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Scott MacLean, Senior Vice President and CIO at MedStar Health stops by to discuss building out their innovative new data center and Epic platform and transforming telehealth. Hope you enjoy.


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Today we have another interview in action from the conferences that just happened down here in Miami and Orlando. 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 dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders, Gordian dynamics, Quill health tau site nuance, Canaan, medical, and current health.

Check them out at this week. Here we go. Okay. We're here from Vive 2022, and we have Scott McLean. With a MedStar. Yes. Welcome to the show. Is this your first time on, on the board? Oh no. On the, on the show. Yes. Yeah. We've been 500 interviews, so it's not a small thing to say. We're happy to be with you.

Well, I'm, I'm looking forward to the conversation. , so you've been at MedStar for about four years. Yes. Give us a little of your background.

Sure. So, , electrical engineer, healthcare MBA, , did an internship at mass general Brigham. When I was in doing my MBA and just ended up staying there over 21 years, , went through a series of leadership operations. ended up as deputy CIO working for Jim Noga. , and that was during the time that we were putting in epic. And, , so when we wrapped that up along with, , some, some big work on building a administrative building and finishing up office 365, I, , my last kid was graduated high school and I decided to do a search for something else.

And, , ended up in Boston. Which I've been happy about. I mean, you just, you just described that in like 30 seconds, but that's like, I mean, that's like 50 years of experience in a very short period.

Yeah. It was very fortunate that the time at mass general Brigham, , just, I was able to do various leadership jobs, including being CEO of one of the community hospitals there and get the experience running the, , infrastructure there. as we were, , building the epic platform and implementing that. And, , we built a new data center. , as I say, a great experience in building our administrative building there that, , transformed the way that we worked, , from the, , administrative departments, , put 4,200 people into a one building that had no offices.

I could walk around the perimeter of every floor. We had great, , collaborative workspaces and then, , I had left, but then pandemic hit and I think they have a little different arrangement there now. So yeah, everybody's talking about how things what's top of mind at, at Messara you guys are very innovative system, so thank you.

Yeah. We try to concentrate innovation. So that is under our chief innovation officer, bill Sheehan, who, , , is a peer of mine. But we work very closely and things that bill likes to do. He, he runs on our technology infrastructures and then we, we like to be quick about, , deploying them across the entire enterprise.

And one example is the, the telehealth innovation center is in his shop. And, , so like everyone else, we had very few per day when a pandemic started, we, we peaked out at over 4,000 a day. And very quickly that group, , was able to, , implement a solution that was pretty much one touch for the patient and one for the provider, and also created a, , a test, , program that you could send out in advance that the patient could test their audio and video and make sure it all worked well.

That was one of the biggest things. When we looked at the studies and all the things afterwards, , the number of calls that didn't happen, didn't connect. Was, , was pretty high. The experience was not, was not as, , as clean or especially early on to the peanut. I mean, we were throwing everything at it.

Sure. , so you guys, you guys stepped back and said, look, we're we're, we're going to reduce that. Do you have like some metrics around how you guys were able to do. Those, , those, I guess, disconnected experience.

Yeah. I don't have off the top of my head bill, but, , certainly, , if you're, if you're doing 4,000 a day, we, we got the ability for people to pretty easily connect and use the technology.

We also used it for inpatient consults and for when visitors couldn't come into the hospital, we, , had, , our nurses were able to help patients connect with their families. We have the same technology.

So you guys are, , DC area.

Yep. DC Baltimore. Maryland. Those are like two different worlds. Aren't they?

From a healthcare perspective. , we've, we've interviewed some people from Maryland and they talked about their, their system and its reimbursement model is very different than the rest of the country. Does that. I mean, you're in, it's almost a foot in both worlds.

That's, it's like, , many organizations that are dealing with both.

Fee for service and value based contracts, depending on where the payment's coming from. And it is it's happily a balanced, because there was global payment in, , in Maryland. And we have seven hospitals there, , four in Baltimore and then others in Southern Maryland, central, Maryland. So there are different pair of mixes and.

Places. And we're able to work with the state on that, that global reimbursement and then in D in DC, , they're also value-based programs there, but we're able to balance things out and we're we're not-for-profit so, , we're, we're looking to have a margin to be able to make sure we have good, , bond ratings and can borrow the money we need. but it's a, it's a thin margin business.

So, , I guess I would ask what's top of mind, but, , I, I'm more curious, like what, what's something that you guys have done in the last two years that you're, you're pretty proud of that you feel like, Hey, we we've really moved the needle here and that we could share with the community.

Well, I mean, I think that, , we've done that we're most proud of is what everyone has done in response to this, which is. Taking care of over 2 million patients per year in the Baltimore DC region. And we think that we've done it pretty well and a big, , effective tool in that is the EHR because the HR was rolled out across all the hospitals and ambulatory sites.

When we learn more about the disease. Screenings and interventions, order sets, , ways of documenting things. , we're able to do that universally through changing the EHR and our folks worked very hard. I mean, all of our clinical folks, but also it and other administrative folks to, to, , make that happen.

, so I think we're, we're pretty proud of that. There's also, I, you say top of mind, I'm always talking about conductivity. Wired wireless cellular conductivity, shrouded insecurity. These are critical. We can have the best applications in the world, but if you can't deliver them and, and, and user devices, making sure that those are in working order.

So we had to move a lot of equipment around. Everyone did, right. There were tents there. Testing vaccination tents. Yeah. , new ICU's, , various ways that we had to make sure that, , physical spaces were outfitted with the right equipment. And so really proud of the way that people move for that. We also, , built out with the army Corps of engineers, the DC convention center.

We were the provider there. Fortunately, we never had to see any patients there, but it was a beautiful facility to put together in about three.

Have you brought people back to work at this point. So I'm back to work back to the office. Yeah. People are, people are welcome, , under our, our policies, which are, you know, common around distancing and masking.

, we're aiming for early April for our we've set up all of our hoteling and. , workforce support. , so we're looking for early April to bring that back and invite people, , to regularly participate in the hoteling program and, and spend time in the office. So talk

about your chime service. So

what's your role?

So it was elected to the board last year. So the term started in January a three-year term. And, , most of what I've been involved with recently as the policy steering committee. So we're about to have a session. , explaining our policy advocacy and how that serves the membership. And, , I'm just happy to be part of the board contributing and giving back.

, it's been a terrific experience so far, and you've heard the term 3.0 here as the organization's trying to transform and, , move towards more supportive our digital health opportunities, analytics, and, , and then shine university. So,

yeah. And it's, it's interesting how much movement there's been on the policy side.

I mean, The, , I mean, there, there is an opportunity for CEO's and others to actually get in front of not only on a national basis, but also on a state basis, because a lot of those, a lot of the rules and a lot of the policies are, are state-based are, is chime, helping to coordinate that activity as well.

The state based activity,

our focus is really, , congressional and federal. , and you know, those, those rules are very complex obviously, and it's not a part-time job. Staff in Washington that are working on responses to the commentary and those sorts of things. , the team certainly, , you know, , is knowledgeable about, , the processes, obviously every state's different.

, but we, we welcome questions from members about how they can get more actively involved in their state as well. So

congressional, we, , cybersecurity obviously. Yeah, especially right now. , patient ID. Yes. , I, I assume the 21st century cures has a lot of aspects to it as well. Are there, are there other things

that, yeah, we talked to them a little bit here about tele-health.

So I'm advocating for a broadband connectivity, especially in rural areas, telehealth, , w we're often talking about how they're different parts of the care continuum that didn't get the, , high-tech funds for, for implementing the HRS. Looking for ways to help, , that continuum of care process and handoffs, , using, , interoperability.


, you know, Scott, I really appreciate your service. I mean, it's amazing this conference come together and it's just fun to be back with everybody again. I appreciate your

time. Well, it's great to talk to you all.

Thank you. Another great interview. I want to thank everybody who spent time with us at the conferences.

It is phenomenal that you shared your wisdom and your experience with the community, and it is greatly appreciated. We also want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders, Gordian dynamics, Quill health tau site nuance, Canon medical, and current health.

Check them out at this week. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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