Bronson Healthcare CIO: 'Tech is giving power to the consumer'

Technological developments are changing the way healthcare is delivered through automation, empowering people to take charge of their healthcare journey, and aiding health system executives in examining their operational efficiencies.

Becker's spoke to Ash Goel, MD, senior vice president and CIO of Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Bronson Healthcare about the health system's current tech environment, challenges facing it and how health tech has changed the quality and delivery of healthcare. 

Question: What does Bronson's current tech environment look like? And what challenges do you look to overcome?

Ash Goel, MD: Our challenge is really about the evolution from these singular approaches to the plethora of services that we build on top of them, and how we manage those. For example, Bronson uses Epic Systems, but these electronic medical systems aren't end-all-be-all, so we must add to or build technology onto the services. But, not every technology developer acts at the same speed or with the same degree of agility that we need. 

So, integrating these technologies becomes a lot of work. And we're constantly trying to find newer approaches to doing that and are looking at when it's necessary to build on capabilities to existing technologies, or to go with pre-built core services or core applications. 

Q: What are some of the changes in healthcare/quality of care related to advances in technology?

AG: There are three things that have changed. 

The first is giving power to the consumer. 

You give power to the consumer, the patients do their work and they do their work for you happily because they enjoy being in control. 

Technology has the ability for us to share what is happening with families and with patients in near real time allowing health systems to support information sharing and the back and forth that happens between clinicians and patients.

In return, patients feel more in control of their healthcare experience. 

Technology is also reducing the cognitive burden of clinicians as it is able to automate tedious and manual tasks that clinicians don't need to worry about.  

Third is being able to map out capacity management problems.

Technology is able to tell us in near real time, how many patients are waiting in the various waiting rooms, what our predictive volume at a certain point in time is, what the number of patients that are boarded in different EDs or what is my expectation of bed vacancy in the general surgical unit.

This gives our teams insights into how we can start looking at process improvements, both from an experience side but also from a quality of service perspective.

This is extremely important as coming off the pandemic, the amount of staffing challenges created increased risks for errors to come in the process, and us having the ability to capture those points of the patient journey, help us identify problems that we can then try to solve.

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