, you know, my, my colleague, Matt, , RSI. So he basically has the same challenge as everybody else.

Cyber is still a challenge. And you can imagine now with the war Ukraine, , the, the Russian war, it is become even more of a challenge trying to get the resources because they are now saying, Hey, are we going to be using our resources for these kinds of statewide or national kind of efforts? Very interesting time.

Did you relocate? , I actually do both, so I come back and forth trying to sell a house there in a pandemic. Has. And yeah. So I'm also,

you were up in the upper

level. Yup. Yup. So I basically stay a good portion of my time in central Pennsylvania, but I still go back and forth. But again, I think that I have a, I have a place, right.

I can stay there, but I think we're going to have to think about this holistically, how we're all, you know, being dynamic to move and be on site as intimately as it can so I can drive and I'll be there. So that's the, that's the challenge of trying to hire somebody from Cal. I may not be able to get them here.

Well, that,

that was going to be my follow up question. How do you, how do you develop culture? I mean, I'm sure you want a dynamic culture of people interacting, those good things. , culture and training are the two things I always

wonder about. Yeah, it's it, there's something lost, you know, really about the interaction.

I mean, we are we're industry, as you know, healthcare is very. , it's a, it's a scenario when you're dealing with your doctors, you have to be on site, really have to help them see their workflows. It has been an interesting process to try to figure out how you're going to get better while you're mobile.

Haven't gotten there yet. I'm trying to figure that out. And again, I think that's a challenge. Many of our colleagues are experiencing across the globe. This is a global issue. This is not necessarily a state or a,

you know, You know, one of the things we had a separate building for it at my health system.

And I was always trying to get my staff to go out into the hospitals, spend time with the clinicians and, , you know, and we literally, I had metrics that I was incenting the managers, like, get your staff out there to talk and interact with them in this world. Is it just, are we interacting with the clinicians through zoom meetings and teams?

The good

news. They have learned clinicians have learned to use the zoom and the teams and all of these, these particular tools. So yes, there's that level of interaction. Now, one of the things, you know, at our academic medical center, because they're integrated doctors, that's a different story, but when you talk about our community, When you told them about the physician, the community practices is community providers.

That's a little bit different, right? They're not jumping on zoom to engage. So we have to understand there's a difference between your integrated and your non integrated physicians and how you interact. So we're still trying to figure that out and get more people boots on the ground as

needed complexity of being a CIA.

Let's say five years ago versus today, is it, is it the same, just a different set of problems or is it, is it hard? I

think it's, I think it's inherently more complex. , we are competing with other verticals that we've never competed with before we're required to do things that we've never been able to do before.

The infrastructure technically has changes, improved Moore's law, all of those things, but the, the level of complexity. , and, and complications of what you've just talked about. Well, how do you deal with, you know, building a hospital when you're not there, how do you deal with, , optimizing tools, making sure that your provider practices and their workflows are enhanced when you're not seeing it in person, those things are inherently more complicated.

So I would say the CIO's responsibilities and duties have evolved. , not, not necessarily that you can't overcome it. It's just that we have evolved. Figure out a new method. And, , you know, I find myself more and more bill looking at other verticals, seeing how these other verticals are operating, being able to borrow, beg, steal some methodologies that other industries have been able to do and get them to work for healthcare.

We are now at the point that we're accepting agile. You've heard it today. There's a lot of talk about agile methodology compared to waterfall. So now we have to figure out my whole thing. What's after agile, what's the next iteration of innovation. What's the next integration of making sure it can move forward and, you know, dev ops, there's all these other different types of frameworks that you need to think about.

That's what I consider the next phase.

So last question. , Penn state football, what can we expect, , next fall? Well,

let's just say, , as a, as a. In addition to the Penn state family. And I know you're, you're

diet, I've

been since birth, but you know, I I'm actually, I went back to school. So I'm, I'm truly now actually a Nittany lion.

So I could tell you, I am extremely encouraged by us, you know, continuing. Get get into a bowl, making sure that we're, we're getting into to the post season. That's, that's our goal right

here. I love your coach defense,

defense changing, adopt. We need to change. We need to make sure our coaching staff, you know, you're

getting know.

Yeah. I, you know, to be honest with you, my daughter goes to Baylor and they had such a great year. Last year. It was sugar bowl. I'm like, I don't know. I could feel, I could feel that the, you know, shifting from, I love Penn state and will always be a way of life. So my

son, my son is, , I think he's going to be.

So I've been following them as they got their birth until they, you know, they, they seem to the Bracketology. So I know how it is. You tend to, well, let's see how that

goes. My daughter spent and she's going to graduate in three years. She's been at Baylor for three years. They have a women's national championship in basketball.

They have a men's national championship in basketball, and they have a super bowl victory. And. She says, it's always like this, right? I'm like no idea what it's like. Unbelievable.

So I wasn't here for, you know, the good days of Penn state, but I, I do believe that there's 📍 better days coming.

Absolutely. All right.

Thank you. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Take care.

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