healthcaretechoutlook

Healthcare IT Evolution

By Laura Wilt, Systems VP & CIO at Ochsner Health System

Laura Wilt, Systems VP & CIO at Ochsner Health System

Technology Innovation and the Role of a CIO

With rampant technology innovation, the role of a CIO has evolved from managing infrastructure to a key player in the decision-making process of an organization. In the wake of the increasing digitalization and deeper technology integration in the healthcare ecosystem, a healthcare CIO’s responsibilities have only increased. Apart from making the right choices in selecting the equipment, the CIO in a healthcare organization needs to collaborate with various teams in the organization for effective technology decisions.

As a CIO, I have to be up-to-date with the recent technology developments in the healthcare industry. Some of the technologies that we are focusing on are exclusively related to data and analytics and how they provide more information about patients, operations and the organization as a whole.

"Technology is paving the way for better access to clinical data while supporting greater research in connecting patients to the right research trials"

EMR and Epic Implementations

The importance of EMR and Epic implementations in hospitals are evident in all operations. EMR implementations are part of most of the operations in a hospital, whether it’s a doctor examining a patient or working on the revenue cycle in the billing section. In this context, Epic implementations help us understand patient better. One of the challenges that we see in the healthcare solutions arena is to have right people working with operations and clinicians to understand the business. This is something that we are working on to improve our capabilities. Epic Implementations consume the great amount of time as it involves complexity; hence there is a need to stabilize the existing systems as we incorporate new technologies. With the help of these implementations, we can span many different constituents of stakeholders.

This methodology consists of a structure that builds certain stages and different sessions and requires people to undergo a validation session. We focus on building relationships across the organization with these implementations, as it helps in keeping track of operators.

We deal with the inherent risk of partnering with vendors by utilizing RFP or RFI, as we gather the inputs from the key stakeholders in the organization. By applying project management recurrence, our vendors can find the priority needs and evaluate systems’ performance.

Monitoring Technological Investments and Compliance

To successfully garner ROI from the technological investment requires effective monitoring. At Ochsner, we participate in continuous improvement projects across the entire information security landscape. We come to the table with information security perspective, to ensure that the technology improves the overall performance of the business processes. Additionally, Ochsner also offers strategic partnership to share innovative technologies and help people overcome the pain points around healthcare systems.

Regarding compliance, we are very proud of our compliance department that can maintain the integrity of patient data as well as adept at using technology. The compliance department at Ochsner is solution oriented; with the help of highly skilled individuals, they approach problems with the vision to find suitable and sustained solutions around healthcare landscape.

Trends impacting Healthcare

Today, most of the healthcare providers are adopting value-based care—the care focused on patients and affordability, rather than the sheer volume of treatment. Technology is paving the way for better access to clinical data while supporting greater research in connecting patients to the right research trials. The expansion of IoT, mobility and big data has brought new possibilities to the patient care. These innovative technologies facilitate real-time engagement with patients and allow organizations to generate actionable insights on the health of each patient.

At Ochsner, we are working on our digital medicine program that facilitates home monitoring of health issues like BP. This has proven to be very beneficial, as the patient can stay at home involved in their care. The BP readings provide us with additional information that we share with the clinical team that provides care for patients. With the increase in data and analytics along with AI, we have become more proactive in patient care. Instant reporting, quick notifications, and flexibility to adjust medications have transformed the way we comprehend the healthcare system. By utilizing the power of digital, we can deliver care more efficiently and offer modern as well as personalized services that patients and clinicians expect.

Leadership principles

Our team constantly works toward developing effective communication skills while focusing on the organizational goals. I think it’s important to infuse innovative ideas into the team’s daily work, whether it is creating a special project team to just work on a specific project or organizing competitive events like hackathon. One of the core values that set our work culture apart from competitors is “patient’s first” approach. We make sure to talk to the patient and take into consideration the impact of our services on our patient. Our firm can provide the best care for patients in our global community by constantly improving our work culture.

Building Technology Leaders

Having acquired years of experience in serving Ochsner, I’ve learned that relationships and people are the significant commodities for determining our job. Through our service, we make sure we connect with people irrespective of who they are, whether they are patients, employees, or our peers.

The core value that a CIO should abide by is the commitment to be a lifelong learner. As a CIO, it is essential to learn about everything and be aware of what others are doing, because the origin of the idea can be from any source. To facilitate that, we at Ochsner are completely focused on providing the right training, education and required skills for an employee so that they can treat patients with dignity and compassion.

Future Initiatives

The healthcare industry is going through a radical transformation by embracing computing technologies and data analytics to deliver effective services. This is an exciting time for us to adopt innovative technologies. Our focus currently is on leveraging data analytics to gain more insights into patient management and healthcare operations.

Healthcare IT Services Special