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April 20: Today on the Conference channel, it’s an Interview in Action live from ViVe 2023 with Brian Symonds, President of Optimum Healthcare IT. What platform can be used to streamline healthcare workflows, and what benefits does it offer in terms of onboarding new clinicians and providers? How important is executive sponsorship in healthcare rationalization projects, and why is it necessary for success? How has the role of the CIO evolved in recent years, and what are the key challenges they face in managing complex hybrid environments in healthcare?

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Transcript

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 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. Today we have an interview in action from the 2023 Spring conferences, vibe in Nashville and hymns in Chicago.

Special thanks to our cDW, Rubrik, Sectra and Trellix for choosing to invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

You can check them out on our website this week, health.com, now onto this interview.

 All right. Here we are from the VI conference, the first interview of the second day, so it's early in the morning. We're here with Brian Simmons, president Optum Healthcare it, Brian. Wow. what do you think of the conference so far?

Well, that's been busy given the times. Loran seeing the amount of attendance has been impressive. The events I've been to had really great attendance as well. The show floor has been, was really busy yesterday, so very happy with it.

Yeah. Is this your first five or have you been

involved? No, I've been involved a few times.

Yeah. In LA last year as well. Yeah, it's grown a lot since last year. Well, the energy, I think the vibe chime combination brings is, I think it brings a lot of energy from the health side of things and some of the startup new technology pieces kind of combined with more of the operational side of Chime has been interest.

It's some interesting conversations of all from it.

I think my joke for today is, have you heard of GPT four? Like the number of times I've heard that mentioned on the floor is really kind of over the top. What, coming into this conference, what were you looking to see at the conference or the conversations you were looking to

have?

I

think mostly what we tend to do is connect with our current clients and potential clients to talk a little bit about, what they're seeing, what they're feeling, what they're doing. Review some things we've been doing with them, and then also talk. You know, Some of the new things we're trying to do to kind of instill and create more value in organizations with, again the economic times that we're in.

I think the pushes for value and for changing the model a little bit, some more of the transformation side of things. So that's one part of it. But also looking for innovative partners to look at, to bring more solutions into these organizations where we can maybe take some technology solutions and apply more professional services around them.

I think that model's getting more. The managed services aspect of things to kind of offset some of the staffing challenges. So those models I think are starting to grab hold a bit as well.

I saw you we actually stopped you as you were walking with a cio. Obviously the, the financial pressures, inflation and, , whatnot, nursing shortage.

These are pretty common themes. Are there, Are there things you're hearing or are these so big right now that it's hard to really focus on?

I think they're taking the art of the room for the most part, in my opinion. So I think. Because of those challenges it's really putting a lot of pressure on budgets, obviously, and with budget comes, requirements to do things, a bit less expensively, a bit faster and more with the internal staff.

So what can we do to augment or support that and you know, things like you know, our Service Now practice for instance. That's what, , but the gentleman I was walking with and I were talking about, You know how you can leverage automation, workflow automation, better visibility, tools like that.

So it's leveraging these existing tools that they have.

Absolutely. So no, very few are looking to bring in a new big platform. They're saying, look we've got these six platforms or these five, and hopefully they've consolidated

them. Well, rationalization's another opportunity I think in terms of you look to take some cost out of the business and do that, and.

To your point we made this before, this was, a lot of different constituents all have individual needs at times that we want to address, but at sometimes you gotta make some tough decisions about some of that rationalization. And then, to your point as well about fully leveraging your IT investment I think before going out and acquiring new technology, it makes a lot of sense to take stock in what you have and make the best of what you.

ServiceNow is one of those interesting things and they're not a sponsor, so we can talk about 'em. Sure. But it's an interesting platform because it used to be an i TSM sort of tool and now we're seeing it go across the entire

healthcare workflow.

Absolutely. I think there's a significant push to create kind of that single platform, which where you can, visualize and manage risk.

So whether it's the HR workflows you mean and, and one that is a very popular conversation on getting a lot of interest in that space is the employee workflows, the onboarding of clinicians and providers as, again, staffing and bringing folks in is such a hassle sometimes

That onboarding from higher to productivity is absolutely is, is, is lost money

and it's probably the number one or number two challenge you get from corporate teams and health systems right now Is that's a, that's a significant frustration.

And this system of action can leverage the systems of record, like the ERPs, the HCM solutions, and provide you real visibility and see, okay, who's got the ball right now? And what are these 40 tasks we do need to accomplish, and who needs to do them, and what's the status of each? And making sure we're all green across the board before that provider walks in on day one.

Where does a rationalization project start? I mean, most of them have them ongoing right now. but one of the things I found interesting when we did our big rationalization project where I was at is we started with 900 applications and I thought, great, all right, let's get started. And like three months later they came back and said, we're now at 940 or 930 or something.

I'm Like, what just happened? It's like, we just didn't have an accurate inventory. I mean, there's just so many applications out there.

Yeah. And that's one of the interesting things when you go through a rationalization process. You, tend to uncover things you didn't know were there, in some cases, some legacy applications.

I feel like the best place to start typically is with the business to say, okay, here's what we think is the truth in terms of the applications we have in our portfolio. Let's go work with the businesses. We've categorized these things to understand from a business impact perspective, but.

also the need, and seeing that, hey, we've got significant overlap in a large collection of applications. Getting the executive team and the leadership team to buy in to say, Hey, do we need 14 legacy EMRs that we never integrated? And rationalize those because those cost real money.

And I think the times were in today, every dollar counts. And if I can go take cost out of that business, take that data, aggregate it somewhere where it's still accessible By the providers and clinicians when they need it at the point of care. But I take that cost out, I take that infrastructure out and all that hosting cost out makes a lot of sense.

📍   📍 all right, we'll get back to  our show in just a minute. We're excited. We have a great webinar for you in May on May 4th at one o'clock Eastern Time. It is part of our leadership series on modern data strategies in healthcare. In this webinar, we're going to explore data driven approaches to healthcare and how they can improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency and reduce cost, which are also critical at this time.

In this juncture in healthcare, our expert speakers will explore data governance, analytics, strateg. anything that can help healthcare providers gain actionable insights from healthcare data. We would love to have you there and we're excited about it. You can register on our website.

Just hit the leadership series, modern Data Strategies. It's gonna be in the top right hand corner of our website this week, health.com. you can discover how we are going to use data to be more efficient, effective in the modern healthcare system. we would love to have you join us again.

Hit the website this week, health.com. Top right hand corner. Sign up today. Hope to see you there. Now back to the show,

📍

  📍

, it's really interesting that, you talked about executive sponsorship and whatnot, those rationalization projects in healthcare require it. Yeah. I mean, because you are, I'll give you an example. I mean, you go into, For us we went into radiology packs and we said we're gonna consolidate.

And they all looked at us and said, yeah, absolutely. We're gonna consolidate. I thought, oh, that was easy. We'll go do ra, you know, do radiology and we'll go to cardiology. And we go to cardiology. And I thought, well, this will be an easy process. And after being beaten from one side of the room to the other, I walked out and I'm like, wow, I didn't read that right.

That was, That was, I didn't know what I walked into. But you need that executive sponsorship because you're going to be moving a lot of cheese in the, in the process, The CIO role has really changed from one of a technology person. We saw that change maybe, probably about, five or six years ago, but now it really is strategists.

It's an operator, somebody who can rally people and coordinate people and whatnot. How do you support the CIO in that role? How do you help them to be successful? I

think taking some of that complexity you're alluding to and really helping them understand, what the surface area of it looks like today.

So it's no longer, maybe two data centers on premise or one nearby and a collection of applications sitting on infrastructure and hardware that they own and manage. Now we've got a significant amount of hybridization here where you. SaaS applications. Now we're leveraging cloud and starting to put real cloud strategies in place and executing on those.

So where our data is and how we access it and who we partner with and how we manage and maintain. All that has really changed. So on top of and, and then having to secure it all from the cyber perspective making sure it's all standards based and we're protecting the data the best we can, and really having that visibility is really what the biggest part was changed.

That's I think, where we're helping organizations. To make sense of that, understand what that looks like, and put together a strategy that kind of contemplates all those pieces cuz you know, the cloud's relatively immature in healthcare still. But bringing that to bear in an effective manner and a cost effective manner is probably one of the bigger challenges.

And that's a big piece what we do on the strategy side as well.

I think my exit question with you is, an area that you guys have excelled over the years has been the EHR and the EHR implement. Where are we at from a maturity standpoint on our ehr optimization, I guess is what we would call it.

I mean, are we maturing that, are we using that tool to its fullest? I

think there's been a move over the last several years to, migrate back to more of a foundation model to say, Hey, so many organizations had significant configurations. I won't call them customization. Additional configurations.

Oh, they were customizations. I was in those, try not to use those bad

words but go and realizing in terms of supportability and upgradeability, all those challenges they had. So getting back to more of a foundational aspect of that. And I think as some of the big EMRs, we're really simplifying the, we're trying to, I think, yeah.

Yeah. It's somewhat a cost, but it's somewhat in an agility play as well. Absolutely. And then some of it's being really dictated to us in terms of, you want the latest. If you want the greatest. Yeah. I mean, we're gonna, we're gonna stay in that, mode.

O'Brien, I want to thank for your time. Thank you for your service in, appreciate it in healthcare.

Thank you very much. Thanks.

Another great interview. I wanna thank everybody who spent time with us at the conference. I love hearing from people on the front lines and it's phenomenal that they've taken the time to share their wisdom and experience with the community. It is greatly appreciated.

We wanna thank our partners, CDW, Rubrik, Sectra and Trellix, who invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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