Spok's CMO Dr. Andrew Mellin explains why the clinical communications provider sometimes hires those without health IT experience

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Andrew Mellin, MD, chief medical officer at Spok.

Dr. Mellin will speak during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference on "Aligning IT with Business Goals: Dealing with Practical Challenges," at 2:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: How do you promote innovation within your organization? 

Dr. Andrew Mellin: We deliberately hire people with diverse backgrounds and different levels of experience, including those without healthcare or health IT experience. Then, we bring them to customer sites and support them with resources that foster a deep understanding of the user journey and clinical workflows. This enables us to develop novel approaches to address complex problems that aren’t bound by preexisting thought processes and conventions.

Q: What do you see as the most vulnerable part of a hospital's business? 

AM: The physical hospital itself. Care continues to move out of the physical space of a hospital and into the virtual space of a health system, the supporting network and the patient’s home. We’re hearing more frequently about same day major joint replacements, hospital at-home concepts, telehealth and emerging home monitoring devices. While the hospital will certainly not disappear for critically-ill and complex patients, I see progressive health systems thinking this way. Right now, I’m working with a major health system in a growing metropolis where they’re reinventing their organization by building a new hospital with fewer beds and investing heavily in outpatient care delivery facilities.

Q: What's the biggest misconception about health IT? 

AM: That technology itself solves problems. Technology is an enabler in many areas, supporting better decision-making processes, hardwiring workflows, improving information awareness and removing barriers to communications. The best-run organizations recognize the adage of the three-legged stool, and that all three — people, process and technology — are necessary and require similar levels of investment, thought and ongoing optimization to truly maximize value.

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