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A CIO’s Journey to Helping People: Entering the Industry, Community Outreach, & a Solid Foundation
Episode 482nd August 2022 • This Week Health: Community • This Week Health
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August 2: Today on TownHall, Sue Schade, Principal at StarBridge Advisors speaks with Scott MacLean, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at MedStar Health. They talk about giving back, his involvement in the Baltimore community, and his path to becoming a CIO. What advice does he have for the young IT professionals among us? How and where should others give back through industry involvement? How does he stay true to himself and his core values when faced with difficult days in the field?

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This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

Today on This Week Health.

I think we know the social determinants of health are so.

Much more of the picture than just what we see in the healthcare system. So, whether it be how we're trying to care for the entire community or the acute and ambulatory care we provide, this is all part of it. What people are experiencing in terms of shelter, food, clothing, jobs various other issues that they're going through in the community.

It's a big part of it.

Welcome to This Week Health Community. This is TownHall a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels designed to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show sponsors Olive, Rubrik, Trellix, Medigate and F5 in partnership with Sirius Healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Now onto our show.

Hello, I'm Sue shade principal at Starbridge advisors. And one of the hosts for the town hall show on the community channel today. My guest is Scott McClain, SVP and chief information officer at MedStar health Scott and I worked together for many years when we were it leaders at partners, healthcare now called mass general break them.

I'm super excited to be talking with Scott again. Welcome.

Thank you so much, Sue.

So let's just start by you introducing yourself, your role, some of the work you're doing at MedStar and a little bit about MedStar health for people who don't know.

Sure. Well, you gave some background about us and I'm very happy to be doing this with you.

So MedStar health is an integrated delivery system, serving the Baltimore and Washington DC areas. We have. 10 hospitals and probably over 300 ambulatory sites. We have a insurer in both Maryland and DC. We're affiliated with Georgetown university of medical school and do teaching for them.

Then we have the MedStar health research Institute where we focus our research efforts to bring laboratory discoveries to the bedside. And then I'd also highlight the MedStar Institute for innovation, where we have a group of people who are working on. The latest innovations for healthcare and also for training that we focus and bring to bear as well.

Great. And tell us a little bit more about your background before getting to MedStar.

Sure. As you alluded to 21 years at national Brigham and then had our, last child was graduated from high school and I thought I would like to Venture out and do something like be the CIO of a integrated delivery system and matched up with MedStar health.

So that was about four and a half years ago. And we live in Baltimore city, so we'll really enjoy living there and serving the, the people of this area. So my background from education is electrical engineering and then healthcare MBA, lots of experience up in Boston. And then bringing that here, to work with the colleagues in this region, which I found to be delight.

Great. Great. And I know we've talked a few times since you've been there and it sounds like it's been a great fit, both the organization, as well as the community, which I do wanna get into a little bit here. A few minutes in terms of the community work you've been doing, but let's talk about the health it industry.

You've been really involved in the industry over the years. You served on the hymns board and your board chair. You'll have to remind me the years. I forgot when was. 20 14, 20 14. Okay. I was thinking it was more recent. And recently you've joined the chime board. Do I have that right?

Correct. Yep.

Okay. So share with us your thoughts on giving back through industry involvement and what advice you would have for younger health it professionals. And I'm sure you're asked this question sometimes. I know I am. It's like, how should people get involved? What should they get involved in where best participate.

So what are your thoughts?

Well, I came into healthcare from another industry. And so getting the healthcare MBA was what got me the internship with master Brigham and then stayed there for many years. And when I was entering in the late nineties, there were people like USSU and others that I was very fortunate to learn from.

And also quickly wanted to get involved with the professional society. Namely the healthcare information management and system society. And that was an organization that one could get involved to at the entry level analyst. And you didn't have to be a leader to participate in that organization.

And so I got involved and got involved with the local chapter and I found Sue that it was a great place to try on leadership style. Cause I worked as a committee chair and as an officer in the local organization and met a lot of people outside of master nor Brigham found out that a lot of the problems are common to everyone and that an organization like hymns really serves the workers in that, and then was able to also, as you indicated, serve at a national level was very privileged to.

B with the organization at a time that it was going through a governance change. We were looking to have a more global organizational structure, such that we're serving people outside the us as well. And and served as board chair, which is just a, great honor to be able to present at the conference.

, officer first became one in:

And I became eligible, joined right away. And got involved with that organization. I would say the offering of the certified healthcare CIO exam being able to take that and codify my knowledge and be able to say that was part of who I am as a certified healthcare CIO, again, committee work, I've been participating on the policy steering committee that it's helpful to be in this region because there's a lot of work with Washington DC.

Our advocacy efforts there on, on the hill have participated in the foundation development committee where we get involved with our partners in industry who support us and obviously provide solutions to us. And so with that background had an opportunity to run for the board last summer and was just very delighted to be elected.

And so since that time I was first a provisional board member last fall and attended a retreat in December. And then. this spring through the vibe conference. And we had a strategic planning retreat in June. Been able to learn more about the direction of time and really our mission of serving CIOs, VPs of applications chief information, security officers, chief technology officers, and healthcare, and equipping them through our programs.

Educational programs and other events that will prepare people for the changes that are inevitably taking place in our industry. Very happy to be involved. I just think it's a place where I think as, you meet people again of common interest. There's a little less pressure than what you face in your day to day job.

And so you can learn, do benchmarking, do checking in networking. But most of all have a lot of.

Great. Great. And early in your reply, you talked about talking to other people and they have common problems. And I remember very early in my health it career thinking, oh my God, my organization, my team, we're the only ones.

And I was, lower level management. Then we're the only ones facing this. No, you go to a conference, you start talking to people, you get involved, you find that everybody's dealing with some of the same challenges and the ability to share and learn from one another is so great. Any particular advice to people younger in their career who are trying to figure out, the trade offs and, they got family, they got work and they wanna be involved in industry and organizations.

Yeah, I think it's everyone has to make their individual decisions depending on what's going on at home. And the rest of life. I always, one of the reasons I didn't move while our kids were growing up there in Boston was I wanted to keep them in the same place. I wanted to have a regular schedule which was afforded me at master nor Brigham and.

I picked one thing that I was really gonna be involved with at that point. And that was the, hems leadership. So that didn't involve too many evenings out. And when I did my family was supportive and understanding. I think it's probably very simple and true for all of us to be thinking beyond oneself.

I always thought about whatever level I was at, what is it that my boss is dealing with and how can I help them be successful and take problems off of their plate? I think. Volunteering to help out, even if you think you are afraid of maybe something that's happening and can take a risk and jump into something that needs to be solved, whether that be in your own day to day job or in an organization like hems or chime or, another professional society I think is a great way to develop and is very rewarding.

Great and finding that balance for each individual in terms of time and commitment I think is so important. So let's talk about your involvement in the Baltimore community. Tell us a little bit about that work , and how you see it connecting to your work in healthcare.

Sure. Well, the way it came about is again, making a move to this area.

We decided we wanted to live in the city. And people probably recognized that Baltimore has its own troubles, like any large metropolitan area. And we are people of faith. We joined a church right away and our church has a focus on reconciliation and we have a black pastor and a white pastor, both are co-equal paid and have co-equal preaching opportunities.

ray incident that happened in:

And they were doing walks through these areas, bringing resources. So whether it be job training, jobs, rehabilitation services, to the point of even taking people right away to rehab, if they were willing to go delivering food providing reconciliation, non-police involved reconciliation where you can imagine people have these disagreements and.

they're settling them with weapons instead of discussions we're trying to help. We have people who have been involved in the game and can help work through that. The organization is called. We Our us as opposed to me, myself and I, we are about, we our and us and what issues we can resolve in the city.

The website is and I've been very fortunate to be involved . Baltimore is 65% African American. This is largely an African American men's movement. And I've had the privilege of being able to get involved and earn trust and develop relationships that, I don't think would've come about otherwise, and that's been a real.

Continued learning lesson for me. And my goal there is to serve and to help in any way that I can. And you know, I've got a big leadership job in MedStar health. So, I don't necessarily need to be leading in an area where people know a lot more than I do. And as it relates to healthcare, I think we know the social determinants of health are so.

Much more of the picture than just what we see in the healthcare system. So, whether it be how we're trying to care for the entire community or the acute and ambulatory care we provide, this is all part of it. What people are experiencing in terms of shelter, food, clothing, jobs various other issues that they're going through in the community.

It's a big part of it.

📍 📍 We'll get back to our show in just a minute, we have a couple of webinars coming up and I don't like webinars. I think they are oversaturated at this point. And I think a lot of them are not all that good. And so that's why I think I'm the perfect person to put together webinars for you. I make sure that we have great topics.

I validate them with CIOs. I make sure we have great guests and I make sure. We actually plan ahead and we actually spend time together before the actual webinar. So it's not just spur of the moment stuff, but we make sure we identify the things that we should talk about in those webinars. And we even collect questions from you ahead of the webinar so that we can make sure to talk about the things that you want to talk about.

So let me tell you a little bit about the two webinars we have coming up. There's a global survey. That we talked about on the today show a thousand cybersecurity professionals found that 30% plan to change professions within two or more years, and cybersecurity threats are growing. And, you know, quite frankly, we need to make sure that we recruit, retain and optimize our staff so that they can be our frontline.

And so the first webinar we're doing is how's your frontline recruit. Retain and optimize your cybersecurity team. And we're gonna talk to experts from Christiana care and Seattle children's and Seuss about their thoughts on this exit of security professionals and what you can do to stay ahead of that.

You can join us August 11th. At, 1:00 PM Eastern time and you can register right on our homepage this week, on the top right hand side, you're gonna have the two upcoming webinars. You go ahead and click on those again. That is August 11th at 1:00 PM Eastern time. The next one, we're going to talk about ransomware, but I've seen a lot of different ransomware, webinars.

I love this one. The topic we came up with is Don. Pay the ransom and rubric is bringing together some great leaders from Thomas Jefferson university in St. Luke's university health system and and rubric themselves. And we're gonna discuss solutions around protecting all of your healthcare data, especially as you're moving to the cloud.

And specifically, we're also gonna talk about epic. Backup in Azure. And what rubric gets doing around that, that webinar is going to be on Thursday, August 18th at 1:00 PM. You can register for both of them. Just go to our homepage this week, upper right hand corner. You're gonna see both of the graphics for those click on the one you wanna attend, fill out the form. And we will see you then now back to our show. 📍


I'm so impressed with the work you're doing the context for it, what you described about the church and your faith that you joined and connecting it to the healthcare and health equity issues and social determinants, the health it's been a rough two years in this.

Few years I should say, in this country. And certainly the emphasis on social justice and equality has been, really front and center. So, kudos to you for. Getting involved and doing that work in the community. That's great.

Well, I know you have similar sentiments Sue and, I'm not looking for any recognition or thanks.

I think it's part of being yeah. A human being and part of serving and it's more of a privilege than it is. So be thankful.

Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. It's important work that we all need to be doing in our own ways where and how we can So, I'm gonna pivot to the last big question.

I wanna talk to you about you and I both had the opportunity to work with John Glasser at partners now called mass general Brigham. And clearly he was a mentor for both of us continues to be, he toss a lot about leadership, I think he was a great role model. And question I wanna ask you is as a leader, how do you stay true to yourself and to your core values?

Well, I, a shout out to John who really is a wonderful person. And I always say taught me everything I know about this job and this industry. And I remember many John glasss, but, fundamentally that. If you can't run email, no one's gonna trust you with CPOE in higher level clinical functions.

Right. And being a business partner with those and many other things that John taught us. I think staying true to myself as a leader comes with the fundamentals and I won't say anything particularly new or, out of the ordinary. First and foremost is taking care of myself and my family.

So my regimens around sleep healthy, diet and exercise are foundational. And again faith participation really is the foundation for me, such that when I. Come into work. I come hopefully most days with a posture of being ready to serve other people and that nothing that's gonna happen at work, even though we deal with very serious issues with life and death, nothing that's gonna happen at work is going to be the end of the world for me.

So taking a perspective of. Wow. If there's a crisis and we have those in information technology, right. That I'll be able to support people and lead through it as we have our processes for dealing with that that allows me to take care of our leaders here in the is department at MedStar health and therefore enable them to take care of others.

We particularly through the pandemic have been emphasizing that and trying to find ways that we can give people support and relief and wellness. And so I think that's the foundation for it. I've been really privileged to participate in two large organizations that I think have terrific mission and values and they stick to them and really.

Put the, patients and the public, again both in Boston and in Baltimore, DC, both organizations I've worked for are focused on the community and how we can eliminate as much as possible disparities in healthcare. And so that is a, big value of mine. And. then Having good financial stewardship. We can't do this without the right reimbursement that we're entitled to.

And both organizations are not for profit within margins, right? So it's, a balancing act of making sure that you're efficient and good stewards of resources, such that you can continue that mission.

Great. Thank you. Is there anything specific that you wanna highlight about your work at MedStar before we close?

Well, I just think that again that the world is enabled by technology these days, and we all rely on connectivity and our devices.

And of course that's critical in the healthcare environment today, whether it be clinicians people working in administration or our patients. And so we strive forever to be more resilient and reliable in that area. Even though our EHR is largely rolled out to all of our locations. We continue to build on that foundation with other functionality.

We're constantly looking for better ways to enable clinical workflow, so that can be optimized and make it easier for our clinicians to do the work that they need to do. And of course there are more fundamental changes in the way that we're gonna deliver care coming forward. And that's critical because we're facing shortages in clinicians.

Increasingly. Large population that's living longer. And it can all be enabled by new technologies that will really help us solve those problems. So we're focused on all of those things and I'm proud of mid star health in the way that we've taken care of people, both in the community and in the as associates during the pandemic.

We now have a terrific opportunity to build on that. And I probably should also just mention data, healthcare has so much rich data and we're very focused on people's privacy but then also using their data to bring about the best outcomes for them.

Scott, this has been wonderful. It's so good to talk to you again, and I really appreciate your time and all your insights, so thank you very much.

Great to see you, Sue. Thank you.

I really love this show. I love hearing from people on the front lines. I love hearing from these leaders and we want to thank our hosts who continue to support the community by developing this great content. We also want to thank our show sponsors, olive rubric trellis. Mitigate and F five in partnership with serious healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

If you wanna support the show, let someone know about our shows. They all start with this week health and you can find them wherever you listen to podcasts. There's keynote town hall and newsroom. Check them out today. And thanks for listening. That's all for now.




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