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Basics. What are the basics? Are we moving back to the basics in IT?


Today in health, it, we're going to take a look at a couple of articles of CIO's saying we're going to get back to the basics and what that really means. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health set of channels and events. Dedicated to transform healthcare.

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Two articles. The first and actually they're derived from each other. If you don't know how Beckers works, a lot of times speakers will scour the internet, find things on the internet that were written by. CIO CEOs, healthcare leaders in general, and then they will summarize those things into an article that they can put out there. And generate hits. And so they are summarizing a Forbes article here that a ZAFA Chaudry, frequent guest on the show. Has written in Forbes and they also pulled in.

Let's see LinkedIn comments. From Heather Nelson from Boston. Children's the jest of it is. The title is health system. CIO is plan to get back to basics in 2024. And it really is spearheaded by ZAFA his article that he wrote for Forbes 2020 for the year. We strengthened our healthcare tech foundations. And his premise here is that during the pandemic, we were scrappy, nimble, innovative.

We really throughout a lot of our. Policies and our standards. And in some cases, price tags. And we mobilized to, to keep our doors open and our frontline staff protected and communities alive during the global pandemic, which was appropriate. And right, but that shattered a series of advancements over the years of really strengthening the core and the foundation of it. And we did some awkward things, right?

So we connected in some things to the EHR, we implemented some tele-health solutions that weren't necessarily all integrated real well and that kind of stuff. And that created a new norm. And he argues that the new norms. Have shattered. What was in existence and we are likely never to return. Now. I love ZAFA and I think he would go back and forth with me. If he were here on the show and he would be really okay with me going back and forth with him. I would say he's right in certain respects in that we shattered a lot of norms during the pandemic. And it was good.

We shattered some norms that needed to be shattered, which is you have to move. Maniacally slow on projects and you have to do a ton of, you have to eliminate all risks before you move forward. And we had those norms in place and a lot of systems were moving way too slow. For what was required for health system to move into the future, that norm was shattered. And so the expectations for it. We're escalated during the pandemic.

You can move faster. You can do more because we did move faster and we did do more. So those norms were shattered. And appropriately, now the norms of adhering to the basics, right? The solid fundamentals of a simple architecture is easier to manage and more cost-effective to manage than a complex architecture. Fewer applications. With platforms are easier and more cost-effective to manage than a scattered systems across the board. Best of breed.

Oftentimes most times I have predominantly, I'd say 90% of the times. Is less effective than platforms that have potentially not as good as solutions. Again, cost efficiency sharing of information moving the information from data to knowledge. All those things benefit from having a simple. Platform from keeping an eye on the architecture or keeping an eye on the complexity, keeping an eye on the workflow and the data flow and the end use of that information.

And how did this applied? All those basics. We're. Jettison during the pandemic. And he says likely never to return. If they do not return. By the way, and this is why they will return. And there were turned quickly because if they do not return, we will have a subsequent. Drastic increase in breaches. We will have more outages. We will have.

It's just the law of it is complexity. Breeds problems. Period. Full stop, whatever you do to emphasize. Complexity breeds problems. And it may not be evident immediately. Like when you take a simple system and you put a CIO in there who doesn't have an eye for architecture and they then proceed to go all over the place, it doesn't show up immediately.

It shows up in the future. After you have this wild CIO who doesn't know what the heck they're doing. Allow things to get out of control. What happens is all of a sudden the outages will take up. The breaches will tick up. The ability to integrate data for a new workflow or to integrate digital tools will become so complex that it will slow the organization down.

There are laws that exist in it. People may or may not recognize these laws. There are great CEOs who do recognize these laws. Safa is one of those. That understands this. BJ more great conversation with him about the basics of it. Jason, Joseph, great conversation with him about the basics. Of it. And Brent lamb, UNC gray conversation about the basics of it. There's a. There's a lot of really good CEOs out there who understand. Simplicity in architectural platform thinking. Th these are the hallmarks of a solid it organization.

That is able to continue to be nimble well into the future. Continue to be secure, continue to be efficient and effective. So I don't think these norms are going to just evaporate and go away. In fact that the. There's almost a law of of gravity that we will be pulled back to this. Like the more an organization gets away from this.

The more crazy things will start to happen. And I tell the story off and I'll just touch on it here for a second. I came into St. Joe's. Again, 16 hospital systems, seven and a half billion dollars. You would think the architecture was solid and sound. But I came in following eight hour outages of the primary data center over six weeks.

And when I say outages of the primary data center, I don't mean a system went down. The data center. I went down eight times over six weeks. That's what happens from neglect over time. It's there just gravity will pull you back that neglect over time, caused them to say, Hey, you know what?

It was great. The path we were on was great. It was fun. It felt good. We could do whatever we wanted. Now we need some discipline. We need structure. We need this thing to stop going down. Or we're going to have a revolt on our hands. Same thing was true before Darren Dworkin went into a Cedar Sinai. Massive outages. Front page of the LA times kind of stuff. And he came in there with a disciplined approach and said, we are going to get back to basics, and this is what we're going to do.

And you have to establish that foundation. And I think in Darren's case, It hadn't been my case as well. And others you can start to be that innovative CIO once the basics are taken care of. And so I don't share a. I don't share that to say that ZAFA is wrong. I say that to say that Safa is absolutely correct.

There will be a pooling back to this. That will always happen will always continue to happen. In fact. There's some great quotes in here.

So Daniel Barchie CIO. CIO common spirit in an interview with Becker's healthcare from November stated, it's important to recognize that more technology is not better. We're not looking for more technology at every turn. What we're trying to see is what are the best tools we can provide our caregivers so that they're able to best serve the needs of our patients. That might mean better data.

It might be better integration of the tools that we have. It might be simplifying the tools. We have better optimizing them for what we need. Another Greg BJ Moore, Providence, who I mentioned. In his interview on wall street journal from October said it's like Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The most basic needs have to be met before achieving higher level needs.

That gets back to what I was saying before you got to. You build on a solid, simple architecture or platforms, which allows you to be. To do those those higher level Maslow kinds of things. In this case without strong foundation and organization probably cannot breed technological progress and innovation.

He goes on to say and such, and Jane also has some poets in here as well. I really have to commend ZAFA he, he writes really well. He's. He's well-written. I love the fact that he pulled in these other quotes. He is one of the better writers out there in our ranks. In articles and I highly recommend that you follow him. For these things. But, as we begin, as we continue to talk about priorities for 2024, And that the rise of digital and the rise of experience. The rise of workflow and the rise of artificial intelligence and large language models. It's important, never to lose focus on the basics. You have to build on a foundation that is as simple as possible with as few technologies as possible that are as integrated as possible.

So it, it w it. As soon as you get outside of that. A foundation. You are going to be building on a shaky foundation. And when you start to build on a shaky foundation, Things will break. And they can break in little ways and they can break in big ways. And so it's always important to come back to the basics, to focus on the basics. And so anytime I've setting at a strategy at three-year or five-year strategy on the it side, Not for the health system, but on the it side. I am looking to shore up that foundation every year.

There's progress made towards shoring up the foundation, simplifying. Eliminating technologies. Rationalizing applications. It's getting back to a core foundation that is strong every year. There should be an aspect of your strategy that strengthens the core in some way. And yes, all these other things have to be a part of your strategy as well.

How are you going to advance? The patient experience, how are you going to advance the use of artificial intelligence and those kinds of things. But if you don't have a solid foundation, you're building on a. You're building on sand and quite frankly, building on sand. Is it's fraught with challenges in the long-term anyway. All right.

That's all for today. Don't forget. Share this podcast with a friend or colleague, have a discussion about this. See what they think and go back and forth. And I, I think we will make a better generation of healthcare leaders. If we continue to have these conversations. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission.

And that is what they're doing. Investing. In the future of our healthcare leaders, they are short test artist, site parlance, certified health, notable, and service. 📍 Now check them out at this week. Health. Dot com slash today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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