1 person's innovation is another person's disruption, CIO says

From challenges to opportunities, a healthcare leader explores healthcare's future.

Chero Goswami serves as the chief information officer at Madison, Wis.-based UW Health. 

Mr. Goswami will serve on the panel "What Top Hospital IT Team Will Look Like in 2030" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Digital Health + RCM Annual Meeting: The Future of Business and Clinical Technologies. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place Oct. 4-7 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Question: What are you most excited about right now?

Chero Goswami: For starters, information systems in a healthcare organization primarily exist to provide: 1.) patient experience and satisfaction, 2.) provider and workforce efficiency, 3.) quality and safety, 4.) fiscal stewardship and 5.) enabling research and innovation.

Technology is at the forefront of every one of these initiatives. Whether adopting virtual care services, remote patient monitoring by patients and providers, using machine learning and AI for developing new algorithms for complex care models, or using automation to help manage some of the challenges with workforce shortages — every venue is an opportunity. This is a good time for us to be on the technology front in healthcare. As an industry, we are at the crossroads of nostalgia and ambition; it's simple to influence the move to the future. 

Q: What challenges do you anticipate over the next two years?  

CG: Whether we like it or not, the workforce model will not go back to the past. Creating and retaining a culture for new employees will be an opportunity. We need to be creative in ways we develop a sense of mission, vision and team spirit for the remote workforce.

Another avenue is cybersecurity. Three of the top four industries being attacked are insurance, healthcare and education. Unfortunately, we work in all three. Investments that organizations need to make continue to increase and often come at the cost of other investments. The risks are no longer limited to just "applications and servers." Everything from iOTs to OTs is susceptible to an attack. To make matters worse, quite a few insurers are stopping to offer insurance.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for disruption in healthcare today?

CG: One person's innovation is always another person's disruption. We must be careful in creating more disruption in an industry that is tired after two and a half years of fighting COVID-19, workforce shortages, and impacts from the political and legal reversal of decisions. That does not mean that we shouldn't change. The two avenues to push forward are wellness and efficiency for our front-line providers. The more automation (not to be confused with more technology) we incorporate into the workflow that allows them to operate at their highest form of a license will enhance our colleagues' mental and physical well-being.

In the same vein, providing care to our patients in our community by meeting them where they are, is a significant opportunity. Be that for behavioral health patients, adolescents/teenagers or those taking care of elderly parents — for every scenario providing care when and where needed is becoming an expectation. Technology helps bridge the time and distance gap, reducing anxiety for the patient or family and avoiding unnecessary hospital visits, thus reducing the providers' workload.

Q: How is your role as a CIO evolving? How are IT teams changing?

CG: The role of a CIO has very little to do with technology by itself. It is all about enabling and delivering value. The CIO became a trusted lieutenant in the C-suite to guide and partner on almost every issue — clinical, social and political.

The CIO and IT teams need to provide an outside-in view of the traditional healthcare mindset. User experience is key. This constitutes both consumer and employee/provider experience. We champion partners to ensure the experience is front and center for every investment.

IT teams also need to understand business operations and value. No longer are technical measures by themselves adequate nor valuable. One must be able to discuss and drive conversations about translational technology investments to operational outcomes.

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