The top 2 areas of focus for Mount Sinai South Nassau's CIO: Mobility and interoperability

Matt Runyan, CIO and vice president of IT at Oceanside, N.Y.-based Mount Sinai South Nassau, is splitting his time to make sure the COVID-19 vaccination process runs smoothly at the hospital while maintaining testing sites.

But in the next year, he plans to focus more on strategic communications, mobility and interoperability to boost efficiency and operations at the hospital. He joined the Becker's Healthcare Podcast to discuss the most important IT projects at the hospital today.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the entire episode and subscribe to the podcast.

Note: This article is edited lightly for clarity and length.

Question: What are your top priorities today?

Matt Runyan: My priorities have really shifted to vaccine distribution. We're still doing COVID-19 testing sites, building pop up sites, and we are part of the operations of the business and community health piece of it. You have to be agile about building things quickly both from an EMR perspective and registration perspective to get people in with the vaccine now that it is being distributed. That is going to grow for the first six months until you can get everyone vaccinated that wants a vaccine while still maintaining testing centers so people can make sure they're safe. As more people get vaccinated, more things will open up, which adds the possibility of additional spread. You want to make sure you have those testing centers that are open.

The main priority that I have had here at Mount Sinai South Nassau has been around interoperability and mobility. With the way technology has changed, getting hospitals off pager systems and using the technology of a mobile phone more as a device that can be used by clinicians to provide patient care. An example would be: now a lot of hospitals have "wireless on wheels" technology They have pagers to page doctors or nurses or rapid response teams and medical teams.

We are transitioning that to the mobile phone because a lot of EMRs have a mobile path that syncs into the EMR that one would use to document. It's going into a room and instead of bringing a "wireless on wheels" into the room with an attached scanner to scan the wrist band, you now can use a phone to scan the wrist band.

It has applications on it to show who the clinical support team is, who the care team is, what specialties are on call in the hospital for that specific time. Prior to that, the process was to call down to the switch board and have a specific physician paged, ask who is on duty for rapid response and do a rapid response overhead using mass communication software to reach these folks. Because it is group based, even those who are not on call and may be off or out with their family are still getting that notification, which in some cases creates anxiety … Through these mobile applications, we are only contacting those who need to be contacted and on call within the hospital to respond.

Q: What are you excited about?

MR: Building on the base technology. In 2020, we weren't doing a lot of project work. We focused on putting in a base infrastructure that will tie in our security cameras to our real-time location services to badging in order to make sure that going forward as we start adding functionalities such as the mobile phones, they all tie in. We wanted to start with a great foundation like any large building or any type of structure. The better the foundation, the more functionality and interoperability you can build onto it.

When people come in to make a purchase, it comes through IT. IT is a big part of the purchasing process to say we understand they need a product, but here is a like product that better fits into the interoperability we want to build here. It's not always about replacing old technology with the exact same brand of the original product. Let's buy one that will fit into the overall infrastructure and foundation that we built. This will allow us, in real time, services and mobility to where we are much more agile in how we even put patients on floors. For example, there is a lot of built-in telemetry; that means when patients come in certain medsurg rooms, they have to go into a specific room. With mobile telemetry made by the same manufacturers, any room can become a telemetry room, not just one where it's built into the wall.

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