How voice assistants will enhance the future of patient care: Baptist Health CMIO Dr. Brett Oliver

As chief medical information officer at Baptist Health, Brett Oliver, MD, strives to develop and implement technology that his colleagues consider "indispensable."

Dr. Oliver joined Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Health in 2012, filling various leadership roles before taking on the position of CMIO. Most recently, he served as medical director for integrated EHR development, during which he acted as a liaison between the health system's physicians and information technology team.

A member of the Health IT Advisory Committee for ONC, Dr. Oliver also serves on Kentucky's Telehealth Board. He is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association, American Academy of Physician Leadership and Kentucky Medical Association, among other professional organizations.

After earning his medical degree at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University, Dr. Oliver completed his residency at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Here, Dr. Oliver discusses how Baptist Health has used technology to improve patient and provider experiences as well as his predictions for what technologies will take off in the healthcare space.

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

Question: What do you find frustrates your clinicians most about the EHR? 

Dr. Brett Oliver: By far, it is the data entry piece. If we can solve that with voice assisting for documentation and order entry, or some other technology, I think we can overhaul the provider and ultimately the patient experience. I don't believe scribes are the ultimate answer but certainly fill a need currently.

The other aspect is the interruption of the computer in the patient-provider relationship. In a paper world, you could ignore the record when needed and simply focus on the patient. With all orders and care flowing through the EHR, that is harder to do. Patients increasingly expect technology to form an intelligent system that is easy to interface with and make their care better but does not get in the way.

Q: What technology initiatives has your organization implemented to improve data sharing between patients and clinicians? 

BO: We collaborated with Apple to allow our patients, via an application programming interface, to aggregate significant portions of their medical history through Apple's Health Record. We also have enabled our providers to share their notes with their patients via our MyChart patient connection portal in addition to the more standard labs, etc.

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

BO: Using technology to make what my colleagues do easier and make it indispensable at the same time. While there is much negativity surrounding EHRs, I see the ways they have already made care remarkably better and can see the future where a physician wouldn't dream of returning to another system of care delivery. Getting there as quickly as possible is the challenge.

Q: What is one method of technology you expect to really take off in the healthcare space within the next five years? 

BO: Voice assisting will change the landscape of how we see patients in a good way allowing us more time to focus on care. Also, precision medicine through machine learning and things like pharmacogenomics will continue to personalize the process of healthcare delivery.

With the amount of venture capital money currently poured into digital solutions, we will need to pay attention to this space looking for opportunities to improve patient care even if it is outside of our normal avenues. These new tools will fit more naturally into healthcare that becomes increasingly value based.

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