Healthcare CIOs have blockchain, AI on their minds

You can also add cybersecurity, innovation, machine learning, agile and more to that list, CIOs say at HIMSS18 forum.
By Bernie Monegain
06:12 PM
Healthcare CIOs

LAS VEGAS – Healthcare CIOs have a lot to think about this year, attendees at the CHIME CIO Forum at HIMSS18 on Monday showed.

James W. Brady, Area CIO at Kaiser Permanente,  said Kaiser is expanding its virtual care and also encouraging self-care where appropriate. The Oakland, California-based health system is giving consumers stethoscopes, otoscopes and dermoscopes for self-diagnosis. Kaiser is also exploring drones for medical supplies delivery and other tasks.

Pamela Arora, who is Senior Vice President, Information Services and CIO at Children's Health in Dallas, said she and her team are focusing intently on taking a consumer-centric approach to patient and whole-family care. 

"As the leading pediatric health system in North Texas, everything we do at Children's Health centers on our mission to make life better for children," added Arora, who was named 2017 CIO of the Year by CHIME and HIMSS.

She noted that with the exponential population growth in the North Texas region, especially considering the number of young families, Children's Health is taking this initiative on now so it can effectively and efficiently respond to the unique needs of patients and their families."

John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, has several initiatives underway. They include collaborations with Google, Amazon, IBM Watson Health, Nokia, and others in areas such as machine learning, Internet of Things, telecare, mobile enablement and geolocation.

Also, Halamka has planned numerous mobile app deployments that layer on top of existing EHRs to provide enhanced usability and workflow. On tap are cybersecurity enhancements, blockchain pilots, and a shift in thinking from provisioning services to procuring cloud services, shrinking local data center and disaster recovery assets.

Mark Lantzy, senior vice president and CIO of Indiana University Health, is at work on an EHR Optimization project called "Uplift." 

"It's exciting because it is focused on improving the physician and nurse experience with the EMR with early results demonstrating increased satisfaction and reduction in 'pajama time.' "We're taking it on now because there is no better time than the present to improve the physician experience with the EMR," he said. 

Lantzy and his team is also working on improving quality measures and care coordination and reducing the cost of care. The goal is to improve population health management capabilities, he said. In preparation for Windows 10, the team is also working on a desktop replacement project. It presents opportunities to improve productivity and reduce total cost of ownership, he said. 

Cleveland Clinic CIO Edward Marx said the organization is adopting several new best practices inside of IT. One is related to IT Service Management as the team fully matures ITIL. Also, the team is adopting Business Technology Management as it seeks to drive up the value of IT while lowering costs. 

"Finally, we are adopting "agile" not as an effective tool for projects or development," Marx said, "but rather redefining the way we work. We are reorganizing ourselves much like many Silicon Valley companies so we can improve quality and become increasingly efficient."

Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, has affiliates in Saratoga Hospital and Columbia Memorial. As the medical center continues to grow, it faces challenges of integrating computing, technology, biomedical systems and analytics capabilities for scale and economies, said George T. Hickman, executive vice president and CIO.

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