URMC is using tech to 'power up' staff and provide better care, says Dr. Gregg Nicandri

Gregg Nicandri, MD, serves as CMIO and professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center. 

Dr. Nicandri will speak at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle, which will take place in Chicago from Oct. 4-7.

To learn more about the conference and Dr. Nicandri's session, click here.

Question: What are your top priorities today?

Dr. Nicandri: My top two priorities are accelerating our digital transformation and delivering value from our data and analytics. To become a SMART health system, where strategically important and high-quality data is captured from processes and patient interactions, and insight - that truly affects care delivery and patient outcome, is delivered at the point of care, we need these initiatives to be highly successful. Informatics plays a key role in both endeavors as we sit at the intersection of workflow and technology. Our mission is to ensure good data in and actionable insight out. We do this by helping to choose the right technology, assisting in ensuring that it is configured optimally, and by engineering workflows that actually work for our patients and providers.

Q:  How are you thinking about growth in the next two years?

GN: Honestly right now, growth is a little bit difficult to think about, given the significant nursing and staffing shortages we are facing. This has affected all aspects of patient care and obviously our bottom line. We really need to focus on ways to 'power up' our staff and make providing care for patients more enjoyable. We can do this by strategically investing in partnering with companies that can help us automate many of the rote tasks that our frontline providers are required to perform on a regular basis, freeing them up for more face-to-face, high-satisfaction patient care.

It has become essential that the data required by our learning health system be passively obtained as a natural byproduct of taking awesome care of our patients. Many of the technologies we evaluate use data to enable decision support. The companies we select will do this without requiring the constant pointing and clicking, manual data entry tasks that have sucked the joy out of medicine for many of our frontline staff and care providers.

Q: Where is the best opportunity to disrupt traditional healthcare today?

GN: I think science and technology have advanced to the point where health systems can truly exceed patient expectations by providing omnichannel, equitable and personalized healthcare. At URMC we will do this through several initiatives. 

We are enabling digital tools that give patients more options about how and where they receive care.We are improving our telemedicine experience for providers and patients, facilitating on demand and e-visits, and laying the infrastructure to prescribe digital therapeutics.

We have partnered with Butterfly and plan to get point of care ultrasound on a chip technology in the hands of our home care nurses and primary care providers. In doing this, we will leverage the power of this innovative technology and augmented intelligence to better assess, diagnose, and keep patients where they want to be: at home and out of the hospital.

We are gaining a better understanding of what the patient wants and values by routinely collecting patient reported outcome measures that tie the patient’s own voice and assessment to the care we provide.

Finally, we are collecting social determinants of health information at all patient touchpoints (digital, inpatient, ambulatory) and working with our community to tackle food, housing and transportation insecurity. We know this work has the potential to impact health outcomes to an even greater extent than the current healthcare we provide.

Q: What are you most excited about for the future?

GN: I honestly feel that one benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that it really has given a kick in the pants to governmental agencies, health systems, industry and payers. We have much greater insight into what we can achieve when we are all working together and strategically aligned. We have a clearer picture of the barriers to progress and the beginnings of a blueprint for changing the focus of the American health system from healthcare delivery to the equitable delivery of health. That is a change I am REALLY excited about!

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