CHIME Nassar Nizami , A Look Back / Forward


Bill Russell / Nassar Nizami

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The Healthcare CIO Look Back / Look Forward series with Nassar Nizami CIO for Jefferson 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 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 ask 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.

Bill Russell: 00:57 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 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 Newsday 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. Our next guest is quickly becoming one of my favorite CIOs now, Nassar Nizami. He has been on the show. Uh, let’s see, this will be the third time he’s on the show and I had him on with a special episode with him and his CEO, dr Klasko.

Bill Russell: 01:39 And uh, that was a fantastic conversation. I, I got a chance to sit down with them again and talk through the eight questions that we’re asking All the CIOs and I love his, I love his pragmatic approach to it. And, uh, I think you’ll like it as well. Hope you enjoy. All right, so another, uh, session from the, uh, chime fall forum. And, uh, what we’re doing is we’re sitting down with CIOs like Nassar Nizami, former guests to the show. I appreciate you coming on, right? We’re gonna. What we’re gonna do is take a look back and take a look forward and, uh, I’m going to air these in December, so it’s going to be sort of a retrospective of 2019. And looking forward, the first question we’ve been asking people is, you know, w how has the role of the CIO changed just this year?

Nassar Nizami: 02:24 I see two trends, uh, one is, uh, where in organizations where CIO role is to a certain degree diminished and now, and you see roles like chief digital officer, um, chief information security officer, chief analytics officer, that our peers for CIO. And then second trend, which is very encouraging is, uh, the role of CIO has been elevated in organizations, uh, where they’re seen now or the become business leader. And immediately I attribute it to the digital transformation and the leaders who are able to really uh, you know, demonstrate that they can transfrom organization from a digital point of view or really at the table now.

Bill Russell: 03:06 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We’re, we’re seeing that across the board and a lot of the sessions are addressing that. Um, you know, one of the things you talked about strategic that CIO is still at the center of strategy data is still falls under the CIO. Um, and even though some innovation does, there’s an awful lot of innovation that happens everywhere. Sure. in a health system, uh, what are, what are like three priorities that Jefferson health is looking to do next year that health it is being asked to support?

Nassar Nizami: 03:34 Great question. So Jefferson is growing by VF acquisitions in organic growth. Um, and uh, one of her top priorities is to integrate the organizations that are part of Jefferson or Jefferson family. That’s one. And a second initiative that I would say is associated with integration is the implementation of our core clinical systems. All right. Which is set off EMR is an insulate system that we are deploying and it’s sort of initiative where I think Jefferson differentiates itself, a number of other organizations in the area of innovation, um, that, uh, is going to be a top priority. This has been a priority for us and it’s just a more of a priority going into many, many for us.

Bill Russell: 04:18 Yeah. I really appreciate you and dr. Klasco giving me the tour of the vault was really interesting, but also just the discussion around the number of health systems you have to bring together is significant. So do you envision a common clinical prep platform across all those hospitals? Absolutely. Yes. I can see that. And then you have Tom your new CTO. Yup. Working on a cloud strategy to enhance the infrastructure because when you bring that many organizations together, you uh, it changes things you for overnight.

Nassar Nizami: 04:47 You think about it this way, right? I mean, so even though our strategy is to put one standard EMR, but we are continue, we are continuing to acquire organizations. So we’ll never be in a situation where we will all be on one platform. You just understand that, right? So there is a degree of expertise that we need to develop and we have to all that, uh, to, uh, work in a multi vendor environment.

Nassar Nizami: 05:08 Right? But the goal that we set two or three years ago was very standard organization, set up a standard set of back office applications, EHR, clinical applications. And we are executing on it. But again, look, I mean things change. We acquire more organizations in every time we acquire some new set of systems.

Bill Russell: 05:25 I think since the last time I, I interviewed you guys this, this past summer that you’ve aquired more. Yes, yes. It’s uh, it’s amazing. Uh, so the next two questions really around focusing the question, maybe getting a little more narrow. And so what’s one initiative that you’re doing at Jefferson health that you think is going to significantly impact the patient experience?

Nassar Nizami: 05:49 So, uh, so I’ll answer both your questions. Is that all right? Sure. So, and then the clinical experience, clinical experience question, because I think they’re related. So I think for us at Jefferson, we have been operating, uh, with multiple set of patient portals, communication equipments, uh, apps, patient facing apps, uh, EMR, both inpatient, outpatient.

Nassar Nizami: 06:13 We started with nine set of EMR, just EMR, then forget about revenue cycle, et cetera. Right? And I just believe that by having a, we’re already seeing this by having a standard patient portal where physicians can respond to patients or we can send them labs in a timely fashion, allow them to book an appointment and so forth. It is already translating into a much better patient experience. We are seeing a much better adoptions. We had portals for the last several years, right? But with the new standard, uh, modal and along with it, uh, set off as they finding it certain, right. Uh, standardization I think is paying dividends both for clinicians and, um, our patients in, for clinicians, it’s a win win situation because as a system we were never able to exchange data in a seamless way. We always exchange data. You know, CCD is here, the same interfaces there, but it was very, you know, patchy at best, right? One patient record, one patient, one patient record. That’s our motto, right? And that’s how we are building system. Uh, the patient experience has increased quite a bit, right? I mean, look, EMR is, are not perfect. There is no single EMR that is perfect. We have all the challenges of our typical EMR, but just going from multiple systems to one standard built. So it’s critical to, to to I think differentiate that we have one built one product, right. I think, uh, is, is, is the key for both patient experience for us and clinical experience.

Bill Russell: 07:45 We’ll get right back to the interview in just a minute. I believe the healthcare CIO role is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs out there. But I’m aware that many CIOs live in a state of feeling overwhelmed. It’s just not good for anyone to live in that state for too long. And the mission is too important to continue to have this high of a turnover. In the CIO role. I’ve been in your shoes the month I took over as interim CIO for a 16 hospital health system. The data center had just had eight outages in six weeks. We experienced that data breach and I was informed that everyone in it had their resume on the street. How’s that for month number one? That year we launched the major cloud initiative, set, clear it career paths, launched it university and started a two year project to consolidate nine disparity EMRs.

Bill Russell: 08:33 In addition, we participated in the launch of two successful health it startups. The internal satisfaction with it jumped over 15% and it staff satisfaction itself jumped over 20% I had a coach every step of the way and it was invaluable. To me. A coach is someone who helps you to organize your thinking, keeps an eye on the industry for you, encourages you at times and challenges you at other times, but above all, a coach is someone who’s committed to your success, someone who is in your corner. I coach new leaders and and longtime leaders like to be more effective because your role is too important. I would like for you to schedule a free discussion with me to see if coaching makes sense for your situation. It’s, it’s really easy. Just go over to and click on the schedule a free consultation button. I wish I could coach every healthcare leader in the country, but I only have two openings for coaching clients left for 2020. So if you think this might be something that would help you to thrive in the new year, head over to health today and schedule some time for a discussion. So

Bill Russell: 09:41 as you look at 2 19, what’s, what’s the one thing that you’re probably most proud of your team accomplished?

Nassar Nizami: 09:47 It’s, I mean, there are many examples that I can give by you can tell you, you know, from a, from a budget and from an impact point of view, we implemented an EMR. Okay. Uh, it is a very expensive undertaking for us. A lot of hours. But, uh, and what we are very proud of is that it was on time. It was under budget. Okay. And we had, uh, top Cortel metrics in number of areas. It was, you know, uh, we were very proud of the execution that meant, um, and uh, the goals that we had set, we surpass all the goals, uh, our internal metrics and so forth. And frankly, in a very short period we were able to study the environment and our colleagues in clinical areas are actually seeing the results.

Nassar Nizami: 10:35 They are able to, you know, our uh, compliance with bedside medication, uh, uh, things, things of that sort of really shot up.

Bill Russell: 10:44 So that team that did that just move to the next hospital and now they’re going to move to the next, is that how it’s working or.

Nassar Nizami: 10:49 it should look at me like many other organizations is a journey for us, right? So I you do once you do twice and now we are, we are now in a mode where we know that we are going to be doing these implementations for quite some time to come. Right. And we have an organization to run and we have implementations to do. So, uh, we, I think we are improving and we are getting better. And just doing that, we will continue to bring hospitals on the season after Easter. That’s critical because our freshman human nature was all about impunity. There was no optimization there. And we were all focused on optimizing. This wasn’t in a miss by Linda Morton inundation. That optimization, I think extra scrutiny, more steady state optimization and our focus and even deacon, he’s getting less and less just because we have learned a lot. We have leaders who understand and it’s just going to keep doing it. You learn from him and you guys, yeah, very successful.

Bill Russell: 11:54 And now you just get to replicate that, which is, I mean, it’s fantastic thing I’m looking forward to is the point at which Philadelphia was a very fragmented market and it’d be great to have a single patient record across all the Philadelphia. I mean, before there’s, how many academic medical centers, how many different hospitals? So it’s probably one of the markets that I look at and say, consolidation’s welcome. I think in that market to the patients. I think so. Uh, let’s, let’s talk about, um, now I have this phrased, people have told me they don’t like the way this was phrased, so I’m gonna ask it a little different, which is what’s one thing you wish you had more time to spend on in 2019 that you just didn’t get around to? Cause there’s so many other priorities.

Nassar Nizami: 12:34 So I’ll tell you now. So we talk and I do, I genuinely believe that AI and machine learning and robot RPA, these, these are, this is our future and this is where we can truly differentiate ourselves. I we knew going into 19, right? Like if you back up to December of last year, all right. Uh, that we should be looking into RPA because there’s some real savings side to it. Right? And the all is going on. We just were not able to give it the right time and attention. We just, just, it was, became a pure bandwidth issue. Right. And in hindsight, I wish we would have done more work to at least get it started. We’ve started, but we are not, uh, at a point where I wish we were.

Bill Russell: 13:17 Yeah. We talked about Daniel’s session yesterday and Daniel’s been on talking about New York Presbyterian’s RPA journey. And it’s, it’s really interesting. I mean, they’re really sort of out there setting the bar.

Nassar Nizami: 13:31 Absolutely. Yes. I mean absolutely. Like I was at Presbyterian once a great organization and then was doing great things there. Um, and certainly another thing or two can we can learn from them.

Bill Russell: 13:41 So pick up your phone call and you could, yeah, you could compare notes, which is great. Um, what’s one area that you wish the industry, you would like to see the industry innovate more?

Nassar Nizami: 13:52 So look, uh, we, uh, Jefferson is known, has made a name for itself. Uh, I mean mostly because of our CEO, dr Klasko, who, uh, such a great emphasis on innovation. Uh, I talk to vendors all the time who basically talk about patient engagement, patient experience, et cetera. I’m not really seeing any real innovation in this space. I mean, they are nice and nice tools, right? But basically, in my opinion, they’re a redo of same portal. We’re going to do an app and same concepts for the last two or three years, that people are sort of, you know, incrementally improving visits really goes.

Nassar Nizami: 14:33 And I’m all for incrementally improvement. I mean there’s a lot of value in humans, but I have not seen innovation right in patient engagement. And as a matter of fact, the rest of these now that show the things like my chart have not really contributed to patient engagement or improvement to the degree that everyone thought it. But there are so many, you know, people who use tools like my chart or a patient portal I should say, and ads, uh, are, are, are doing better as patients, but we really have not seen the innovation between the vision of the patients.

Bill Russell: 15:06 Such a no, that’s, that’s fantastic. So the last question, we did a poll of our, uh, user community and uh, one of the things they wanted me to ask CIO’s more was, uh, what, cause I think there’s some college students out there wondering, you know, where are you going to be hiring? And the question is just, uh, what health it roles do you anticipate hiring in 2020?

Nassar Nizami: 15:26 So for us, uh, Jefferson, uh, we are hiring across the board first of all, the two areas where I think we are, uh, I think that there is growth and if you have students listening to your podcast, I would say cybersecurity, uh, continues to be a hot area and I think uh, will continue to be an area where high demand for probably a few years to come and second for us at least is uh, within this space of EMR. So folks who with some clinical background that understand clinical workflows and so forth and can translate that into it, those are two areas I would say. Uh, we are going to be hunting into.

Bill Russell: 16:03 cyber security. Yeah. Yup. I definitely can see that. Nassar, Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it was a pleasure. Thank you very much again.

Bill Russell: 16:10 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. 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 Lyrics for choosing to invest in developing the next generation of health leaders. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.