Sarah Richardson on Creating a Staff Experience as Great as Your Customers

Sarah Richardson This Week in Health IT
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This Week Sarah Richardson stops by to share the insights and learnings around staff experience, digital transformation and we take a walk into the geek world of virtual desktops and what it might mean for Health IT. Hope you enjoy.

Episode Videos

Bill Russell:                   00:11                Welcome to this week in health it where we discuss the news information and emerging thought leaders from across the health care industry. My name is Bill Russel. Recovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week and health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training the next generation of health it leaders. Today we’re going to talk about digital transformation, windows, desktop AI, and creating the best work experience for your staff. Maybe we’ll get to all those things. Awful lot to get to. We’ll see. Uh, this podcast is brought to you by health lyrics. Want to start your health it project on the right track. We want to turn around a failing project. Let’s talk visit to schedule your free consultation. Our guest today is the wonderful Sarah Richardson with healthcare partners at Davita medical group, a company. Good Morning Sarah, and welcome to the show.

Sarah Richardso:           00:57                Hey, good morning bill. Thanks for having me back. This is our third round of conversations on your show.

Bill Russell:                   01:01                Yeah, I was third round on art and on this show. But you’re a professional podcaster and a, I’m actually on your show this month, although we recorded it sometime ago.

Sarah Richardso:           01:13                Yeah, we have to put a plug in for you. You are this month’s featured guest on the HIMSS Socal podcast talking about a digital hurricane and how to forecast what’s coming in the technology space. Great episodes. I encourage everybody to listen to it on iTunes.

Bill Russell:                   01:27                Yeah, I stole some of Jonathan Manis’ a material and we talked about it a little bit and actually it’s not original Jonathan either. So I guess we’re all, we’re all just taking material. You have a little different approach to your, your, your podcast is a lot more polished than mine. I mean you have, you have a video production crew, you have a studio where you recorded and you’ve had, um, and it just, it has much more of a polished feel. Is that by design? Have you, did you choose your format?

Sarah Richardso:           01:56                I did. And the reason we did it that way is because as the Socal chapter of HIMSS we have the largest membership in the US and we had to pick these big meaty topics. And talk about one thing with the selected subject matter expert really in the hit industry to do that and that all the intent was always to be about 25 to 30 minutes of consumable content for southern California commuters. When you’re on the train, you’re on the bus, you’re in your car, et Cetera. And so by diving into one subject, it was twofold. A, I as the interviewer have to really jump in and learn everything I can about what we’re going to talk about and then I have to do all that prep time with that, that guest, who’s going to be on the show aligning the topic. Obviously it was something that’s interesting for listeners and it goes in the archive, so it’s about one big thing happening in the industry. Whereas what I love, what you do is you’re like, what’s going on right now? Like keeping us up to date and current and thinking about things that are happening. This is more of a holistic almost learning approach to something that’s big happening in the, in the industry that people can send a sink their teeth into and think about. And then they had to reach out to that speaker or myself or whomever. Otherwise they have that platform to be able to do that.

Bill Russell:                   02:59                Yeah. And, and, and my, my format is really informal conversations with, uh, with CIO’s and industry influencers. And it was, it was also a conscious decision based on just, I mean, we sit around at these conferences and I just marvel at the great conversations we were able to have the meatiness of it and the topics we were able to talk about. And you know, that the, the thought process was, man, if we could just turn on the recorder and play this back for my staff, that would be great. So that’s, you know, um, and plus I’m not nearly as polished as you are as people can tell from my appearance and your appearance

Sarah Richardso:           03:40                Well it’s a lot harder to do what you do. I think to produce something every single week. It would be the grabbibng somebody and Filming them and having that content, be out there. And that’s really important. And I’ve had people ask me, go like, Hey, can you make your podcast shorter or create sound bites because we don’t have time to listen for 25 minutes. And I’m like, wow, okay. Hadn’t thought about. I’m like, I don’t know. At this point I haven’t thought about shortening it to be sound bites because it’s really about a singular topic. It’s like a mini vignette of going to like class and hearing from, you know, people like David Finn and talk to Anthony chain and yourself and it’s like you get 25 minutes and their brain, it’s pretty special. Um, and so I had thought about parsing it out, so I think both weren’t what’s like, what does great as both formats work for our industry and the fact that all of us come together. I mentioned John Manis, he and I are co co teaching at Chimes spring boot camp in Chicago next month and we’re like so excited because we both have such a high energy level and we’re teaching networking. Um, in terms of like building a brand and creating relationships that, wait, we had to keep paring down our context. We have too much to share with the audience.

Bill Russell:                   04:39                Yeah, I can see that. John just landed at Christus. Yup. In Dallas, which is pretty exciting. And, uh, look forward to seeing what he’s going to do there. So let’s, uh, you know, actually I always start with the softball because I never know what’s, what’s going on in your world. So, uh, know what are you working on that you’re excited about or that you’re, that you think would be interesting to the, uh, to the listeners?

Sarah Richardso:           05:01                Sure. It’s actually partially one of the, one of the topics we touched on today as well, but I believe most people know I have accepted a new role in my organization. So if historically and probably since 2010, I’ve been a regional CIO for one fortune x company or another, and now that we are moving towards a close of

Sarah Richardso:           05:24                Optum care as part of healthcare partners, do you get a medical group, you’re ever closer to that transaction being complete. And there was a need identified by our CIO. His name is Lachlan Tidmarsh. And he said, you know, we really need at your level a individual who understands culture, the communication, the training, the skills that are required for us to build a world class it organization that is flexible. And meeting the customers where they are and understanding how all the strategies connect, et cetera. Would you be interested in taking on that role for the organization? And I said, absolutely. I know me. I always, it’s funny, I’m sure people ask really important questions bill. Like, what’s my comp? What’s my future? Was this, all I said was, do I have to move? And he said No. And I’m like, I’m in, you know, the rest of the figure itself out.

Sarah Richardso:           06:08                Um, so I’m really grateful that we call a role it BP management, VP, my team change management, which we chose that because it was it enough to be allowed for us to be very flexible and what we deliver. But it’s more than just a Itil, which is a foundation of what it is we’re going to be doing. But it’s also pro cy models and all of the different things that bring your organization together. It’s really creating best place to work in it. So it’s pretty exciting because I get to take everything I’ve ever done in my career and apply it to all levels of the organization. And so I tell people it’s not what you get to do, what you want and live where you want and work for the company that you want. And those are all really exciting things to line up because all of your passions come together, it’s really unstoppable and what you can create for an organization.

Bill Russell:                   06:51                Man, that’s really, that’s exciting and that’s an exciting role for you. And we could just, we could just start there. So you’re, you’re going and the organization’s pretty large. It’s going to be a couple thousand people, I assume, and we talked about this before, what’s are the numbers?

Sarah Richardso:           07:08                Once we close a Optum care side of the business will have essentially about 14 plus care delivery organizations with 2,500 to 3000 IT teammates. And we are anticipated to triple in size by 2025 as a business footprint and obviously support services, et cetera. So we’ll just keep growing and getting better and delivering amazing patient care and quality and all of the things that are important. I with a worldclass it organization behind it to make sure that it can, it can be as seamless as possible.

Bill Russell:                   07:36                And talent is so important. Um, identifying the right talent, attracting the right talent, retaining the right talent in order to do that. One of the things you’re, you talk about a fair amount when we come on the show is, uh, is really focusing in on the employee experience or the staff experience and how they’re communicated with how they function within the organization. Um, and one of the things we don’t think about much is we’re purveyors of change. We’re constantly coming in and saying, Hey, let’s do cloud. Let’s upgrade the Emr, let’s do this, let’s do that. But all those things actually impact the it staff as well. And that’s part of the job as well is helping them to navigate their careers and navigate all those changes. So what do you, what do you envision, you know, some of the tools or some of the things that you’re going to bring to that role?

Sarah Richardso:           08:26                Yeah, so it’s great question because recently there was just a fantastic research article written by Dion Hinchcliffe from constellation research article is literally creating an employee experience as great as your customer experience. And for me, I think about that being really that digital space. When you think of how much time teammates spend on feeding work systems manually and cobbling together ad hoc experiences and going across dozens of apps and looking and digging through data. And let’s be honest, as it professionals? We will live with the pain the longest and make it part of just the routine of how I work around it. So if we have mapping issues, if we have to go to multiple data sources to write reports, if a heck of our printer’s broken, we tend to find a work around rather than actually sometimes just dig in and fix it because we’re worried about fixing everybody else’s needs first, which is why we’re great servant leaders, I think in it.

Sarah Richardso:           09:17                But when you start thinking about the tools that come together, so you know, we’re going to office three 65 which isn’t new. I mean, so many people have it, we’re moving towards it, et cetera. But I think about how we integrate not only the office #65 experience but also start to bring some of those collaboration tools into place. I realized that when you have the team rooms and you have the ability to engage teammates on their smartphones, doing active pulse surveys for engagement, thinking about how would you process completion, thinking about the whole lifecycle of a teammate when they come into the organization, how they can collaborate, how they can use tools, how they can manage remote workforces and work together. Those are all those pieces. When we have like a dense and rich digital landscape, we can be that much more productive and it becomes a space where it’s easy to do business within your own organization.

Sarah Richardso:           10:03                So we start with the office 365 platform. We are going to knock the heck out of that one out of the park. Every piece that’s available. We’re doing great collaboration with our Microsoft partners and then we start to use different tools within our teammate engagement surveys, whether it’s pulse surveys on your phone, other ways to just this check in and see how teammates are doing. You create an environment where that constant feedback loop is available because with any, any level of engagement, it’s always about a point in time. But if you’re always aware of what’s happening in your organization, then you can quickly pivot to address the things, whether it’s onboarding or promotions or allowing them to have a life event or are moving to a new area of our business because they’ve been promoted. You know, it’s geographically they have to go somewhere. You make all of those things seamless and it’s part of something that they want to promote and share with others as well. And I want to only want this amazing team internally, but I want people to see us as a beacon of where they want to come and work. So we’re always attracting the best talent in the industry.

Bill Russell:                   10:58                I appreciate you doing most of the talking since I’m sick and struggling to get through this podcast, but I want to dive a little deeper on surveys. You, you, you mentioned that a couple of times and I found it to be a really good tool to use. Um, what do you find to be really important about doing surveys? Cause there’s, there’s a right way to do some surveys and a wrong way to do surveys. And if you don’t follow up on the feedback and, and provide, uh, you know, communication back to the organization as you’re getting that feedback and how you’re implementing it, that can be a big fail even though you said, well we did the surveys but you still have to follow up. So give us an idea of, of how you think about surveys, what kind of things you think are important to do, right. And some things to avoid.

Sarah Richardso:           11:43                Sure. So every, most companies do the annual it teammate engagement survey, whether they using Gallup or a on or Qualtrics, whomever, pick a vendor, you do your giant survey and you get your dashboards and results. And here’s the things you’re good at, here’s the things you’re not good at, et cetera. That’s well and good. And it’s important because it gives you a pulse of where you are. As I said earlier, it’s a point in time when you create these massive mobilization efforts around all the things that you found it, it gets stale very quickly because you don’t have a way to measure it in between before the next annual survey. So we’ve basically taken the three or four questions that we know are most important to the health and wellbeing of our teammates and asking them those every quarter and saying, you know, how are you doing?

Sarah Richardso:           12:21                Do you like your job? Kind of miserable, like what’s going on? And you know, are you getting what you need from your leadership team. Are you getting what you need from professional development perspective? Is there anything else we should be doing for you or know about anything, all that information. And then sharing it. And then we have a teammate appreciation group called them tag and it’s fun to call it tag. You’re it cause it’s it. And taking that information and saying, here’s what we’re hearing, what do we want to do about it? So it’s real and it’s actionable all of the time. So you’re giving all the updates in between the surveys and sharing what’s happening in the organization and then you retest yourself or requiz yourself and about three or four months and say to me, they progress on these and we’re really getting, it’s, we just started this process and what’s phenomenal is people are coming out of the woodwork and saying, it’s this thing.

Sarah Richardso:           13:04                It’s that thing. It’s this one class that I want to have, et cetera. So we’re creating an environment of transparency, people coming and sharing with us on a regular basis. I can’t wait to launch all of this and to into Microsoft office and to office three 65 with the end of the team, the team’s rooms or other things we have available. Because then it’s like I constant piece not, it’s not a push and receive, it’s a continuous process, but when people know you’re honest about it and know there’s a whole team dedicated to it, they start telling you what they really want. It’s your job to do something about it.

Bill Russell:                   13:33                Yeah. I guess the question I want to ask you is what’s your favorite question? I mean, one of the questions we asked and one of the surveys was, is your role clear to you? Do you understand what your role is? Is it clear to you? And it was an 80, 20 split, so there’s 20% of the people coming in every day saying, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing or what my role is. Well that was a, that was a huge eye opener for me and for our management team to say, all right, we were not doing a good enough job if 20% of the people are coming in everyday and not clear on what they should be doing. That’s like, that’s basic blocking and tackling. So we went about correcting that. Is there a question that you ask that you’re like, wow, this, this really gets to the heart of it or has really shown you something that, that surprise you?

Sarah Richardso:           14:24                The question I like is how am I feeling about my job today? Is it, I’m happier, I’m kind of miserable. And then having them give us feedback as to what is creating an environment where they wouldn’t want to come to work at any given particular time. And you think about that because you know, what creates an environment where a teammate can do their best work or where they’re going to be happy. Um, and because it’s anonymous, um, you know, we get a sense for it, but know the question is how’s the teammate doing at work instead of in general. And if they’re, if they’re happy, great. And if we’re not going to tell us why. Um, so I love that one. How are you feeling? You miserable, you happy? What can we do about it?

Bill Russell:                   14:57                Well, I’m miserable because I’m sick, but I’m generally happy in my job. You know, that the other question I have always around this, and I think you’re so good with your staff. There’s, the reason I’m, I’m going deep with you on this question is, you know, most people leave organizations because of their direct manager, right? We just know that to be true. People they might like love you as a CIO and there they’re leaving from a certain department because their direct manager, uh, doesn’t listen to them or whatever the characteristics are. Um, what are you looking for in a manager and how do you identify ways to help those managers to, to, uh, make sure that they’re at a level that that’s serving the organization well and serving their staff well?

Sarah Richardso:           15:41                Yeah, it’s an interesting approach. Different philosophies on what makes a good manager and what happens in it very often is you have teammates that have risen through the ranks that are very technical versus being more teammate focused. And there’s, there’s two philosophies here. There’s the need to create an environment where teammates can move up technically and make it or they can move up into the incident management of teammates space. And you can do, they don’t have to immediately initially exclusive. You can create competencies within a teammate that allow them to manage technology well or manage teammates well. Then they have a choice. So when you have two tracks, those success, the thing is if you’re not managing teammates and having to have some of those more delicate conversations or be able to negotiate or be diplomatic, et Cetera, you’re still going to have to have those conversations with vendors and customers. And so the skill sets aren’t that different no matter what you want to do with them.

Sarah Richardso:           16:31                Um, but one of the things that I believe is important is I always look for a level of curiosity when I’m bringing new teammates into the organization. So you know the resume, if like technical calling card, great. You know how to do all the things we need you to do. I ask people things like, what do they do for fun? What are they reading? What are they curious about how they approached situation x? And it’s not typical things. I joke that we recently hired our communications manager and she’s phenomenal, hired her Back in November, she started in November and I asked her what she did for fun and she told me, um, baking was one of the things she likes to do. And I’m like, what do you bake? And I tell people she had such chocolate chip cookies, I wouldn’t have hired her, but she makes lemon lavender pancake. And I was like, you’re hired. And it’s, um, it’s the uniqueness and I want them to appropriately push the envelope. So we’ll ask questions like, here’s the stakeholders creating this environment. When are you going to do about it? And I don’t want to canned answer. I want that thoughtful approach. There’s two things I look for. If you can be authentic and you know how to communicate well, there’s a good chance you’re going to succeed as a leader.

Bill Russell:                   17:34                Absolutely. Let’s get a little nerdy, Geeky, whatever you wanna call it. You know, one of the topics that you sent over. And I like is windows virtual desktop. So, um, give us an idea of what’s going on in that space. Uh, this is another one of those moves into the cloud that, uh, I think we’re seeing from a lot of different angles now.

Sarah Richardso:           17:59                Yeah. When you think about the tradtional role of the CIO or CTO or CDO And all these different teammates that really created the office of the CIO or the office of it, we can’t forget about what really is that foundational layer of infrastructure. And operations like you never get away from it. It’s probably where we all started as well and extensive It continues and a lot of ways to go up. So as we think about how it moved things to the cloud or virtualization, there’s always been this ongoing costs of of desktop and some of that infrastructure. So now that windows virtual desktop as it is in public preview in something you can partition through the cloud, you think about being able to bring the cost down of your security updates of how often you have to update your machines. Um, it’s a huge benefit for office 365 users. You know, I think it was last year when Microsoft bought fs logics to streamline application provisioning in a virtualized environment.

Sarah Richardso:           18:53                So they’re starting to pick up all these pieces, make it so that, and I get there’s a one to one relationship and some of your clinical settings for the most part when you can bring like single user windows seven virtual desktop infrastructure, windows 10 and remote server and Azure, and all those things together just allows you just put your money into other things like digital transformation and not have to always worry about some of the blocking and tackling. So it’s pretty fun to see it and the cost reduction that can occur in that, um, because you want to drive down the cost of the things that are always going to be a blocking and tackling mechanisms so you can reinvest those dollars in the big shiny things that we know we need to head towards toward digital transformation and AI, which are actually really becoming things we can sink our teeth into as leaders today.

Bill Russell:                   19:34                Yup. I should get Microsoft to a sponsor of the show. Fairness on the other side. Uh, at, at my previous employer, what we did was the Citrix environment and every clinical workstation was a Citrix. A workstation on thin clients. And the rationale was, was almost exactly what you’re saying, which was, uh, at the time we had over 50% of our clinical workstations were end of life. And so we had to replace a significant amount of them over a short period of time. And we were looking at, first of all, the overall cost and then we were looking at the, uh, you know, the life cycle, right? And so if you’re looking at a standard desktop and putting it out there, you can stretch it to four years, but nobody really wants to be on a five year old computer trying to do things.

Bill Russell:                   20:26                But I think client, we actually could get eight to 10 years of life cycle on it. Um, because it, because it’s thin client, it’s not a smart client and all the processing and whatnot is being done in the, uh, in the central server farm. And we saw a significant increase in productivity drop in, uh, calls because, you know, fixing some of these calls is pretty easy. It’s resetting the virtual session. It, it’s um, you know, your techs aren’t walking around with parts anymore. They’re walking around with whole thin clients. And if for some odd reason, the thin clients, the problem, they can replace that thin client and a couple of minutes and away they go. But almost 98, 99% of those calls is something software related. But the challenge, as you sort of pointed out is the cost of that backend infrastructure, the Citrix environment, um, the Impravada environment and building all that stuff out from scratch.

Bill Russell:                   21:19                This is the advantage that Microsoft may have in this space because they can do sort of an integrated approach. And quite frankly, I think that the biggest advantage that Microsoft has is they already have agreements with every health system. And it just, I mean, you know, that agreement, you just sit there and you check a box and now all of a sudden you have, you know, windows virtual desktop and you have Azure, whatever, just by checking a box, it’s, uh, that sales approach makes it so much easier than say, going out and building it from scratch with somebody else’s technology. I’m not sure there’s a question there. I was just sort of adding to what you were saying.

Sarah Richardso:           21:55                Oh, it makes sense. And you find that, I feel like they are finally starting to take all of their products and make them work well together. They’re trying to realize that they can’t just be the best one off and they’re starting to realize that, you know, you don’t need to have extra licensing to this provisioning and here’s how we can make it work from a security perspective. And here’s how you bring these pieces, really connect them in a way that doesn’t have sticker shock for all of us because so many of us, we all have been conditioned to be willing to pay exorbitant fees for the best products and we do that with our emrs, et cetera. And you get, you get partners like Imprivata who come in and say, hey, there’s this great new technology in here. Here’s how we’re already in front of it and marrying it. So the best of the best are coming together and they’re doing it with really the benefit of the end user in mind. Um, everyone’s making money, but I feel like I finally not like going to a gouging session when I’m having some of these conversations with some of my vendor partners.

Bill Russell:                   22:48                Yeah. And they really get the business. Now it’s a, it’s an interesting, you walk around him, you stop into the floor and they talk about specific practices within healthcare and how they’re going to help that, you know, how they’re going to help oncology or health. And it’s, the technical conversations are now getting to be very practical, which, which I appreciate. Speaking of that. So we have, uh, you know, you and I have talked about digital transformation before, but there was a great conversation between Toby Cosgrove and Ed marks recently and we’ve highlighted it on the, uh, on linkedin and other things from this week in Health it. I figured you’d be a, ed would probably be the best person to talk to about it, but he’s a little busy right now. So I figure if the two of us could talk about it a little bit. Um, you know, Toby had a very pragmatic guy, a lot of very interesting things to say that I thought, um, that I thought were very practical to health. It what, what are, what are some of the things around digital transformation that you really got out of the talk?

Sarah Richardso:           23:55                What I really appreciate it. This is always first and you’d highlight of this as well, is that you have to do your job better than anybody else expects you to do it. And you have to work for a great organization. And it’s interesting how many of my colleagues are, are pushing a rope in some cases and trying to get digital transformation out the door. Or saying, here’s all these great things we’re seeing and doing when you get partnership from, from the top. And our leadership team just had their retreat this last week and they said, hey, you know what? Digital transformation is what we’re going to double down and on these specific topics. And so once your, once your leadership teams and your executives get what that means, hey, this means we’re going to see 50%, 70%, 80% more patients through a digital experience, or we’re going to invest and bringing our portals together.

Sarah Richardso:           24:41                We’re going to actually be very, very transparent and providing information to the patient and not block the data and make it easy for them to get what they need out of the portal, make it easy for them to transport the records. Uh, and then it creates that layer of transparency so they don’t have to go and, and park their car and pay to park and wait in the Ed if they needed that care, they can literally go to their smart phone bill, connect to their own health care organization and say, this is what I need you for today. Triage it there and then get to that next level or appropriate care setting. But it’s really that continued push to of consumerism, a meeting patients where they are actually are creating and delivery technologies that are making that possible. And I love that when Ed and Toby talked about it, they, they’ve made it absolute, everybody in Cleveland Clinic knows the push towards digital transformation and how to solve for that equation in that environment. So it’s not just somebody random idea. It is collectively organizational philosophy that they have developed.

Bill Russell:                   25:41                Yeah. And it’s really hard. I love the, you know, push the rope kind of analogy. If you’re in an organization that’s still struggling with a digital transformation or if they’re saying things like, yeah, we’re not sure the cloud is secure and you know, the cloud is as secure as your practices and policies and procedures allow it to be. I mean, the tools are there to make it secure, um, and your willingness to make it secure, but not to get caught in that one, that one spot. If, if you’re the only one in the organization saying, Hey, you know, we, uh, we might want to get in front of telephones. It’s, we might want to get in front of telehealth. We might want to get in front of other convenience type, uh, aspects and a wayfinding and some other things that make the consumer experience better. I still remember one of my first weeks, I said the word consumer in a meeting and I was pulled aside and somebody said, yeah, you shouldn’t use that word anymore. And I thought, Oh boy, that’s not a good sign.

Bill Russell:                   26:39                Well, because, because, remember back in 2011, we talking about the healthcare consumer. We were, but I was from outside of healthcare. So I was, I, you know, I was sort of naive and I’m looking at it going, well, these people are consumers right there. We want them to choose us. And they just looked at me like, you know, they wanted to pat me on the head and say, you know, you don’t get it yet, but someday you will. But in reality, what’s happening today in 2019 is, uh, more and more people are recognizing that there is a healthcare emerging healthcare consumer. I wouldn’t say that they have complete choice, but there’s a, but there’s a, there’s a drive towards it. You’re seeing it with CMS, you’re seeing it with the, the new rules, you’re seeing it with new entrance into the market. Well Heck, you’ll see it with your company.

Bill Russell:                   27:26                Uh, Kaiser does half of their, half of their visits now are virtual visits. And uh, so your competitors are starting to move the needle in terms of what people expect and what they, um, what they understand, uh, is possible now from a healthcare organization. And if all they have to do is experience that once and you might say, well, where are they going to experience it while, you know, I’m in Pennsylvania working with my parents and my inlaws on, on their health and I might experience it by helping them and go, wow, this is amazing. This is what I’m getting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Why can’t I get this in southern California? And so people have a lot of different outlets where they can experience different health systems and that will continue to change their expectations of what’s possible and what they should expect. And I, I think that’s, that’s important to, to find that organization that matches your vision. Or at least one that you can influence that vision and push it. Not that it’s a all on you, but that the organization feels like it’s, it’s heading in that direction

Sarah Richardso:           28:35                Yea, some of the stuff is now table stakes. Like to me a video visit to see your PCP. If you have strep throat at 10:00 PM on a Friday, it should be table stakes.

Bill Russell:                   28:41                Yeah. Yeah. It, it, it really should be. And we get caught up in a mostly operational items. It’s not the technology items that’s slowing us down. And that in that respect, you know, one of the things that Toby Cosgrove did talk about was AI. And uh, he and Ed were talking about, we know, what’s the one thing that you’ve seen that you think is really going to impact healthcare? And he said, AI hands down, it’s going to change. Uh, so many aspects of, of healthcare, we’re, where are you at on, on Ai and what’s your current thinking and what, what are you telling your organization about it?

Sarah Richardso:           29:23                AI becomes one of those things that becomes so big its the elephant, like having to eat it one bite at a time when I’m like go after the things, I don’ know if you’re aware there was the recent summit, innovation summit the economist hosted, and they really talked about the components of AI that are poised to help healthcare. And the easiest way. So it was thinking about it like diagnosing the patient and no, did Watson go read five articles and spit out, you know, hey, you should go take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Or was there ability to like, you know, cultivating millions and millions and millions of pieces of information and data and asking thoughtful questions about helping to create your diagnosis, which is why no matter how advanced AI becomes, you’re still going to need that art of the physician to interpret and deliver the data and have a thoughtful conversation. When I think about Ai, I mean there’s not huge patient facing push, which is absolutely important. I want to know that that if I’m, have been hiking in Maine and I’m in southern California and have all these weird symptoms that the system’s going to be thoughtful enough to say, oh well you were in this part of Maine and there’s Lyme disease present in that, in that area.

Sarah Richardso:           30:24                I mean he asks questions to help diagnose it, but let’s use it for things that are like low hanging fruit. Let’s use it for things like these patients are going to have a hard time paying their bills or these patients are gonna have a hard time, uh, being a medication adherence because of these factors in their life and approving access to emergency care based on, um, you know, rural areas are those um, those critical access hospitals that are harder to get to certain areas. But you’re seeing a prevalence of these types of conditions. I mean, using it for the basic blocking and tackling, it doesn’t have to be profound. It can be like these people are gonna have a hard time paying their bill and here’s what we can do to help them ahead of time. That’s where I like to see the emergence of Ai, um, coming into, into healthcare. Um, at least at least if no one knows where to start or if you had to like jump into it. Those are some areas where it really can be beneficial to your org.

Bill Russell:                   31:18                Yeah, I agree. I think there’s a lot of operational areas to get quick wins before you go head over heels into the clinical area because there is still a pushback on the, uh, clinical side until people get comfortable with it. And that’s, that’s true of any, any new technology. And I’m not sure if we’ve learned anything from the Emr. It’s a including people in the decision bringing them along and allowing them to speak into how the technology would best serve them and uh, getting those wins. But you know, you talked about billing, um, and uh, in some of those things are operationally focused and easily you could use machine learning and AI on top of machine learning to, uh, to really make, uh, your entire revenue cycle team. And, uh, a lot of different areas. I always talk about security within it. If it wants to dabble with, with Ai, there’s a whole bunch of AI tools around security and if you want to talk about one area where AI can really help, it’s, it’s calling all those, those log files that you have. It’s uh, identifying, uh, bad behaviors on the network because machines, machine learning. And Ai doesn’t sleep and we need to sleep. So, uh, it’s, it’s good to know that there’s, there’s tools out there that are constantly monitoring your network and, and identifying those, those, those areas. So that’s, that’s one of the areas I think we can get some quick wins.

Sarah Richardso:           32:51                When I talk about the clinical aspect of it, I mean like why, you know, you can get some business business quick wins out of AI because there’s still the whole interoperability issue. How you can push and help make help, you know, make comments on the ONC and CMS rules. But we really create that environment for open data sharing. That’s where those biggest pieces of AI start to plug in for the true improvement and some of the patient care issues. You’ve got to have access to that data, which has always been one of the issues we talked, I mean every from Asr and environment we’re talking about it at Himss on stage to okay well now that the, there’s new rules to improve it. What are some of the things that we can do? And that’s where we, that’s where we can make the biggest impact right now is being, being aware of and involved in the decisions that are being made. Because I see that, I see those rules and that’s great. It’s going to affect like 125 million patients that we can do it right. But it’s still medicaid chip Maa qualified plans. Um, there’s that whole sector of American that’s important and I think what about like what about people like you and me, they, we’re still using regular public commercial health care and having that same availability of that information for, for us too because we’re not in a government sponsored program. Right?

Bill Russell:                   34:00                Yup, absolutely. Well next week is the health data Palooza in DC, which is a great event. We’ll learn a lot of what’s going on around interoperability and what the, uh, uh, CMS enhancements and, and a rule changes have really done for us. Sarah, as always, it’s great having you on the show. Thank you. Thank you for coming on. Uh, best way for people to follow you.

Sarah Richardso:           34:24                Best way to follow me is linkedin super active there, Sarah Richardson. And then for Twitter is @conciergeleader,

Bill Russell:                   34:32                concierge, leader. Absolutely. Um, this shows as a production of this week in health it for more great content. You can check out the website at or the youtube channel thanks for listening. That’s all for now.

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