How Seattle Children's Hospital CMIO Dr. Rod Tarrago aims to improve clinician satisfaction and reduce burnout

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Rod Tarrago, MD, chief medical information officer and medical director of medication safety at Seattle Children's Hospital, discusses the hospital's journey toward an integrated EHR platform and the possibility of implementing machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve care models.

Responses are lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: How has your role as CMIO evolved over the past two to three years? How have your responsibilities changed since you took on the role?

Dr. Rod Tarrago: After two years as associate CMIO, I moved into the CMIO role about 15 months ago. Our organization has begun the journey toward a single, integrated EHR platform, and it has become our major clinical IT priority. At the same time, we continue to engage our clinicians in daily improvements of our current EHR. As CMIO and medical director of medication safety, my daily work always involves helping our clinicians and patients in these efforts.

Q: What do you consider your No. 1 priority as CMIO? How do you ensure you're successful?

RT: We are about to officially kick off our integrated EHR project, which will be top priority. Success will mean implementing the project on time, on budget and engaging our clinicians to assure it achieves the quadruple aim.

This project will require us to assure global, clinical and operational participation, clear and frequent communication and disciplined governance. It will also take the entire operational, clinical and technical teams collaborating to achieve our goals. If they are successful, I will be successful.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you're facing as CMIO? What keeps you up at night?

RT: The ongoing challenge of improving patient outcomes while simultaneously improving clinician satisfaction and reducing burnout is part of our daily conversations. How do we leverage technology to do what we know it can do to improve care, and at the same time allow everyone to practice at the top of their license and be professionally fulfilled? As we start our integrated EHR project, these will be questions we ask consistently.

Q: Which apps and technologies do you find most helpful, and which do you think will be passing fads?

RT: The EHR is the foundation of our clinical care, and we will need to leverage all available communication and interface solutions to achieve our goals. The use of [specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely] criteria on [fast healthcare interoperability resources] and other modern interfaces is exciting, and like others, we are looking to machine learning and artificial intelligence to augment our current care models.

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