How Tahoe Forest Hospital's chief innovation officer is addressing consumerism

Being a chief innovation officer at a critical access hospital comes with its challenges. However, Jake Dorst has faced those challenges head on to come up with innovative solutions at his hospital.

Mr. Dorst has been serving as the chief innovation officer at Tahoe Forest Hospital District in Truckee, Calif., for more than five years. Below, he shares his proudest accomplishments as well as how he thinks his role will evolve.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: As chief innovation officer, what has been your proudest moment or accomplishment?
Jake Dorst: Working with a great team at Mercy Technology Services, we were able to implement a community connect model for a very prominent EHR in our critical access hospital. This has allowed us to not only unify the patient record throughout our community but also allows for information sharing with our customers that come to the Lake Tahoe areas from other parts of the country. Removing the best of breed software scenario and removing the disparate systems that come along with that, has been my proudest accomplishment to date in my current role.

Q: How do you promote innovation on your team and within your hospital?
JD: By promoting open dialogues in our culture. We work on a “best idea wins” platform in information technology and encourage critical thinking and questioning of how we do things throughout our organization. Our CEO is an innovative leader who has helped to promote this culture, and I think it will serve us well in the coming years.

Q: Looking five to 10 years ahead, where do you see your role as chief innovation officer heading? How will changes in healthcare affect your role?
JD: We provide a five-star patient experience at my current system. We want to maintain our outstanding quality of work and will need to address the consumerism that is facing all business in the coming years. We will want to start to use more and more online tools to make access to our services simple and easy to procure as well and understand how it is billed and paid for. We understand that access to high-quality care in an easy to use platform with access to one’s data will be the differentiator in the coming years.

Q: What has been one innovation that you implemented to improve patient experience?
JD: Working closely with my CFO and her team, we helped to bring to life their vision of a true patient access center that allowed for a “one call does it all” mentality. Coupled with a financial customer service program, this innovative new service won our CFO the outstanding public servant of the year award.

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