What 5 health system CIOs need in the next 6 months

The pandemic has shifted priorities for many hospitals and health systems as they aim to combat virus spread and enable more telehealth and remote work.

Here, five hospital and health system CIOs respond to this question: What do you anticipate you'll need six months from now that you don't have today?

Cris Ross. CIO of Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): We’ll need better tools for virtual collaboration. Everyone wants COVID-19 to be over now, but there is no end in sight, and experts are warning of a second wave. We're all coping with working remotely, some better than others. As the pandemic lingers, people’s expectations will rise, and we quickly need the next generation of virtual collaboration tools. Virtual care has been a success, and we’ve learned a lot, but patients and clinicians want next-generation tools for virtual care.

Lisa Stump. Senior vce president and CIO of Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, Conn.): Looking ahead six months, I foresee needing more of a few things rather than needing something we don't have today. And what we will need is more agility and flexibility. As we work to overcome the financial challenges resulting from the COVID pandemic, we will need to bring technology and digital tools that enable efficiency, patient engagement and safety, and we will need to do so quickly, creatively and cost-effectively to support the recovery and build upon the digital advances we’ve seen in our response. This means reprioritizing and focusing on what is critical, leveraging the depth and breadth across all segments of the IT team in flexible and agile teams.

Ben Patel. CIO of Cone Health (Greensboro, N.C.): Here is what we need in the next six months: a robotic process automation platform; COVID-19 contact-tracing solution; virtual registration and remote patient-monitoring platform; digital outreach and engagement platform; digital front door; and cloud access security broker.

Keith Perry. Senior vice president and CIO of Carilion Clinic (Roanoke, Va.): With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing new clinical and operational needs for technology to keep our patients, employees and visitors safe. As we evolve the way we deliver care in this new normal we are reviewing new technologies to streamline the process for our care providers and our patients. We are also very focused on our digital front door and delivering content that is tailored to each specific patient's needs. This is requiring, not only new technologies to develop and deliver that content, but also resources that are skilled in these technologies and how to integrate them, especially digital media content.

Deanna Wise. Senior vice president and CIO of Banner Health (Phoenix): We need a speedy vaccination station with QR code that ties to your personal health record. Since 2011, large-scale efforts have been made by the CDC and its immunization partners to explore the potential of 2D bar-coding to streamline immunization practices. Accurate identification of the patient, the vaccine product, and automatic capture of data necessary for speedy vaccination will ensure success of this care delivery model.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has evidence-based guidelines that adhere to the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Banner Health’s focus to implement speedy vaccination stations will be on the availability of the right technology and vaccine products while adhering to federal and state laws and best practices.

Alongside the right technologies and products, availability of the vaccination stations across our communities is essential. Automatic capture of patient-practitioner details, verification of missing or incorrect information, and real-time secure bidirectional transmission of data to update the electronic medical record, will ensure the primary and secondary objectives of this care delivery model. Using a QR code, instead of a linear barcode, would allow Banner Health to capture additional details that are necessary for verification and accuracy of both the patient and the vaccine product.

More articles on healthcare innovation:
IT budgets expected to rebound, focus on security, remote work: 5 things to know
Johns Hopkins taps Microsoft cloud platform for precision medicine initiative
Cleveland Clinic CIO Matthew Kull on how coronavirus disrupted operations for the better

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