Talks of innovation, IT teams and leadership with Tracy Elmer from TrueCare

Tracy Elmer is the chief innovation officer of ​San Marcos, Cali-based TrueCare. 

Ms. Elmer will serve on the panel "What Makes an Innovator? Encouraging Inclusive Excellence in Teams" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Digital Health + RCM Annual Meeting: The Future of Business and Clinical Technologies Conference. 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?

Tracy Elmer: From a health care delivery perspective, a palpable shift has transpired these last few years regarding the patient-centered care experience. Technology has made a tremendous difference in enabling connections and making it easy and convenient for patients to access care. I'm excited about the continued focus on patient engagement and, in particular, patient empowerment, especially as it relates to supporting greater health equity. There are so many ways we can make a difference in encouraging patients to be their own advocates and voice. We believe technology can help enable outreach efforts and enhance health literacy. On the leadership front, I love mentoring and developing new and upcoming leaders and seeing them succeed and grow. This aspect of my role brings me so much good energy and inspiration daily. We operate in a high-pressure and challenging environment, so working together to design new ideas or innovations to support strategy, especially team member wellness, has been super fun and exciting.

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

TE: Prior to the pandemic, our industry was already challenged with physician and caregiver burnout. Sadly, we've observed it getting worse based on events in our world and the many sources of health misinformation that have evolved over time. This situation has eroded trust in health care and requires even more effort and energy to combat. The challenge will be to find ways to prevent apathy and tackle and eliminate the sources of health misinformation. On top of that, the speed at which misinformation travels, especially with so many new social media platforms, is daunting. This is where I believe robust patient education and empowerment model becomes vital and must be supported by a multi-faceted connection approach.

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

TE: From a data and technology perspective, I believe the best opportunities for disruption continue to center on areas of automation and artificial intelligence or machine learning. There are tremendous opportunities to support personalized medicine, enhance security posture, or simply create a more efficient revenue cycle workflow. Of course, digital health has exploded, and with it comes new patient expectations for care delivery. These expectations will continue to pressure the status quo and create a need to speed up transformative initiatives that focus on the experience. Enhanced health literacy, particularly in the digital realm, will also push boundaries and support new innovations.

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

TE: My favorite aspect of being a CIO is the continuous opportunity to learn and grow. Every day there are new 'aha' moments and the opportunity to make a difference with them. My role has evolved to become more of a strategist or thought leader. I enjoy the everyday opportunity to bring forward vision and ideas to support a more valuable experience for all. The value of IT is strongly evident in our world and there is an acknowledgment that IT is part of the care team. IT teams are evolving from using their technical expertise or experience for data center or network operations to becoming true partners in the business. The emphasis is becoming much more relationship-focused to include a focus on vendor partnerships and management.

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