Seattle Children's CIO Dr. Zafar Chaudry on IT priorities for caregivers during the pandemic

Zafar Chaudry, MD, senior vice president and CIO of Seattle Children's, outlines his top priorities to support his team and caregivers during the pandemic, as well as how he's planning for the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Question: What are your top priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dr. Zafar Chaudry: My priorities are maintaining a stable and resilient remote-working platform technology; the mental health of my employees; keeping clinical services supported so they can continue to take care of patients; and pivoting to virtual.

Q: What are your top concerns heading into the next 30 days?

ZC: My concerns are the sustainability of continued remote working — more from a mental health aspect versus the technology — as well as the losses in revenue healthcare systems are facing and clinician burnout.

Q: How will the pandemic affect your strategy and areas of focus in the next six to 12 months?

ZC: The pandemic has resulted in a shift in IT strategy: better prioritization and focus on mission critical projects only; reduction in contractor resources; restructuring of teams; cost improvement programs; hybrid outsourcing more managed services; as well as a longer term focus on how to sustain supporting a remote worker force.

Q: How do you think COVID-19 will change healthcare delivery, and what can health systems do to prepare?

ZC: COVID-19 is going to have a long-term effect on how healthcare organizations look at their costs; how they shift delivery of care away from medical centers; and how they pivot to virtual moving forward. Healthcare systems must reevaluate all aspects of how they deliver care and make sustainable plans to put cost-improvement programs into place throughout all clinical and nonclinical areas. Healthcare systems should plan to reduce back office costs such as IT, human resources, revenue cycle and facilities..

More articles on health IT:
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Partners HealthCare transforms digital workplace platform into COVID-19 communication hub

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