Striking the right tech partnerships to boost patient experience — key 2020 goals from Memorial Healthcare System CIO Jeffrey Sturman

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Improving the patient experience through technology and striking the right partnerships is a key aspect of a CIO's role.

Jeffrey Sturman, senior vice president and CIO of Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Fla., discusses the new projects he is working on in the coming year and potential partnerships in the future.

Question: If 2020 is a successful year for you, what will it look like?

Jeffrey Sturman: There is so much going on next year. We follow the fiscal year, and our 2021 year begins on May 1. To make it successful would mean to execute important strategic partnerships. A lot of people think of innovation in terms of what is new and cool and different. I am thinking about how I can align myself and my organization in the right strategic partnerships and monetize those things we already do exceptionally well.

Q: What do you see as big investments in the coming year?

JS: We will continue to invest in the Epic program and make it more comprehensive for other provider organizations. We are also looking at strategic alignment with other healthcare systems and providers in our community. Those partnerships would be around chronic disease management and value-based care. Remote patient monitoring will be a big effort for us in the next calendar and fiscal year.

Consumer engagement also ties back to value-based care but creates a level of further transparency with our consumers. A few years ago, at the vision and direction of my boss, we developed our website for patients and consumers to look at how much different services will truly cost them based on their insurance and very technical algorithms that sit behind this web interface. We want to take that to the next level and create the Amazon experience of star ratings and look at how we are doing in the community and measuring our consumer program.

Q: Where will you focus most of your time and energy next year?

JS: It's always a fine balance that you have to strike to keep the lights on and maintain operations with whatever else you see as the more strategic areas of the system. One area that will take a lot of energy in the coming year is looking at our ERP and figuring out what we need to do from an investment standpoint. We need to either stabilize it or we need to look for new opportunities to jump on.

I plan to spend more than 50 percent of my time on more strategic relationships and new implementation activities, enhancing our consumer engagement will be top of mind for me From a recruitment and people standpoint, I will continue to focus on getting know my IT team, the healthcare system, and our vendor partners better – enlisting all of their support in helping to move to a different level of consumer engagement .

I will also spend time thinking about what we need to focus on and optimize the systems we have.

Q: What do you consider the biggest potential threat to your organization?

JS: Security continues to be an area of focus for us. We have a very sound and focused security program. My two major priorities there are security around PHI and business, and an overall disaster recovery/business continuity program. The biggest threat will continue to be and has been security and ensuring our systems are secure. We don't want our patients to be compromised, so we have the right tools and technology in place to protect us. Our system also does a lot of education around preventing cyberattacks.

Secondly, this isn't a threat around technology, but we are seeing the level of competition increase and non-traditional players like payers, Walgreens and CVS are creating new ways to access healthcare in our area. Everyone is trying to find new avenues to create more patient access, and we are looking to potential partnerships or technology to help us increase our access points and ultimately engaging our consumers where and how they want

Q: What is the most interesting initiative you have planned for 2020 that will affect the patient experience?

JS: Remote patient monitoring is a huge opportunity for us. We have historically looked at that from a disease standpoint, but there are ways we can make our strategy more comprehensive. Technology now allows us to engage patients to take more control around their condition so we are more predictive and proactive. We as caregivers want to educate the consumer to be more proactive about their care.

As previously discussed, we also want to roll out the star rating system in a pilot fashion over the next few months more comprehensively, and increase the touchpoints so patients have the ability to chat with us online and talk about bill pay or scheduling an appointment. We want to put those tools at the fingertips of our patients.



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