How does Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health's CIO boost innovation? By making it personal

With more than 40 years of experience in the healthcare IT space, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System CIO Avery Cloud has seen the value technology brings to healthcare.

Some of Mr. Cloud's most memorable moments as CIO at the Baton Rouge, La.-based health system revolve around technology's effect on physicians and patients, ranging from instances when it helped prevent a clinical error to reducing patient anxiety.

Prior to joining Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Mr. Cloud served as vice president of innovation and technology at CHI St. Luke's Health in Houston as well as CIO at Wilmington, N.C.-based New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Integris Health in Oklahoma City.

Here, Mr. Cloud shares his strategy to build and encourage innovation among staff members.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: How do you promote innovation among your team members?

Avery Cloud: The best way to promote innovation is by doing it; introducing projects that require innovation and then providing tools and methods to aid in ideation. A powerful way to promote innovation is by allowing individuals to benefit personally from ideas that bring value to the enterprise. This can be through financial rewards, recognition or helping commercially viable ideas become real products where the innovator receives a revenue stream.

Q: What has been one of your most memorable moments in your role?

AC: After 40 years in this industry, it is nearly impossible to identify just one memorable moment. What I will offer is a category of moments; and that is when I hear from physicians how technology prevented a clinical error, brought delight to a patient's experience, reduced anxiety for the patient's family or improved the work life of the special people who care for our patients. There have been many of these over the years, and they never get old.

Q: What is one recent initiative you've taken to customize your EHR system?

AC: We have committed to an enterprise use of artificial intelligence to enhance performance in both our clinical and financial systems. For example, we implemented a sepsis cognitive computing module that continuously reviews hundreds of data points to provide early detection and prevention of sepsis in patients. On the financial side, we have implemented AI-based robotic process automation to reduce errors and repetitive tasks, with an expected 300 percent return on investment.

Q: What advice do you have for other hospitals looking to implement an EHR customization?

AC: I prefer the term personalization to customization, as customization suggests substantial changes to the base application; whereas personalization suggests innovating around the edges of the application, using application programming interfaces and other integration methods to introduce functionality not provided in the base application. However, when doing so, an organization would do well to become intimate with the EHR vendor's roadmap to avoid purchasing outside solutions that the EHR vendor is planning to release in future versions of their software.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at jdrees@beckershealthcare.com.

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