CHIME Cletis Earle, A Look Back / Forward


Bill Russell / Cletis Earle

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The Healthcare CIO Look Back / Look Forward series with Cletis Earle, Chief Information Officer at Kaleida Health.

Bill Russell: 00:04 Welcome to this week in health it events where we amplify great ideas with interviews from the floor. My name is bill Russell healthcare CIO coach and creator of this week in health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to developing the next generation of health leaders. We want to thank our founding channel sponsors who make this content possible, health lyrics and VMware. If you want to be a part of our mission to develop health leaders, go to this week, for more information. This episode is sponsored by health lyrics. When I became a CIO, I was really overwhelmed at first and one of the first things I did was to sign a CIO coach to walk with me through the journey. This was someone who had wisdom that can only be gained through years of experience. It was invaluable to my success in the role and I now coach CIOs through health lyrics.

Bill Russell: 00:55 If you want to learn more, visit health or drop me a note at [email protected] over the next three weeks. We have a huge treat for you. I’m really excited about it. Uh, I just got back from the chime fall forum in Scottsdale, which was a great event and we caught up with 12 active CIOs from various size health systems and asked them to take a look back at 2019 and I look forward at 2020. Uh, you’re going to hear, um, what they’re excited to have accomplished last year and what they’re looking forward to accomplish next year. I asked each of them the same eight questions and I think you’re going to be fascinated to hear the similarities and the differences based on where they’re at. Geography and other things. Each of these interviews is about 10 minutes long so you can listen to them really quick.

Bill Russell: 01:41 And some of you listen that one and a half times speed. So it’s going to go like that. Uh, we’re going to publish one a day, uh, with a few news day episodes sprinkled in through the end of November. So check back every day for the next episode. And don’t forget to look back to see if you missed any Cletis Earle was a extremely busy at the chime conference. He was up on stage, he was everywhere. And, uh, I really appreciate him taking the time to sit down right before he got up on stage with me. Uh, Cletis is the CIO for, uh, Kaleida health in Buffalo, New York. A great conversation. Hope you enjoy.

Bill Russell: 02:15 All right. Here we are. Another interview from the chime fall forum or with a Cletis Earle chairman of the foundation foundation. Yeah. So you’re double miked up this morning. Looking forward to that.

Cletis Earle: 02:28 Bout to go on in a few minutes.

New Speaker: 02:29 You can go up on stage, uh, with Kaleida health up in upstate New York and then Buffalo area. Yeah, Western New York. I look forward to that. So we, uh, what we’re doing is we’ll look back, look forward on, uh, you know, what’s happened this year, what’s, what’s going on next year. So, uh, first question, you know, how have you seen the role of the CIO change over the last year in 2019?

Cletis Earle: 02:51 You know, it’s, it’s interesting you asked the question because, uh, the role has significantly changed. Uh, we, as we’ve traditionally worried about implementing EMR ERPS and various systems, but as organizations move from a fee for service to a value based, our goal, our goal is to really actively become a more engaged, um, consumer outside of the four walls of the institution. So I’ve seen a significant amount of uptake of really dealing with collaborative relationships. Um, so much so that we’re collaborating in our area. We’re collaborating with multiple vectors, multiple industries. Uh, we have significant amount of collaboration going on with, um, banking and other, uh, uh, industries just to really align our resources. We were all struggling on, believe it or not, in an area such as Western New York. Uh, they’re not the talent pool that you, you, you can just really readily grab. So, um, CIO’s from myself and CIO’s from M and T bank and a few others have worked together, put together efforts to pool our resources again. So it’s that kind of uh, collaborative, really out the box thinking to see how we’re going to work and that’s where CIO’s are involved in because I know these same challenges are occurring across not only the country but around the globe trying to get those important resources to help us be successful.

Bill Russell: 04:14 Cool. You know, it’s interesting cause uh, I want to go through all the questions but it’s interesting on the, on the finding great talent cause you know you unique great talent in order to succeed and you have some markets that we’ve talked to Darren Dworkin yesterday and he’s like, you know, we have sub 1% employment within the health it space because we just can’t find it and hire people. Right. Then you have other places that are maybe a little more rural or are not as big as Southern California or LA. And the other problem exists, which is we’re not producing enough talent maybe out of the colleges to, with the right skill sets to do the roles. So it’s a, it’s interesting. It’s, it’s same problem, different manifestations. Absolutely. Um, what are, what are some of the priorities that your health system is pursuing next year that your health it organization is going to support?

Cletis Earle: 05:07 Uh, One of the biggest priorities in, in New York state, New York state’s pretty tough. You know, it’s a pretty tough market. Um, I’ve seen enough from the bottom of state all the way up to the very top. Uh, one of the biggest priorities is helping the organization become more efficient when it comes to, um, revenue quality. Uh, you think that these are standing traits, but, um, as the EMR is going and those systems go in, um, you know, it’s not just thinking about, it’s not just about putting in the new shiny object, but putting it in and making it as efficient to the business as possible. And that’s kind of one of the tasks that we’re looking at. So operational efficiency, uh, you know, um, quality efficiency and you know, really impacting you, how it impact the positive impact of revenue.

Bill Russell: 05:59 Yeah. So you’re going to keep optimizing that platform,

Cletis Earle: 06:03 continue to optimize and partner with companies such as our EHR is to really look at how do we get the best bang out of the dollar so that we can have the maximum return on investment for that particular solution. I mean, think about this, how many scenarios in the world you can spend, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars up to $1 billion and not know exactly what the return on investments. Right. I mean, we’re, I think we’re probably in the only industry that does that, but it’s just something that we have to start to change that change the narrative.

Bill Russell: 06:33 Yeah, absolutely. Um, and you have leadership from the edge last night, the arch collaborative shared a lot of things around. Yeah. That was a, that was a great session. Yeah, it was. Um, so we’re going to look forward two initiatives, one initiative that you think is going to materially impact, materially impact the patient experience. And one that’s going to, you know, for next year materially impact the clinician experience.

Cletis Earle: 06:56 Yeah. So for the patient side, again, I do believe that consumerism should be one of the highest focuses that, you know, we as an industry, you know, um, being in on, um, our organization, we put in at our new children’s hospital, we put in a grade, uh, patient engagement solution, that infotainment system that, uh, very similar to the hotels.

Cletis Earle: 07:18 It allows us to not only just have the, our patients have access to television and, and movies, but it allows us to do just in time service and also service recovery. Uh, so not waiting for that patient to leave the hospital for us to see what, you know, how we’re doing and how, how we’re able to do it, but allowing the patient to, um, in, in real time and be able to say, my, my room is too cold, or I didn’t get the food that I wanted, or that engagement with that provider was not as optimal as it needs to be. And it allows us that, that then triggers alerts to our leadership team to allow, um, action so that when that patient leaves, we know that we’ve addressed the issues as best as possible. And that’s being, we’ve, we did at our children’s hospital, we’re rolling it out to the rest of the organization.

Cletis Earle: 08:11 And it’s interesting, we’ve done something very similar where we have rounding tools, what our nurses we’ve found where sometimes, uh, around could occur. And then an hour later we will get an alert that the patient was dissatisfied and that’s how real time we have to become. Um, because that’s very similar to how other industries operate. We really have to be more reactive reactive to their needs. But in more of a more functional time frame.

Bill Russell: 08:39 Yeah. It’s, it’s uh, yeah, I mean those are, is their interest and you’re going to continue to work on the clinician experience.

Cletis Earle: 08:48 and in turn, that same solution works for the clinicians as well. So it’s that, again, being able to get as real time data so that we can actually move what we’re doing. Um, we put in adoption coaches throughout our organization to make sure that we have more at the elbow support for our providers so that they’re not necessarily, once it gets implemented, we don’t see them. Again. We are looking at our data by using, um, some of the tools and the analytics tools and we’re going out there and making sure that if we see that there, their providers using the system that are outside of the norm, we target those to the providers to get them back into the pool. And we’ve been able to save them a significant amount of time so that they can technically be with the patients and have more time and, and help reduce physician burnout.

Bill Russell: 09:35 What are you most proud of your team for accomplishing this year? IT success for 2019?

Cletis Earle: 09:41 a lot. Everything that they do, uh, I’m, I’m proud of, of, uh, you know, the efforts that we’ve helped in our community to help build homes for habitat for humanity. I’m proud for the fact that we’ve been able to come together as a complicated, uh, health system and coming together as a team. Uh, I, I think, you know, what I’m most proud of is the change of culture. That it’s takes a lot. We’re not far, we’re not there, you know, but we’re on our path. So I think that it takes a lot for an organization to go down one direction and then pivot within a very short time to go in another. And that’s great because we’re Now in line to the organization’s strategic objectives,

Bill Russell: 10:25 that was fantastic. Any missed opportunities for 2019 things you wish you had worked on more and just didn’t get around to?

Cletis Earle: 10:31 No. You know what? No, I don’t think so. I think, you know, in our world we can work on a billion things and still feel that you miss something. Um, you know, as long as our organization, you know, we’re, again, our it strap plan is lined up with their organization’s draft plan. We continue to focus on that effort. Um, I don’t think that, uh, I don’t have any regret. Um, I always think that there is always opportunity particular on innovation to, you know, work on other initiatives. But, um, nothing, one singular thing I can think of.

Bill Russell: 11:02 Where’s an area you’d like to see more innovation, but I mean there’s so many innovation conferences now and those kind of things. Should we almost every day open up and you read some innovation in healthcare? Well, what’s one area that you’re like, man, I’d really like to see, you know, a significant move forward.

Cletis Earle: 11:19 Yeah. Yesterday, um, Randy’s children’s hospital was awesome. Innovation, uh, session, you know, the combination of genomics and clinical information being brought together to allow for precision based medicine. Um, I’d love to see more activity around that area. Um, because I do believe we can make a difference. I do believe that we can find those cases and be able to provide better care for our customers and our patients. And there’s so many opportunities, benefits by doing that. Yesterday I heard some scenarios. They said it took them six weeks, they’d gotten it down to the left, the 24 hours. I mean, just think about the efficiency. Not only just the care but the efficiency. That’s less amount of bedtime, you know, less amount of visits. The patient satisfaction goes through the roof. We then also have to figure out, okay, when we do that we’ll come on effective. We also have to figure out, well how do we, we’re a business, how do we continue to operate? Right? So how do we now work with our payers to make sure that we’re getting compensated accordingly? So that’s not taking a hit.

Bill Russell: 12:27 So it was interesting the leadership from the edge presentations was great last night. You have personalization of healthcare and you had precision medicine as well with Radys. And I mean those were great, really good presentations. I mean you had the arch collaborative presentation with you CSD, which was awesome. Um, you know, going into next year, what, you know, what I’ve found, we have a lot of, uh, listeners that are in college, they’re listening to us go and where’s healthcare going? Where was it? And so one of the questions I put on here at the end is, you know, what health it roles do you think you’re going to be hiring more of in 2020?

Cletis Earle: 13:08 Well, I can reassure you we are going to, the way we’re going, again, moving from the four walls of the institution to outside, uh, we’re looking at hiring more CRM based roles, um, analytic people that can actually be not just looking at data, but they’re able to synthesize it and produce results back to the business owner and give them recommendations and not just via a conduit of just, here’s a bunch of data. Here you go do something with it. We’re really looking for great analysts, um, that as well as security experts. You know, that’s something that I think we’re all going to be continuing to look for. But I do see an evolution there, um, that as AI and machine learning becomes more prevalent, uh, we’re going to have our automated, you know, in the future we’re going to have our AI machine learning, uh, really helping us on the security front. I do believe in the, on the programming front that’s going to occur. It’s not there now, but it will in the future. So I think if we’re really looking for new talent, we need for individuals to help us, how do we helping engage using technologies and solutions to help engage our patients in a more consumer based function. Whether it’s programming on that front or an essence of empowering us to really understand the technologies that are emerging that helps them.

Cletis Earle: 14:28 I think that’s, that’s something that we should be focusing on as kids. If I would, if I had to do it again, I would look at it. That’s where I would need to look at investing.

Bill Russell: 14:37 If you had to do college over again, would you do something a little different?

Cletis Earle: 14:39 Yeah, definitely. Definitely consume it. Consumerism is the key. If we get more people who understand customer service and a customer approach and having the right personality, right advantage, that gives us a huge advantage that we are. We’re not necessarily today.

Bill Russell: 14:54 Absolutely the intro music’s playing, so I don’t want to take too much more of your time. I appreciate it. Appreciate you stopping by. Thank you.

Bill Russell: 15:01 I hope you enjoy the conversation. Remember to check back often as we are going to drop an episode a day for most of November of 2019 following that, please come back every Friday for more great interviews with influencers and don’t forget every Tuesday we take a look at the news, which impacts health it if you want to support the fastest growing podcast and the health it space. Here’s a few ways that you can do that. The first share it with a peer, share it with a friend, share it with somebody who’s working right there next to you. Number two, sign up for insights and staff meeting. These are services designed to help you in your career. Number three, interact with our social media content on Twitter and LinkedIn. Number four, post or repost our content, and number five, always send me feedback. [email protected] your insights continue to shape the channel. This show is a production of this week and health it for more great content. You can check out our website at this week, or our YouTube channel. Special thanks to our sponsors, VM-ware and health Lyric’s for choosing to invest in developing the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.