CHIME Kara Marx, A Look Back / Forward


Bill Russell / Kara Marx

Sharp Healthcare This Week Health

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The Healthcare Look Back / Look Forward series. Kara Marx stopped by at CHIME to talk about the patient and consumer experience.

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 Lyricss dot com or drop me a note at [email protected] over the next three weeks. We have a huge tree 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 and some of you listen at one and a half times speed.

Bill Russell: 01:43 So it’s gonna 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. Not all of these conversations were with CIO’s. I was able to sit down with Kara Marx who is a, a really, uh, deputy CIO type, uh, role for sharp healthcare, uh, working with Ken Lawonn down there. And, uh, we, we had a really good conversation and I convinced her to come on the air to talk about, uh, to the questions that I was asking the CIOs and that was around the experience, the clinician experience and the patient experience, which sharp is doing some great work around. And uh, I just loved the conversation and I hope you enjoy

Bill Russell: 02:28 Another session from the floor of the chime fall forum. And we’re here with Kara Marx of what’s your title?

Kara Marx: 02:34 Vice president. It applications, sharp health care.

Bill Russell: 02:37 So you make sure that things get done at Sharp.

Kara Marx: 02:40 That’s, yep, that’s what I do most of the time. All day long, cracking the whip.

Bill Russell: 02:45 So give us an idea of what, what, what is that role? What do you oversee?

Kara Marx: 02:49 Sure. Well, um, for those of I or viewers who don’t know sharp healthcare, where seven hospitals and two large medical groups in San Diego, California, um, we are using, uh, still several best of breed applications. So Cerner is our core EMR. Um, Athena GE centricity business for revenue cycle wrench, sketch. We’ve got Allscripts Touchworks in our ambulatory, so still pretty diversified with all of our applications. I would say we have near a thousand applications and a lot of those are under my responsibility for daily operations, deployment, maintenance.

Bill Russell: 03:25 Wow. So we’re not going to go through the whole series questions cause uh, uh, because I didn’t, I didn’t warn you that we were going to go through these series of questions, which I think it’s fair. Um, but you know, a couple of things since you’re working on the applications, uh, we’ll focus it on the two questions I think have a lot of relevance, which is what’s one initiative you’re doing? If I go to the people of San Diego, the people that you have a lot of covered lives. Correct. So if I went to those people and said, look, this is what sharp is going to be doing to improve the patient experience over the next year or two years, what’s the, what’s the one thing that you appointed?

Kara Marx: 04:02 Yeah. You know, we actually just completed a strategic plan called consumer 2020 and the consumer 2020 is focused exclusively on consumer initiatives that were built out of requests that we received from San Diego members of our health plan and just in the community. We went out in front of urgent cares and we asked, um, patients coming out, what would be the most meaningful to you as a consumer of sharp and a lot of demand for, um, self scheduling, mobile technology, um, telemedicine, uh, anything related to consumer wayfinding, um, parking assistance, et cetera. So a whole consumer focus and it really has jumped to the priority over other initiatives and not necessarily vendor driven. So not, uh, we’re not totally committing to Cerner tool set or Athena tools that are all scripts. Um, we’re evaluating what would be the most ease of use with the, um, best and stickiness and value.

Bill Russell: 05:12 That’s fantastic. You just stood, why not you personally through the clip board, but, um, but you had people standing outside the urgent care centers saying, Hey, um, tell us about your experience. You know, what would’ve made it better? And, uh, you know, I, I mean, I’m sure you guys, I’ve prayed to the surveys before. You spend a lot of time coming up with the right questions.

Kara Marx: 05:34 Yeah. You know, the reason we did that is, um, when you’re doing traditional project prioritization, you use your internal governance committees, which are usually leaders in operational areas of the hospital to help you make the decisions. What’s going to mean the most of the organization. But when you’re dealing with a patient, consumer population, the best person to ask is not the administrators but the actual patients themselves. So we have a team, a digital marketing team, uh, reporting to our chief marketing officer. They’ve all been trained in product management, so different than project management, product management. And, uh, they went out and we surveyed many people. And actually, uh, one thing we’ve, we’ve already started delivering in our, um, our website is already offering a lot of consumer stuff. Bill pay, uh, find a doc. Um, we just went live with urgent care wait time. And, uh, those were all driven prioritization from the customer. You would, you know, bill, you always have a list that’s never done. So we let the consumers pick what was the most important and online scheduling is our next on the list.

Bill Russell: 06:43 Yeah, it was interesting when we were doing our portal at st Joe’s, we, we had like the 10 things we had to have in it and the teams building it out and they’re doing all these things. And uh, finally when I came in I’m like, Hey, if we talked to the consumers, we’ve talked to the consumers and the things that were like, number eight, nine ended up being number one and two?

Kara Marx: 07:00 That same exact thing happened to us. We were very surprised because when we thought what the consumer patient wanted was based on the lens of being healthcare employees and being influenced by, um, other objects, like our operational statistics, um, our growth requirements, um, what our vendors are telling us. And sure enough, same exact experience. The patients and the consumers reshuffled our prioritization.

Bill Russell: 07:28 I’m going to get to the next, but the other thing that happens is we say, well, we’re patients as well. So we understand the problem is our biases. We understand healthcare. And so we, we view it through that lens.

Kara Marx: 07:39 Yeah. And you know, I think another helpful thing, which we had done a little bit in the past, but now we’re trying to broaden throughout the organization is the use of a persona. So we looked at the population of we serve and the largest population who we thought would be the biggest user of our consumer products was a, um, you know, single mother of two, maybe divorced, uh, you know, we gave her a name Ana, and we wrote a little scenario about her. And then we’ve challenged now all of our consumer projects against that persona to kind of keep us on track to hit the majority of the consumer we were trying to target.

Bill Russell: 08:17 That’s fantastic. Well, one of the other consumers is the clinicians. Yeah. So what’s one thing that you, uh, that the team and the organization is focused on that’s going to move the needle for their experience?

Kara Marx: 08:29 yeah. You know, when you talk about clinicians, um, we ended up breaking them into two groups. So we have our physician medical group, um, and then we have our inpatient clinicians, nursing, respiratory therapy, ancillary services, and we were hearing similar, um, requests coming from the physicians. The physicians were asking for communication tools like texting secure texting and the nurses were asking for alerting and messaging and why do I have to carry around so many tools? And then our Telcom was saying we’re getting ready to do a refresh on all the phones. So it was obvious that we should put together a plan to address that. Um, we looked at the marketplace and we decided to partner with Cerner, our EHR partner for integration. And we’re going with the clinical communication tool that will be deployed on the smartphone. And, uh, we are live with one facility so far a Cerner CareAware connect product. And what’s fantastic is the tool is helping the nurse because she’s getting voice. She can do, um, image capture, barcoding at the bedside and communication with the physician. And the physician gets the same. Although the most important to the physician really is the, um, texting and they’ve really enjoyed that. They’re doing that BYO D and then the nurses are getting the smartphones.

Bill Russell: 09:54 Wow. That’s, um, I don’t, I don’t want to get too much into the technology, but I mean that’s a, that’s a huge benefit to them in terms of, um, I every T every now, I don’t know about you, but I walked through the himss floor and I tried to go from end to end and I see all the things they’re trying to put out there. Like, well, your nurses will love this, you’ll love this and like this. And I’m like, no. I think what the nurses would like is simplification. Correct.

Kara Marx: 10:21 I couldn’t agree more, you know, as both the medical staff and the nurse, um, they see that technology is now part of operations. There’s no going back. It’s a part of their life, but we have to get them to love the technology and to eliminate the clicks. And for so long we’ve just been implementing, implementing that it has become too many layers and the simplification from this mobile device that now you can do documentation and you can make a call and do all these tasks from one hand held is really powerful and they’re thrilled about it.

Bill Russell: 10:51 If I can ask you this, we only have like a minute left here, but um, we did a survey of our users and listeners and they said if you could ask the health it executives what roles they’re going to be hiring, I just want to throw that question out there because we have a lot of college students watching it. They’re, they’re saying, Hey, you know, where’s health it hiring these days?

Kara Marx: 11:13 You know, say anyone who can come with certain competencies. I don’t think that I would get caught up in a title anymore because the title of an analyst or an engineer or a integration, a resource, it’s really to me bringing competencies and selling your skillset around soft skills, being able to communicate and facilitate, being able to problem solve, being able to facilitate dialogue. Those are the differentiators and then you can back yourself into several roles.

Bill Russell: 11:48 It’s been a common, the common theme is, you know, you would think we’d be talking about these hard skills and the common theme is we need more people who are artistic, who are creative, who are painters, yeah, negotiators and we’re, we’re finally marrying and I’m going to play these things next to each other. People are going to hear the same thing, but we’re finally marrying and the left brain and the right brain of what we’re looking for at sharp. So absolutely. Kara, thank you very much for your time. Thank you.

Bill Russell: 12:19 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 in health it from work. 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.