January 8, 2021

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January 8, 2021: How has your healthcare system adapted this year? Jeff Sturman, CIO for Memorial Healthcare talks vaccine distribution, one-click telehealth visits, care at home, call centers and social media. Is the silver bullet the vaccine? We have to hope that’s the case. How are you going with your planning, testing, piloting and protocols? What are you looking at in terms of a frictionless workflow for one-click telehealth visits? Is Epic playing a major part? What about FaceTime, Doximity or American Well? During a pandemic you have to make whatever IT you have available work for you and your patients. Going forward, how do you clean it up and bring everybody into a standard workflow and standard procedures? What are some of the ways you’re utilizing new channels to connect with patients and your community? And is there a change in how we’re thinking about new acute care facilities or clinics? 

Key Points:

  • What is the workflow for a one-click telehealth visit? [00:12:55] 
  • Investing in an Epic remote patient monitor [00:22:55] 
  • Hand washing compliance technology [00:20:50] 
  • Changes in regulatory resulted in an explosion of telehealth earlier this year [00:22:30] 
  • Moving from work from home to hybrid hoteling type solutions [00:25:20] 
  • Bot technology, omni-channel texting and chatting functionality [00:30:45] 
  • Memorial Healthcare System

Adapting your Health System Post Pandemic with Jeffrey Sturman of Memorial Healthcare

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Adapting your Health System Post Pandemic with Jeffrey Sturman of Memorial Healthcare

Episode 349: Transcript – January 8, 2021

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

[00:00:00] Bill Russell: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining us on This Week in Health IT influence. Today Jeffrey Sturman CIO for Memorial Healthcare System out of Hollywood, Florida joins us. And this is a continuation of conversation we started back in March. He came on during the initial surge in Southeast Florida. March of 2020, and we met up again in late December to talk about what things they have solidified at their health system and what things they were [00:00:30] planning to do moving into 2021 and a great conversation.

[00:00:34] I hope you get a lot out of it. My name is Bill Russell, former healthcare CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged special. Thanks to our influence show sponsors who are investing in our mission. To develop a next generation of health IT leaders. Sirius Healthcare and Health Lyrics. If you want to be a part of our mission and become a show sponsor, please send an email to [email protected] [00:01:00] A quick note, we launched a new podcast Today in health IT where we look at one story every weekday morning, check it out. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts because they’re our website and subscribe there.

[00:01:10] You can just go to Apple, Google, you get the picture. We have a new schedule for our podcast for 2021. Monday we have news Wednesday. We have an influencer solution showcase episode, and every Friday we’re going to have an influence episode like this one. Be sure to check back for more great content now [00:01:30] onto today’s interview. 

[00:01:31] Jeff Sturman: [00:01:31] I don’t really like doing these things, but for you,

[00:01:36] Bill Russell: [00:01:36] Well, that’s good. I didn’t think I would like doing it, but it’s been a lot of fun. All right, I’ll get it. 

[00:01:42] Jeff Sturman: [00:01:42] Just kidding obviously. 

[00:01:46] Bill Russell: [00:01:46] I’ll get us started. All right. Today we have Jeff Sturman, the CIO for Memorial Healthcare out of Hollywood, Florida, with us to discuss a while, a lot of different things. There’s been a lot that’s happened since we talked in May. good morning, Jeff. Welcome back to the show. 

[00:01:58] Jeff Sturman: [00:01:58] Bill. Thank you. Nice to see you [00:02:00] again. 

[00:02:00] Bill Russell: [00:02:00] Wow. We’re going to cover a lot of ground today. You’re one of those CIOs that I feel comfortable just throwing a lot of different questions at. But before we get started, last time you gave us such a great succinct background of your health system, but for those who haven’t listened to that episode, give us a little background on Memorial Healthcare. 

[00:02:20] Jeff Sturman: [00:02:20] Yeah, sure. I’m sure it wasn’t succinctly as I usually am not, but I’ll be happy to tell you about Memorial. So Memorial healthcare system, based here in South Florida, as you mentioned, Hollywood, [00:02:30] Florida is where our flagship, Memorial regional hospital is. We’re six hospitals. So we are also known as the South Broward hospital district, about 2000 beds in total. 2300, physicians, our medical staff, about 15,000 employees, two and a half billion dollars in revenue, and growing.

[00:02:50] So we are a safety net hospital system here in, the Southern part of our district, to the North is about two thirds of the population is [00:03:00] actually served by the North Broward or Broward health, district. And, the other third of the population is covered by Memorial healthcare system. And we enter an order into Miami Dade. So it gets some population there as well, but, growing great healthcare system really proud to be here. 

[00:03:17] Bill Russell: [00:03:17] So you’re North of Miami, South of Lauderdale or North of Lauderdale as well. 

[00:03:22] Jeff Sturman: [00:03:22] Exactly. So just North of Miami, just South of Fort Lauderdale. So, Hollywood is probably the largest city in our [00:03:30] Hollywood Davy, Number Pines. Miramar are the major cities within our population area. 

[00:03:37] Bill Russell: [00:03:37] So you’ve had an influx of northerners into your area, I would imagine. 

[00:03:42] Jeff Sturman: [00:03:42] Yeah, no, it’s interesting. I’m glad you said that we have and in large part, that’s probably why you see an uptick in our volume of COVID patients. Through the course of the pandemic, because of that order of Miami Dade we’ve seen actually more spikes and more COVID patients then those to the North of us, [00:04:00] which is just because of where the population is.

[00:04:03] Bill Russell: [00:04:03] Well, I know we talked about this last time I moved to Naples and it’s Naples is on the other side of the state. But what we’re seeing right now, when I moved here in March, it was starting to thin out. So people were starting to leave. And I thought, man, this is a really quaint small town. Well it’s not anymore. Right after Thanksgiving, people came down and they’re telling me right after New Year’s just a ton of people come down [00:04:30] from all over. They come from the Northeast, they come from Canada, they come from, upper Midwest, Chicago and you name it. They come from all those places and they’re gonna, they’re going to come into your, your region. I mean, so are you guys, are you guys concerned about that? I would assume you’re concerned about everybody around here is concerned about it. 

[00:04:49] Jeff Sturman: [00:04:49] We are always concerned. Certainly during season, as we call it. Right. I mean, seasonal is a little bit delayed this year. I think we haven’t seen the influx of that migration of patients or [00:05:00] consumers from the Northeast that we usually see on the East coast of Florida. And I know in Naples, in the West coast of Florida, actually that I75 corridor get a lot of patients and consumers from Ohio and Michigan, even though my family has always come to the East coast. And we’re from Detroit originally.

[00:05:17] So yeah we’re concerned about it, obviously, the disease and the infection rate we’ve seen in the Northeast and the Midwest to be much greater in the last couple of months than what we’ve had down here, thankfully down here. [00:05:30] But we’re prepared and I think we’re, ready for it. But, again, the numbers have been a little bit slower this round. Our spike was actually the last after we spoke. So we spoke in May and our spike insert was really more in the June early July timeframe. We had a tremendous spike then. 

[00:05:49] Bill Russell: [00:05:49] So, it’s interesting that those are your numbers. So let’s talk about how you’ve sort of adapted as this says, progress. Because now [00:06:00] we’re looking at, we’re looking at potential vaccine distribution. We’re looking at a lot of different challenges than what we’ve looked at, before potentially. So what are some things that you’ve changed? Telehealth, work from home, vaccine distribution. What are some things that you’ve adapted? 

[00:06:19] Jeff Sturman: [00:06:19] Yeah we are really doing more of the same. I mean, still, still, obviously we learned a lot very, very quickly, so that more of the same of dealing with testing and dealing with [00:06:30] just the infection and making sure we’re treating patients, in the best way possible has been fairly consistent. We were lucky and I spoke about this last time, I think we were lucky in our history around PPE and overall supplies.

[00:06:46] Certainly the whole country has been affected the whole world’s been affected by PPE. So we’re not safe from that. We haven’t gotten out of the idea that we need to conserve. We need to plan, and we need to make sure [00:07:00] that we have appropriate PPE to take care of our own providers and our patients. But we’ve really been fortunate to be able to work with Premiere and other organizations to help, fulfill the needs that we have. We, like I said, our spike was in June, early July. And so total inpatients were approaching 700 for COVID. And that’s about half of what our census typically is.

[00:07:28] And so clearly we did all [00:07:30] the things that every other organization across the world does in these things with surgeries being canceled and elective procedures being delayed. We have, pick that back up. And whether or not that remains, I think, remains to be seen. We’re concerned, very concerned about where things are today.

[00:07:50] I’m just looking at my statistics for today, for example, and we’re at 196 inpatients with COVID, 28 in process. [00:08:00] So probably close or if not over 200 patients in house with COVID and we can manage that quite effectively. That’s a big number that has increased in the last probably four or five weeks for us. Cause we were closer to a hundred patients, even probably eight weeks ago, a hundred patients. And that had been fairly consistent since August. And so in the last month or maybe six, eight weeks, we have seen a gradual increase in the number of [00:08:30] inpatients. That to your earlier comment, really makes sense, given where we are in our season.

[00:08:35] So as we see more and more folks coming from the Northeast and the Midwest coming to our beautiful nice weather that finally has turned here, we’re going to see that increase more. So is the silver bullet the vaccine? Absolutely, I think we have to hope that’s the case. And so we are doing an inordinate amount of planning, testing, piloting, vaccine pathways and [00:09:00] protocols as well as overall, program.

[00:09:02] So we’re one of five healthcare systems in the state that’s been given the authority from the federal government to receive this vaccine as early as they release it, which we hope is actually at the end of this week, as everyone probably knows. And so how we’re treating a pandemic, how we’re treating the infection, is, I think we’ve gotten a little smarter. Unfortunately, I don’t think from a clinical standpoint, we still truly know [00:09:30] everything about this thing. And so maybe not as many patients today are in the ICU, not as many patients are on ventilators. So we’re treating this with high flow oxygen. We’re treating this with certainly antibodies, which may have some relevance and maybe don’t have relevance. We’re not really sure. But I think we’re doing so much of what others are doing across the country. 

[00:09:54] Bill Russell: [00:09:54] Yeah. And just to give this context, cause, this is, we’re recording this on [00:10:00] December 7th of 2020, because by the time this airs, I mean, this stuff is moving so quickly at this point. If this doesn’t air potentially until January, people are going to be saying, hey, what’s he talking about?

[00:10:11] So, this is, this is early December. Vaccine by the end of the week. That’s what I’m hearing across the country. Talk to me about how you’re going to do the tracking. So there’s a couple of challenges with this. Obviously it’s a two dose regimen, it’s not enough to just get the first, you have to get the booster as well.

[00:10:29] There’s [00:10:30] tracking internally into the EHR itself. There’s tracking and registries and those kinds of things to make sure you’re tracking it across the community. There’s a lot of interesting data challenges for an IT organization. How are you guys approaching that?

[00:10:46] Jeff Sturman: [00:10:46] It’s a great question. And unfortunately, I think it’s a little bit of a moving target. We’ve been getting different information almost. I was going to say daily, but probably more than daily, up until even Friday last week, we were getting [00:11:00] different information from the state, from the federal government, from when this therapy, when this, vaccine would be released.

[00:11:07] So we think that we’re going to get this at, like you said, at the end of this week, we are putting in Epic, our EHR, the tracking mechanisms to make sure that both doses are going to be tracked for our employees. We are going to share the vaccine with our local other healthcare systems that may not initially be provided the vaccine so that they [00:11:30] can also track it in their electronic health records.

[00:11:33] We’re going to do this specifically for Memorial and for our employees. So we’re putting in essentially three phases is our thinking right now of vaccination for our 15,000 or so employees. Those that decide to actually take it. And so obviously COVID units, ICU providers who are directly impacting COVID patients will be the first to receive this. And certainly close thereafter will be nursing homes and [00:12:00] long-term care facilities and those providers. So all that being said, you’re right, the way the logistics are working and how we’re going to manage and monitor this, are a little bit in flux but. I think we have good plans with regard to how we built out Epic, how we built out the scheduling practices. So much of this is rooted in making sure that we’re scheduling our appointments and actually tracking the patients, or our employees in this case [00:12:30] initially, first and foremost. 

[00:12:31] Bill Russell: [00:12:31] Yeah. I mean there’s a ton to explore there but I want to go back to, I read in preparation for this interview. I read the transcript from our last conversation. And you mentioned, this whole idea of one-click telehealth visits. And I wanted to explore that a little bit with you. Can you share what you’re looking at in terms of a workflow for a one-click tele-health visit? 

[00:12:57] Jeff Sturman: [00:12:57] Yeah, it really simply, I mean, I honestly, [00:13:00] Bill what we’re trying to do is this frictionless environment. So that we can create for our consumers and our providers a much easier workflow. Not to say that we don’t love Epic and we are Epic first strategy when it comes to our telehealth our virtual capabilities and our electronic health records and work pretty robust Epic user. And so long term, I think Epic will get there from a one-click very easy to use, practice for telehealth. In [00:13:30] the period in the last few months, we’ve explored probably way too many options, but the reality is we wanted to explore so many options because we really just didn’t want to get an our in the way of our providers providing care the way they needed to.

[00:13:42] So we said use whatever capability that you have at your disposal, whether it be Epic, whether it be Doximity, whether it be FaceTime. So all of those different solutions have been in play here, plus probably another dozen. What we’ve come down to and [00:14:00] our experience with telehealth is we white label American Well to be what we call Memorial Doc Now.

[00:14:08] So that’s our telehealth based out to the consumer world. We’ve also now used Amwell for a one-click scenario. This is very new. So we finally have arrived at this consensus and consistent practice by which we can provide a very easy to use experience for our consumers and our providers. So when Epic doesn’t work or [00:14:30] a customer, doesn’t have My Chart, they’ll be able to get an email or a text message simply to their device or their email. And they can click that link and they’re essentially right into a telehealth visit with our provider. So we think this is a kind of a simpler, easy to use method. It’s not again a silver bullet and we plan to use both Epic ongoing, which hopefully is the lion’s share of our telehealth visits. But for those consumers that either again, don’t have [00:15:00] My Chart or are having technical difficulties or, or for whatever reason we’re going to provide this other solution. And again, a provider logs into their portal. They send out to the patient either to their phone or to their email, a simple link that link is clicked on and, the patient’s automatically in a telehealth visit.

[00:15:19] Bill Russell: [00:15:19] So do they have to install an app or anything on there on their side? 

[00:15:22] Jeff Sturman: [00:15:22] They don’t. So that’s the nice part of this Amwell solution w like I said, we looked at so many, some from [00:15:30] Cisco, some others as well and there’s so many out there, so it’s hard to get your arms around all of the different solutions and which one really works the best but we’re hopeful that the American Well solution for us works well. And, we’re already seeing some good wins there. 

[00:15:45] Bill Russell: [00:15:45] Did American Well scale well for you during COVID? 

[00:15:49] Jeff Sturman: [00:15:49] Yeah, they have. American Well has always been our consumer centric telehealth service pre COVID. We were only seeing about 2000 patients a [00:16:00] year through telehealth. We’re at a hundred and I think 80,000 now 180,000 telehealth visits between now and March. And most of that’s not going through Memorial Doc now, although that’s seen a large uptick and American well has scaled extraordinarily well for us but we’ve done so much internally as we’ve talked about.

[00:16:19] Bill Russell: [00:16:19] So as the CIO, will you go back and clean up a lot? So it’s interesting that you took the approach of, okay, go ahead and use whatever works, which makes sense. During a pandemic, a crisis use, [00:16:30] whatever works for you and your patients. Let’s make it work. Would you have to go back and sort of clean that up and bring everybody into the standard workflow and standard procedures?

[00:16:40] Jeff Sturman: [00:16:40] Yeah, I think we already have to some degree, I think we need to do a lot more of that. There’s a big learning curve. so you know, nothing’s perfect. And sometime in the near future, I think we’ll get to a much more consistent platform. We already are there to a large degree. So there’s education, there’s marketing material. [00:17:00] And when I talk about education, we’re talking about education to our providers. We’ve created a nice videos but also education in those videos for our consumers that sit on our websites so that they can really see how to make best advantage of the technology 

[00:17:14] Bill Russell: [00:17:14] Yeah as you would have imagined. I do these video podcasts and whatnot, when I went to St. Joe’s we brought video in and we did video for almost every rollout and every project we were doing. And that was one of our huge successes, was letting people, just whenever they [00:17:30] needed it real time, just in time kind of training and downloading of the information. So that’s a, that’s a phenomenal approach. 

[00:17:39] Let’s go in this direction. So I’ve been talking to people. There are some people who have building projects going on. They’re still building acute facilities. They’re still building, clinics and those kinds of things. As we’ve sort of progressed through this pandemic, this is a question I like to ask people is, do you see a change in how we’re thinking [00:18:00] about either, any new facility, a new acute facility, a new clinic of some kind are we thinking differently after having gone through the pandemic?

[00:18:12] Jeff Sturman: [00:18:12] Yeah, I love this question. I think it’s a great one. I think one thing we’ll, we’re going to be thinking about post pandemic is not building these acute care facilities quite as much because we’re going to be more focused on the outpatient ambulatory care at home environment, remote patient monitoring, which I’m sure we’ll talk more about as we did [00:18:30] last time. But for the inpatient side and the hospital, and hypothetically, if we were to be building a new hospital and healthcare systems, our size and larger, and probably all healthcare systems are always going through construction. So we are thinking about new ways that we can deliver care, even in the hospital setting. And things that come to mind obviously are more video capabilities. The idea that we have six disparate facilities, main acute care hospitals, [00:19:00] geographically dispersed but yet not all doing the exact same thing.

[00:19:03] The idea that we can manage care from a kind of a command center type presence in a central area. But as long as you have the camera capability and you have the video capability we can do so much more remotely. And so I think, one of the big opportunities for us being an Epic client is our investment in Epic monitor. And again taking that virtual capability and extending that into the hospital, whether [00:19:30] that be for the way we think about it initially for sitters. So we can have sitters be remote and monitoring patients electronically. Whether that be looking at BPA. So alerts in Epic and looking at that from a central station so that we can really not have our consumers or rather our providers have this alert, fatigue process that they go through all the time.

[00:19:54] That we can manage and monitor this remotely and really tell them, this [00:20:00] is an alert you need to pay attention to because you hear beeping and buzzing all the time in hospitals. The idea of voice recognition. So the Alexa’s of the world, the Googles of the world, things that we’re doing to pilot voice recognition in the hospital environment, as simple as, turn my lights off, lower my shades, lower my temperature. Talk to the nursing unit in a electronic way. We did this early in the pandemic, to cut down on [00:20:30] PPE with other solutions. But I think there, the use case there can apply show up broadly in the hospital setting, that I think we’ll see a lot more of that. 

[00:20:39] And the last one I’ll finish with Bill, because I think it’s a really important one. Maybe not all that sexy but certainly important is the ability to cut down on infections in the hospital. And looking at hand washing compliance technology. We’ve done this through visual observation for so long, and it’s worked pretty [00:21:00] well, but it can be so much better. And I think the idea that there’s technologies out there, one in particular that we’re working with right now to look at infection control and contact tracing, will just be something that currently is very important and will stay for the future.

[00:21:18] Bill Russell: [00:21:18] That’s  fascinating. I did see one of those solutions for hand-washing. We had a badge type solution for hand washing that we were experimenting with back in the day but I saw one with thermal [00:21:30] that actually is sort of monitoring everything that’s going on in the room. And so they can monitor hand-washing but they can also monitor falls and those kinds of things. That technology is really advancing. It’s just it’s It’s really fascinating to see what they can do with in-room monitors these days. 

[00:21:49] Jeff Sturman: [00:21:49] I also like the centimeter, right? I mean we used to have to be, arms, distance away. Now we’re down to the centimeter and it’s amazing that the technology that we’re we’ll be [00:22:00] using is really it’s the same technology that you use to start your car with the push button, in the car and your key fob on you. It’s that same technology. And it’s really amazing. 

[00:22:12] Bill Russell: [00:22:12] Well, but that begs the question that you can. Well okay. It doesn’t beg the question. I mean, people are seeing this so CMS just increased flexibilities for acute care out of the home. Which is really interesting because [00:22:30] changes in regulatory really changed how we approach and the explosion of telehealth earlier this year and I think they’re thinking the same thing could happen with regard to providing those kinds of services in the home. Are you guys looking at that and how are you exploring that? 

[00:22:45] Jeff Sturman: [00:22:45] Yeah I think hospital at home care at home is absolutely something that’s going to be something. That we, as well as everyone else, puts on their radar. We’re going to make a tremendous investment this year in remote patient monitoring and look at the different tools. We’re [00:23:00] piloting this or some of our population health value based care programs  right now. And so absolutely, I mean, hospital home is where things are going. I talked about this, recently with an audience not so long ago in that, we’re coming full circle from maybe a hundred years ago. And that patients and consumers are going to be treated at home much more so than where we are today. We’ve we’ve as hospital executives have really always thought, okay, patients are going to [00:23:30] come to us because we’re the hospital setting. I think we have to think about that differently. I think we need to think about how we can go to them and give care and provide care to where again they want it.

[00:23:40] We all know that care at home, and it is a high level of satisfaction, maybe even quality of being better. And it’s where patients want to be treated so more to come there. 

[00:23:52] Bill Russell: [00:23:52] Yeah, that’ll be interesting. All right. Let’s talk the work from home experiment. I keep calling it an [00:24:00] experiment because nobody really planned to do it. It’s sort of, we’re figuring it out as we go. How has that progressed for you guys? Where are you at in that journey? 

[00:24:09] Jeff Sturman: [00:24:09] Yeah. I mean, so you can see I’m in my office today and you and I were talking earlier, before we started that I’m in my office. We’d be going through some construction in my building, which was timed nicely so that, people aren’t here anyway. But I have no intention. Of bringing people back to a behemoth of a building when we’re [00:24:30] being effective in what we do, I would even argue probably more efficient, more effective and productive in what we do. We do have some monitoring tools in place that help us with that to make sure that we are actually doing what we need to be doing.

[00:24:44] But all in all, our corporate divisions that work, whether it be marketing or finance or it or HR. We’re all working from home a lot still. And I don’t think that’ll have that’ll change. Clearly we’ve [00:25:00] made the investment with moving technology to that home setting. And we’ve proven out this experiment that it works. That being said, it’s not going to stay probably in the same levels that it is today. And we will have this hybrid world that we live in, probably for the future. And so we’re putting some investment to hoteling type solutions. I’m sure everyone knows what hoteling is, but I come from a consultant background where we [00:25:30] always had hoteling in the big consulting firms. So you come in, you call a phone number and get a cubicle or an office for the day. There will be some people that in my environment will want to have a space in our building all the time. And we’ll certainly offer that up. There will be a lot more people that will want to take advantage of hoteling as an option and not just IT but I think corporate wide.

[00:25:53] And so our radiologists, and even some of our physicians who can be remote, we’ve made investment there in the [00:26:00] technology at their home. And I think that’ll also stay in place. 

[00:26:04] Bill Russell: [00:26:04] It’s I worked for my home for. I mean, I’ve owned three businesses, my own businesses and whatnot. I’ve worked from my home for a fair amount of time. And I think you’ve worked from your home a fair amount of time as well. Here’s my only concern with this. The idea of working from home is not for everyone. And, it’s not for everyone because of potentially the work environment, although we’ve gotten more [00:26:30] flexible in terms of, seeing the kids on zoom meetings and actually encouraging some of that as well.

[00:26:36] But just from a discipline standpoint, I just know having done it myself, it takes a fair amount of discipline to go into your office and work. Knowing that, all the things that you normally play with your kids, your TV, your hobbies, or whatever are just on the other side of that door. Sometimes that can be really hard. [00:27:00] You need that kind of discipline. Have you, have you found that you have to adapt to certain people or certain people struggle with the environment? 

[00:27:07] Jeff Sturman: [00:27:07] Yeah, absolutely. And so I think you’re right on, I mean, you can probably, more often than not, not today, cause I’m in my office. Either my mother-in-law or my kids walking behind me. And sometimes when you see my kids walking behind me, they don’t have a shirt on, and if they have shorts on we’re lucky. So, I do think, I think, I mean, it’s been so hard for even these kids [00:27:30] were in school at home, and you hear stories about so much mental anguish and behavioral issues coming out because of the schooling from home.

[00:27:41] And so I think the same thing applies to us as adults, that some of us can work very effectively from home. And some of us just can’t. Maybe we don’t have the discipline. Maybe we don’t have the office space. And the fortunate scenario that maybe some of us have a dedicated office in our home. If you have that, that’s great. [00:28:00] But a lot of people don’t. And so I do think it’s really important as an employer that’s very focused on our people that we give them this option. That we have this hybrid world as an option for them in the future and let them work in an environment that they’re most comfortable in. Whether it be at their home or whether it be in an office setting. So discipline is critical to that. 

[00:28:24] Bill Russell: [00:28:24] Yeah. I did do an interview with somebody who, had this really nice [00:28:30] background, but they were actually in their garage because they couldn’t find anywhere to have a quiet interview. I think everyone thinks that Florida is the wild West, by the way. but I’ve not found that to be the case. Every time I go out, everybody has masks on. It’s not mandated by the governor per se, but, every restaurant I go to every store I go to, it has a sign that says you can’t come inside without that mask. It’s the same thing on the East coast of Florida. 

[00:28:59] Jeff Sturman: [00:28:59] Yeah. I [00:29:00] mean, I hope that we’re highly educated and certainly I’m in healthcare. So, and probably all the folks listening to this are in healthcare. So maybe we have a different level of discipline and attention to this. So wearing a mask is just almost, second nature at this point for all of us. but I do think that there are pockets that, we’re seeing, unfortunately not adhere to these guidelines, where I live and where you live it sounds like we’re probably very similar in that. I’m seeing everyone wear a mask. I’m seeing restaurants, [00:29:30] and people, do what they need to do to stay safe. But there are too many stories and too many things that we all see on the news that certainly don’t seem to be taking the same, thoughtful approach.

[00:29:43] Bill Russell: [00:29:43] Yeah. All right. So again, I went through the, I went through the transcript. This is like a test on the last interview I did with you. Here’s the quote, the whole idea of engaging our consumers in the most effective way has always been something on our mind in the last year and it’s even more [00:30:00] front and center now. What are some of the ways you’re utilizing new channels to connect with patients and your community? 

[00:30:06] Jeff Sturman: [00:30:06] Yeah. Again, I’m glad you you’re bringing it up and, and refreshing my memory as well. so. consumer centric model and the way that we engage our consumers is absolutely changing and different than it wasn’t in years past. And I think that’s a good thing. Tis omni-channel presence of talking to a consumer just through a phone. Has gotta be different in healthcare. [00:30:30] We’re behind other industries. and so learning from those other industries, whether it be robot technology and bots that we’ve put in place because of the pandemic and how that then influences our future is something that we are constantly looking at today.

[00:30:45] So bot technology, omni-channel texting, chatting functionality. So a big initiative for us this year and probably will be a for a couple of years, is our contact center presence and our call centers. [00:31:00] And right now we are very disparately organized from a call center standpoint, which then at the end of the day means that we’ll disparately, talking to our patients in different ways.

[00:31:10] And so I think we need to create some level of consistency standardization in our contact centers. And so we picked new technology through an RFP just recently, and we’re going to look to standardize our, our learnings from a contact, a consumer standpoint. And so we’re really excited about it. It’s a big initiative.

[00:31:30] [00:31:30] It’ll change the way in which we really interface or interact with our patients. Another really cool, area, which I’m really excited about is, is the idea of social media. So we, we have so many lessons learned in the world of social media and it seems like you can’t go to a website, a social media website and they not know more about what you’re actually there for, then, And so if that makes sense. And so the idea that we have so [00:32:00] much data in our healthcare system about our patients, about our consumers and that we can use that to better take care of them so they can more proactively take care of themselves. So shift to this wellness type environment is really, really interesting. So, serving up information and education to our patients, whether you’re an expecting mother and you’re in your third trimester and you’re at home and you want to learn something about how to take care of your baby in the first, [00:32:30] couple weeks of birth, or maybe you are rehab, maybe a rehab patient. If you had an orthopedic procedure at our hospital, and now you’re at home and we can serve up education about rehabbing therapies.

[00:32:43] Or you walk into our hospital and we know that you’re there because of your cell phone, essentially location services tells us you’re there and we can welcome you to our hospital without you ever going to registration. So this idea of touchless check-in, touchless [00:33:00] registration, again, all of these ways of interacting with our consumers.

[00:33:04] Are that’s the exciting part of the job and that’s the digital transformation? I think so many of us are thinking about, we’ve talked about Tara at home, remote patient monitoring. I think we talked about that last time in may, so I won’t belabor it, but that’s going to take a huge group for us, over the next year.

[00:33:20] Bill Russell: [00:33:20] That’s interesting. Social media is interesting to me. Actually. There’s a couple of topics I’d love to follow up on there, but, social media is interesting to me because it used to be a nice to have, [00:33:30] hey, look at our health system, we’re doing nice things in the community, that kind of stuff. But now there’s almost a potential for a direct one-to-one relationship through social media.

[00:33:39] They know so much information you can get so targeted. You could actually put that into the feed of all those who are expecting in your community. That kind of course for first time pregnant mothers and those kinds of things, I mean, it’s just, it’s amazing what you can do. And that’s [00:34:00] a muscle that I think every health system is starting to realize that it needs, I was going to say develop, maybe not develop yet, but definitely realize that they need to be more savvy in that space. 

[00:34:12] Jeff Sturman: [00:34:12] Yeah. And we can use this not only from a marketing and social media standpoint, as we all know it today, but even in getting the word out for vaccines. Even in the work and the ability to, make sure that we’re using the data that we have our analytics and that we can go after [00:34:30] patient populations and help them understand what their next steps are in this vaccine approach that we’re all dealing with right now. 

[00:34:37] Bill Russell: [00:34:37] Yeah, no, that’s a, that’s a great use case. The other thing you mentioned was call centers and I it’s amazing to me, how many call centers, health systems, still operate and, and run. And it’s a significant portion of what they do. And you said, you’re analyzing new technology might be a little behind, but that’s been my experience across the country.

[00:34:58] Most health systems. If you [00:35:00] ask them to define their call center function, and you say, would you say you’re in the top percentile or whatever, generally what you’re going to get is, a C or D grade. It’s like we do it. We do. Okay. it’s kind of disjointed. We do a lot of still handoffs and those kinds of things. We don’t have a great set of tools to manage the people who are in the call center. we don’t have a great set of metrics to see if we’re really driving towards the right things. I mean, that’s [00:35:30] what I’m hearing. And I guess the question around this is, is this a technology solution or is it bigger  than that? Is it really, stepping back and rethinking how we do call centers? 

[00:35:44] Jeff Sturman: [00:35:44] It is so much bigger than technology. Technology is the foundation. And that’s how we’re starting this because we think it can, again, lay that foundation for how operations can be managed differently. But this is a huge cultural transformational, operational improvement [00:36:00] effort, much more than just technology.

[00:36:02] So we talked about omni-channel presence and the idea of texting and chatting and emailing, I don’t know why, but we in healthcare have said for so many years for forever, probably that we actually have to talk. We actually physically have to talk to a patient. About a bill or a scheduled appointment or, anything and so that I’m not sure a true statement any longer.

[00:36:28] I think our [00:36:30] consumers actually want to get things done quickly and we can automate so much of this. So. Why do I need to talk to a human being about a scheduled appointment or how to pay a bill? We do this in every other industry now, and we just haven’t, this hasn’t caught fire yet, I guess, in, in, in healthcare. And I think, I think it will. And so technology is going to lay the foundation first phase of our contract summer process, but moving to phase two, which is really all [00:37:00] operational improvement, which gets to people process and governance really. 

[00:37:04] Bill Russell: [00:37:04] Yep. All right. So I had a bunch of other things to talk to you about, but I’m going to, I’m going to close it up. I’m going to bring it home with this one question. And I’ve been asking all the CEOs who have been on a recently, this questioT is, and it’s been interesting to me. I’ve gotten a lot of different answers. What do you think the lasting impact of the pandemic is going to be on health IT specifically? 

[00:37:26] Jeff Sturman: [00:37:26] I think there’s a few. A few that we’ve mentioned. [00:37:30] Clearly everything digital. So this world of digital transformation and how you define digital is going to be something that is taking a much more root in everything that we do. So again, I, I’m very focused on this consumer centric model and engagement. So the experience of the way in which we access care and deliver care, it’s going to technology is absolutely a new way, a new paradigm a new shift in access. But clearly virtual health [00:38:00] tele-health remote patient monitoring care at home. The whole idea that we need to meet our consumers, where they want to be met as opposed to where we want to meet them, meaning the old way of hospital thinking. I think that’s the biggest change that we’re going to see, as a result of the pandemic. And that means again, more virtual care. 

[00:38:22] Bill Russell: [00:38:22] Yep. Absolutely. Well, Jeff, thanks again for your time. I heard all the Microsoft music going on in the background. I’m sure our listeners are like [00:38:30] checking their email and stuff as they’re listening to this show and they’re like oh. 

[00:38:34] Jeff Sturman: [00:38:34] I need to remember to turn that off.

[00:38:36] Bill Russell: [00:38:36] They’re probably going oh, that’s not mine. It’s Jeff’s and yeah you had a fair amount going on. So you’re, staying pretty busy. Hey, thanks again for your thanks for your time. I really do appreciate it. 

[00:38:45] Jeff Sturman: [00:38:45] Let me just close out also by saying thank you to you. I watch a lot of your podcasts. You’re keeping us all informed, through your audiences and your other guests. And we really appreciate what you do. This is the new way of us staying connected. So thank you [00:39:00] for this. 

[00:39:00] Bill Russell: [00:39:00] Absolutely. I’m looking forward towards to the day when we can actually sit in a restaurant across from each other. It should be fun. 

[00:39:06] Jeff Sturman: [00:39:06] No doubt. 

[00:39:07] Bill Russell: [00:39:07] All right. Take care. What a great discussion. I really enjoyed my time with Jeff and appreciate him taking the time to come on the show and share his wisdom with our community. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com or wherever you listen to podcasts, Apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher.

[00:39:27] We are out there so they can find us [00:39:30] there. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health IT leaders. VMware, Hill-Rom and StarBridge advisors. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now. 

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