CIOs: Preparing for the Next Healthcare Transition

CIOs: Preparing for the Next Healthcare Transition

“Affiliations and acquisitions are greatly impacting these decisions. It used to be something that struggling organizations were forced to pursue, but now very successful organizations are starting to affiliate and merge with other organizations because it’s just the state of healthcare. One bit of wisdom for anyone is: if you’re not interested in that type of transition and change occurring, healthcare’s not for you. That’s the nature of the business we’re in.” Tim Schoener, VP/CIO, UPMC Susquehanna

Healthcare transition is constant. As we head toward value-based reimbursement, the role of the CIO is changing from managing the infrastructure and basic IT initiatives to a strategic position that demands maintaining patient satisfaction and better quality of care. The business model and the care model are becoming increasingly intertwined.

As stated by McKesson: Population health approach is patient centered and uses data from across the healthcare continuum to improve quality of care while gaining efficiencies and reducing cost. However, it requires fundamental changes to the focus, technology platform, and delivery models of provider networks. [1] Acquiring, aggregating, and leveraging data in support of clinical integration is a base competency of providers seeking to participate in a population health model. This can be a challenge because healthcare data is often siloed in different systems across the care network. Population health typically leverages data from practice management systems, paid claims, laboratory, pharmacy, and electronic medical records. [2]

In order to successfully transition major organizational changes will need to be made. There’s a shift from best of breed to a more consolidated approach. Through our CHIME Interview Series in partnership with healthIT & mhealth, we analyzed the trends in top initiatives CIOs are taking to ease the transition:


“We always have to get creative in working on integration strategies. Moving into this next fiscal year, we’re investing in our own integration engine, as well as bringing on staff to support that initiative. If you think about it—and I’ll just throw out the normal budgeting number—but every single time we do an interface it may cost $15,000 and take 90 days to develop. Eventually the ROI is going to turn in our favor if we’ve got staff in house to design and develop interfaces on our own integration engine platform.” – Jeff Weil, CIO, District Medical Group

“We very quickly started to see the value of an integrated patient record across offices, which highlighted the disconnect that occurs between the two separate records in an inpatient and outpatient setting. As we had other communities join WellSpan we recognized the need to consolidate around a corporate-wide solution. It didn’t make sense to further propagate our non-integrated solution.” – Dr. R. Hal Baker, Sr. VP Clinical Improvement & CIO, WellSpan Health

“When things start out people tend to go with a best of breed approach, and have to integrate the systems. The vendors eventually catch up and offer either all-in-one solutions or they end up buying and putting together suites of solutions.” – Jeff Weil, CIO, District Medical Group


“We just purchased Watson Health as a population health solution, and we’re going to be implementing that next year as well.  We’re trying to figure out if we can connect directly to our data warehouse as opposed to connecting to the source systems directly. That’s a big question mark for us right now.” – Susan Carman, CIO, United Health Services


“We’ve got a plan for 2017: creating an information governance committee. In the meantime, everything is more specialized—a privacy committee, security committee, the various others around compliance, quality assurance—we want to bring all of that up into the next level of the leadership decision-making body and have an overarching Information Governance Technology Steering Committee.” Perry Horner, CIO, Adelante Healthcare

“We’re designing new workflows in the Epic process because we’re bringing together 5 hospitals and over 100 practice locations, many that were on different electronic records.  We’ve had a conjoined effort to find new workflows that everyone will be moving towards, and it has been around data governance principles, having single points of truth, and standardizing nomenclature” – Dr. R. Hal Baker, Sr. VP Clinical Improvement & CIO, WellSpan Health


“Given the political landscape and the potential for defunding, we’re looking at ways to coalesce those services, perform consolidation, and expand the expertise that some of the individual affiliates have to a broader, more national effort. It’s exciting because one of my earliest observations was that affiliates could benefit from centralizing systems and services, but there were internal politics and personal interests that prevented these conversations from moving forward.” – Robert Napoli, SVP, CIO, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands

“The initiatives we’re working on in the healthcare system right now are dedicated to two propositions. One is to improve usability; how do I make the variety of systems we have more user friendly? And secondly, a consolidation effort; looking across our vast number of software tools and trying to consolidate them.” – Daniel Morreale, Senior Vice President/CIO, Hunterdon Healthcare System


“I’m tired of hearing “I have an app for that.” I’m experiencing app overload. I’m kind of reversing thoughts, back to making it simple.” Perry Horner, CIO, Adelante Healthcare

“I’m working on a piece around predictions – many around interoperability. I have this feeling of the sirens calling me to a shipwreck. My view is that when all other options are exhausted, the simplest solution is the best and will cost the least.” Charles Christian, VP, Technology & Engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange


“We had a LOT of cats and dogs, best of breed systems. We were the poster child for the best of breed shop. As a result, bringing in Epic proved to be tremendous, as we sunset somewhere around 75-100 systems. Some of these were just little Access databases sitting on someone’s PC, but we were able to sunset a lot of that and reduce a lot of the ongoing licensing, maintenance and support costs.” – David J. Runt, CIO, Contra Costa Health Services

“We’re a best of breed shop, the kind you don’t see much of any more. It’s causing us a lot of issues because we have about 200 interfaces running information back and forth. It’s very resource intensive and expensive to run. The application portfolio is basically being kept on a spreadsheet. Another initiative we’re going to be starting next year is we’re purchasing an ITSM system. The last step will be application rationalization to sunset and retire anything that we no longer need.” – Susan Carman, CIO, United Health Services


“There are three buckets to my mind: there’s the data you need to import into the database; there’s perhaps a subset of that, which is data that you don’t want to import in bulk, but you want the ability to import selectively as needed later on; then there’s the data that you need to have access to for when you need it…the metadata that you either may need for population health or business purposes in the future that you haven’t recognized you need.” – Dr. R. Hal Baker, Sr. VP Clinical Improvement & CIO, WellSpan Health

“Healthcare has long been very hospital centric. Hospitals were the ones who first moved to digital solutions and automated. Now we have a large number of physicians practices that are automated. We get data from them, parse that information and store it in our data repository. Consequently, the opportunity truly lies with the innovation occurring on the outpatient side. What we’re finding, is that the changing ambulatory landscape is making getting access to the data more challenging.” Charles Christian, VP, Technology & Engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange


To end with the words of Jeff Weil: “I think we’re moving into a very interesting time. We still haven’t quite figured out how to optimize our electronic health record systems. We still have physicians struggling with utilization of these systems, yet now we’re being asked to add on new technologies whether it’s connected health or population health initiatives.”

Looking for help with your organization’s transition? Galen offers a full suite of services & products to aid your health IT needs. Contact us below to learn more:



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