As infections decline, it's back to chronic disease management for 1 leader

Working together and fostering new relationships are one associate CMIO's annual goals.

Marcus Speaker, MD, is the associate chief medical information officer at Roanoke, Va.-based Carilion Clinic. 

Dr. Speaker will serve on the panel "Essential Tech and Teams for Digital Transformation in the Next Year" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place Oct. 4-7 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What are you most excited about right now? 

Dr. Marcus Speaker: Focusing on things other than COVID-19. As infections decline, the hospital and office systems can shift focus back to prevention, wellness, screenings and chronic disease management. From a technology standpoint, we can start focusing our resources on long-term strategic initiatives and move into a proactive position rather than a reactive one. 

Q: What challenges do you anticipate over the next two years? 

MS: Workforce challenges will be a key challenge. COVID taught us that we could do work differently. Over the next two years, we will continue to see shifts in the workforce and the development of best practices for hybrid and virtual teams. We learned how to work together in crisis using virtual, and now we will learn how to foster professional relationships virtually. For some, this will be very challenging.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for disruption in healthcare today?

MS: I believe we will see continued pharmacogenomics breakthroughs and how to integrate this information into mainstream practice. Another area is computer augmented care, that is, based on computer algorithms, orders for labs, diagnostics and even medications will be ordered by computer with little or no oversight. Some of this is taking place today. Some health systems are already ordering an A1C for diabetic patients every six months, or more often, if appropriate. Based on a previous result, we can expect systems to order a repeat CT scan automatically. The challenge is getting these orders paid if a particular provider does not order them and laws and regulations will need to keep up. What about your EHR prescribing a statin, ace inhibitor or adjusting an insulin dose? This will become the norm and be disruptive in the primary care space.

Q: How is your role as a CMIO evolving? How are IT teams changing?

MS: Focus is not solely on the EHR but on a complex interaction of clinical solutions, including patient portals, integrated devices, and more. The complexity of bringing in new systems and offboarding systems that are obsolete is more important now than ever. Teams are being required to be nimbler and face shifting priorities. With more workers working remotely, retaining good talent becomes a constant battle.  

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