CIOs look forward to Big Tech, digital health collaborations

CIOs are actively reviewing Big Tech and digital health companies' portfolios to see where they can form a partnership. These partnerships range from creating new IT products, to helping health systems build out new systems that can unlock innovation and bring more value to the way they deliver care. 

Becker's asked four health system tech leaders about upcoming projects that involve Big Tech or digital health companies that they're excited about.

Note: Their responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Ash Goel, MD. Senior Vice President of IT and CIO of Bronson Healthcare (Kalamazoo, Mich.): We are in the process of building a real time 24/7 command center. 

This will help us gain insight into the patient flow journey, resources, data and predictive analytics to manage our patient flow throughout the organization. 

We will first start off with looking at the operating room and patient workflows and soon it is going to expand from there, including ambulatory services and diagnostic services.  

Throughout this creation, we will be using a multitude of tech partnerships to make this successful.

Beth Lindsay-Wood. Senior Vice President and CIO of City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.): We do have some collaborations, particularly in the area of precision medicine, with pharma and other entities. We have one of our own, TGen, that does a lot of high-end genomic computing work, and there are collaborations as a result of that, whether it's working with another firm around the genomic pieces or several labs that provide genomic data that all feed into our platform.

We're also using Microsoft for some cloud storage and development.

Al Smith. Senior Vice President and CIO of LifePoint Health (Brentwood, Tenn.): We're excited about LifePoint Forward, our enterprisewide strategy for driving innovation.

We look at three things there. One is partner. [Healthcare data firm] Eon is an example of a partner, but we've also got [remote monitoring company] Cadence. Partner typically means more than a vendor partnership. There's usually some sort of equity there. So we've got a number of companies that if we're going to scale, then we ask the question, why shouldn't we share in some of that growth? When you look at LifePoint's EMR disparity, if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. We have Epic, we've got Paragon, we've got SCM [Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager], we've got Meditech.

Then there's buy. So we have actually purchased a few companies as well that are digital health that we own outright.

Then there's build. We have a collaboration with [venture capital firm] 25madison. We call it 25m Health, but it's basically a venture studio. So we are now doing incubation. We meet with nurses and frontline clinicians that come up with something we think is a gap in the marketplace, and if it's something that adds value to people we look at potentially building through 25m Health an application that we may keep internal or we may commercialize.

Last but not least, there's a partnership with Google Cloud that we're pretty excited about. Because we have so many different EMRs, one of the things we're looking for is a way to push data into what I would call a back-end data innovation platform so that we can serve it up in a consistent way to third parties, like a digital front-door vendor, because that's painful for us, given all the EMRs that we do have.

Angela Yochem. Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation and Digital Officer of Novant Health (Winston-Salem, N.C.): This is an exciting time to be in healthcare. The unconventional partnerships we've forged are opening more avenues for the industry than ever before. The pandemic highlighted the many health equity gaps we have in our communities. 

Along with our partners in the startup community, other members of the healthcare ecosystem, academia and technology companies such as our partners at Microsoft, we are working to help our communities be as healthy as possible through efforts to reduce health inequity, create unbiased personalized medicine and improve access to care. The future of health is boundless when we collaborate across industries, apply advanced technology and ensure responsible innovation.

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