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Continuing our series of discussion from CHIME/HIMSS 2019 we hear from Joel Vengco SVP and CIO for Baystate Health where we discuss knowing your patient in the world of value based care. Plus innovating with a partnership strategy.


 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 in Health it where we discuss the news, information and emerging thought with leaders from across the healthcare industry. This is Bill Russell recovering healthcare, c i o, and creator of this week in Health. It a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training the next generation of health IT leaders.

This podcast is brought to you by Health Lyrics, helping you build agile, efficient, and effective health. It. Let's talk visit health to schedule your free consultation. We are recording a series of discussions with industry influencers at the Chime Hymns 2019 conference. Here's another of these great conversations.

Hope you enjoy. Well, great. Here we are from the CHIME conference. Um, Joel, you want to introduce yourself? Sure. I'm Joel Vanko, the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Baystate Health, uh, large health system in Massachusetts. Great Western Massachusetts. Western Massachusetts, the great, the great big West.

I'm trying to figure out what. Bay is in the western part of Massachusetts. , we're referencing the, the Bay next to Boston. Oh, okay. Just to make sure everybody knows that there is another part of Massachusetts. Yeah. So you guys, I mean, Boston's interesting because of the, uh, the, uh, health plan, that's the, the state run health plan.

How is that different? I'm already going off script. I'm sorry. That's okay. But, um, are you looking at more population health initiatives and those kind of things? Yeah, so, so Massachusetts has been an advance of pop health and, and taking risks for quite some time. Actually, Baystate, I'd like to say is probably one of those that are really sort of leading the charge.

We ourselves have our own health plan. Uh, but I think what you're referencing also is that this, this year, particularly having launched the Medicaid, a c o, uh, in Massachusetts, really focused on taking risk. Uh, a number of us, at least in the, in the, uh, the state, the Commonwealth, and also focused on really identifying ways for us to really manage those patients at risk and really diving deep into value-based care.

And when health systems take risks, they, they look to technology. It's like, how can we care for people at home? How can they convalesce at home? And those kind of things are, are those some of the things you're looking at? Yeah. So that's sort of an interest for me at least at this conference, is to look at some of those tech.

You know, vendors and even some, some early stage startups who are identifying ways for us to know our patients. Number one. I think that's sort of key in this sort of new realm of, of, of healthcare delivery. If you don't know your patients, you don't know how to care for them. You don't know what they need.

And ultimately that's what we're really focused on is. Uh, you know, what is it that they need so that we can keep them healthy? So, social determinants of health, the work that we're doing with care needs screening to understand, you know, who these patients or this population is, is crucial. Uh, and that's actually, uh, in excess of the, the, the data that we capture today in the E H R.

So, social determinants of health is often not in the E H R, and that's what we're gonna really need to focus on this year. So how will you, how will you do the show? I think a lot of people wonder, you know, how does CIOs do the show? I, I. I used to, I used to love the Chime event 'cause you get to interact with all your peers and have great conversations and learn from each other.

And then the event would start. And I, you know, my plan was, you know, schedule as much stuff as possible. Just be very directive. 'cause when you walk the floor and people see the c i o badge in some way, right? Yeah. They, uh, they tend to gravitate towards you. So how will you work this show? Yeah, so . A couple things.

One is, I, I do have this sort of slew of meetings that we all do, right? Uh, put on the list. It's great to meet with your vendors. This is a great time to do it all sort of in one shot. Uh, then I meet with a lot of my peers and we sort of exchange notes on what we're all sort of looking at, what have we seen, et cetera.

Uh, and then, you know, I've got two things that, that I always sort of come. It's a HIMSS with, in terms of what am I looking for? What are the things that I, I wanna be focused on this year, it's gonna really be on, uh, things like social determinants of health, uh, focused on uh, those that actually can help us, uh, access that data, um, analyze that data.

And then the other, the other piece is a little bit more sort of . You know, fuzzy. It's, uh, the AI stuff, all the new stuff that's sort of coming out. I wanna see if it's vaporware or, or realware. Right. So, uh, typically that's, that's what I, what I do when I come to these shows. That's interesting. So, um, AI is, is, I, I think you're gonna hear it everywhere.

Yeah. Uh, what I'm, what I'm hearing, and I don't know if you're gonna find this to be the case or not, is. Uh, on the clinical side, people are waiting in very slowly, but in the areas of revenue cycle and on the business side Yeah. In terms of r p a and automating and those kind of things, uh, and AI around that.

Yeah. Um, we're seeing a lot of people take chances 'cause you can take chances there 'cause you can make mistakes and it doesn't. Correct. Yeah. That's really the, I I think that's exactly the, the right, um, you know, sort of take on it is that, If there are certain things that are commodity work that we can take chances on, we've, we ourselves have been taking chances at Baystate through our innovation center, um, in partnership with some vendors and doing things like r p a, um, on our rev cycle, uh, you know, work.

But also we're starting to, to look at things like, you know, imaging analytics and can we take all the images that we have, and these are all experimentation based work. It's not stuff, it's production, but we're, you know, hitting ai, uh, at that, or at least . But people are considering ai, I mean, a lot of this stuff is still neural net.

Oh yeah. It's, you know, machine learning, a lot of the old stuff. But, you know, I think there, there's merit to trying to figure out if we can use the data that's in our systems, which is ultimately the case that we're, uh, trying to address here, and then trying to figure out if we can deliver insights off of that data.

So I keep going on script. So you have an innovation center. Yes. Um, does that, is that something you work with or is that something that's, uh, technically reports into you or, yeah, so actually four, four and a half years ago I started, uh, TechSpring. And the notion, really the focus was that there's all this stuff that's gonna be coming down the pike, already coming down the pike, lots of noise.

Uh, and, you know, my team and my, my header sort of down with operations just trying to fix things, right, optimize things right. So TechSpring became a channel for us to . Get our heads up. Uh, invite folks, uh, vendors, startups, you name it from within industry, outside industry, uh, and invite them to utilize our data, our experts, and our environment, and say, help us solve some of these passionate problems that we have in healthcare.

And you guys can benefit as much as we can with . Uh, discovering some of these things with the assets that we have. So that's what TechSpring really is. It's not, um, sort of the traditional incubator or, um, you know, investment house that you see with these innovation centers. There, there are so many different models.

Yeah. For, I mean, know Cedars went with the Techstars route. Yes. And Providence is more of a vc and U P M C is more of a vc. Correct. Um, but I'm finding that the, the smaller systems, the, the billion to three to 5 billion. Yep. , um, they take that approach of, Hey, we can be a sandbox for you. Right? We're looking for the right partners.

Here's our set of problems. That's right. Yeah. The problem is, is we also don't have a lot of money. Right, right. So, but, but actually that sort of, that necessity of, of having to solve problems with sort of little budget. Created, I think that sort of movement of, you know, here's, here's a way for us to collaborate with those that are trying to solve these problems.

And so we've got this amazing community, uh, that actually comes together to collide in this innovation center. And we're talking folks like Cerner and Impravada and InterSystems, and, and then you got some startups, big players, uh, these big and small players coming together and trying to solve these problems with us.

Um, sort of helping to drive some of that. It's been quite a fascinating journey and one that's been very productive. So, biggest challenge for the year that you're looking at? So the biggest challenge for the year, there are two challenges really. One is we've got a ton of data in our systems. I've been trying to extract it out for the last five and a half years since I've been at Baystate Health.

It's still a big challenge, but we need that to know our patients. The second is, you know, we're on this verge now of, of doing a 2025 strategy for our health system. Right? Right. And so guess what? The, the big buzzwords are that I have to sort of help define, uh, you know, the system around and it's digital, it's consumerism.

And so that's a big challenge for us to really understand. Are there players out there that can help us with that new focus? Uh, because quality and safety, Value and experience. Those things are, are, you know, what I would consider table stakes or at least, you know, stable and focused areas that we should be doing well on.

But now it's about the consumer. It's about the digital platform that's gonna, this is one of the trends that we said coming into this conference we were gonna look at is talking to CIOs. Is you're, you have, uh, traditional it, keep it running and run well and, and, and data and analytics around that as well.

Then you have, uh, this whole digital, which is, Hey, what are we gonna do around the consumer and the consumer experience? And then you have this innovation side, and it sounds like it, it's all coming to you, but we're seeing some of it where it's starting to split up. In some organizations, it's, it's actually a lot of organizations are splitting it up that way.

And I think it's, it behooves the c i o I mean, it really depends on what kind of c i o you are, right? You wanna run the trains, . , that's cool. There are others that wanna run the trains and help to create new trains. That's really cool. And there are others that try to get into the business of, of healthcare.

And so I think that notion of digital versus innovation versus information officer, um, you know, I think organizations can do one or they can can have three. And whether you split it apart or not, the three have to work very closely together to work. They have closely, if it is under one roof. It hopefully brings it all together.

Right, and that's the challenge for the c I o is really to, to, to be able to be at some level, the nexus for a lot of those things. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for your time. My pleasure, bro. Appreciate it. Nice meeting you. Nice to meet you too. Thanks. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. This show is a production of this week in Health It.

For more great content, you can check out our website at www dot this weekend, health or the YouTube channel at this weekend, health Thanks for listening. That's all for now.


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