Mona Baset, SCL Health This Week in Health IT
April 14, 2021

 – Episode #

390

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April 14, 2021: Marketing is an ever evolving discipline in healthcare. Technology and digital changed things dramatically. Mona Baset, Vice President, Digital Services for SCL Health breaks down brand management, analytics, operations, consumer journey mapping and more. There’s lots of cool digital tools out there … Epic, MyChart, Salesforce, chatbots, automated SMS’s. How do we navigate them? And  how can we bring them together to create a seamless consumer experience? If you could wave a magic wand for your customers, what would you do? Also what’s it like to step into a role at a new organization? How do you map out your first 6-12 months? How do you build your team? How do you establish a good working culture? And how do you maintain it?

Key Points:

  • Digital has given marketers a way to understand and personalize consumers so that they can provide really relevant experiences [00:05:25] 
  • The consumer mindset has been slow to evolve in healthcare. The pandemic really accelerated it. [00:07:40] 
  • Is this marketing idea going to get us big consumer impact and big patient impact? [00:16:21] 
  • The consumer experience can’t feel like they’re moving across 3 or 4 different systems. It’s got to feel cohesive. [00:24:04] 
  • I don’t know if the word contactless ever really existed prior to the pandemic [00:38:30] 
  • SCL Health 

The Confluence of Digital, Marketing and Health IT with Mona Baset of SCL Health

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The Confluence of Digital, Marketing and Health IT with Mona Baset of SCL Health

Episode 390: Transcript – April 14, 2021

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

[00:00:00] Bill Russell: [00:00:00] Thanks for joining us on This Week in Health IT influence. My name is Bill Russell, former healthcare CIO for 16 hospital system and creator of This Week in Health IT, a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. 

[00:00:17]Today Mona Bassett joins us. She’s the Vice President of Digital Services with SCL Health. She has an interesting background. She comes from marketing and we do talk a fair amount about marketing and how it’s evolving as a discipline. But we also talk about digital [00:00:30] services and establishing your digital roadmap, establishing your team to deliver on digital services for your health system. A lot of great content. I think you’ll enjoy. 

[00:00:39] Special thanks to our influence show sponsors Sirius Healthcare and Health Lyrics for choosing to invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health IT leaders. If you want to be a part of our mission, you can become a show sponsor as well. The first step is to send an email to [email protected]

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[00:01:32] Just a quick note, before we get to our show, we launched a new podcast Today in Health IT. We look at one story every weekday morning and we break it down from a health IT perspective. You can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast. You name it, we’re out there. You can also go to todayinhealthit.com. And now onto today’s show. 

[00:01:56] This morning we are joined by Mona Bassett, the Vice-President of Digital services for [00:02:00] SCL health. Good morning, Mona. Welcome to the show. 

[00:02:03] Mona Baset: [00:02:03] Thanks for having me. 

[00:02:04] Bill Russell: [00:02:04] Well I’m looking forward to this conversation. I’ve talked to Craig Richardvile a couple of times  and the last time I talked to him, I said, you know, what are you guys doing in the area of digital? And he said, you have to talk to Mona about the things we’re doing in digital. I said, all right, so, so that’s how you got on the show and how we’ve we got introduced. So I’m looking forward to this conversation. 

[00:02:25] Mona Baset: [00:02:25] Oh, that’s great. Yeah. Craig is a wonderful connector. 

[00:02:28] Bill Russell: [00:02:28] Yeah, he is [00:02:30] that. So let’s Craig actually gave us a good rundown of SCL Health. But tell us about your role and your team at SCL health. What do you guys do? 

[00:02:39] Mona Baset: [00:02:39] Sure. So my role as Vice President of Digital Services was a brand new role when I arrived in September of 2019.

[00:02:48] And that’s sort of exciting because I could really shape that role to fit the needs of the organization. And we really focused on consumer engagement [00:03:00] and the technologies that enable those experiences. So my team has responsibility for things like our external website. Our intranet site. Our chatbot technology leads our CRM and digital marketing automation platforms our, my chart user experience and all those related technologies that really focus on giving the consumer a great experience.

[00:03:28] Bill Russell: [00:03:28] Yeah. And so your [00:03:30] background is, I mean, you came from the marketing world, is that right? 

[00:03:34] Mona Baset: [00:03:34] Yes. I grew up in marketing, so to speak. So I spent much of my career in marketing, working for many different organizations healthcare, retail, financial services and really spent a lot of time in marketing, brand management, marketing, operations, marketing analytics and really [00:04:00] continued that focus in on consumer engagement.

[00:04:03] So when I made the move to the technology side. As soon as I landed there, I was in love. It was, it was an amazing experience and I was able to take those experiences and just apply them slightly differently to still focus on the consumer and give them a terrific experience.

[00:04:24] Bill Russell: [00:04:24] Yeah. I’ll tell you, marketing is one of those things as a healthcare CIO, I thought, well, [00:04:30] I understand marketing and I understand, you know, I had my MBA. And I understand how these things work. And then I came on to this side. So I’m now running a podcast and I’m doing digital delivery of those things and managing a website and interacting with the consumers. And I’m learning a ton of things that I didn’t really recognize. Marketing is a really evolving discipline in the world, but especially in healthcare. And there’s a lot [00:05:00] of really cool tools that are available that give us the ability to really touch and hear from the client pretty often and start to collect some information, then provide value just all along the journey. How is that playing out in healthcare?

[00:05:17] Mona Baset: [00:05:17] Yeah, marketing has just completely changed since the early days. And digital had given marketers, the way, a way to really [00:05:30] personalize, understand what consumers are looking for, get feedback from them and provide really relevant experiences. You know, when I think about where marketing has gone since I was, you know, in my early days as a marketer, I think about how the consumer has just gotten a lot more control, which is great. It used to be the marketers that control. They show the message, people receive it and, you know, we hope they take action on it. [00:06:00] But now the consumer has the control. So they can decide what they see when they see it, where they see it. Oftentimes it’s in context. Other places they are. So marketers are meeting consumers where they are. And additionally, when consumers like something or don’t like something, they have a lot of public forums to be able to express that feedback. And if you’re a smart marketer, you will take that information and it’s real time, you [00:06:30] will take it and adjust and act on it.

[00:06:32] So I think it’s a wonderful time to be a consumer and also to be a marketer. 

[00:06:37] Bill Russell: [00:06:37] Yeah. I remember our first social listening campaign we did at the health system I was at. And it was pretty basic back then. And we were essentially looking within our geography, what people were saying about our hospitals and our doctors essentially.

[00:06:52] But mostly our hospitals is what I’m going to focus in on. And we found out that people really didn’t like the food at one hospital and they [00:07:00] didn’t like the parking at another hospital. And they were pretty vocal about that. And the reality was at that time, back in 2011, 2012, we weren’t engaging them in those channels.

[00:07:10] So it was a, it was a one-way conversation. It was them essentially telling the world that, Hey, the food at this hospital is really bad. And we weren’t, first of all, we weren’t listening at that time. So we weren’t adjusting and we weren’t doing anything to really, I don’t know, have a dialogue with people. [00:07:30] Is that aspect really changing within health systems?

[00:07:33] Mona Baset: [00:07:33] I think so. I mean I think the whole, just this consumer mindset, which really was slow to evolve, I think in the healthcare industry is here. And I think the pandemic really accelerated that. And it’s that consumer mindset that allows you to start looking at that information and many health systems are doing it.

[00:07:54] So we, you know, we listened to our consumers. We’re always trying [00:08:00] to get feedback and improve. We have a few different venues. We do that clearly in the online space and in social media and the all the business reviews and ratings that they provide in those areas. We’re looking at those and managing those.

[00:08:18] Additionally we have some family and patient advisory groups where we get to talk one-on-one with our patients and their families and get [00:08:30] feedback. I come from a design thinking background also. And I truly believe that if you watch your customers, listen to them, they will tell you everything you need to know about your business.

[00:08:43] And it’s really a matter of organizing that information, really being disciplined about taking it and acting upon it. 

[00:08:53] Bill Russell: [00:08:53] Yeah, that is so. Let’s see, I think where I’m going to, I’m going to go off script. Of course I go off script [00:09:00] but let’s talk about you. You’re pretty new in your tenure. You came in there, it’s a new role for the health system.

[00:09:07] What does the, what is the first year look like? What, what do you have to put in place? What’s the foundation that you have to put in place to move your, your digital strategy forward? 

[00:09:18] Mona Baset: [00:09:18] You know, with all the work that we’ve accomplished and the pandemics lift in there. The year and a half I’ve been here, feels like a lifetime.

[00:09:27] So when I got [00:09:30] here, I really started by asking a lot of questions. I wanted to really ask people what’s working well, what’s not working well. What are the biggest challenges that are facing, you know, organization and our teams. And I love the magic wand question. You know, if you could do anything, you could wave your magic wand, what would you do?

[00:09:52] And then I also ask people if they were me, what would they focus on? And I think you get a lot of really good insight there. So I [00:10:00] just, I came in and started asking a lot of questions. Also really did an assessment of our current digital landscape. What did we have in place? So we really did a formal inventory of what we had out there and an assessment of where we were, what we needed.

[00:10:19] So that really served as a basis to understand where the gaps might be. We also did some consumer journey mapping pretty [00:10:30] basic at that time, really looking at those moments that matter, truly matter in a consumer or patient journey with us. So what’s the experience that they’re having when they’re learning about us, when they’re finding a provider, when they’re scheduling, when they are checking in for their appointments any of the follow-ups they’re billing.

[00:10:53] So we really looked at all those key moments and started mapping where there might be gaps, where we could [00:11:00] improve what technologies and channels we had to help support some of those and where we were missing something. So that was sort of the first stage. 

[00:11:10] Bill Russell: [00:11:10] All right. So at the first day, you’re doing an inventory. You’re asking a lot of questions. You’re talking to people you’re creating these digital journeys. Are the, early on did you worry about the different personas? Did you worry about the distinction between, you know, a young mother versus a chronic old [00:11:30] person, or did you narrow it down and say, look, let’s just simplify and look at, you know, the common things between those, or did you actually break it down by personas? 

[00:11:40] Mona Baset: [00:11:40] So our first step was the most common path basically. Because we wanted to move very quickly. And then as we started developing sort of the common path, then we could get deeper. And we looked at, you know the mom with kids and how she is [00:12:00] really the Chief Health Officer of her family, how is she going to be going through this process? So we did look at it in both ways. Early on, we wanted to take that simple look because I do think that there are some foundational things that just have to be there, have to be shored up. And you want to do those as effectively as possible.

[00:12:22] So we did both. And yeah, we have personas that we use for our website, for example. We have personas that we use even [00:12:30] internally, and my team focuses on some of the internal things like our intranet site. So the personas certainly help with how we really structure the way we’re rolling things out and the capabilities that we’re offering.

[00:12:41] Bill Russell: [00:12:41] Interesting. So what did you find in terms of, we’re going to talk about where you took it, but when you came in, what was the, what did the digital set of tools or tool belt look like? Was it pretty you know, decisions have been made to go in different digital directions? Or was it, were they tied together pretty good or a lot [00:13:00] of one-off solutions?

[00:13:01] Mona Baset: [00:13:01] Yeah. It was really interesting that you asked that. And I think, I think what you’re suggesting is what I found very early on is there were quite a few sort of foundational level. Digital platforms and solutions. So we had an external website, we had an intranet site, we had an older CRM implementation.

[00:13:22] We had our MyChart experience and portal. So all those things were there, but they were sort of at this [00:13:30] lower, very basic level sort of check the box. The other thing that I noticed was. There are a lot of innovative people across this organization and people who want to get things done and have lots of great ideas.

[00:13:45] And what had been happening in the past when there really wasn’t a digital services area, is that teams would go off and implement sort of these solutions on their own. So there were a lot of things dispersed across [00:14:00] SCL Health that we wanted to try to bring in centrally, see if there’s any duplication.

[00:14:06] Some of those solutions are great and you know, we’ve leveraged them. In other cases, we found better solutions for some of those. But I think when you, when you look at all those solutions dispersed across the organization, you can’t really manage them very well, nor can you really incorporate the expertise and the data and all the things you’re learning to do it that [00:14:30] way. 

[00:14:31] Bill Russell: [00:14:31] Yeah. I laugh because I tell the story early on in my CIO career in Southern California, they one of my vendors called up and said, Hey, you’re one of our largest clients. And it was, it was frightening. It was actually Dropbox. And it was frightening because I was like, back in 2011, Dropbox had like almost no security controls.

[00:14:51] And I’m like, Oh my gosh, how can we be one of your largest clients, because we have very creative people who go out there and say, Hey, we’ve got a problem. Hey, I’m doing this at home [00:15:00] with video I could probably do it with medical images. Right. And so you have to get your arms around those things from a security standpoint, but also orchestrating the experience it’s kind of hard to do it across a bunch of one-off type solutions. So you’re ready to go to the next step and say, all right, look, we want to be more intentional about the experiences that we’re creating. How do you take the next step? 

[00:15:25] Mona Baset: [00:15:25] Yeah, so we actually have a great steering committee. [00:15:30] We have a digital services during committee, which in fact was in place a couple of months before I got here. And that really brought in the stakeholders from all of our key organizations across SCL Health. We have folks from marketing and HR, finance, revenue cycle, just about everywhere across the organization operations.

[00:15:54] And that has really helped us be able to get [00:16:00] our projects endorsed, get feedback on them and move things very quickly. So when we had done that early stage journey mapping, identified the gap, that team actually came together and help prioritize the things that we wanted to do. I mean, we had a long list of ideas that we really wanted to implement.

[00:16:21] And so we had to look at things like is this idea going to get us a big consumer impact, big [00:16:30] patient impact. And what are the resources required to do that? So of course the no-brainers are low resources, huge impact. Of course, we’re going to do those. And then we really started to look at the things that had high consumer impact, but also required some additional resources to do.

[00:16:47] So we took that role and then we started developing business cases to, to get approval on those items. And we have a very, very robust roadmap that came out of that. And even in just probably [00:17:00] less than a year, we were able to implement a really big chunk of that roadmap. We implemented a brand new CRM.

[00:17:11] We implemented several different new chat bot technologies. We launched a new provider directory and scheduling experience on our website. We partnered with innovation to launch a new consumer app. So pretty significant things that we were able to get done. And I think what really [00:17:30] helped was that support if key leaders in our organization.

[00:17:34] Bill Russell: [00:17:34] Interesting. So the the tool sets that, well, actually, let me ask you it this way. So the governance group gets together and start prioritizing things. What’s the criteria? I mean, you sort of mentioned that the the impact on the consumer experience and the complexity of the project, very traditional approach to looking at that. But did you have some other criteria that the governance team was [00:18:00] looking at to prioritize the work? 

[00:18:02] Mona Baset: [00:18:02] I think those were really the big pieces. We wanted to make sure that what we were doing would have an impact because we couldn’t do everything. So we wanted to get the biggest impact items. 

[00:18:12] Bill Russell: [00:18:12] So you were, you were looking for quick wins that would established the digital, you know, the, the digital strategy moving forward, I would imagine. 

[00:18:21] Mona Baset: [00:18:21] Yeah. And I think it just depends on how quick it’s quick. Some of those things that definitely took a little bit longer. But absolutely. And you know, [00:18:30] there, there are things, again that we wanted to look at that are very foundational that we just needed to do.

[00:18:36] So things that people are expecting us to have. And, you know, that’s the other thing. Healthcare doesn’t get a pass anymore with experience, consumer experience, all the tools. And so we needed to make sure that all of these foundational capabilities were shored up and we were able to offer something that was similar to what consumers are experiencing and other [00:19:00] industries like, you know, the, the travel industry, banking, retail, all of that.

[00:19:06] And that’s really what we keep in mind as we continue to go forward. You know, the other things that that came out of that work is we set up some guiding principles for our digital work, which we always keep in mind when we’re choosing technologies or deciding what we want to move forward with. And it’s things like, you know, making those experiences easy and low effort, it’s focusing [00:19:30] on the user and not our processes.

[00:19:34] It’s leveraging the smallest number of connected platforms so that we can, you know, manage our resources well and manage our relationship with our platform vendors. Additionally, it’s personalizing those experiences based on what we know about our patients. We have a lot of information, so let’s use that information to be relevant and helpful. And then also [00:20:00] providing options to engage with us. I mean, digital yes is the place and where we want the experiences to happen, but not everybody is comfortable with that. And not every situation will allow for a digital interaction. So we want it to be able to provide sort of this streamline experience.

[00:20:20] So if somebody calls us or if they engage with us on our website or if they come into our offices, they’re still feeling that it’s a connected [00:20:30] experience. 

[00:20:30] Bill Russell: [00:20:30] What, what’s the cool what’s the core platforms, I assume it’s, it’s your CRM, it’s your content management system for your website. And there has to be some aspect of a platform for delivering information to the patient real time.

[00:20:48] What other, what other tools are we, are we looking at in terms of the core platforms that you need? 

[00:20:53] Mona Baset: [00:20:53] Yeah. So the core platforms that we’re really using in the digital space, you know, first of all, Epic and my chart [00:21:00] that is foundational, we start there. So when we want to try to build something, can we leverage Epic? Is it possible? Can we integrate with Epic? So Epic and the, MyChart portal are very key in what we’re doing. And then additionally, our most recent launch of our new consumer app is really an issue right now. It’s an extension of my chart, but in a consumer friendly, streamlined package. We’re also giving them some additional information.

[00:21:29] And as we move [00:21:30] forward, we will be integrating other potentially non-Epic capabilities into that app. And so we really want people to download that app start using that as their key source. So that’s something we’re also using. Salesforce is our partner for CRM. So we have health cloud and marketing cloud, and we’re really using that in a lot of different capabilities and hope to expand that out, to help [00:22:00] manage those consumer engagements, regardless of the channel, whether it’s phone or chat or email or texts. So that’s a pretty key platform also. And then our external website and actually our new internet are built on site court. 

[00:22:19] Bill Russell: [00:22:19] Okay. Interesting. And that’s, so that’s that’s the core set of tools that you have today, but then there’s I mean, digital is crazy. I mean, it’s just expanding in so many different [00:22:30] directions.

[00:22:30] You have remote patient monitoring now and you have telehealth and other things that need to get brought into those experiences. Are you just, are you expecting those kinds of things to get integrated into Epic and then that’s how it gets brought into your digital core?

[00:22:45] Mona Baset: [00:22:45] That’s really the first step. That’s where we like to start, because it’s an easier integration. It’s a compact, we’re able to have all the information about a patient in one place. So that’s what we’re starting. Now. We know that [00:23:00] there will be certain experiences that just can’t happen in that in that platform. So we always are looking at other solutions that may be able to offer a better experience, better capabilities, but how do we still continue to integrate those into that full experience?

[00:23:21] I think, you know, the thing that keeps me up at night is ensuring that we have really easy streamlined experiences, for our people experience, for our [00:23:30] patients. And, you know, the more different solutions we sort of bring together, we have to be really careful at how we orchestrate those and how they appear to a patient. That’s really a big focus.

[00:23:43] Bill Russell: [00:23:43] Yeah. I mean, yes. From both perspectives, right? From the internal perspective, you talked about managing fewer systems and the ease of orchestrating experiences across fewer systems is a lot, is just better but also from the [00:24:00] patient experience. That experience cannot look like you’re interacting.

[00:24:04] They can’t feel the fact that they’re moving across three or four different systems. It’s got to feel like a cohesive experience to them. I would imagine.

[00:24:14] Mona Baset: [00:24:14] Absolutely. That is really key. And again something that I’m always thinking about. I always get a little bit nervous as we start looking at different capabilities and you know, those, those key platforms, they, they won’t be able to cover everything.

[00:24:27] I mean, I mentioned that we had launched a chat bot recently. [00:24:30] Actually we have a couple of different chat bots in there, each on a different platform. We also have some automated SMS types of conversations. That happened on another platform, which is Well Health. And so we’re really looking at how all those fit together and that orchestration is a key role that we have to get right. 

[00:24:54] Bill Russell: [00:24:54] Well, you have a, you have a marketing background and I don’t know why this is interesting to me, but I think part of it is my experience. [00:25:00] I’ve done some consulting with health systems and I’ve gone into various ones and it’s interesting how different the marketing teams are from health system to health system, and some are still buying, you know billboards at the local baseball stadium and they’re doing victory laps and they create a couple of mailers and those kinds of things.

[00:25:20] And then others I go into are complete state-of-the-art. They brought in somebody from, you know, from retail who really understands health. And they’re [00:25:30] really doing outbound type stuff. And it really, I mean, and so I’ve seen the difference between those and one is very technology savvy and centric, and the other’s really you know, traditional.

[00:25:43] But what I’ve found is that creates an interesting dynamic between IT and marketing. How have you been able to work with marketing and establish that relationship with marketing? 

[00:25:56] Mona Baset: [00:25:56] I think given my many years in [00:26:00] marketing, I understand what marketers are going through and I understand the challenges and I understand what people ask for and what they, what they focus on. I think that’s been helpful. And in fact, when I arrived here, my team really was primarily a web and application development group. And as we, as the month went along, we started thinking about, gosh, we’re really. We’re really looking at a lot of [00:26:30] technology when it comes to marketing digital marketing, digital automation platforms.

[00:26:35] And we actually worked very closely with our marketing partners here and we moved the digital marketing team into it to be a part of my team. So I think given my knowledge and many years spent in digital marketing and understanding the technologies and the approaches. I think that was a comfortable transition to make.

[00:26:58] And we have, we continue to have [00:27:00] an amazing relationship and marketing, digital marketing. It requires still so much technology to be able to support those effective campaigns and outcomes. And we work very, very closely together. I have seen other organizations that do not do it well, but we need each other and you get to work together and we actually have a lot of fun doing it.

[00:27:26] I think we have a great relationship and we’ve we’ve launched some [00:27:30] really, really cool things. 

[00:27:31] Bill Russell: [00:27:31] Well, I hope no one takes us the wrong way, but marketing can be some of the most fun people in healthcare. So anyway

[00:27:37] Mona Baset: [00:27:37] Well, I don’t know about that, you know, as a former marketer I’m not sure I can agree with you.

[00:27:42] Bill Russell: [00:27:42] Well, actually, you know, you lead into the next question, which was building your team. So it was a new role, a new organization, part of the organization when you came into it. Give us a little give us a look as to what you were looking for. As you were building out your team, what were you looking for in terms of talent, what you were looking [00:28:00] for in terms of the capabilities of the group that you were putting together?

[00:28:04] Mona Baset: [00:28:04] So I have a fantastic team. I was lucky that I inherited really, really strong teams, which is wonderful. And you know, the things that I stress and the team is so good at is they are curious, they’re adaptable, they ask questions and they figure stuff out. In technology things change every day. So every day we come to work [00:28:30] and we don’t know necessarily how to do what we’re doing.

[00:28:33] Because there’s new things that are introduced. And so it takes a really special kind of person to come to work every day and say, Oh my gosh, I have to learn something new. I have to figure out how to do this. And so I look for people that love to figure things out, love technology, love the consumer, and really want to focus on our mission as an organization to really be able to provide.

[00:28:58] These types of services to our [00:29:00] communities. So it is it is not easy to find people with that sort of approach and attitude, but we’ve done a really good job at finding those folks. And I would say, you know with some of our moves to different technologies, I mean some of our folks have had to completely relearn what they work on.

[00:29:23] We have people who never worked on site core before. And now that it’s also our internet platform. [00:29:30] We have folks who used to work on other platforms. Now they have to learn site core and they’re doing an amazing job with it. Same with Salesforce. We have people who would never work on Salesforce before learn how to do it and are doing amazing.

[00:29:45] So that’s the type of person I look for. I mean, clearly, you know, I would love to have some experience and some of the areas that we’re supporting. But if someone is open to learning and figuring things out and being adaptable and not just being open to change, but actually being [00:30:00] excited about it, they will do well in this space and on my team. 

[00:30:04] Bill Russell: [00:30:04] Interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about culture, right? Let’s go in two directions here. One is establishing a culture within a culture. Clearly SCL has a culture that your team operates within, but as you’re building out your team, you’re creating a culture within that team. I’d like to.

[00:30:21] Really, what were the, what were the things that you did to establish a culture for your team? And then what has it been [00:30:30] like over the last 12 months trying to maintain that? Given the the curve balls that have been thrown at every leader.

[00:30:38] Mona Baset: [00:30:38] That’s a good, nice way to put it. I think, you know, certainly you’ve talked to Craig Richardville our Chief Innovation Chief information Officer and he is, he is truly focused on culture, building the culture. It really is everything. And so since he has gotten here, the culture [00:31:00] has really shifted a bit. And I think people are definitely more, I think even more engaged come to the table with ideas are looking at ways to improve things.

[00:31:15] Everybody’s idea is important. And so that’s really how I like to manage my team as well. We get a lot of opportunities where we innovate and ideate and come up with ideas. I [00:31:30] always tell them that I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have the expertise in all of these areas. And so we all have to come together to come up with the best solution.

[00:31:40] And I think with the pandemic, we’ve just, we’ve just had to be alone, more disciplined about continuing to engage and keep up with each other. So certainly some of the tools, you know, we’re, we’re a Google shop. So we use Google meet. Google meet has has introduced many new capabilities like [00:32:00] polling and, and whiteboards and things like that, which we try to bring into meetings to have more engagement.

[00:32:06] We also make the time for people to come together more informally. So we have a virtual lunchroom once a week that everybody can just drop in. Like they would, if they were together in one building. We have teams that have set up lunch and learns about non-work topics. You know about how to set up a vision board and how to raise bees and how to prep to [00:32:30] climb your first, you know, 14er or so it’s, it’s a lot of fun.

[00:32:33] I think people are really enjoying getting to know each other in that way. And I think that disciplined approach, we need to keep that even after more of us are together. 

[00:32:44] Bill Russell: [00:32:44] Well, you know, you I mean, you brought it up, I assume you went to the to the lunch and learn. So how do you raise bees?

[00:32:54] Mona Baset: [00:32:54] It is it very carefully, [00:33:00] carefully. 

[00:33:00] Bill Russell: [00:33:00] No kidding

[00:33:00] Mona Baset: [00:33:00] Yes. There’s just, I mean, it’s a whole art and science. It really is. 

[00:33:06] Bill Russell: [00:33:06] You know, there, there are companies, I mean, there’s a couple within healthcare, but there’s also other companies because I have a friend who’s in this business of helping companies to establish like bee farms.

[00:33:16] I don’t know what the best term terminology is here, but essentially that their company has on their premises and waht not and they produce honey. I’m not sure I understood it when he was saying it. I sort of shook my head. I should have listened a lot closer, but [00:33:30] that’s not, that’s not what we’re going to talk about.

[00:33:31] Mona Baset: [00:33:31] That’s quite interesting though. I mean, something I learned is that you can go online and buy your bees. 

[00:33:37] Bill Russell: [00:33:37] That’s that’s amazing. I, anyway yeah, that’s an interesting topic. So talk about what’s next for SCL health. What if I were a consumer in your market, in your area? What could I expect from you guys? Where, you know, what are we going to be seeing. 2022 through 25 from your, your digital team. 

[00:33:59] Mona Baset: [00:33:59] I think, you know, [00:34:00] certainly just more, more engagement, more opportunities to make it easier for consumers to access us and be engaged with their health journey. I mean we do have a mission for 2025 strategic plan. For the entire organization. And we will continue to focus on that. There are things around growth, there are things around alignment in, you know, with our, our providers and our [00:34:30] clinicians. There’s a clinical and operational transformation and really aligning, empowering our associates also. So all of that work will continue and there are a number of initiatives across SCL health. That we’ll focus on that. If I look at digital services specifically, it’s truly making that experience easy. So from a digital perspective, that’s one thing. If they’re calling in on the phone, we’ve [00:35:00] got to give them a similar experience. If they’re emailing us.

[00:35:05] And there will be expansion of, you know, our consumer app and what you can do in that app. So I think it’s really looking at experience and being able to provide that in such a way that is, is what consumers are looking for, what they’re expecting and easy for them to be able to do. 

[00:35:28] Bill Russell: [00:35:28] Yeah, that’s exciting. [00:35:30] I’d love to really go further with that with you. And you know, cause I think the consumer experience we’d like to 2025 based on what we just went through with the pandemic, based on changing consumer experiences, the number of people that have access digital tools in healthcare over the last year has grown almost a hundred percent, right? So almost everybody has interacted in some way with now an online scheduling platform or [00:36:00] some aspect of a chat bot, like you guys rolled out or some aspect of telehealth obviously, and other things. And so we’ve now exposed it to almost the entire population.

[00:36:12] it, There really is an opportunity to see some really exciting things happened between. Now in 2025, do you have, do you have a pace that you feel like you need to move at in order to stay up? Obviously healthcare is still catching up to other industries, but just to [00:36:30] stay on par or better with the new tech entrants that are coming into the space and the payers and everybody else is really moving.

[00:36:43] Is there a pace that you’re looking at that you guys have to maintain? 

[00:36:47] Mona Baset: [00:36:47] I think we we’re at that pace right now. We have moved very, very quickly. If you look at what has been accomplished just in the last year and a half or so with [00:37:00] our new, our new leadership team here in technology. It is pretty substantial improvements in the Epic platform, even beyond, you know, things that my team does.

[00:37:13] Improvements in security improvements in technology infrastructure, all of this has been accomplished in such a short period of time. And I think if we continue to move at this pace, we’re going to get a lot done. I think the other important thing in this and the reason yeah, [00:37:30] why we can move so quickly is because the top levels of leadership in this organization are completely supportive of that and help us move quickly to get these things done.

[00:37:41] And these things have to be done for our consumers, for our first associates, for our providers. I think the other thing that we continue to look at and, you know, some of us have come from different industries in the past. And we continue to look at what other [00:38:00] industries are doing at the industry that are far ahead of us and have always been far ahead of us.

[00:38:05] And I think they can give us suggestions on where we’re going, where we need to go. So we continue to get inspired by non-healthcare industries and what they’re doing in the digital space. I mean, if you think about even just the pandemic. Even those industries who were far ahead, great digital experiences.

[00:38:26] I mean they’ve really had to retool a lot of things. If you [00:38:30] think about something as simple as the word contactless. That word, I don’t know that ever really existed prior to the pandemic but now everything you can do in a no contact kind of way. And so even simple things like words that are being introduced to our world now. You can see where the change is going.

[00:38:52] Bill Russell: [00:38:52] And it’s interesting you mentioned contactless. I went to DisneyWorld and you can see that they they’ve redesigned [00:39:00] everything for contact lists experience across the board in any place where you could come in contact with something there, they’re cleaning it pretty often. It’s just the new world we live in.

[00:39:10] All right. So what a question I’ve started to end my interviews with and it’s really to give you the opportunity to talk about whatever I may have missed with the questions and it’s, you know, what topic didn’t we talk about that, that you think the listeners, the community might find interesting [00:39:30] to to hear from you on?

[00:39:32] Mona Baset: [00:39:32] Gosh we talked a lot, we talked a lot about some really interesting, cool things. I think you know, one other thing that we’re, we’ve been exploring as we look at you know, what, what I cause are the digital workforce. So chatbots kind of fit in that area, around digital workforce. And we’re, we’ve been exploring robotic process automation to really understand how we can implement that [00:40:00] mostly on the backend to be able to help us be more efficient, you know, provide faster turnaround times for ourselves and also for patients and some of the activities that they need to get done. So that is something that we are exploring. And I do believe should be a pretty foundational part of our operational processes.

[00:40:25] I think that, you know, as we’ve been really getting into the [00:40:30] discovery and understanding what’s possible there are a few health systems that have dabbled a little bit in this. Some have done it very well. I think there, there is still a lot of white space to be able to kind of fill in there.

[00:40:46] Other industries of course have been using RPA for many years and have benefited greatly from it. So it’s something tha we are going to be looking at. 

[00:40:56] Bill Russell: [00:40:56] Yeah. I mean, RPA itself is really fun. [00:41:00] Technology to look at and RPA as a technology has really advanced. I mean, they’re layering in computer vision and other things on top of it and it gets really sophisticated. As opposed to some of the things we were doing seven or eight years ago, and it was more screen scraping technology. This is pretty sophisticated stuff that they have now. Really the sky’s the limit in terms of the amount of back room processes that we can take to the next level. So that that’ll be an interesting conversation to have.

[00:41:30] [00:41:30] Are your plans near term or are you in the planning phases at this time? 

[00:41:35] Mona Baset: [00:41:35] We’re in the planning phases right now. If we’re able to make a good business case for it, I would hope to see something in place and you know, the next several months. We do actually have a proof of concept, very small RPA pilot that we launched a couple of months ago, which is going well. And this will really take that to [00:42:00] expand it to really look at processes across our organization. And as I think of it eventually will be really great is to have sort of a bot for everybody. So you have all these bots that people can just choose to use and, you know, they have functionality and you can just get those on your desktop and start using them.

[00:42:22] So. There’s just really, really great opportunities to do that. So it’s still pretty early on, but, but I would love to be able to expand that. 

[00:42:30] [00:42:30] Bill Russell: [00:42:30] Yeah. And it’s, it is excited at first from some health systems who have done some really exciting things around that, and really reduced the amount of errors on the claims and increase the throughput of especially on the, on that side.

[00:42:45] But you know, it’s interesting because I’m hearing more and more RPA being talked about for IT back back room processes as well. So it should be, should be interesting, Mona thanks for taking the time and coming on the show. I really appreciate it and great [00:43:00] conversation. And I’m glad that Craig introduced us.

[00:43:03] Mona Baset: [00:43:03] Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it.

[00:43:05]Bill Russell: [00:43:05] What a great discussion. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, from these kinds of discussions, please forward them a note, perhaps your team, your staff. I know if I were a CIO today, I would have every one of my team members listening to this show. It’s conference level value every week. They can subscribe on our website thisweekhealth.com or they can go wherever you listen to podcasts, Apple, Google, Overcast, which [00:43:30] is what I use, Spotify, Stitcher. You name it. We’re out there. They can find us. Go ahead. Subscribe today. Send a note to someone and have them subscribe as well. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health IT leaders. Those are VMware, Hill-Rom, StarBridge Advisers, Aruba and McAfee. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.

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