Joel Vengco CIO Baystate Health on The Imperative to Know the Patient

Joel Vencgo This Week in Health IT
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Continuing our series of discussion from CHIME/HIMSS 2019 we hear from Joel Vengco SVP and CIO for Baystate Health where we discuss knowing your patient in the world of value based care. Plus innovating with a partnership strategy.

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Bill Russell:                   00:11                Welcome to this week of health it where we discuss the news information and emerging thought with leaders from across the healthcare industry. This is Bill Russell. Recovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week in health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training the next generation of health it leaders. This podcast is brought to you by health lyrics, helping you build agile, efficient and effective health it let’s talk visit health to schedule your free consultation. We were recording a series of discussions with industry influencers at the Chime Himas 2019 conference. Here’s another of these great conversations. Hope you enjoy.

Bill Russell:                   00:46                Well Great. Here we are from the Chime conference. Um, Joel, you want to introduce yourself?

Joel Vengco:                 00:50                Sure. I’m Joel Vengco the senior vice president and chief information officer of Baystate health, a large health system in Massachusetts,

Bill Russell:                   00:57                western Massachusetts

Joel Vengco:                 00:59                western Massachusetts, the great, the great big west.

Bill Russell:                   01:01                I’m trying to figure out what Bay is in the western part of Massachusetts.

Joel Vengco:                 01:07                We’re referencing the bay next to Boston. Oh, okay. Just to make sure everybody knows that there is another part of Massachusetts.

Bill Russell:                   01:13                Yeah. So you guys, I mean Boston’s interesting because of the health plan. the state run health plan. How is that different? I’m already going off script, I’m sorry, but, um, are you looking at more population health initiatives and those kinds of things?

Joel Vengco:                 01:28                Yeah, so, so Massachusetts has been an advance of pop health and, and taking the risk for quite some time. Actually Bay state I’d like to say is probably one of those that are really sort of leading the charge. We ourselves have our own health plan. Uh, but I think what you’re referencing also is, isn’t this this year particularly having launched the Medicaid Aco in Massachusetts and we’re really focused on taking more risk, uh, a number of us, at least in the, in the, uh, the state, the Commonwealth, and also focused on really identifying ways for us to really manage those patients at risk and really diving deep into value based care.

Bill Russell:                   02:00                And when health systems to take risks, they, they looked at technology, it’s like, how can we care for people at home? How can they convalescent home? And those kinds of things. Are those some of the things you’re looking at? Yeah, so that’s sort of an interest for me at least at this conference is to look at some of those tech, uh, you know, uh, vendors and even some early stage startups who are identifying ways for us to know our patients.

Speaker 2:                    02:21                Number one, I think that’s sort of key in this sort of new realm of, of, of healthcare delivery. If you don’t know your patients, you don’t know how to care for them, you don’t know what they need. And ultimately that’s what we’re really focused on is, uh, you know, what is it that they need so that we can keep them healthy. So social determinants of health, the work that we’re doing with care needs screening to understand, you know, who these patients are, this population is, is crucial. Uh, and that’s actually an excess of the data that we captured today in the EHR. So social determinants of health is often not in the EHR and that’s what we’re going to really need to focus on this year.

Bill Russell:                   02:57                So how will you, how will you do the show? I think a lot of people wonder, you know, how to CIO’s do the show. I I used to, I used to love the chime event cause you get to interact with all your peers and have great conversations and learn from each other. And then the event would start and I, you know, my plan was, you know, scheduled as much stuff as possible. Just be very directive. Cause when you walk the floor and people see the CIO badge in some way, they uh, they tend to gravitate towards you. So how will you work this show?

Joel Vengco:                 03:24                Yeah. So a couple of things. One is I do have this sort of slew of meetings that we all do, right? I’ve put on the list, it’s great to meet with your vendors. This is a great time to do it all started in one shot. Then I meet with a lot of my peers and we started to exchange notes on what we’re all sort of looking at, what have we seen, et cetera. Uh, and then, you know, I’ve got two things that I always sort of come to himss with in terms of what am I looking for? What are the things that I want to be focused on this year? It’s going to really be on things like social determinants of health, uh, focused on, uh, those that actually can help us access that data, analyze that data. And then the other, the other piece is a little bit more sort of fuzzy. It’s a, the AI stuff, all the new stuff that’s sort of coming out. I want to see if it’s vaporware or real where, right. So typically that’s what I, what I do when I come to these shows.

Bill Russell:                   04:14                That’s interesting. So, um, ais is, I think you’re gonna hear it everywhere. Yeah. Um, what I, what I’m hearing, and I don’t know if you’re going to find this to be the case or not, is a on the clinical side, people are wading and very slowly, but in the areas of revenue cycle and on the business side in terms of RPA and automating and those kinds of things, uh, and AI around that, um, we’re seeing a lot of people take chances because you can’t take chances there cause you can make mistakes and it doesn’t

Speaker 2:                    04:43                correct. Yeah, that’s really the, I think that’s exactly that. The right, um, you know, sort of take on it is that there are certain things that are commodity work that we can take chances on. We, we ourselves have been taking chances at bay state through our innovation center, um, in partnership with some vendors and doing things like Rpa, um, on our rev cycle, uh, you know, work. But also we’re starting to look at things like, you know, imaging analytics and can we take all the images that we have? And these are all experimentation based work. It’s not the stuff, it’s production, but we’re, you know, hitting AI at that or at least what people are considering AI mean, a lot of this stuff is still neural net, you know, machine learning, a lot of the old stuff. But, you know, I think there’s merit to try to figure out if we can use the data that’s in our systems, which is ultimately the case that we’re trying to address here. And then trying to figure out if we can deliver insights off of that data.

Bill Russell:                   05:33                So I keep going off script. So you have an innovation center? Yes. Um, does that, is that something you work with or is that something that’s, uh, technically reports into you

Joel Vengco:                 05:42                or, yeah, so actually for four and half years ago, I started a tech spring and then notion, really the focus was that there’s all this stuff that’s going to be coming down the pike already coming down the pike. Lots of noise and you know, my team in my head or started down with operations and just trying to things, right, optimize things. So TechSpring became a channel for us to get our heads up. Uh, invite folks, uh, vendors, startups, you name it from within industry, outside the industry. Uh, and invite them to utilize our data, our experts and our environment and say, help us solve some of these passionate problems that we have in healthcare. And you guys can benefit as much as we can with, uh, discovering some of these things with the assets that we have. So that’s what tech spring really is. It’s not sort of the traditional incubator or, um, you know, investment house that you see with these innovations.

Bill Russell:                   06:28                There are so many different models for, I mean, no Cedars went with the tech stars route. Yes. And providence is more of a VCN. UPFC is more of a VC. Correct. But I’m finding that the smaller systems, the billion to three to 5 billion. Yep. Um, they take that approach of, hey, we can be a sandbox for you. Right. We’re looking for the right partners. Here’s our set of problems.

Joel Vengco:                 06:50                That’s right. Yeah. The problem is, is we also don’t have a lot of money. Right. But actually that sort of that nesessity of, of having to solve problems with sort of little budget created. I think that sort of movement of, you know, here’s, here’s a way for us to collaborate with those that are trying to solve these problems. And so we’ve got this amazing community that actually comes together to collide in this innovation center and we’re talking to folks like Cerner and Impravada and inner systems and then you get some startups, these big and small players coming together and trying to solve these problems with us. I’m sort of helping to drive some of that. It’s been quite a fascinating journey and one that’s been very productive.

Bill Russell:                   07:27                So biggest challenge for the year you’re looking at.

Joel Vengco:                 07:30                So the biggest challenge for the year, there are two challenges really. One is we’ve got a ton of data in our systems. I’ve been trying to extract it out for the last five and a half years since I’d been at Baystate health. Still a big challenge, but we need that to know our patients. The second is, you know, we’re on this verge now of of doing a 2025 strategy for health system, right? And so guess what the, the big buzzwords are that I have to sort of help define, uh, you know, the system around and it’s digital, it’s consumerism and so that’s a big challenge for us to really understand are there players out there that can help us with that new focus because quality and safety, value and experience, those things are, are, you know, what I would consider table stakes or at least you know, stable and focused areas that we should be doing well on. But now it’s about the consumer. It’s about the digital platform. It’s got to be.

Bill Russell:                   08:16                This is one of the trends that we should have coming into this conference we were going to look at is talking to CIO’s is your, you have a traditional it keep it running and run well then and, and data and analytics around that as well. Then you have this whole digital which is, hey, what are we going to do around the consumer, the consumer experience? And then you had this innovation side and it sounds like it’s all coming to you, but we’re seeing some of it where it’s starting to split up in some organizations,

Joel Vengco:                 08:41                it’s actually a lot of organizations are splitting it up that way. And I think it’s behooves the CIO. I mean it really depends on what kind of CIO you are, right? You want to run the trains. That’s cool. There are others that want to run the trains and help to create new trains. That’s really cool. And there are others that try to get into the business of healthcare. And so I think that notion of digital versus innovation versus information officer, um, you know, I think organizations can do one or they can, you can have three

Bill Russell:                   09:07                and whether you split it apart or not, the three have to work very close together so If it is under one roof and hopefully it brings it all together.

Joel Vengco:                 09:16                Right. And that’s the challenge from the CIO is really to, to, to be able to be at some level the nexus for a lot of those things.

Joel Vengco:                 09:22                Absolutely. Thank you for your time. My pleasure. Appreciate it. Nice meeting you too. Thanks.

Bill Russell:                   09:27                I hope you enjoyed this conversation. This shows a production of this week in health it for more great content. You can check out our website or the youtube channel at thanks for listening. That’s all for now.

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