How 1 leader aims to address the 'disconnect between technology development and the frontline clinicians'

Paul Coyne, DNP, APRN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive of New York City-based Hospital for Special Surgery, joined Becker's to discuss the healthcare trends he is worried about and the health system's growth strategy for the next year. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and length. 

Question:What healthcare trend are you the most worried about going into 2024?

Paul Coyne: The pace at which our industry is expecting technology and artificial intelligence to alleviate the challenges we face. While this day will come, we must also simultaneously address what we can improve today. There is a human tendency, when presented with hope, to wait for it to arrive rather than realize the impact that one can have now. So, while we should be optimistic for these tools to arrive, I am most concerned that we will miss the opportunity to improve 2024 while we are waiting for a better future to come.

There's a current disconnect between technology development and the frontline clinicians that are caring for patients. In one room of every hospital right now, there is a physician or a nurse doing the best they can to take care of a patient with the current tools available.  In another room, there are people brainstorming with industry and vendors innovative ways to improve care efficiency through the implementation of new software and artificial intelligence. But those are two separate rooms. 

In 2024, if there is not a universal realization that we must make one room and work together, we will become more separate. The more we rely on technology without realizing that we are still operating in two separate rooms, the rooms will become further apart rather than closer together. We need to use technology to bring the rooms back together, not use technology to keep the rooms separate.

Typically, when market forces demand increased productivity from labor, and labor remains constant, technology is created so labor can produce to meet new demand. But in healthcare, the technology is not often deliberately created to help the person who is taking care of the patient.  We cannot control the variable of an aging population with increasing complexity.  We cannot magically increase the labor pool, Therefore, we must create technology, not for the healthcare industry, but for the staff and patients that are the reason the industry exists.  If we are not successful in this endeavor, clinical care and quality outcomes will not improve, or stay the same.  They will get worse.

Question: What's your growth strategy in the next year?

PC: Over the past several years, we have expanded both our physical and digital footprint to extend our impact to more people in more communities.  Our strategy is to continue to deliver the highest quality musculoskeletal care to as many patients as possible.  We do this with a sincere hope, that more patients will benefit from the collective knowledge compounded over our 160-year-old history.  We will continue that journey in 2024, with an unwavering commitment to quality and ensure patient care remains paramount in every decision.  

We will continue to expand our physical footprint and evolve our care delivery system, with a focus on the NY Tri-State region and Florida.  We will create digital solutions that enable us to share our knowledge with patients near and far through global partnerships and telehealth solutions.  We will remain methodical and deliberate to ensure we grow at the appropriate speed by which care remains the highest quality.


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