Scottsdale Institute CIO Discussion Parses Numerous Data Issues

Jan. 19, 2020
The Scottsdale Institute recently produced a report based on the discussion at a meeting from late in 2019, one that brought forward numerous issues around data access and availability and the shift to the cloud

The Scottsdale Institute recently produced a report based on the discussion at a meeting from late in 2019. On October 23-24 of last year, the Maple Grove, Minnesota-based Scottsdale Institute convened 15 chief information officers and IT executives in San Antonio for the SI 2019 CIO Summit. The executives gathered to share strategies, concerns and insights on the theme of “Enabling the Future: Self-Service, SaaS, Mobility, Cloud.” Attendees represented leading academic medical centers, multi-regional health systems, rural hospitals and clinics from across the nation.

Janet Guptill, Cindy Mendel, Gordon Rohweder, Cynthia Schroers, Shelli Williamson, and Janice Wurz, all of the Scottsdale Institute, were the meeting’s organizers. The Naperville, Illinois-based Impact Advisors consulting firm, represented by Dan Golder, Lydon Neumann, Andy Smith, and Pete Smith, was the sponsoring organization. And Lydon Neumann was the moderator of the discussion.

As the Scottsdale Institute report notes, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be important strategic tools for healthcare IT leaders to use. “Meanwhile, the use of cloud services in other service industries is commonplace, apps are cohesive, intuitive and brand-driven, focusing on user-centered design, with analytics leveraged to personalize the digital experience for each person. Healthcare, in contrast, is only now beginning to adopt cloud services. Apps are fragmented, difficult to use, non-intuitive, lacking personalization and generally viewed by patients as having little value. And therein lies a set of leadership changes.” The report notes that health systems are “looking outward to strategic partnerships with healthcare and non-healthcare players, including big-tech firms. Unable to compete for talent with the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon, health systems are anxious to find effective and less costly ways to attract and retain healthcare IT talent.” “The value proposition of digital—the provider piece—is not there yet,” said Heather Nelson, SVP & CIO, University of Chicago Medicine. “We tout the ‘Ease of Practice’ capabilities of digital—but this doesn’t yet resonate with our providers. For example they don’t see patients’ self-scheduling as making it easier—they simply see their schedules changing, and wonder how they will get paid for eVisits and video visits.”

In that context, the report quotes several other CIOs, including Laishy Williams-Carlson, CIO, of Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy, who noted that it’s often difficult to emphasize the focus on consumers and not providers. “Providers need to understand that it’s not about them—it’s not about focusing on value for the provider, but value for the patient,” she said. Meanwhile, Jon Manis, SVP and CIO of the Irving, Texas-based CHRISTUS Health, added that, “Currently the entire delivery and clinical models in healthcare are built around the provider, rather than the convenience of the consumer. As an industry, we have been hesitant to let go and do something different because we have been very successful. But we need a new, modern, digitally-enabled, connected-care model. That means we need to think differently. It means we need to think about providing access to our services differently. Or someone else will.”

Among a number of other topics, the report looks at patient/consumer access to data and information, the shift towards digital health, and the disruptive potential of new entrants, including Amazon Web Services. As it notes, how migration to the cloud might evolve forward, and how data will come to be seen as an asset, will be very big issues going forward. And it notes the numerous organizations moving forward to truly leverage the power of analytics to move U.S. healthcare forward.

The full report is available here, on the Scottsdale Institute’s website.