The 'enormous change' afoot for Ochsner's IT team

New Orleans-based Ochsner's IT team is in the midst of an agile transformation to modernize the department and become a strategic asset to the system.

Amy Trainor, RN, senior vice president and CIO of Ochsner, told Becker's the department rebranded as "information services" to reflect the team's responsibility of delivering services to customers internally and externally. The change affects how the department strategizes around digital transformation, patient experience, access and cybersecurity.

"In information services, we are focused on cyber, which I believe everybody is really figuring out how we educate our users, how we stay on top of the latest and greatest from a technology perspective, really moving more things to the cloud and from the education side, both for the cloud and cyber, making sure our users understand the technology of today and what the risks are as far as not just clickable links anymore but also AI and deep fakes, and how that can impact our security measures," said Ms. Trainor.

The team focuses on ease of practice and customer delight as well. To make these initiatives come to light, Ms. Trainor challenges her team to become more proactive instead of reactive for daily services delivered.

"We want to make sure we are providers of delightful service and really morphing and challenging what that looks like at our organization," she said. "[It takes] culture people and development. There's a lot of new technology, so we want to make sure our teams are educated and they know they have a path of career development within our department. We make sure they're given opportunities to really transform as technology transforms."

Ms. Trainor sees a need for app developers and prompt engineers as AI becomes more integrated within the system. The information services team will also need QA and atypical roles to ensure the department functions effectively.

"We are really reforming our traditional application teams into journey teams and the journeys are really focused on consumer groupings," said Ms. Trainor. "We have a nursing journey, a physician journey, an ancillary team journey, lab and radiology as well. We have a partner journey and employee journey to really create a holistic experience with agile tools to transform how we want to support our customers. This is an enormous change."

Ms. Trainor said the information services division is already seeing positive results from the move to agile framework and technology. The next step is to prepare the team for the future where they're not passing tickets or problems amongst the teams, but really working in a multidisciplinary way to develop solutions for their customer base.

How easy was it to achieve the cultural transformation? It takes time, and gaining trust, Ms. Trainor said.

"The idea is explaining the 'why,' and we've been able to do that really well with concrete examples of the ability to show while we are in the progress of doing some of these transformations, the benefit of really working as that multidisciplinary team," said Ms. Trainor. "It's a team of teams approach. How do you work with a team or take direction from a leader that's not essentially your hierarchical leader?"

The health system was able to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic to the "team of teams" approach to stand up a COVID testing and vaccination center in the parking lot of a baseball stadium. Now, Ms. Trainor is taking that flexibility and focus on a single mission to the broader cultural context.

"We know we can do it," she said. "We're just going to do it every day. It really forms our roadmap and strategy moving forward."

Ms. Trainor sees her role changing amid the agile framework as well. Managers are not the traditional managers anymore, but are becoming coaches and career developers for the employees so the teams can docs on task-based work and completing jobs well.

"I envision this being an 18 month, three year transition for us to get really good at that because it is just a different way to work in the world of technology," she said. "It is not a standard and specifically in health tech places, not many people are doing and working in that way."

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