How Providence St. Joseph Health plans to bring more consistency to IT & pricing: CIO B.J. Moore shares insights

B.J. Moore, CIO at Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Wash., discusses how the health system saves on long-term IT costs and its plan to combat barriers to price transparency.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What projects are you most excited about for 2019?

B.J. Moore: The information services function that I lead has been asked to step up and boldly support the Providence St. Joseph Health vision of Health for a Better World. And that vision is digitally-enabled by the technologies my team deploys and manages. I'm excited about the expansion of the Epic EMR platform that we've been such a leader in as a Providence organization and will now implement across the legacy St. Joseph Health system, which we integrated with over two years ago. In addition, we are very excited to explore moving our infrastructure to the cloud and leveraging big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Q: What is the biggest barrier to price transparency in the healthcare industry?

BM: The biggest barrier to price transparency in healthcare is the sheer number of disparate technologies and systems in the industry that creates issues with getting a clear understanding of the cost to deliver a service. I see our IT function in a health system like Providence St. Joseph Health helping this by streamlining the enormously complex backend environment a system of our size has, especially after years of bringing other health systems into affiliation. With application rationalization — think reduction — streamlined clinical workflows for the same procedures, greater efficiency and smart technology, IT can help drive more consistency that will translate into pricing. A smart architecture on our side will also allow us to efficiently and agilely move into emerging areas of health, as well.

Q: What does your health IT budget look like this year? Is it trending up or down over previous years?

BM: Our operating expense budget is constrained, but we're devoting more to capital expenditure budget, as we make strategic investments in our future. One of those areas that saves us cost in the long term, but has investment cost upfront, is rationalizing our complex application infrastructure down to a smart portfolio. This will continue to be a theme — lowering operation run-rate costs, with our IS organization asked to drive return on investment on more strategic investment for our health system.

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