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June 20: Today on TownHall Sue Schade, Principal at StarBridge Advisors speaks with Saad Chaudhry, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Luminis Health. How has Saad's role as Chief Digital and Information Officer at Luminis Health expanded, and what are the implications for his team and the organization? What is the rationale behind Luminis Health's decision to integrate marketing, communications, and public relations into the Chief Digital and Information Officer's responsibilities? How does their online scheduling system prioritize and cater to the needs of patients seeking primary care services, such as annual physicals? In what ways do they aim to give back time to their users, patients, and leaders, and how does this philosophy align with their transformation efforts?

Read Saad’s The Manifesto of Time here:

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This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

Today on This Week Health.

So that 700,000 number is actually the number of hours that an average person that lives to 80 years of age will have. We frivolously keep spending these hours on things that sometimes don't matter. We're in the business of time. Everything that we're doing from a transformation perspective, whether it's internal facing or external facing, it must give back time.

Welcome to TownHall. A show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels dedicated to keeping health IT staff and engaged. For five years we've been making podcasts that amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show partners, MEDITECH and Transcarent, for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders now onto our show.

Hello, I'm Su Shade Principal at Starbridge Advisors and one of the hosts for the Town Hall Show. Today my guest is Sod Chadri. He's the Chief Digital and Information Officer at Luminess Health. I've gotten to know SOD in the past few years, and I've been very impressed with his views on leadership and technology.

So I look forward to hearing and learning more about his recently expanded role, and I hope we get into a whole lot of other topics as well today. So,

welcome Saad. Thank you for having me, Sue. Pleasure to be here. And yes you're, you're one of my favorite people that I've gotten to know and I can't wait to have this chat.

Oh, well you're so kind. Thank you. Let's start by having you briefly introduce yourself and describe Luminous Health.

Absolutely. So, I am the Chief Digital and Information Officer for Luminous Health. We are a health system that's based out of Annapolis, Maryland. So that's middle of the state right on the coast, Maryland stones throw from the US Naval Academy.

We are three inpatient hospitals, two acute care, one psychiatric. And about a hundred sites of ambulatory care. We are very localized. We're spread across about six counties and we are about 10,000 staff members 1.3 to 1.4 billion top line revenue annually. We are in a unique position as far as health systems go.

Well, we're in the state of Maryland and state of Maryland in the, in the United States itself is unique when it comes to health systems, especially provider organizations that have a lot of hospitals inpatient side. But then we're also unique in the sense that we're surrounded by giants globally renowned giants.

Johns Hopkins, university of Maryland, MedStar and if you go down towards the DC market, Inova. Monico is a lot of these big names that you hear about, essentially as mainstays in healthcare. So we are more compared to them, a smaller fish, essentially a, a more of a small to midsize health system. And, and the unique proposition there is that being in this market , that's very value based and Maryland having your global budget.

For hospitals, we try to be very innovative, not just from a technology standpoint. But also in how we operate because we have to be we don't have the size and scale of some of our neighbors.

Great. So that is actually a great introduction to kind of frame luminous within the market and ties in well to what I wanna ask you about in terms of your expanded role.

So I saw the Becker's article. The headline was Maryland Health System, c I O, promoted Ads, digital to Title. So that in itself is not earth shaking. I think it's, it's kind of a common new title, chief Digital Information Officer. But I thought, wow, what an interesting mix of functions that you're gonna be responsible for.

I haven't seen other CIOs taking on what the articles say, marketing, communications and public relations. So tell us about that change, what it means for you, your team, and the organization.

Absolutely. when I was in the CIO role before the promotion, I had your typical IT and IS focused elements and in addition to that some what I would say it adjacent, I.

Functions. So, in addition to infrastructure, applications, that kind of thing, I also had telecom and telecom operations. So the operators that were in my work structure, biomedical engineering, but also business analytics and software engineering. The cybersecurity, which is not unique, I think was also under me.

But then also my direct reports were our Chief Medical Information Officer. So these are two halftime. Halftime each, which makes up a one full-time C M I O. And they're both practicing. One's an ed doc, one's an ICU doc. So they were my direct report. So it, it was essentially a full sort of spectrum as far as CIOs go.

and the addition of marketing communications and pr sort of came at a time for the organization at large when it was looking inwards. Doing a bit of introspection from an operational standpoint. Credit where credit is due. I believe this uniqueness comes from our ceo o. She's fantastic.

Tori Baylis. She's renowned in the state as being one of those forward-leaning CEOs of health systems. And she's not afraid to take some steps that don't perhaps always have a deep background and examples and other health systems around us. So this step came purely because. that innovation piece that I was speaking of in my intro.

Mm-hmm. We need to have some level of a value proposition, not just outward facing, what the patients see and the community see, but also inwards, the back office functions, the operations. We need to have some level of uniqueness and innovation in there as well, because that is how we a, attract great leaders and keep them.

But also B, that's how we can do some cool things without having that scale in both budget and resources and human resources. So in this specific case, we started looking inwards to say, how can we actually transform digitally our. Own operations and functions. There was a point where we had a conversation, a very frank conversation, my CEO and I where she said, Hey, you know, a lot of organizations are now going this digital path and, and you and I have been leading.

And then she know she. And we'll get into this, I'm sure in this conversation, but she co-chairs and co-leads a lot of digital things with me because that's the way I want it. I, this is a partnership at that level. And so she said, we're already doing that kind of stuff, so why don't we have that title for you.

And so my thing was wanna be fair to the organization title for just title's sake, just for me to bolster my profile. I don't think that's fair to the organization. You know, that that amount of attention and, heck, even, salary increase or whatever should be used better where the rubber meets the road.

But if I am actually providing some level of efficiency, if I'm actually providing some level of operational oversight, which. I believe is is true digital. True digital is actually not about technology. It's about how the transformation occurs on the operational Using that technology then absolutely.

Then I wanted to take that leap with her and so we came to an understanding and, and we both agreed and that leap we methodically took in that marketing and communications and PR area because we saw how the two sides between. The digital marketing and the corporate communications how they were already transforming digitally, how they were using technology that was out there.

Sometimes aligning very closely with my folks in the software engineering team to say, Hey, how can we do this better knowing that we have limited resources? So that was a very clear and sort of logical alignment right there. Now. I'm also lucky. I'm lucky in many ways

it sounds like you are and to have a c e O who is partnering with you and is so forward thinking is, I'm sure many CIOs might be envious.

Oh yeah. I um, uh, this is unique. The, the partnership between the CEO and myself I think is unique. I don't think is, something you don't find at all. I think there's many examples out there, but it's not commonplace. Mm-hmm. And then our chief for over the head of over marketing and communications he's great as well.

Him and I have a great partnership, so whenever that org structure shifted, It was not with friction. And I think that's also very, very important because when you hire good leaders and you want to grow them and you want to give them more internally, that's not just for the C E O or the cio, right? That goes across the board and, and so it had to be fair to him as well.

And the alignment worked very, very well for us. So there were a few components there that went into this other than just an org structure change.

That's great. That's great. so you've kind of given us a great framework. Can you talk a few specifics in terms of your what you've actually been able to do, and, correct me if I'm wrong in terms of framing it in terms of your digital health strategy that's more external facing your digital transformation, which is more internal facing.

What are some of the specifics that you and the team have accomplished?

So I think you've framed it actually very well. So at, at a large scale what I try to say is usually I don't have a digital strategy for the organization. We have one strategy and that's the organization's strategy.

Mm-hmm. Now, I personally believe that no health system strategy in today's day and age, Excludes digital excludes some level of transformation with the help of technology, which is essentially to me what digital is. So having said that, we have an organizational strategy now we approach that in a very methodical way, and we have historically as well.

What we try to do, and we've done for I think the past two decades now, is we have a decade long, what we call vision. We don't even call it a plan or a strategy, we call it vision. So we had a vision 2020. And then right at the cusp of that decade, we formed Vision 2030. Now, it just so happens that right at the cusp of that decade, a global pandemic hit.

So, but, but that's okay because. You can never predict a decade into the future in most things, right? So we always have a process even for that vision. For example, every three years we look at that vision and we say, where do we revise the path? From that three year revision, we work backwards to form our annual operating plans, what we call AOPs.

Those annual operating plans are what you would assume to be your typical business or health system strategies. And they can get very, very Tactical if you keep zooming in on 'em. But at our level, so my, my c e O has a c e o council, which includes herself, and then seven of her top lieutenants her C-suite.

And, and I sit on that council. So US eight essentially take our. Queues from that same annual operating plan that can get zoomed in all the way down to where your local directors for a very, very specific part of a function can say, okay, this is the direction we're taking for the next year, and it's is born outta the next three years.

So that is. Our digital strategy as well, because in that annual operating plans, we say things that are very much aligned with the transformation internally and the digital health strategy, if you want to call it on the external side, what our communities and patients see. With this marketing communications and PR piece, some of the things that we had already been working on, for example about two and a half years ago when.

Luminous Health was first announced as the name of this new health system. There was a lot of work as you could probably imagine from a marketing communications and branding perspective that had to be done. Part of it was website. We needed a new website that was an all-encompassing thing that included these smaller health systems that had come together to form this.

And instead of just forming your regular old website, which would've probably been faster, especially as Covid hit, we decided, hey, let's actually transform the way we even approach our web presence. So we invested a lot of time and effort to find a web platform that actually is a platform that our software development team, after that initial sort of launch is done, now owns and maintains, and we can do very interesting things with it because it's not just a website that's being hosted on a domain somewhere.

Mm-hmm. So just to go give you a quick example so we are an epic e h R shop. Instead of having our patients log into the MyChart patient portal, which is essentially what comes packaged in with your Epic E h R we allow them to use those credentials to log into our web website.

And our intention in doing so is the Amazon approach. So if you're not logged in, you get our website and the resources you need from it. But if you're logged in, we can personalize that because we have your profile in the background. Mind you, we're not reinventing the wheel in the background.

This is still the same data that rests in our E H R and the epic side. So we're not creating silos, we're just doing it in the middle layer in a unique way that not a lot of other health systems have done. We started with this journey and this was very ingrained between the technology side, so.

And the digital marketing side and the branding side. So these, it was a triad that for started forming this. We have come far, Sue. So right. Today we have developed it so much that if you Google our name Three clicks and 15 seconds, you will be at open slots for up to 10 specialties to schedule yourself up to 10 specialties.

And because we are able to do this outside of MyChart we can do cool things. So for example, you don't even have to be logged in. I. I will hold your time slot for you the second you click on an open one for 10 straight minutes and allow you to enter your information, and I will do the heavy lifting in the background to identify that you have a MyChart account and put that underneath there.

You don't even have to log in. If you wanna log in. A lot of that information gets pre-filled out for you and I know who you are. Okay, so if you say for example, Hey, I think I just need a primary doc. The search results will only at the top start showing you people that are close to you that you have seen before, that we know you want to see instead of just showing you a grand results page of everybody that we have as primary.

On top of that, I'm actually having my software developers work directly with our ambulatory operations. Through our marketing and communication folks to say, Hey, there's this thing that we created called the Patient Dashboard, which still lives on our website. We never take you outside of our website into MyChart.

We keep you right there and the way I do the demo for this is I say, I can show you my profile and leadership as you look at your patient dashboard, same page. I promise you not a lot of people can do that because we don't want you to have a disparate experience.

We don't want you to feel like you're going from one website to another, and just because it says luminous at the top, it's the same place. I mean, that's not what we expect from Amazon. Right, right, right, right. So we've been able to do a lot of cool things. Then that all stemmed from that initial convergence point between Marcom.

Yep. And our technology team saying, let's not just do the same old, repeatable thing that looks pretty as a website.

πŸ“ β€Šβ€Š πŸ“ We'll get back to our show in just a minute. Ever wonder how technology can reshape the patient experience? Join us for our next live webinar, the Patient Experience, a Technology Perspective on July 6th. At 1:00 PM Eastern Time, we're bringing together expert speakers to dive into the intersection of technology and healthcare.

We're gonna explore topics on digital health tools and the impact of ai, blockchain, and other things around this. Whether you're a CIO or part of a healthcare IT team, we think you will gain practical insights from this discussion. Uh, don't miss out on this conversation. Register today at this week,

We hope to see you there. Now, back to our show.

πŸ“ β€Š πŸ“

Okay. That's awesome. So I'm gonna try this. So you're telling me that I can Google Luminous and within couple clicks I could be trying to schedule with a specialist. Is that right? Yeah.

So what you, and if I'm not, even if I'm not already a patient,

Yeah. So I mean, the way this works is and as you do it, you'll see, so if you Google us we misspell it, so we're the top one. Right? There's not a lot of Luminous healths out there. Yeah. So our, our search engine management team, our search engine optimization team is fantastic in Marcom.

That's another say you wanna have the people that like the digital side together with the people that work in tech. Right. So that works well too. And the way it will work is As you click on our website, the first thing on our main website is what do you need? Like what, what? What's ailing you?

Do you have back pain? Do you have a headache? Whatever. Or you can just say primary care. What I love to do with demo As, because primary care is the biggest. Pool. Right. For, for most organizations, what I like to do demo is I say primary care physician and I say, I wanna do my annual physical. That's the most rote mechanical thing that is most widespread.

Most of us do that on an ongoing way. Mm-hmm. So instead of getting so sub-specialized where I know that the demo's gonna work, I say, let's take the biggest way. So when you click there on, from the website in three clicks, you'll first time you'll say primary care, second place, you'll say, I want an annual physical, and third place you'll say, schedule me now.

So, You will end within a 15 second search at a place where you'll have open table type slots. Okay? Right. And when you click on the slot, It'll say, Hey, give us the information so you don't have to bring it with you. Pictures of your insurance card, that kind of thing. Now, if you're logged in, that gets filled out because we already have that information, your name, your demographics and whatnot.

Or you could just fill it out. You, you may say, I hate my chart. I don't, I don't remember my login. I don't wanna get my password reset. I'm just gonna fill in this information. We will do the hard work. We won't create a second account for you. We will identify you in the background, attach it to the ex account that already exists.

It won't get lost somewhere. We will do that hard work.

Excellent. Excellent. I am gonna try it cuz this morning just before our call. I got on and I scheduled a mammogram through my healthcare provider and I was impressed that it was as easy. As it was. And I thought, okay, they've come a long way.

I mean, the self sed scheduling aspect of it. Once I got the notification that it was due, yada, yada, yada. So I'm gonna do a little comparison here, but this is good.

I'm happy to, and I'll give you the zip codes. What's that? Because you're not in Indianapolis area. I'll give you the zip codes you gotta put in so you can get our providers around you.

and so the other part of this is, and you, you hit this right now, open scheduling or online scheduling, or smart scheduling, whatever you wanna call it. This is not a new play. This is now an expectation. Right, right, right. Because I can't remember the last time I called a restaurant to make a, make a reservation.

Exactly, exactly right. Yeah. Excellent. So, I'm gonna be mindful of the time here in terms of how much more I want to cover with you. And I'm gonna throw in something that I didn't tell you I wanted to talk about, but you and I have communicated in the past about some of your talks on leadership and your whole concept of how much time we all have in this life and how we use it.

So, with that tee up, can you, share that with us?

Absolutely. And so what you're referring to is something that had been in the back of my head for the greater part of a decade. It came from a, personal tragedy that sort of shook me up a little bit and I became obsessed with this idea of time.

Because, the analogy I've often used is let's just say each one of us was born with a bag of cash. The day you're born, you get a bag of cash and you're told, Hey, listen. You don't know how much cash is in there. There could be $700,000 or there could be $50,000. You don't know how much is in there, but once this cash runs out, you will never get more money.

That's it. That's all the money you'll ever have to live on for the rest of your life. This is it. If you knew that and if you knew that you didn't know the amount, you would be so careful. For example, if I came to you and I said, Sue, are you willing to spend $2,000 a year with me for 65 years? You'll say, Saad I'm not sure about that because, I don't even know how much I have if I, know that 2000 outta 700,000 that I could possibly have. Sounds like a lot. But is it, is it really? So you'd be super careful and if you said, Hey, if I said, Hey, Sue. You mind if I just get on your calendar? I wanna sell you something real quickly.

It's gonna take me an hour of your time. It's gonna take me, $1,000 of your time and you'll say, yeah, I'm not sure, cuz I don't know how much is in this bag. If I told you how much is in the bag, then you could probably do a little bit of discussion. So that 700,000 number that I'm giving you in this analogy of cash is actually the number of hours.

That an average person that lives to 80 years of age will have 700,000 hours. That's all you get. If you live to be 80 now, that's you're lucky, right? Because that's an average age. So that means if you have the right skin color, you're born on the right side of an imaginary line that some dude drew on a map hundreds of years ago, you're born to the right sort of people, right?

Neighborhood, all that stuff. Then you get 700,000 hours and we frivolously keep spending these hours on things that sometimes don't matter. Now the other side of this coin is it kind of makes you feel good about being in healthcare because We're in the business of time. Yeah. Right. Which is the most insanely invaluable commodity here.

What gets to me is, and, I don't like to throw. Things. I don't like to throw shade. I don't like to throw rocks living in a glass house. And so I will say this for myself. The sad thing about this is that me as a cio, as a person who's led technology in healthcare , for most of their career, really I steal time from everybody that comes to healthcare.

Looking for that time allowance, right? So I steal time whenever I say, Hey log in here, get an appointment, fill out all these things, spend an hour on that portal, but then come in, you'll be given a clipboard to fill all this stuff in again. Or when you're calling and you're waiting for somebody to call you back to get an appointment, you waste days.

To get an hour long appointment for which you show up and then you spend hours in the waiting room filling out things. You go to the ED where you are at risk of the only valuable thing you have that somebody can't take away from you, which is your existence allowance. Everything else is made up. Our jobs are made up.

Everything is made up, right? Because if you go a few. Decades of thousands of years. In the past, our jobs were just very simple. There was a hunter, there was gatherers there, somebody that tended to the fire, that kind of thing. So where we are today, this is sort of made up because we needed to expand as a society, but there's one thing that's never been made up, and that's our existence, our time.

So you go to the ED because you feel that that is threatened. And then you spend four hours of your existence allowance. Yeah. In there. That is obscene to me. So this thing has led me to write this manifesto of time, and I use that as my litmus test. I am lucky, as I mentioned, to have a partnership with my C E O who allows me to do that in my job.

Yeah, so what I say is for that, everything that we're doing from a transformation perspective, whether it's internal facing or external facing, it must give back time. Whether it's giving back time to our users, whether it's giving back time to our patients, whether it's giving back time to our leaders, I don't care.

We will bear the hard work in the background. If we can give back time, and I use those words carefully, Sue. I don't say save time, because when you use the word save, you're putting a cape on yourself and you're saying, I'm saving you from something. When the truth is I'm a thief and I'm giving back something that I had been stealing all along.


I, I love it. I love the analogy. You wrote something, is it a LinkedIn kind of blog post manifest? Mm-hmm. Okay. I'm gonna, I'm gonna make sure that we put that a link to that in the show notes. Okay. Expand on what you're saying. This is great. And the last thing I wanted to ask you about, you kind of started to touch on it when you were talking about time.

And you're fortunate to be born in a certain zip code and color of your skin. One way that you and I have gotten to know each other in the past year plus is on the Chime Diversity, equity and Inclusion Committee which has been great and we're doing a lot of great work. Talk to me about the importance of that work to you.

Why are you involved in it?

Absolutely. I'm actually an immigrant. I, moved here on my own for my bachelor's degree. I was born in Pakistan. I grew up for a few years when I was young in Austria. So I've, been fortunate to travel the world and see different cultures and different aspects my entire life.

But really when I moved to the United States, I was 17 years old. I started my undergrad. so if we talk specifically about healthcare organizations there's something to be said about healthcare organizations that reflect the communities they're in.

Mm-hmm. All the way from the leadership down to the people that care for the patients that care for the actual facilities. Everybody, it should reflect the community it's in because that's when you feel at home, right? You feel more comfortable. and so, Part of that is me as a leader saying I must drive that diversity in not just my function, but at the organization as whole.

But then I also must be able to explore other ways of diversity. So there's diversity of course, of race and ethnicity, but there's also diversity in generations. and so one of the things that I've been fortunate to do here is I am the chair or the executive sponsor of our generation now business resource group, which falls under our diversity umbrella, and in which.

It is my responsibility as the executive lead of that to ensure that our organization is well positioned and is doing the right things to be able to, number one, attract talent for our workforce from Gen Z and millennial generation. That's the gen now for us currently. I mean, it's gonna change, of course, in a decade.

Mm-hmm. But also preparing our organization to provide care to patients that have certain expectations of us from those generations. and I can't speak for generations. So one of the ways that I do it is I try to understand people's stories, stories. I mean, this is a very common thing. This is not unique.

That's how we've passed knowledge in our species for thousands of years. So that's, that's my approach. My approach is I must understand stories and I can't just do it. If there's a team of eight or nine people representing. Right now it's over 3000 people that make up those two generations in our workforce out of a 10,000 person workforce.

So that's a lot. Yeah. So how can eight or nine people say, I speak for these 3000 people? So I, we've been doing some u really unique things in that area, which honestly that that's the kind of stuff that warms my heart on a day-to-day basis.

Yeah, that's great. That's great. I love it. We could talk so much more.

You were worried if we had enough time and I think you were probably gonna have to bring it to a close. Is there anything else that you wanna highlight before we close? That we didn't talk about. I,

I'm really excited for, , I think for healthcare at large because I think while this has been a tough few years for us through covid, I do believe that stuff that we talked about ad nauseum before covid, when will we change?

When will that evolution come? When will that turning point happen? I actually believe it's here and I think, it's embedded. In leaders, it's embedded in CEOs that are forward leading that say, why not if, if we can't do this now, when else are we gonna do what other global earth shaking event has to happen for us to do things that we previously could not?

I mean, really, what else is there? Yeah, so I am super excited about it. I think folks like yourself, folks like Bill, you guys play a very pivotal role because you guys are the channels in which cool things get out. So I'm super honored that I get to get to be a part of this as well.

Well, I, I'm honored to have interviewed you and to have to have this conversation with you and Yes.

Bill, I, the other host for this channel try to get a lot of good thought and, \ action that people are doing and delivering on out there every day. So thank you so much. This has been a true pleasure. We'll get that manifesto in the show notes and I am going to Google Luminous and see what you're talking about with firsthand experience.

So thank you again. It's a pleasure. Absolutely pleasure. All right. Take care.

β€Š πŸ“ gosh, I really love this show. I love hearing what workers and leaders on the front lines are doing, and we wanna thank our hosts who continue to support the community by developing this great content. If you wanna support This Week Health, the best way to do that is to let someone else know about our channels. Let them know you're listening to it and you are getting value. We have two channels This Week Health Conference and This Week Health Newsroom. You can check them out today. You can find them wherever you listen to podcasts. You can find 'em on our website this, and you can subscribe there as well. We also wanna thank our show partners, MEDITECH and Transcarent, for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.


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