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February 23, 2024: Christian Carmody, CTO & SVP at UPMC, delves into the profound transformation of analytics and data use within healthcare, tracing the journey from the late 1990s to the present day. How has the advent of cloud technology redefined the way healthcare data is processed, and what does this mean for patient care? They explore the significant shift from traditional, time-consuming data aggregation methods to the rapid, cloud-enabled processes that now support predictive modeling and AI-driven analytics at UPMC. The discussion raises critical questions about the ongoing challenges of integrating legacy systems and the innovative solutions being implemented. How are AI and generative AI being leveraged to enhance patient outcomes, and in what ways are these technologies addressing the complexities of unstructured data and social determinants of health? Join us as they consider the implications of these advancements for the future of healthcare and patient management.

Key Points:

  • Cloud Technology Impact
  • AI Ethics in Patient Care
  • Data Aggregation Challenges
  • Creating Team Culture
  • Managing Company Growth and Cuts

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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.

β€Š Today on Keynote

(Intro) β€Š πŸ“ I think we are cautiously optimistic about the promise of AI what we can Envision doing and right now we're building up those capabilities around some of the efficiencies that we see. It's great to hear different stories of where different healthcare organizations are focused their efforts to solve today's problems.

β€Š πŸ“

πŸ“ My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Week Health, where we are dedicated to transforming healthcare one connection at a time. Our keynote show is designed to share conference level value with you every week. Today's episode is sponsored by Artisite, Dr.

First, Gozo Health, Quantum Health, and Zscaler. Now, let's jump right into the episode.

(Main) β€ŠAll right. It's Keynote. And today I am excited to be joined by Chris Carmody, UPMC CTO. Is that still your title, by the way, welcome to the show, Chris.

Thanks, Bill. I believe so, but

If I looked at your calendar and the work that they are assigning to you, would it tell me that you're a CTO or might it tell me that you have five or six roles?

Probably more like 9 or 10 roles these days, I'm happily employed and enjoying what I'm doing, so they can call me whatever they want.

for those who are listening to the podcast and not watching on video at all, you have one of the most colorful backgrounds of anyone I know.

Just all the pictures of family, you got some, you got Yoda there. You got a bust of, who's the bust of? I can't really tell.

That is Shakespeare from the original Batman series. It's a plastic kind of piggy bank copy. If I wish, I could escape to the Batcave.

Oh, that is so cool! I'm sorry, I'm No,

No, it's Hey, this is what keeps me sane.

My family, my children. Who are all mostly adults now. And yeah, some of the childhood memories of different toys. And I'm a comic book nerd, and I could have the traditional library behind me of different books, everything's online now. So why don't, why do I need books, a hard copy?

I can just read them.

Actually, I don't usually start this far back. Wait, give me an idea of how you got into technology. Comic book nerds tend to become computer nerds, tend to become, people that are interested in technology and whatnot. us a little bit of that background if you

would.

Yeah That's interesting. my journey started in college. I was a college athlete back in the early to mid 1990s. And around that time, there were many computers popping up different programs and my undergrad actually is in accounting surprisingly enough, which I thought even back then, how could I use this?

I don't want to be a CPA. I don't want to do taxes, but I want to be in business and my advisor. I said study accounting, you can do anything with that and, 20, 30 years later my advisor was correct. You can do anything with that degree. But in the different classes, I just gravitated towards using a computer and I just.

There was just some connection there that made my life easier, made me more efficient as a student and the learning process. And so my first job out of, post graduation was at Mellon Bank and. It was actually an accounting position, surprisingly enough, but they had some support issues on the IT side and the manager at the time just asked, Hey, would everyone be willing to help out?

And I said, Sure, I'll do that. And that turned into. Learning how to manage a local area network, learning how to build what ultimately became one of the first data warehouses at Mellon Bank at the time in the division that I worked in. And I was crawling under desks doing PC support and, connecting PCs.

Actually became the start my career and at the same time, I also figured out really quickly that, boy, I need more education. So I started an MBA program, again, not knowing what I want to do when I grow up. And that led me, a couple years later, to find a job at UPMC and mesh all those skills together.

I actually was hired as an IT auditor. At UPMC in 1998, the last century, which is scary to say that, but, it was interesting. I had no idea what an IT auditor was at the time. But for some reason they gave me a chance and I did that for about five years and, rose in the ranks of audit.

And if you remember Dan Drawbar, our prior CIO finally, I think got tired of me calling out things that we can improve upon and change from. And

he said, you do it.

He said, he basically said, we'd like you to come over to IT and join us and help us figure out some stuff. There were a couple big initiatives back in the early 2000s.

One was Sarbanes Oxley compliance, surprisingly. UPMC, we were the first in the country. To become SOX compliant, which being a non profit, it wasn't imposed upon us from a regulatory perspective, but our board felt compelled given one of our close neighbors in health care had just gone through within the last five or six years the largest non profit bankruptcy in U.

S. history. Rightfully they didn't want to be in that position. That really launched my career and I did some cool stuff working with CMU's Software Engineering Institute around the CMMI model and implementing best practice processes around our project management functions and software development and we became CMMI Level 2 certified, which was cool and again, it just meandered through

different roles.

interesting to me, so Accounting. How many computer courses did you have in your undergrad?

Actual computer courses? Yeah.

Zero. Wow. So you and I are very similar in that respect. Cause I got the same advice. I got Hey, you know what economics. Economics will teach you how to solve problems.

It'll help you understand money and the flow of money and that kind of stuff. And from there you can do anything. And, as a computer nerd, I just started, I got my first computer. I started programming and then people were like, oh, you can program? Can you write a Whatever on Dbase and I got going on that path.

But here's my question to you on that. I know my path for how I became technical. Did you go and get certifications? Did you start taking technology

classes? I finished my MBA program which took about two and a half years because back then there were no online classes. You had to go, I would finish, kicking off a job.

for Mellon Bank, and then run over to school. I went to Robert Morris University, which is, they had a building right next to Mellon Bank down, in downtown Pittsburgh. And I'd go to class until about 10 to 10 at night, and then go back to the office, finish running some jobs, and go home at about 11, 11.

30 at night, and start back up at 7. 30 the next morning. I got into this habit, and at the time, the school was offering a program, either a doctorate of science, Which I was skeptical of, or another master's degree in computer science. So I chose the computer science master's degree, did that program.

So effectively, I think I have 96 graduate credits which I think it with, mine is the dissertation. It has the equivalency of a doctorate, which I became so ingrained in education. I actually use that to go back and teach. And I started teaching at a community college and then it led to another local university and then another local university.

So I taught, I was an adjunct at three different universities in Pittsburgh for 18 years. So doing that outside of my job actually got me more hands on experience that, cause I not only had to understand the concept of whether it was a technology or, A theory around computer science. So I had to, demonstrate my knowledge.

So in some cases I was learning some material and, keeping pace. My, my hands on career was more in the database world and doing some development, there was some PL SQL and running some older versions of Oracle. So I would, I was able to show and guide the classroom through building a database, building a third normal form relational database a long time ago.

And I think that's what kept me learning throughout this process. I was forced to learn outside of my job. That's why I always encourage IT professionals, there's, you don't have to go the traditional paths of, going back and get a degree or something beyond that.

To be honest, you can be very much a self starter and go out and learn things online. And like you said, go out and pursue your hobbies and your. Things that interest you and go for it, try it. And it's okay to fail and it's okay to make mistakes that's how we all learn.

It's,

it's Yeah you really don't realize what you know until you try to teach it. And when you try to teach it, you realize the gaps. Like I know it works. I think I know why it works, but when you have to teach it, then you have to really go back to understand,

that. And that's the funny part 'cause some of the textbooks that you would be utilizing in a classroom and having, as I progressed, obviously you get more and more experience.

It was pretty. Eye opening to see some of differences, the gaps between was in a textbook, but what was reality.

You were teaching at a time where it was evolving. as it was happening. So it's, certain extent, The trade journals and other things might be a lot more current than a textbook.

Textbooks, think that's also undergone a big change.

That's why there's none on my shelves back here.

All right. We will end up talking about generative AI at some point. We just, it's mandatory and I want

to hear what's going on. What's that topic? Are people really interested

in it?

To start it off, I do research and I go to BARD, I go to ChatGPT, and others. I still find ChatGPT to be the best for research on individuals, especially since they put in the search function. And I ask them, Hey, what's Chris been talking about lately? As he does the rounds, as he does articles and whatnot.

this is what it said, and I almost want to give this back to you just to see if it's accurate. So it said healthcare's target cloud based analytics and changing care pathways was first one. UPMC's use of big data and predictive analytics. Third one was smart use of technology and UPMC's pandemic response.

Fourth one, integrating chat GPT and digital twinning. into patient care. And then finally Chris Carmody's role and views as CTO of UPMC. Let me ask you this,

are there any hallucinations in that

list? I think there's a couple. I think is combining some topics and trying to make sense of it.

So there's absolutely some hallucinating going on there. Some

hallucination. But it in the general ballpark of things you might talk about?

Absolutely. I think there's a lot of interesting topics so that we are focused in on. And I think in that scenario, to correct chat GPT, the combining of those topics, like using chat GPT with digital twinning is not happening.

Those are, separate topics. And, there's some different use cases that we do and things like digital twinning, but. Definitely a lot of AI work which we've been doing for a number of years. The generative AI is obviously newer and, we're trying to build up that skill set and leverage the platforms that are available today that are evolving very rapidly, but , I think there's great opportunity there.

The other aspect of it too, which I wish would come across in that response was that we're trying to do it in a way that's still protects and maintains our patient and our member data privacy that protects the integrity of the results. So we don't have Hallucinations happening. And more importantly, I think some of the early successes we're seeing are around the efficiencies that are gained in a lot of the healthcare processes and happy to talk about some of those instances where, we're pursuing that to help drive.

Again, for our clinicians and for operational folks that are, burdened with a lot of manual processes, a lot of things that could be solved or replaced with AI to make their lives easier and use their expertise in more complex scenarios.

I think where I'm going to start, because I really want to hear your take on this and what UPMC is doing is How has analytics, we talked about data warehouse and whatnot.

How has cloud changed analytics? How's analytics and the use of data changed over, I don't know, you said you've been there since 1998. I don't know if 23 years is too long of a, 24 years is too long of a window, 25 is too long of a window to look at that, but. It's dramatically changed since 1998, but it's feels to me like it's really dramatically changed over the last five years.

those gaps between the big evolutions of change from a data and analytics perspective are Shortening so to your point when I joined UPMC in that auditor role as I was coming on board we were pursuing Really the first big digitization of healthcare. And we selected Cerner out of the gate to do everything, to, to implement an electronic health record back in the late 1990s.

And having that experience and seeing some of the reporting that, which was, the trivial type of analytics back in the day was. It's huge for the clinicians and for operational leaders to help do their jobs better. You fast forward as more and more data became available, the challenges of bringing all that data together, harmonizing it, aggregating it, was spent with the heavy lift of getting that data out of legacy systems because the data didn't match.

You had to work and mainly build the programs to. Again, aggregate into something that's meaningful that can be consumed and processed. And quite honestly, that challenge still exists today because we have a lot of legacy applications. We have a lot of medical devices that are generating data. We spent a

lot of money and a lot of time on that specific problem.

Absolutely. On aggregating that data, harmonizing that data. that problem still exists. We're still struggling with that. I

think we're closing the gap. Great example. Our current main EHR, before we migrated that process to the cloud to take that incremental copy of the data from the, the day's work and transform it into something that was consumable into our analytics platform usually would take about 240 minutes.

So about four hours data processing just to get that out, we're approaching the 12, the 13 minute time frame to do the same process, leveraging newer technologies in the cloud, so we can ingest that data faster and process it and put it back in the hands of our clinicians across UPMC. So when we run our, we have 13 predictive models that are AI built that help guide and identify patients at risk throughout the life of their visit or encounters at UPMC, whether it be through admissions or they're scheduled for surgery.

And then on the back end for things like readmission rates, we made a we took a big chunk out of the inconsistency of. not being able to manage patients that were at risk for readmissions about probably six or seven years ago using our analytics programming to help identify those that needed to take a different path in terms of the support from a care manager as they transitioned out of the hospital, whether they were going to skilled nursing or going to their home.

And again, what Some of the AI tools that we're using today helps us be even more precise with that because now we're using generative AI to extract out more meaningful data that isn't necessarily captured in the structured clinical notes, which was our initial target when we were pulling all this data out to make sense of it, now we're taking out we're taking out things like symptoms, we're taking out things like social determinants of health that Again, aren't captured in a structured field that you can easily process.

That's some of our core use cases of how we're using and what we're using AI to help us do to pull that data in and again, our goal, we're not just doing this for technology sake. We're doing this to improve patient care, to make things more efficient and ultimately change that trajectory of what that patient's outcome is going to be.

So when they get discharged or they have their encounter with a UPMC clinician. That they're on a better course to return to health or again come away from UPMC better than when they entered UPMC's health system.

I interviewed Shez Partovi recently formerly with Common Spirit, then he went to Amazon, now he's head of innovation over at Philips.

And we started having a conversation of How AI is going to change things. It used to be we had to identify a model, we had to build a model, we had to validate the model and then we had to essentially operate it. I'm simplifying significantly there, but then we had to put it into operation.

And he started talking about this concept of the data just constantly washing over AI. And we're going to start having conversations with the health system entity and the patient's going to have a conversation with the medical record and say, Hey, I noticed I'm on this drug. Why am I on this drug? And it's going to respond.

And I think that vision and that expectation is somewhat a result of how we're interacting with some of these generative AI models. We're asking you questions. It's giving us responses. But in order to get to that point, you talked about four hours to get the data from here to there.

Now it's down to minutes to have those kinds of conversations. What do you think needs to happen in order for that kind of future to happen that the doctors are just having a conversation with the EHR and it's responding to them and the administrators having a conversation with the data saying, Hey, how many nurses did we deploy in that unit last night?

And it responds, Oh, 16 nurses were deployed to that unit last night. What does it take to get to that future?

That's a great question. It's a very interesting use case. I don't think it's that far away. Especially when you have different organizations that is their focus when they're applying the resources and the technology to solve those types of problems to help be more responsive to patients and help empower them to, again, manage their health a little bit better than what they may do today with the available tools that we give them.

Instead of searching randomly the internet for some question about their health, to make it more structured. Let me give you a little different spin on what we're doing at UPMC and a company that we that was formed out of UPMC by one of our cardiologists, it's called Abridge.

It's all one word, the letter A with bridge together. And what Dr. Shiv Rao is doing is using ambient listening. To help capture the conversation, the interaction between the clinician and the patient, and create a structured note, ultimately that is ingested into the medical record, so that data being transformed through the natural language processing.

LLMs that are being built helps make physician or a clinician more efficient in that process. And that might seem very, straightforward, but it's really not when you talk about training, all the medical terminology, and then putting it in a structure that your particular electronic health record , will be able to ingest seamlessly after the review and the sign off.

When you flip that you build the right processes around that and you create what I mentioned before, you create a process that has the integrity because it's been trained and been tested and been refined and has that focus I think that's where we'll be successful. So when you turn it over and you are able to create that interaction with.

The in us as individual as a patient to your point in the use case to ask questions of our own data and be able to give a valid response back that does a couple things informs, informs the patient, instructs the patient potentially to take whatever action, a follow up appointment preventative tests, whatever, exercising whatever the instructions are.

I think that training of that data is where we'll see the value from that. But the process of doing that is what all of us in healthcare should be focused in on. And we'll be able to solve or provide many different services that we might not have been able to before without AI and generative AI, if that makes sense.

So I think all these small wins that we're getting utilizing the technology, I think we're going to continue to build upon that and be able to build a foundation that it becomes institutionalized. across healthcare. So we can offer up those different services, but again I'm just holistically at UPMC.

I think we are cautiously optimistic about the promise of AI what we can Envision doing and using it for. And right now we're building up those capabilities around some of the efficiencies that we see. There's a lot of activity going on out there and it would be very difficult for any institution to take it all on all at once.

So I think it's great to hear different stories of where different healthcare organizations are focused their efforts to solve today's problems.

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Love to hear you reflect a little bit on the pandemic and what were some of the key lessons about technology's role in healthcare and, how these might shape UPMC's strategy and future.

Sure.

I would say the most important thing the most exciting thing for me during a very difficult, challenging time was the closeness. and the relationships that were built that are strengthened between IT, our clinicians, our operational leadership all coming together in a very succinct way to solve problems.

I think that was the greatest value for us as an organization that we're, we continue to build off of and being able to be more successful with a lot of our IT projects that are, again, not for it's sake, but for improving the standards that are deployed across UPMC and the efficiencies and effectiveness of the care that we provide.

to me that was the most important thing. We deployed many different technologies. We saw the huge shift in patients being more comfortable to do telemedicine visits. With their clinicians. And, you saw a little bit of a drop off from what was happening during the height of COVID, but the volumes are still out there and really that shift, which, the number two thing was that shift from being.

All of us being treated as patients, but more so being treated as consumers. And that mindset of, hey, we want to deliver care, provide you care, when and where you need it. And that doesn't always mean coming into a hospital or going into a clinician's office. That's probably number two. Number three.

Again, some of the use of technologies that changed how we work, all the remote access and sending our employees and our staff home with technology and being able to support them changed the model. We were so used to working within our four walls of, our 40 hospitals and 800 clinical sites.

And now we went from that to. I think at the height of COVID, we had as many as 80, 000 people online, remotely, working and being successful doing their job. And trust me, it was a little stressful. We had much confidence in our network and our capabilities. But, when you see that happen, when you go from a Friday afternoon, I think it was Friday, March 13th.

Leadership made a decision on Monday we're sending people home and they're gonna work from home. So we went on average maybe two to 3000 people per day, hitting our network

remotely. And you're just sitting there going

80,000 think it's talk about a hockey stick, talk about a hockey stick curve on looking at the network traffic.

the cool part about that is that validation. All of us working in organizations. And healthcare and working with great technologists. You really got to see their expertise come to light. Because no one planned for a pandemic. But what they did plan for, our teams, our architects, and our leadership and our data and voice and video networks.

What they planned for is the ability to scale. The ability to have The throughput and the bandwidth to handle the size and handle our growth rapidly and secure it. And again, provide that integrity of the service so physicians or clinicians or operational people could work remotely when needed.

And so even though, again, the pandemic wasn't our focus target. The process around designing and building out and fulfilling that, the network piece. It was pretty cool to see that success.

You used the A word, you used the architecture word, so I'm gonna keep going on it.

Architecture, a lot like data governance, is one of those things that we don't talk about enough, and I'm not sure it's practiced. Enough across the board. so from an architecture standpoint, how do you ensure good architecture in a health system the size of UPMC? I know when ICIO, they said the request to, Hey, let's put this in, let's put this in, let's do this.

Can we do this new capability? It's insatiable and it's constant. How do you ensure the architecture is going to hold up? in those cases with all that change being thrown at

it. about 10 years ago, soon after I took this role again, as I meandered through my, my IT career path.

One of the things, one of the opportunities that I identified was, Hey, we have architects that sit in different departments, different areas. Our network architect, who's a tremendous person and expert in, in data networks. He had, we had our application and data experts. We had our security, all quite honestly, conflicting with one another and not having a solid process.

So we formed our. And I'm going to revert back to some of the comic book analogies here, but we formed our Avengers team of all these superpower individuals coming together to work together. Avengers

team not a Justice League?

I use both. I flip them. Yeah, you can pick whatever comic, like DC or Marvel, you can pick your favorite flavor there.

But yeah, it's bringing those folks together and having them collaborate. There was challenges at the time, but there's a level of respect now among this enterprise architecture team and part of their role is every request from a new technology or to a technology that significantly changes goes through their review.

So we have evolving standards, right? Technology changes, best practices change and evolve. So they review everything that comes into UPMC. and determine, number one, does it make sense from a technology perspective? Because there's a lot of shiny objects that are put in front of clinicians and operational leaders that sound like it's going to solve You know, it's going to be the silver bullet

to solve their problems.

Oh yeah, it's shiny object season right now.

it's all the time. That, and quite honestly, that's our villains, right? the vendors and the sales people that don't come directly to IT, that go out and hunt down clinicians to, try and get into your organizations.

That's something we don't appreciate. We'd rather have better collaboration and discussions to see whether the technology actually will make sense or not before it goes down a certain path. So that's why we put our enterprise architecture team in place to review this. So they do right now, about 600 to 650 technical reviews per year, based upon different requests that come in.

We've seen a shift, there's less applications. It's more about medical devices now, because. As if something needs power, it needs network connectivity. It's a different challenge. But so that, process, number one, does it make sense? Number two, do we have something already in our inventory that we can use that the user, because of our size, might not be aware of being leveraged across a different part of UPMC or a different business unit?

Number three, if we just so choose to move forward, enables us to be more informed going into the negotiations to say, okay, we see these gaps, whether it's something technical, or whether it's something from a cybersecurity protections perspective, that we can contractually write in the language to protect UPMC to either number one, make sure that they fix what we're asking them to fix, or number two, it gives us, again, a little bit more power in the contract when it's done.

Or if something would happen with that technology. We've been accused and I'm very proud of this, that we ask vendors and more so the non healthcare vendors, some of the bigger technology players, we ask them to do things that quite honestly no one ever asked us that before. And that makes me really happy that our enterprise architecture team are identifying those gaps or again.

Those opportunities to improve how we use technology across UPMC. So we have the enterprise architecture team. We also have the cyber security team that looks and more focuses on the cyber security pieces. So we know the components of a system or service that we're bringing in. We get notified of, zero day threats.

So we can quickly address those across our environment. And that feeds into our CMDB and again, allows us to be more efficient and quicker in our responsiveness to those events. All right.

only about five minutes left with you. I want to do some rapid fire stuff.

What is digital twinning and what is UPMC doing with regard to digital

twinning? obviously are an academic medical center and we have a very strong partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. And a lot of our clinicians sit on both sides. They're care providers on one side and they're also researchers, professors in the School of Medicine.

So our department was interested in looking at a cohort of patients with macular degeneration and wanted to use technology to help them explore different variables and what would happen the event that they change those variables to. ultimately maintain someone's vision or, the ultimate goal for them would be to cure blindness.

So we're taking the aggregation of their electronic health record. We're taking the digital image of the retinal scans. We're taking their genomic data. And giving them the ability through digital twinning to look at thousands of different variations in a patient in those care pathways. So it gives them the ability to research more in our cases and explore those clinical pathways as part of their journey to cure, in this case, blindness.

That's pretty amazing. We touched on it earlier. data is so important. I want to talk ethical considerations at this point. AI creates interesting uses of data and Whatnot. I believe as a patient, I don't even know all the places my data is currently being used.

how does a health system consider how they use the data? How do you ensure that it's being used in the best interest? And then I don't really want to go into the security and protection route. I'm more in those areas where want to make sure that my data is being used in the best interest of my community and my family and myself, how does the health system ensure that?

I think it starts at the top. Our board of directors are, like you mentioned they're patients they're members of the community, they're leaders in the community. And they have a very much a direct interest in ensuring that how we use data. Where we apply technology is done in the most appropriate ways.

So that's securing data, that's protecting the privacy of our patients and our health plan members, and it's ensuring that overall integrity. I think that's a key word. We have governance in place. As you mentioned, a data governance function is so critical, important to an organization to make sure that data is being used as it's intended or allowed to be used.

And a lot of that stems around treatment of patients in terms of why we're using data collectively. We're looking at ways to help. improve how we deliver care for you, for the communities that we serve. And, that's a big part of why data is so valuable. It changes that trajectory, as I mentioned before if applied right.

When we're talking about AI and generative AI, that's one of the challenges us as healthcare organizations face to make sure that our data doesn't leak out, it isn't used by organizations that might be third parties to us or provide us technology services that our extension, ultimately an extension of our organization.

That they're using that data appropriately. So again, we have to be smart contractually to make sure that our data, our patient's data, our member's data is not being used to train their models to build out technology and platforms that don't benefit our patients. Or, where it's not the purpose of what they're doing.

So that's really the key. I think we're getting smarter and technology is getting better to where we can anonymize the data more without losing the essence of it. And I think that's another benefit of generative AI, to help us do that. When research is done, we can truly anonymize the individual, but still value and gain benefit from.

that population or that more focused cohort of data and patients that might be experiencing similar things. Again, our researchers can advance and explore different opportunities from a treatment

perspective. All right closing two questions. I want to talk about leadership philosophy, especially.

At a place like UPMC. I've been at UPMC's campus a couple times. Love to come back there and visit at some point. The thing that struck me was, I don't think people think Pittsburgh and innovation, but they should. Because, when I was there the last time, there was self driving cars.

There was, obviously, Carnegie Mellon's there. There was Google. I think we met in a Google office, for heaven's sake. There's just a lot of tech. in, in that area, how do you maintain the culture of innovation at UPMC? What is it about the philosophy or the leadership that encourages that risk taking and the culture and the framework for innovation.

I think that all stems from the academic side of our institution where a lot of our leadership, whether they are our clinicians or their, operational leadership. Are very much driven by that exploration of what's next. I don't think we're ever complacent in what we do. We know, we always know there's opportunities to do things differently, more efficiently, more effectively, improve the quality of patient care, whatever the outcomes seeking.

And that culture really unique and important thread of who we are at UPMC and what we do. So it stems from the basic fundamentals of always trying to do what's best for our patients and trying to improve their care and again, give them better outcomes. So we make those investments and explore from a technology perspective, how we can use that to.

Advanced clinical practices, clinical care. And like you said when you visited us, you went to our innovation office UPMC Enterprises, where that the company I mentioned before, a bridge. of. And so many different investments there are made to explore and look at technology to solve some of the real problems that we have at UPMC, which we anticipate others are having across the country and the world.

And Quite honestly, it enables us to potentially look at commercializing some of those solutions, offering a way to reinvest in UPMC and continue that exploration from an innovation perspective. Innovation is just at the heart of who we are.

Final question.

Let's look forward a little bit. are you excited about right now with regard to healthcare technology? Is there a specific technology you're looking at? Is it a confluence of things? And what legacy do you feel that, your tenure at at UPMC. If you're looking back 30 years from now, it's funny because when I was leaving St.

Louis, we're driving around with my kids and I'm like, I installed a network there, I installed a network there, I installed a network there. I did all those things and I forget, one of my kids asked a question, I remember saying, in the technology world, we build on stuff that we've done before, but there isn't a network I installed in St.

Louis that is still there. I hope not. Token Ring Networks and, Arknet, that kind of stuff. You hope none of them are there, but but none of the stuff that I physically did in St. Louis is still there. But each one of those organizations has gone on to build on what was there before.

what are you excited about and what does the legacy look do you think?

I'm excited about, some of the more fundamental things we're doing. Like you said, it's like this confluence of some major projects that are happening. I think you're well aware, and many people out there, we're moving into a single electronic health record, which I'm part of the leadership team helping to enable that.

And it's a big transformation. The technology is the easy part. It's changing how we do things across UPMC and deliver our care. And, it's the opportunity for us. further standardize our processes. I'm excited about process. We're deploying a new platform around our ITIL type processes that is going to be instrumental in making us more efficient.

And of course, the generative AI piece where you get to see new innovations and new knowledge, new insights around care that really transform everything. second part of the question around the legacy, I hope I haven't gotten to the point where I can point out here's the most important thing I've done at UPMC in terms of a specific IT project or program.

But I will say the thing that I will take away from it is. Being not a clinical person and someone that, when blood is drawn from my body, it's questionable whether I'm going to remain conscious or not. But the town where I grew up in and have chosen to live for most of my adult life here, that contributing back to something that's greater than myself, and I think that's the key around being in healthcare is there's a, it's a greater calling, I think, than maybe some other industries and not that it's any better or different.

It's just for me personally, I feel that sense like I'm doing something that's helping, individuals and communities that when they're at their most vulnerable states that we're stepping into to help them. And I think that legacy hopefully stands the test of time. Because as you mentioned, Bill, technology changes, it's going to be replaced.

But it's that piece that's important and then almost as important. And really what helps us get all through these days when we have those challenging days are the people that you work with and the relationships that you built. Some of my closest friends started out as work colleagues.

Because we have the same passion. We have the same drive and focus and the same work ethics that lead us forward. They're

friends now, but you were an auditor back then. Were you really friends back then when you were the

auditor? You know what? The funny part to that is some of the people I was auditing, I'm now their manager or their boss.

And it's, those relationships were unique when I first became their manager or boss, it was awkward. But we have a great working relationship now and it's fun, being able to contribute our different skills and talents together. Chris,

I want to thank you for your time and thank you for everything you're doing as a Pennsylvania, former Pennsylvania native I really appreciate the care that goes on.

And my parents are still there and my family's still there. Really appreciate all the things that you do.

Like I mentioned, Bill, you're always welcome at UPMC. Anytime you want to come up and visit us, we'll be happy to host you. And thanks for this opportunity to share, my story and perspective.

And thanks for what you do for our healthcare IT community. I think it's amazing and keeps us all connected and sharing information and insights that we might not always pause and, focus on. But you've really helped me personally. connect with different people across the country that have helped us avoid, mistakes lead us down a path where we don't have to, reinvent the wheel.

So I appreciate what you do for all of us.

Chris, thanks and I look forward to seeing you soon. Absolutely. β€Šβ€Š πŸ“ πŸ“ πŸ“ πŸ“ Thanks for listening to this week's keynote. If you found value, share it with a peer. It's a great chance to discuss and in some cases start a mentoring relationship. One way you can support the show is to subscribe and leave us a rating. it if you could do that. Big thanks to our keynote partners, Artisite, Dr.

First, Gozeo Health, Quantum Health, and Zscaler. You can learn more about them by visiting thisweekhealth. com slash partners. Thanks for listening. That's all for now..

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