December 2, 2020

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December 2, 2020: As a leader, how can you structure the best and most effective digital strategy team? Is it innovation? Is it marketing? Is the role of CIO and Chief Digital Officer the same thing? Tressa Springmann of LifeBridge Health shares her insights on enhancing both patient and physician experiences through digital tools. What digital projects are in high demand as a result of the pandemic? What four things can you talk to your staff about right now to keep them updated with what’s going on? There is a lot of misinformation out there. How do you build trust with your community? What message does your health system want to send? And do you need a law degree to keep on top of those endless contract renewals? 

Key Points:

  • PointClickCare [00:05:55] 
  • Do you need a full time legal person in the IT department to deal with the amount of new contracts and intellectual property? [00:09:25] 
  • Four things I talk to my staff about during this pandemic to keep them updated are capacity, staffing, visitor management and vaccine [00:25:35] 
  • The working from home structure eliminates the need for rented space but adds significant investments in security technology [00:26:30]
  • In an already crazy pandemic there have been tremendous reporting requirements put on healthcare [00:31:40] 
  • ImmuNet is Maryland’s web-based registry Immunization Information System (IIS) 

Delivering Digital as the CIO with Lifebridge Health

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Delivering Digital as the CIO with Tressa Springmann of Lifebridge Health

Episode 336: Transcript – December 2, 2020

This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

Bill Russell: [00:00:00]  [00:00:00] Welcome to this Week in Health IT Influence where we discuss the influence of technology on health with the people who are making it happen. Today Tressa Springmann CIO of LifeBridge Health joins us, that is out of, Baltimore, Maryland. And we talked about a lot of things. Actually, we bounced around a lot.

[00:00:20] I love having conversations with Tressa, but we spent a fair amount of time talking about digital and digital projects and how you get digital projects done as the [00:00:30] CIO. So great conversation. my name is Bill Russell, former healthcare CIO, CIO, coach consultant, and creator of this week in health. IT a set of podcasts, videos and collaboration events dedicated to developing the next generation of health leaders. I want to thank Sirius healthcare for supporting the mission of our show. Their weekly support of the show this year has allowed us to expand our service offerings to the community. And for that, we are incredibly thankful. 

[00:00:55] Quick update, before we get to the discussion starting in [00:01:00] 2021, we have a new channel. Okay. So if you’re wondering This Week in Health IT is a channel. We have three shows on that channel. We have news day, we have solutions showcases, and we have influence episodes where we talk to industry influencers. the only change you’re going to see on that channel next year.

[00:01:16] Is that the news day episodes are now going to be duets. We’re going to have a series of about six guests that come through and talk about the news with me. So instead of just me talking about the news, it’s going to be conversational with, different, people [00:01:30] with different perspectives.

[00:01:30] We’re going to have a physician, we’re going to have, CEOs, we’re going to former CEOs and we’re going to have startup former CIO, our CEO of a startup, be one of those guests as well. So we can talk about the news from different perspectives. I think, that you guys have responded really well to that.

[00:01:48] And given us great feedback, that, that you appreciate that dynamic of going back and forth on the news. So we’re going to continue to do that, but you’ve also told us that you love the, the news day show. And [00:02:00] so what we’re going to do is we’re going to be launching a new podcast, a new channel in and of itself called Today in Health IT and this is where I’m going to talk about the news, but I’m going to do it in much shorter segments. So what you’re going to get is, we’re going to release a show every day of the week. So Monday through Friday, weekday, every weekday, we’re going to release one show. It’s going to be five to seven minutes in length, and we’re going to cover one news story.

[00:02:22] We’re doing this based on your feedback. You have said shorter segments to help you stay up on the news. this [00:02:30] way you can just put it on your podcast, listen to them all on Monday, listen to them all, while you’re working out or just listen to one a day for about five to seven minutes to stay current on what’s going on in health IT. That is going to launch in January. We are going to start doing the daily episodes on Today in Health IT but you can get signed up today. You can go out onto wherever you go for your podcast and sign up for that. And as soon as we start releasing shows, it will start showing up in [00:03:00] your podcast, listening device, whatever that happens to be. So thanks again for your support over the years. Again, we want to get this content into as many hands as possible. So share it with your friends and we really appreciate your support, Now onto our discussion.

[00:03:17] So today we have Tressa, Springmann the CIO for LifeBridge health with us. Good morning, Tressa. Welcome back to the show. 

[00:03:26] Tressa Springmann: [00:03:26] Great to see you. And thanks for having me again. 

[00:03:29] Bill Russell: [00:03:29] I’m [00:03:30] looking forward to the conversation and there’s always things happening. And, I, it just sort of struck me. We’ve had you on the show several times and I’m not sure we’ve done this. I actually got some emails from my listeners that they want me to start with this question. Hey, give us a little background about your system and we may have covered it before, but for those who’ve just joined us. give us a little background on LifeBridge. 

[00:03:54] Tressa Springmann: [00:03:54] Yeah. Happy to do it. LifeBridge Health is an integrated delivery network. [00:04:00] We’ve got five acute care hospitals. They’re all in Maryland. A number of them are near Baltimore but we also have one in, Carroll County, which is relatively rural. We have a few nursing homes. We’ve got over 30 urgent care sites. A few thousand physicians of whom about 600 are employed. we have a for-profit entity that has a lot of joint [00:04:30] ventures.

[00:04:30] Whether it’s outpatient pharmacy, physio therapy. We have hospice, we have home care. We really have something across the continuum, but you know, Bill, as a lot of people kind of count hospitals. And certainly, our hospitals are a very proud element of our continuum and, As I said, we’ve got five acute care hospitals.

[00:04:56] Bill Russell: [00:04:56] Are you the, so you’re, you’re the CIO of all of that. [00:05:00] You’re the technology leader for all of that. 

[00:05:03] Tressa Springmann: [00:05:03] Yeah. Yeah. And the technology leader for all of that. I also am responsible for HIM. The medical records function. I also am responsible for, our telehealth construct and that was even pre COVID, but of course that’s kind of going on steroids. I have a couple of teams that, manage call centers. One is in Manila and one is in Jerusalem and that compliments very nicely with our [00:05:30] digital strategy. And I know you are more interested in talking a little bit about that today as well. 

[00:05:35] Bill Russell: [00:05:35] Yeah, the, so the, it’s interesting, we didn’t have any nursing homes where I was the CIO. Does that, is that a different suite of technology products, then you would have say in the hospital. 

[00:05:47] Tressa Springmann: [00:05:47] Yep. It sure is. Just like the Cerners and Epics of the world the long-term care community really has consolidated on a tool called PointClickCare and they’re [00:06:00] kind of the big gorilla in town, and it is very different technology.

[00:06:05] The same is true with, hospice. Hospice has just a handful of key EMR vendors. And, again, they’ve got just some really unique needs based on the environment and the care that they serve  in, their own patient community. 

[00:06:23] Bill Russell: [00:06:23] You know, just for fun. I asked this question for CIO’s from time to time. How many applications total do you have [00:06:30] across your continuum? 

[00:06:33] Tressa Springmann: [00:06:33] I don’t know. I probably should be able to answer that, but considering the probably 25 contracts that are, on my desk to review because, end of calendar year is always a good deal. Oh, I’m sure it’s over 400 and yet the 80 20 rule always applies.

[00:06:53] I’m always looking for a platform play because it’s really those platforms [00:07:00] that are the accelerants to the organization most of the time. And I think though the platforms that I would focus on include your EMR and all their boundaries systems. your ERP and all of those boundaries systems, your office and office productivity and collaboration like O 365 or Google. And then the whole advent of [00:07:30] digital health and looking for a platform there and integration with CRM, everything that is very consumer facing, which is a real new pivot for healthcare. 

[00:07:39] Bill Russell: [00:07:39] Yeah, we’ve we had upwards of like 900 applications. How do you keep track of that? So we, I had my, we had a CFO for IT. I mean, when you have a 200, some odd million dollar budget, that’s what you end up doing. And that, that CFO, role, he put together a calendar. He put together a contract [00:08:00] calendar for throughout the year and it kind of cracked me up because. I was looking at it. I’m like, Oh my gosh, we renew at least like 10 contracts every month at a minimum 10 contracts every month, which gives you an, I mean, we could just have a full time part of the CIO role being contract negotiation, to a certain extent. do you guys, what, do you do to manage your, portfolio of contracts? 

[00:08:23] Tressa Springmann: [00:08:23] We actually have a system that helps us do that. So we have a system, where, we scan and index [00:08:30] all our contracts and, the index includes renewal dates when they’re coming up, et cetera. your point’s a good one, which is, there are weeks when I feel as though I am nothing more than an extension of the legal team, because there’s always quite a bit of activity going on in that space and quite a bit of opportunity to. So, that’s usually a very, depends on your own culture, but for me in this culture, it’s been [00:09:00] a very large part of my job. 

[00:09:02] Bill Russell: [00:09:02] It’s interesting. I just finished, I finished a pro part of my work is consulting. I just finished a project, talking to some health systems about their structure and at least two, at least two, maybe three of the academic medical centers have now added legal, a legal portion, a person reports into the CIO either because they’re generating so much intellectual property, they’re doing contracts, [00:09:30] but they have a full-time legal person in the IT department.

[00:09:33] Tressa Springmann: [00:09:33] Yeah. We’re not structured that way, but, I have a person too, and she’s wonderful. And she really straddles innovation and IT because of all the nuances of the risk that they that those kinds of acquisitions, surface, and really the need to have legal counsel that is very comfortable and [00:10:00] familiar with whole IT security proposition and limitations of liability and how much insurance and I mean, it’s become a very real thing and a very specialized role. So although, Patty doesn’t report to me, she’s a shared resource and, I fill most of her days. 

[00:10:20] Bill Russell: [00:10:20] Yeah. It’s interesting. A lot of times we dealt with outside counsel and so for me it was helpful because I can always, when you’re dealing with outside counsel, you [00:10:30] have a team of people, so you can pull in the right person for the right thing. You’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to get to some of the stuff I sent you over in the email. This is what I like about talking with you Tressa. I mean, we can, we can go in a lot of different directions based on what’s going on in the world, but, one of the things I did want to talk to you about again, is the structure, the, do you guys have a chief digital officer at LifeBridge?

[00:10:56] Tressa Springmann: [00:10:56] We do

[00:10:56] Bill Russell: [00:10:56] Okay. And does that report into you or [00:11:00] is it separate? 

[00:11:01] Tressa Springmann: [00:11:01] That is me

[00:11:01] Bill Russell: [00:11:01] Oh it is you! Okay, so your CIO CDO. 

[00:11:06] Tressa Springmann: [00:11:06] Well so Bill I think everyone is really working through this, right. When we think of digital and let’s start with that definition, what does that mean to your organization? And how do you want to accelerate it?

[00:11:23] We’ve been on that journey ourselves. We’ve been working on a digital strategy and what is the best organizational structure for [00:11:30] that and how to support where we are today and where we need to grow. I think, you’re, you’ve been a CIO. One might argue that the digital ecosystem. And let’s just for argument’s sake, say it’s anything that is smartphone enabled and complimented by the web. It’s really about the audience and the support structure. And so if we’re digitizing a tool for employees and you already have a team that’s [00:12:00] supporting HR and payroll and OC health and your employees that having tools that are just using different technology and maybe our smartphone enabled fit nicely into that.

[00:12:12] And frankly, I’m one those associates to grow into the world of new technology and not bifurcate a legacy team and then a digital team. The same is true with our providers, with our nurses, with our doctors, I have clinical teams. I have, they know them, they work with them, they understand them and [00:12:30] they want to grow in the digital space too. The real unique entrant here is the consumer as the user and it’s everything from setting up a support structure. So with that, consumer has a question about the tech that we’ve given them, that I have the same service center capability to help them as Amazon might but also having a group that’s very consumer tune. In healthcare one of our tiniest departments usually is [00:13:00] marketing. Right. Marketing is usually the small department. And yet now, we have the advent of the very discerning consumer in the healthcare space, and we’ve got to develop a capability to put these tools directly in their hands and then do a good job supporting.

[00:13:19] So, in our organization, like many we’ve been navigating this question about is it a CDO? Is it part of innovation? Is it part [00:13:30] of marketing? And at the end of the day, the only thing in our philosophy that differs is who that end user of the technology is. And it’s the consumer and it’s just a new user group.

[00:13:45] I mean, 20 years ago, you and I, we automated all of our back office function and we dealt with all the administrative people in our health systems 15, 10 years ago. Oh, my goodness. We know how to do the [00:14:00] same with our clinical users. And many of us haven’t even done much interaction with clinical users until CPO and the EMR, et cetera.

[00:14:09] And here we are, we’re just a new user community. So how do we do that and do it? Well, I, participated in a forum recently. I believe it was by the Chartis group. And interestingly enough, the leading indicators for CIO and this was across all industries, [00:14:30] they asked across all industries, what is the CEOs priority for it?

[00:14:36] And the number one priority in this survey was to lead digital business and digital transformation initiatives. That’s what the CEOs across all industries are looking for for my team. So I think we’re all trying to accelerate it and maybe approach it differently. But 10 years from now, [00:15:00] how can it not be supported out of the function of an organization that understands the technology. 

[00:15:07] Bill Russell: [00:15:07] This is really, I want to camp on this for a little bit, cause I think it’s really interesting to me it’s. So when I was CIO, I had to, the, it was interesting because marketing and strategy, were making a play for, we own digital because we are the ones who are closest to the consumer. So they wanted the budget and they wanted to select the technologies. What not. [00:15:30] So that was a place where I had to partner. 

[00:15:33] Tressa Springmann: [00:15:33] Yep. 

[00:15:34] Bill Russell: [00:15:34] And by the way I essentially, I was the CDO, within the organization and I didn’t mind plays like that because it meant people were engaged. They had ideas, they had solutions. You just had to, you had to figure out a way to organize them. And once you organize them, then you were going to get the, great solutions people, excited about, moving it into the organization. Those guys, but marketing was the interesting thing to me in that they [00:16:00] really wanted a strong saying that operations wanted to stay in digital, but only because it was so integral to, I mean, everything we do is digital now right? And so Operations was sitting there going look, this is going to touch supply chain. It’s going to touch our physicians. It’s going to touch, it’s going to touch every aspect. So they wanted a piece of it. They didn’t want to own it, but they wanted a seat at the table and to participate. What I mean, what does that, what does that look like? And by the way, [00:16:30] I have found very few marketing departments in healthcare and I’ve worked with a lot of healthcare systems. I think it’s the weakest department in most health systems. And now I said that you didn’t say that don’t get mad at Tressa. Get mad at me but generally speaking, they haven’t. built this muscle. They haven’t flexed this muscle of really engaging the community, in a way, that, usually it was, get the ad at the football stadium [00:17:00] and the baseball stadium, get some billboards, send out the mailers, those kinds of things.

[00:17:07] That’s what it was for decades. And then all of a sudden digital came along and. They had to create, they had to develop a whole new set of skills and I think that’s evolving, but it’s still one of the, one of the areas I think was weakest. Anyway, the question is, who do you partner with on this? Who is, who are the key partnerships for you?

[00:17:27] Tressa Springmann: [00:17:27] Definitely our chief clinical officer [00:17:30] and our chief marketing officer. And I am really, really lucky. Our chief marketing officer came to healthcare, came to our organization, this is his first healthcare job. So, of course he thinks we’re backward and archaic. He’s been in the consumer space. I think he was with Target, he was with some banks.

[00:17:53] And he could completely do this, but you know, when we [00:18:00] talk about, digitizing the consumer experience that, his purview is SEO, search engine optimization, CRM campaigns, all the right things. I think he would, be very effective at leading a lot of those digital activities. And in fact, he does. I think he would not say, ‘I’m the chief digital officer.’ And, I think he’d like to continue to [00:18:30] grow that function, but very quickly that digital experience creeps into operations, whether it’s online bill payment or whether it’s, scheduling an appointment or, whether it’s, having a digital, remote patient monitoring post-discharge, to know how your care experience and your pain work, and very quickly you get into a purview that marketing’s not [00:19:00] interested in, cause they’re all in the seller end of this. They’re not necessarily in the operational end of this.

[00:19:05] And so, like I asked, we very historically have been in a cross continuum position for that. Look, I think it’s more about the individual than where it’s placed, but just like population health, just like telehealth, at some point this, these places that we need to go [00:19:30] and healthcare to take care of our communities, ultimately and over time, if they don’t back in to becoming the focus of the IT structure, then I think you really need to challenge yourself on what’s your IT structure doing for you.

[00:19:47] Bill Russell: [00:19:47] Yeah. Yeah. I mean let me go one step. There’s a lot of health systems that have created digital teams. And let’s define those as people who come into work every day and their job is to focus on digital [00:20:00] initiatives. That is to focus on, where the consumer meets the healthcare organization or overlaying a set of tools for clinicians to interact with those patients. And it’s not just, obviously it’s not just patients, there’s other communities, a clinician to clinician communication, those kind of things. But if there’s a group that comes in every day and says, I’m going to focus in on enhancing the patient or physician experience through digital tools and that’s their role, that’s their full-time job.

[00:20:29] Do you [00:20:30] have people that it’s their full-time job that when they com in the morning, that’s what they’re thinking about? 

[00:20:36] Tressa Springmann: [00:20:36] So we have a number of them, but they are not in a centralized team. And I believe through recent discussions and our own roadmap planning that they will be consolidated into a probably pretty small but mighty team. And it will be a consumer IT team, as I see a digital consumer team. As I’ve mentioned, we already [00:21:00] have teams that have great relationships with our clinicians and great relationships with HR, AP our associates at large, and those are the individuals that I will, they come in already Bill and think about how to make the payroll or the supply chain or the nurse’s day better.

[00:21:23] I don’t know why I would want to set up a separate structure for that. They [00:21:30] already have the user relationships and they, and as many of the application vendors, the digital solution oftentimes is just an extension of the core product anyway. But it’s this digital consumer space where it’s a gap where we don’t have a service center for them to call, where we don’t have people who are coming in from retail or other industries who know that digital first and really smoothing [00:22:00] those friction points, are really what allow you to grow your develop, your, customer base and then keep them.

[00:22:10] And, and keep them in a loyal fashion because the technology choices you’re offering are creating, such friction and frustration that they go elsewhere. So again, we have a few people in the organization who have been very involved in our early digital projects [00:22:30] and, over the next 60 to 90 days, we’re going to be probably centralizing them, consolidating them, giving them a name.

[00:22:38] But again, I, one of I went through this exercise a couple of years ago, one of those self-reflections where you’re really digging into what are you good at? And what do you like? And how do you come up with a personal mission statement that really, is an archetype for what [00:23:00] you like and what you’re good at? And I did it way too late in my career Bill, but basically. I am an ideas to outcome architect. I love to take a concept or an idea and figure out how to fit it into a culture because there aren’t any right or wrong. It’s just what’s going to work. And, I don’t think digital is the digital consumer is any different than my, the idea to outcome I had to implement.

[00:23:28] So that, we had an [00:23:30] effective population, health support structure, or telehealth support structure. This is just that next thing 

[00:23:39] Bill Russell: [00:23:39] Idea to outcome architect. That’s brilliant, by the way, I love that 

[00:23:44] Tressa Springmann: [00:23:44] One of those, like team-building and you go work with people offsite and you use some of those very cool tools and really try to make very precise what your passion is and actually what other people think you’re really good at. And, [00:24:00] then you got to put it in a talking point for your elevator speech, but, I embraced that. It’s really what I like to do but it also means that what I am not as good at is really just day-to-day operations, because I like to build things.

[00:24:18] I’m a builder and I’m a convener and taking something that is maybe fragmented and evolving and [00:24:30] really giving it governmence and structure and legs and getting it implemented. And then I like to move on to the next thing. So, again, very similar to where you would position digital. That probably means, that wouldn’t position me for a lot of like positions and other organizations who want someone who’s really good at just driving the train. 

[00:24:53] Bill Russell: [00:24:53] Well, you got to, you got to exercise that capability, a fair amount over the left, the last nine months, [00:25:00] ideas to architect, probably add at a pace and speed at which, you haven’t been asked to do it before. What are the kinds of, digital projects. I mean, we could talk about work from home and tell how we probably will touch on telehealth, but what other digital projects were in high demand as a result of the pandemic for you guys? 

[00:25:24] Tressa Springmann: [00:25:24] Yeah. it’s interesting because there are four things that I talk to my staff [00:25:30] about right now, really to keep them updated on what’s going on with this pandemic and the categories, the four categories are capacity, staffing, visitor management and vaccine.

[00:25:41] And, I think a lot of what we were doing, Bill, just became highly accelerated from a digital perspective. And part of it was just out of necessity. People were afraid. Whether it was all the social distancing, visitor restrictions, et [00:26:00] cetera, or the stay at home, the work from home, never waste a good day crisis. And really necessity’s the mother of invention right? We’ve seen it. So I probably have nothing new to offer. Work from home has been a huge area of accelerated activity. And it’ll be for many health systems in area of performance improvement dollars. We’ve moved 1800 people off site and 80% of them are going to stay off site and we’re going to start shedding rented [00:26:30] space to bring it to the bottom line.

[00:26:31] Now we’ve make no bones about it, we’re making some significant technology investments in the security of that work from home structure. So this isn’t a big windfall for us. We just need to make some investments in other areas, but this crisis has catalyzed so many things for us that, frankly, had been considered in the past, it just became an accelerant.

[00:26:59] Bill Russell: [00:26:59] Yeah. [00:27:00] So it was, it was capacity, visitor management, vaccine. What was the fourth one? 

[00:27:06] Tressa Springmann: [00:27:06] Staffing. 

[00:27:07] Bill Russell: [00:27:07] Okay. 

[00:27:08] Tressa Springmann: [00:27:08] Yeah. I mean, look, a lot of us have seen clinicians retire or because of their own health, not be, withdraw themselves from the community. And with full census and length of stay because of how long it takes to really manage a serious COVID patient to discharge, compared to what they’re used [00:27:30] to our clinicians are just exhausted. 

[00:27:34] Bill Russell: [00:27:34] Does technology play a role in helping to address the staffing burden for the health system? 

[00:27:42] Tressa Springmann: [00:27:42] It can in many ways, if people, are using tap and go to get in and out of their systems, it, we’re having discussions now, Bill, now that we’re seeing another, really high wave here, a COVID in Maryland, [00:28:00] where early on, we got iPads deployed. We really tried to lean in to this concern about visitors and visitor restrictions and the isolation, and just the sad stories of not being able to be with loved ones during a very challenging physical time for our patients. But now we’re thinking about it a little differently, because what we learned is this was a huge burden for bedside caregivers. They couldn’t [00:28:30] just do their clinical job. We expected them to be the tech and guest service at the bed also. So now we’re really rethinking that and we’re coming up with different ways to continually pull the non-value added nonclinical work off the bedside caregivers. We’ve accelerated a deployment of an in-room engagement platform again, so that if the room’s cold the patient is letting facilities know to come fix it, instead of it [00:29:00] always ending up right in the nurses lap to try and deal with it. So it’s just accelerated, a lot of things. 

[00:29:08] Bill Russell: [00:29:08] What does, what does vaccine, I mean, you, you have it as one of your categories. What is, is there a preparation, is there a tracking? Is there, I mean, what, what kind of things are you looking at? 

[00:29:19] Tressa Springmann: [00:29:19] Yep. All the above. so let’s see, in fact, I have a meeting at noon to talk about vaccine preparedness, but actually [00:29:30] early on, it’s going to be very critical that we have the right analytics in place and reporting. where there can be complete visibility when we get those early Alec Watts, who’s getting them.. What was their reaction? How did they do, and making sure while it’s early and in short supply, that they’re going to the bedside caregivers who are willing to have them being the vaccine. So, yeah, I would say for the last month we’ve had a lot of [00:30:00] vaccine planning in Maryland. I’m really proud of what the state here is doing.

[00:30:04] And I’ve spoken before about. How we leverage our state health information exchange Crisp. Crisp here in Maryland, happens to also be, and I’m not going to get the term correct here Bill but it’s, there we use a tool called immunity and immunity is, it ultimately ends up that there are, various state [00:30:30] connectors for immunization tracking that loops all the way back to, national tracking.

[00:30:36] And so it’s really been a nice federation. about how do we get our own AMRs that are sending vaccine data to our state HIE to make sure there’s a complete line of sight. So once we start actually, Getting the doses onsite that we’ve already got the interfaces in place that we have the core content in our EMR ready?

[00:30:58] Because as depending on what [00:31:00] vaccine is one, it’s two it’s 21 days apart it’s 28 days apart. So it’s everything from updating the content in our EMR preparing, training. And understanding that the initial tip of the sphere is going to be healthcare workers and a lot of organizations aren’t using their core EMR for their associates.

[00:31:21] They might have an occupational health EMR. So there’s a lot of work to support mass vaccination workflow. [00:31:30] And then ultimately making sure that there is a good line of sight. No surprise. And I know you’ve heard this. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher but in an already crazy pandemic time where IS is trying to enable the organization there have been tremendous reporting requirements put on healthcare and, whether it’s vents or ICU capacity or everyone wants to know, and it’s all kind of flowing down on the shoulders [00:32:00] of what are these pretty small, but mighty teams. 

[00:32:03] Bill Russell: [00:32:03] Right. I it’s, somebody asked me about, and you can correct me. You’re a CIO in the chair and I’ve said, I really don’t have any sympathy for these large health systems because generating these reports is not all that difficult, to be honest with you. I mean, they have fantastic teams already tracking. Two thirds of the information, they were already tracking about a third of it was new.

[00:32:23] And I understand that takes some time you have to vet that you have to get that integrated into the clinical workflow, but the large health systems with money [00:32:30] and teams, I didn’t really have much sympathy for. The medium size, I do have some sympathy for, because you had to prioritize so many things and it’s very difficult but the smaller health systems, I don’t even know how they function. They’re, I mean, they have to do that reporting is changing. They have to do cybersecurity. They they have to do all the things that a large health system have to do. and then you have these added requirements. So for them I had I had a lot of sympathy. But I mean, that was sort of my take [00:33:00] on it. So where am I wrong? 

[00:33:04] Tressa Springmann: [00:33:04] I’m not going to push back on you. It’s not been a crisis for us. We’re a mid market health system. and really large health systems, they solve it once and they can address it for many different hospitals. So I think your perspective is a healthy one and it’s very worrisome. It’s like many of these other initiatives asking ourselves, how do we keep healthcare local when, [00:33:30] it’s the same catalyst Bill that a lot of physicians away from independence and into our corporate EMR structure. It just came to come, it became too complex. it was fraught with risk and they couldn’t keep up with it.

[00:33:47] Bill Russell: [00:33:47] I want to go back to something you said, so essentially you guys have a registry for vaccines in the state of Maryland. That’s essentially what you’ve set up. That sounds very effective to me. 

[00:34:01] [00:34:00] Tressa Springmann: [00:34:01] It’s called the IIS network. I’m sure I’ve gotten it wrong. So for those who are connected to this, I apologize. But there is a national vaccine registry and each state has, it’s like this great network diagram where each state has an IIS and a connector locally to the national immunization network. And, in Maryland, it’s called Immunet [00:34:30] and it’s actually sponsored through our state HIE crisp. So again that you, the United States as a whole, this is an area from a public health perspective where they’re pretty well positioned now, it’s just like kids vaccines.

[00:34:46] It doesn’t mean that they’re going to get their kids vaccinated, but in terms of a nice. local state and national network. it’s already been in place, [00:35:00] in Maryland. The value there is that if your child is, presents, let’s say they have an acute episode of some sort and they present in a hospital via ambo, unconscious that ER, physician. if needs be, can access our state HIE to see, was there a recent vaccination, is this a reaction to something? Because for us,  it’s all [00:35:30] accessible and available because of the HIV. and the reverse is true, which is this child was not immunized for that.

[00:35:37] So, it’s just another essential data element. I think it was largely put into place, right? For children and school aged children. But, in the case of this pandemic, it’s really going to, be incredibly beneficial. 

[00:35:53] Bill Russell: [00:35:53] Are you guys working with marketing, like your marketing teams? One of the things I just had a conversation with somebody who’s at a [00:36:00] state and it’s a epidemiologist and they were talking about how much misinformation there is out there and how important it is to get the right information out. And we think, Oh, we’ll get it through the news channels. But the reality is the people who are trusted most about health is the doctors. Is your health system marketing and team working on how to get the message out from you to the community? 

[00:36:27] Tressa Springmann: [00:36:27] What message? 

[00:36:29] Bill Russell: [00:36:29] The message about [00:36:30] vaccines. This vaccine is, nothing has ever been as politicized. I can’t, this is the craziest politicization. If you’re on the progressive end, you might not get the vaccine because you’re like, well, this was developed under the Trump administration. I’ve heard this by the way, it’s developed under the Trump administration. I don’t trust it. If you’re on the conservative end, you might not take it for various reasons. I wouldn’t say conservative. I would say the right wing end. You’d say hey, there is no issue here. I’m not doing the vaccine. And then you have the never vaccers and all those other things. [00:37:00] Right. How, I mean, is there a role to play for the health system to get the message out? 

[00:37:07] Tressa Springmann: [00:37:07] So along those lines, yes. For example we actually able were able to get some grant funding and we’ve got mobile delivery of COVID testing in some disadvantaged neighborhoods. And we have added to that, the offer of vaccinations for the children and those areas. 

[00:37:31] [00:37:30] Bill Russell: [00:37:31] That’s fantastic. 

[00:37:32] Tressa Springmann: [00:37:32] I think there’s always an opportunity to try and educate. The reality though is the issue isn’t always education Bill it’s trust and or mistrust. And where does that mistrust stem from? And you’re right. Sometimes the healthcare organization is perceived to be the most trustworthy by the recipient, my doctor or my [00:38:00] nurse. But in other neighborhoods it’s not, and that’s where faith-based networks, It’s like any other circumstance where there’s got to be an understanding of trust.

[00:38:12] I will tell you what you’re observing is spot on. I was in a conversation with a gentleman last week and he said, is it really, I mean, are you guys really busy? Like he totally felt that all news was fake news. [00:38:30] And, when I was sharing how full the hospitals in Maryland were now and a month ago they were not, he just really challenged me on it. He’s he’s like, you’re not kidding me. Are you? I mean, I just thought all of that was like fake news and I’m like, Ooh, no, this isn’t fake news. It’s getting really tight out there. So you’re right and it is sad and people need to get comfortable [00:39:00] with where those trusted sources are. My observation would be that healthcare needs to do a whole lot more in this space.

[00:39:08] A lot of our clinicians at least at LifeBridge are fantastic about putting themselves out there to the public. but many are just so bright and so scientific that, that they don’t connect the dots for people. but I do think it’s about trust and it’s about. Believing that source of information 

[00:39:30] [00:39:30] Bill Russell: [00:39:30] Well Tressa you are the consummate professional optic you weigh off the questions I was going to ask you. I do want to add, I want to pull us back to health IT to close out, and I’ve been asking a bunch of CIO sets. And the fascinating thing to me is I’m getting different answers from each of them. what do you think will be the lasting impact on health IT as a result of the pandemic?

[00:39:50]Tressa Springmann: [00:39:50] I hope it’s choice. For a number of years, we have appropriately [00:40:00] recognized the role and the importance of the care provider and now’s no different. We do everything we can to make sure that our clinicians are very efficient. Whether it’s through voice recognition or ambient listening tools, et cetera but sometimes I think maybe it has been at the choice of not offering the best solution to the patient or the family. And [00:40:30] I believe that some of these innovations in technology are going to continue to allow the patient, the consumer, their family to have more choices about how they want to engage in their healthcare. And I think it will make them happier. It will lead to better health compliance. and the telehealth circumstance has proven that if it gets reimbursed in many ways, it’s not about the [00:41:00] technology because certainly, the tele-health technology has. By and large, not in the problem and our ability to continue to offer choices to the patients in our community, to engage with us in the median and means which is most comfort, whether it’s in person or phone or video, as long as it’s clinically appropriate just that ability to offer choices. 

[00:41:27] Bill Russell: [00:41:27] Yeah, absolutely. Tressa, [00:41:30] thanks. Thanks again for your time. I know that you guys are really busy, just so people know this is being filmed the week of Thanksgiving, it’s not going to air the week of Thanksgiving. So people might, when it airs in December, they might go oh, well, things aren’t that bad and whatever. So I just want to mark it with, with, we are actually recording this, getting ready for Thanksgiving. Have any exciting plans for Thanksgiving?

[00:41:54] Tressa Springmann: [00:41:54] Nope. Nope. I’m pretty traditional except a lot smaller. And, [00:42:00] Yeah, definitely. We have a few folks who will be, their local, their friends, and they’d otherwise be alone. So we will be wearing masks, I guess, except when we’re eating our turkey. But, yeah, my fingers are just crossed. We  are, very full and we’ve done a lot of activity going on and yt I remind my team and myself and certainly to you and your family Bill, we have much to be grateful for. So [00:42:30] even as this cloud seems to be around us just being thankful for what we have and making the best of it is, I think important and, thanks for the time. I’m really curious to know, what you call this cause we really have been all over the carousel. 

[00:42:51] Bill Russell: [00:42:51] The title will be interesting. Yeah. I  mean we could, we could title it digital or we could title it. I, I have [00:43:00] no idea what we’ll title it. We’ll say. But thanks again for your time. I really appreciate it. 

[00:43:05] Tressa Springmann: [00:43:05] Well always a pleasure Bill. Have a great day and happy Thanksgiving. 

[00:43:09] Bill Russell: [00:43:09] What a great conversation, that’s all for this week. Don’t forget to sign up for clip notes. It’s a great way to support the show. It’s also a great way for you to stay current. if you’re not familiar, clip notes is an email that we send out immediately following the shows, actually 24 hours after the show airs. And it’ll have a summary of the show, bullet points, key moments from the show and also one to four [00:43:30] video clips that you can just watch. Great way to stay current, to know who was on the show and what was said. 

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[00:44:02] Please check back every well, when to check back, we publish three shows a week. We have the news day episode on Tuesday. We usually have solution showcase every Wednesday and then an influencer show on Friday but right now we don’t have any solution showcases so we are doing multiple, we were dropping multiple, influencer episodes.

[00:44:22] So a lot of content being dropped, between now and the end of the year. Hopefully you’ll like that. And also we have the end of the year episodes coming up [00:44:30] and I’m looking forward to those. We have the best of the new stay show. So we take 10 news stories that we covered this year and, give you some clips, give you an idea of what we went through this year.

[00:44:41] Obviously COVID was the big story, but a lot of other things happen this year in the world of felt it, we’re also doing a best of the, Of the COVID series itself. If you remember, we did three months of daily episodes and we go back and we visit that time. And just some of the wisdom that was dropped by the leaders during that.

[00:44:58] And then of course we [00:45:00] do our end of the year, top 10 countdown of the top 10, most listened to shows the year. So you’re going to want to stay tuned for that. That’s we take a break the last two weeks of the year. And during that time we don’t stop dropping content. We just prepare it ahead of time and, make it available to you. So hopefully you’ll enjoy those this year as well. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.

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