Becker's Health IT + Clinical Leadership 2018 Speaker Series: 3 questions with UPMC Chief Innovation Officer, Rasu B. Shrestha, MD

Rasu B. Shrestha, MD, MBA serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for UPMC and the Executive Vice President for UPMC Enterprises.

On May 10th, Dr. Shrestha will present at Becker's Health IT + Clinical Leadership 2018. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place May 10-11th 2018 in Chicago.

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

Question: Please share a new consumer-centric capability your organization has built or tapped into within the past 18 months.

Dr. Rasu B. Shrestha: We believe in a purposeful embrace of consumerism, and one key challenge has been that the clinician and the patient are essentially living in two separate worlds. The physician does most of her documentation and clinical decision making in and around the EMR, while the patient remains disconnected from the EMR. The apps and devices used by patients have, until now, been isolated from the world of the EMR and the decision-making purview of the physician. UPMC is working with Xealth Health to bridge this divide, allowing physicians to directly prescribe the right apps for their patients [that send meaningful] data back to the EMR. We're innovating with Xealth to tackle comprehensive joint replacement education and recovery with integration of shared decision-making tools, videos and UPMC custom content — truly bringing the consumer and the clinician closer.


Q: When was the last time your organization responded to concerns or needs expressed by physicians? What unfolded?

RBS: A core ethos for us at UPMC Enterprises, the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC, is "design thinking." We believe that at the heart of great product development and remarkable innovations is the end-user. We start first with empathy, and our end users are part of the development process, even before we write a single line of code.

A key example is how we are tackling the human computer interface that physicians struggle with daily, hindering their interaction with patients. We're engaging with our clinicians to envision a new reality, and we're working with experts from Microsoft to create solutions that will bring the focus back to the most human aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. Artificial intelligence and chatbot capabilities, contextualized to the clinical workflow, will dramatically alter our workspace, for the better.


Q: As a leader, what is the best investment you made in your own professional development in the past five years?

RBS: It's said that excellence is not a destination but more of a continuous journey that demands daily persistence and perseverance.

I have found tremendous value in being able to interact at scale with a diverse network of do-ers and believers via Twitter, and I must say that this has been an unlikely platform that's helped in my daily work, helped broaden my perspectives and helped me engage at a level that would otherwise not have been possible. While social media can quickly be a time drain, being able to utilize it well, with purpose, authenticity and passion, can be — as I've found — a massive time saver and an accelerant to the very facets of what drives me professionally.

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