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Today on This Week Health.
As we're trying to climb our way out of the pandemic for us patients need really more than ever complex care and we have that ability to provide that but just like you're seeing in different national media, the inflation, the cost of taking care of patients have gone up. So a lot of us are, still trying to figure out how do we climb out of, not just the pandemic, but really some of the financial challenges that I think we're all dealing with.
Thanks for joining us on This Week Health Keynote. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Week Health, a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. Special thanks to our Keynote show sponsors Sirius Healthcare, VMware, Transcarent, Press Ganey, Semperis and Veritas for choosing to invest in our mission to develop the next generation of health 📍 leaders.
All right. Today we are joined by Chris Harper from Kansas University. Actually, University of Kansas' Health System. It's KMC is your email. And I I always wanted to go to Kansas University. My daughter applied there, ended up not going there. I was very sad. Chris Harper joined CIO for the University of Kansas Health System. Chris, welcome to the show.
Well, thank you for having me, Bill. It's an honor again.
Yeah, I'm, I'm looking forward to the conversation. You've been doing some great stuff in the world of analytics. You have a new title since the last time we talked and but I always, I like to start in the same place just to keep a rhythm here cuz people are always asking me to make sure we talk about the system. Tell us a little bit about about the University of Kansas health.
Yeah, so we're obviously based out of Kansas. Mainly out of the Kansas City metro area. But no, we're a proud academic medical center who's been here in Kansas and Kansas City, serving our state and community for over a hundred years.
And and then from a clinical practice and hospital perspective, no, we just continued to. Grow and expand and have amazing patients and caregivers that, that that call here home. And so then we're just very proud of the work we've done and obviously been very proud to support our organization and patients through the technology and the, data analytics that we're able to use
it's rare that I have studio envy, but I, I sort of have a little bit of studio envy here that the nice thing about working for an academic medical center being tied to a university like Kansas is you guys have a professional studio. That's a, that's a fantastic location. If people are listening to us on the podcast. It just picture like an NBC studio, and that's where Chris is sitting right now with his, his suit and tie with the Kansas logos in the background. You guys did a lot of work out of there for the pandemic, didn't you?
We did. So I gotta give a little shout and a plug for our team who really does run a high production professional studio. And so I think we recently won, I heard last week three or four different Emmys for the work that we've done really throughout the pandemic and providing great expert opinions and thoughts on what was going on with the pandemic, but also. Really bringing our community together.
So to your point, we're, I think we're the only ones that had this kind of a capability. So we use this really as an asset to be able to connect different chief medical officers that come together and have a dialogue. We facilitate a lot of conversation with a state and federal leaders.
And so it's been it's one of those things that when you kind of hear that, Hey, we're building a studio, you. Okay, Why are we doing that? But it's been such an value in an asset.
It became obvious in the pandemic, didn't it? People were looking right to you, to the health system for information. It's like, Hey, what's going on with this pandemic? What does it actually mean? Should I be scrubbing my Amazon boxes? What? What's going on? And they're looking to you to be the trusted partner, and you guys were able to use the studio to get the information out there.
That's exactly right. And, and I think that's the key thing is how do we stay in our lane, so to speak, right? Cause you know, what we do is take care of patients. And so how do we connect what we do to this? And it just kind of magically worked out.
Well. There's an awful lot. We are absolutely gonna talk about your analytics journey. I often refer to the University of Kansas Health System. When people ask me about analytics programs, I often point them in your direction. Cuz I, I love the last conversation we had, and I've been following the progress we're gonna get to analytics. But I, I want to start more broad and just say there's an awful lot going on in healthcare. What are some of the priorities that the University of Kansas Health System has going into this year?
it's funny cuz we're gonna end up in talking about our data analytics program at the end. But really what's been happening the last year is you're hearing in a broader healthcare industry, obviously, where as we're trying to climb our way out of the pandemic for us patients need care, patient needs really more than ever complex care and, and we have that ability to provide that.
But just like you're seeing in, different national media, the inflation, the cost of, taking care of patients have gone up. So a lot of us are, still trying to figure out how do we climb out of, not just the pandemic, but really some of the financial challenges that I think we're all dealing with. And so if you talk to, Other CIOs throughout the country. We're all trying to figure out, I think yesterday I was in a call with seven different CIOs and the key topic has always been is, okay, are you gonna hit your budget? Am I gonna hit my budget? Cause I think right now again, whether it's a technology cost labor costs or, or supply costs are all increasing in a way that we're trying to still survive but also try to figure out how to thrive in this kind of a financial constraint.
And so one thing that. I think our team has done here amazingly where this, our clinical team or the, the data analytics team or the IT team is to kind of come together and really use the data to figure out where we need to aim, how we're gonna climb our way out of it, and, and really using the data to kind of help us to see where where we need to go.
Well, that's, that's the beauty of having a good analytic data and analytics program in place. I've been talking to CIOs for the last five years, but coming out of the pandemic, going into a high inflationary time, going into essentially a recession.
And even if you didn't have the pandemic and you had a recession, people generally will put off care and those kinds of things. And so it's incumbent on us to figure out ways to connect with people and, and help them understand that. Defer care. When they put care off, that by the time they do present in a lot of cases they're a train wreck cuz you can't it's like it's like I tell my kids with the car, it's like when the light goes on, take it to the dealership. And they're like, Well it went on about six months ago. I'm like, You should have gone to the dealership six months ago. And now it's probably a bigger problem. And, and health is sort of that way as well.
And, and it's, it's been interesting. To talk to people because what they're being asked as CIOs, and I'm sure you're being asked, is, Alright, how is, how is technology a part of this solution? And the analytics program helps you to identify some of those areas. So let's give people just a brief update of what we talked about the last time.
So you were, you were brought in and part of your coming into the organization was really around this analytics. So standing up this analytics program. So talk about the early days of standing this up and what are were some of the foundational elements that you put in place?years ago so back in:
We had amazing focus on Taking care of patients and using data driven outcome to really drive our, our improvements in patient safety, patient engagement, satisfaction, and improving those hard problems, taking care of patients. So we had the, the desire, the really the clinical teams and operational teams to be able to execute on.
that But I I think the wisdom of our, our executive team and the senior executive team is to say, Hey like, I think we can do better using better technology or a strategy. And so that's where I was asked to see if I could come and help start that. And my background really isn't not just IT and strategy, but.
really really I spent a lot of years in different industries like retail, finance kind of building out those analytic strategy. And Bill, you would remember this like 23 years ago, the whole craze goes around building a data warehouse, right? Whether it's, you gotta pick the right
data warehouse, data Mars.
Yep, yep, yep. And so it's really focused on. Really the hardware and the chassis you're gonna put all this data into, and then. Building a perfect model of understanding the business requirement, the clinical requirement, and you kind of build this pristine data warehouse with all these modeling.
But you know what I, what I learned through my journey of failing multiple times in different industries, that, you know what, Like, that's not the right approach. And so, when I Came to KU I saw that we had this culture of data driven outcome and really focusing on the problem first before you spend any dollar building, any kind of a technology or spending any, any money into something that you know you're gonna miss. What you're solving the problem for. So first thing I, I did really come here once I understood that we had that appetite and the culture here of, of being data driven I, I started to interview a lot of our senior executives, caregivers, physicians executives and all that, and got a really good sense that first thing we really needed was a, just a roadmap to be able to anchor us into, okay, how are we gonna mature?
Not just the, again, the technology is, is, is important, but it's not the most important. So what are some of the things like data literacy, what are some of the things like understanding the governance of how to manage the data. So, built a roadmap. To be able to kind of show that we're gonna start investment this year, but it's a journey and it's really a never ending journey.
So we're gonna have to continue to mature and invest into, again, the people, process and technology. And so after about spending six months understanding kind of what I assume to be our, our core need, we start to build out a multi-year journey and a roadmap to start. Investing into the people, the governance the literacy programs, the training hiring smart people and finding a right vendor and technology partner.
And then we started to kind of build out that what I call. A modern digital infrastructure that includes data analytics as a, as a part of that, that core chassis. And so we're about 10 years since then. And so we've had been very fortunate to have amazing outcome. Amazing. Platform built great team members who are helping our clinician and patients every day to solve complex problem using our data.
📍 📍 All right. Conference season is upon us and our team this week, health team and I will be at the Chime Fall forum celebrating their 30th year in San Antonio. And we're also gonna be at the health conference, HLTH in Las Vegas the following week. While at these events, we're gonna be recording our favorite show on the road, which is interviews in action. And as you know, what we do is we grab leaders from health systems, healthcare leaders from across the country. And we capture 10 to 15 minute conversations with them to hear what's going on, what they're excited about, what are their priorities, and those kinds of things. It's a great way for you to catch up very, very quickly on what other health systems are thinking and doing across the industry, so don't miss the chance to hear what's happening from these great leaders. We actually air this on the community channel this week, Health Community. It's the green one. So if you go out onto your podcast listener of choice and do a search for this week Health, you're gonna see three channels. The community channel is where we're gonna air the interviews in action going forward. This channel is also where community members like your. Have been invited to do interviews of their peers, and so that is moving forward as well. So check those out as well. You can subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Just go ahead and do that in your podcast listener, or head over to this week health.com and scroll down to the community channel and you can subscribe there as well. So look forward to catching you on our interviews and action. 📍
📍 Yeah. So I want to talk to you about that, the roi. Cuz one of the things you talked about at the Health Catalyst conference was, was the ROI of the program. There's an awful lot of wisdom that went into that cuz a lot of these programs start to stall out when people see the cost associated with it. If you don't build out. the discipline, I think is the best word of saying it, of putting the metrics around to show, Hey, here are the clinical outcomes, here's the financial outcomes, here's the quality of care, just all the different outcomes that are possible.
And without measuring that, people start to get a little antsy in terms of is this program effective? Is it doing what it needs to do? Talk about laying that foundation together. For for measuring the, the overall effectiveness of a healthcare data analytics program.
So really, I, I brought thought importance of really measuring not only obvious from a taking care of patients and outcome and the quality improvements coming to a healthcare setting.
This is my first career experience in a, in a healthcare setting. But I came from as mentioned retail and financial industry. When you work for a for-profit organizations in many ways that's the world I came into. So this is my not only first health delivery setting, but also a nonprofit.
And so I wanted to make sure I brought that discipline of if you're gonna start a program at our strategy, you have to measure What is it cost to deliver that? Right? So if you're gonna build a, a dollar widget and you're spending two years every year that's not a good business model, right?
And so I brought kind of that thought process and the, the importance of measuring not only again, the improvements with patient satisfaction or improving ca or collapse of your sepsis, but really understanding what is it cost to deliver those care and really having a discipline.
So if I'm asking our organization to invest a dollar into any kind of a program or a purchase technology or invest into this capability called analytics, I just wanna make sure. We have the ability to not only show amazing outcome for the patients, how many lives we save, but also understanding the financial component of that so that it makes a good business investment sense.
And so the other thing I saw, healthcare when I came in 10 years ago was pretty. Immature in, in having either benchmarks or having the ability to really, for organizations to do that effectively. And so that's when, when I look for a vendor partner, really cuz I knew that we didn't have the skill set to build.
The technology or the data rising at the time I knew we had the improvement outcome skill set in team members and taking care of patients, but really didn't have in-house skill and ability to help measure, help develop the program. And so I specifically saw after six months understanding kind of the problem we needed to solve a vendor who can kind of do this with us.
Cuz the other thing is, and I wanted to make sure. We have our ways of measuring internally, but I wanted to make sure it's pure verified and there's a benchmark that we can do this together. And so that's where we found a vendor who shared the same passion, same vision, and wanted to kind of build it together.
And so I think after about. Eight years of our program. Yeah. We were able to show that we invested every dollar we invested, we were able to get 3.6 fold in financial and patient outcome. And so we, we tried to converse some of the more of the quality and safety And clinical workflow improvement, things like that.
And then we translate that into actual dollars. And so yeah, we were able to show that in eight years we invested, if we invested dollar, we have invested dollar into this program and we were able to show a 3.6 return on investment.
Yeah, That's fantastic. 📍 📍 Everybody's talking about hospital at home, health at home. Market Watch article states that in-home hospitalizations saves five to $7,000 per episode and with the economy where it's at, and the pressures that are on health systems, this is an important topic. On December 1st, join us for a webinar with a panel. They're gonna be able to share how they stood up a successful program and work through the complex requirements for helping patients recover in a comfortable and familiar setting. You can register on a website this week, health.com. Go to the upper right hand corner. We have current webinars and upcoming webinars. You can register right there and you could also, in that registration, put any questions you. And we will try to address those questions during the webinar. We love doing that and love having you be a part of the conversation. So I look forward to seeing you there.
📍 📍 I'm gonna push you a little bit to go into the nerdy side of this because I've set up these, I've set up cost based accounting systems,
I've done that in it, I've done that in the system. I've done all, all those kinds of things. And it, it can get to the point where you're serving the model. Right. how did you set up the model so that it's not onerous or take in order an amount of time to track all the investments in the system?
So I'm gonna try to that's a very complex topic, right? And so , so, so what, what typically I, I break it down into is there's people cost, there's supply cost. So in a technology space, a lot of that is license for purchasing a bi tool, business intelligence tool or paying for a server or a cloud infrastructure.
And so there's kind of the. Supply slash vendor cost. And then there's the, Other costs around, whether it's variable costs that, that always comes in, whether trying to think of a good example, but so, so you try to break down, down into chunks. Oh, I remember the last one is really the work it takes to deliver that cost, right?
So there's a different model. So if it's when I did retail. Helping organizations stand up a, let's say selling a coffee for instance, right? So you can go from a, a, capturing that data cuz you have to first have the data to be able to measure anything. And so in a retail setting, whether it's selling goods like a big box store like Walmart or Target.
There's a point of sale system that captures the revenue and all of that. And then you have internal accounting tools, understanding the labor costs, the people costs. And then you have kind of really a, a. technology that captures the workflow so that you can see from going from really purchasing the goods, all the way to delivering and getting your, your revenue or money from your customer.
You have to understand that that flow of it, Then make sure you have the right data points and the technology to be able to capture that. So then you can really kinda understand again it's really input versus output. And so what I recognize when I came to the healthcare setting is healthcare is truly so complex in a way.
we knew we could capture the, the labor cost pretty effectively. So whether it's to your point cost counting system, e r p system different ways to capture that. And then when I came to ku we have started our journey of implementing Epic and so our emr, so we knew that we had the ability to capture.
Kinda workflow of taking care of a patient and then you just needed the ability then to bring all of that, that massive amount of data in a data infrastructure to be able to harmonize and normalize that, but also, Have a ability to adjust and, and really pivot as you go.
And so that's kind of what we built eight years ago is really that data platform. We start with obviously handful of different source systems as you call it. Whether it's Epic is just one source system from an emr. We, we capture cost accounting budget data.
Time tracking like Pronos. So we, we really start chasing after whatever the problem we're trying to solve, make sure we have the right source system to build to not only understand improvement from an outcome of taking care of that, that patient, but also what did it cost to deliver that?
Right? So we were able to kind of find ven vendor who, who had the ability to really help us understand. One thing that when I knew I wanted a specific. Capability and really talk to different peers out there. I, I really loved what U P M C was really doing around what's called a activity based cost accounting system, Right?
To be able to understand cuz again, in healthcare, taking care of a patient there's, there's so many complexity and so many caregivers and so many things that comes. Really taking care of that patient. So understanding what activity did it take to really deliver that care was important.
And so we sought to make sure we had a partner or a vendor that can help us to, to understand that and capture that data. So, long story short, once you have. Although those things as a foundation now we can actually replicate and scale different problems we can solve. So we initially started actually our program to prove this can work with five different problems, so to speak.
So things like so we've looked at the internal data and said, Okay, what are, what are most impactful five things that we can do for our patients? Started with things. 30 day heart failure failure readmission cuz we knew that we had a, a care improvement team that was really gungho, but also we knew that's an area we can improve on.
And so we focused on five problems like that. Understood. Then the problem we needed to solve, Understood what technology and data then we needed to collect and then build a a dashboard or visualization to be able to help our clinician really on a near real time basis, every day can look at how do I improve this care or how do I prevent this patient from coming back in 30 days from this heart procedure days had.
So yeah, so probably said a lot there, but that's kind of how. Got our start and, and eight years later kind of repeating that process in a platform, we were able to again, measure out that we had about three point more than three times the return on investment.
I'm trying to figure out which way I want to go here, cuz you know, you started talking about by the way, phenomenal program. Love it. I I love the cost-based accounting stuff as well. We've had Rob Che on the show, and he and I have talked about how he came into the industry and it's as a CFO at U P M C and sort of scratched its head and looked at things as. We don't know how much it costs to care for a patient, how much it costs to do.
And as somebody from outside the industry, he was like, We've gotta remedy this. You can't run a business without knowing what your cost of delivering care is. So I mean, that's, that's been interesting. I think what I want to talk to you about though, you started off talking about data marks and data warehouses, and that's where we were a decade.
The, the environment's changing and the requirements are, it used to be analytics was rear view, sort, sort of mirror, and we had some time to put 'em together and more and more the organization saying, Hey, new and different data sets, bring 'em in very quickly. And and we want you to start, instead of looking backwards and giving us some transparency into.
this stuff We want you to start swinging around and starting to look forward a little bit and give us a little, a little notice when things are going bad. How is the technology changing or how has it changed over the last decade?
No, great question. And feel like I'm, I'm aging myself, but you know, even a decade ago, most of your technology was you know what, what an IT speak called on-prem, meaning you bought a bunch of servers and whether it's different type of server vendors like Oracle or EMC or different, you, you buy this bunch of servers and bunch of hardware and have enough storage and computing power to be able to really collect the data and store it, Transform it in a way that you can normalize.
it And so what what we've seen kind of the evolution is since 10 years ago, we started with just like many other organizations, 10 years ago purchasing the hardware, the servers, that compute and store the data. But we knew that, that the future was to be able to get to a for lack of a better cloud infrastructure, right? So that we have the ability not to ingest data rather quickly, but if we had to scale our infrastructure lot of times, and actually right now is a perfect time to talk about this cuz to procure hardware like that, it. takes Months of planning. It takes months of getting funding approval and really cuz you don't wanna buy too much upfront, right? So you don't wanna buy a stores that's gonna hold 10, 10 terabytes and, but you know, use per, and
the boxes you're talking about were very proprietary, specific, expensive boxes that, heck by the time you acquired 'em in three to four years, you were gonna have to swap 'em out anyway.
That's exactly right. And so typically you upgrade your boxes, so to speak, every five to seven year depending on the life cycle and usage. And so like I said, having come from a different industry the prior organization that I work with, we actually. Had what's called a hybrid model where we knew enough that we needed a hard chassis that we can invest into and get value out of it. But we also invested into like a lot of the experimental data analytics things really, you don't need to invest all that hard capital upfront. So then we partnered with actually aws What we're, I think we're one of the first to partner with them to really. Have kind of a hybrid model where on-prem and a cloud infrastructure be able to scale and be flexible.
So if you build something that you know you're only gonna need for six months, we will stand it up in the cloud infrastructure versus if it's something that's more permanent, once it's proven out, then we can put it into our hardware. So we'll kind of have this model. So one of the vision or the roadmap.
I wanted to make sure we bake in is that that roadmap of, we're gonna start here on the on-prem, purchasing our boxes, but really migrating towards a cloud infrastructure. And interesting enough, I think that really came to a forefront when the pandemic hit is quickly we had to figure out what this thing was Covid that the pandemic, but also.
Work with the local, the regional, the state level, and even at the, the national level of understanding collecting data so you can make decisions together. So just use an example. We had we knew that pandemic hit, we sent students back home, right? So when this whole thing was happening, so University of Kansas as a teaching institution, We needed to figure out before the students came back.
Okay. Like, what's the right timing? Does the local community hospital have enough beds? Do they have enough infrastructure? It's cuz not only the university leaders need to make a decision, but also the hospital needed data to help, help make that decision. The county level folks needed to, to make sure, cuz it was, it was kind of all hands on.
Because we built this kind of a cloud hybrid infrastructure. We were really the only one that had the ability to not wait to purchase a bunch of hardware to kind of stand us up. But we had the infrastructure already to say once we got the group together, within two weeks we were able to bring the data in, bring external data in, and then really figure out, start building out what the problem is and then really supporting the data to be able to do it.
But there's no way we would be able to do that. Cuz they, in the early days of. Without having that cloud infrastructure. So that really came into a play. And then if I project that where we're at now, where we're headed is not only the cloud infrastructure, but you mentioned about near realtime data and how do you be able to cuz you know when we started, we brought in data.
Every night, right? So we knew what happened as far as midnight last night, and then every night we would load all of the data. But now we built in capabilities to be able to have certain data from, whether it's emr, others near real time. So as soon as it gets captured in your source system, now we're able to bring that in within five seconds or whatever the right requirement is.
But so we're able to kind of have not only the infrastructure, but also connectivity with. ETL systems and API systems they build to really bring in all kinds of different data on the right time that we really need to solve whatever the problem is.
Well, so you know, the other thing I wanted to ask you about is social determinants and other things we're, we're being asked more and more. To bring in data from outside to provide context for the data that we have inside. How does that look different? How does it look different to bring in those external data sources to utilize them
My phrase has always been as a health system we have a lot of data, but what you're referring to is kind of that, that big data problem, right? So within our four walls of taking care of patient, we know a lot about what happens here, but. Really, as we have moved into, and we'll more lean in towards that predictive algorithm driven understanding really that complexity of not just the patient while they're here, but you know, what's their behavior when they're at home or their environmental factors.
And so there's a lot of different External data from a hospital that we can, we can go about collecting. So you can build your own capability like with the mobile devices you can connect to different apple phones or different kind of a device to be able to collect and input some of those data.
So you just gotta be really thinking. about Again, what problem you're solving and what do you need to solve that with? A lot of the social determinant of health. When we first looked at that we said That's helpful and information to know, but how is that helping us to solve a problem?
Right. So one of the things that we try to be thoughtful is every time we procure external data, whether you purchase it or build your own capability or partner your way with other organizations we just try to be again, thoughtful about what problem we're solving for the patients and then what, then data then we can help to improve.
So our our data scientists science team actually helps us with understanding that and so they, Think through what as they run their algorithms and models if there's a way to increase that predictive power to help solve, whether it's a specific disease or other problems that if we kind of think that the saturated, the variation of data we need, then we'll start to look at, okay, maybe to improve this predictive power.
We need to start looking beyond what we have today and then we'll start to have the dialogue with that team around what's the other things then we think we can reliably procure and, and, and the other big we could spend like months just talking about data quality, right? That's the other thing is know, when you start procuring external data gotta think through on the quality of that information and how do.
Make it kind of a data hygiene process to make sure that when you plug it in you can repeat it. It's reliable and, and it's consistent. And so, so there's a lot of different ways going about it. But again, back to we tried to focus on what problem are we solving and then do we need additional data from a variation of information? And then we'll start to look at those external factors.
actually, we're coming up on our time here. I wanna close with let's see, two questions. Is there, is there any area of technology that you're keeping an eye on that, that you think will have an impact on healthcare?
Actually kind of going back to even just, just my role taking also, I recently took on not only the CIO for health system, taking care of patients in our clinics and, and make sure our caregivers have the technology and the data they need. But I had the, the very honor of actually when our medical center, so the teaching side of our institution, retired as a cio, I've had opportunity to take on that role and so, so where I see this heading is really.
Being very fortunate in an institution like ours, not only we have the data and the capabilities to take care of patients, but now we can augment research. So the project actually we're doing right now have kicked off is really. We built this hybrid cloud and on-prem data infrastructure and analytics infrastructure.
And now we're adding our research capability on top of that. So we have an active project that was just working towards that. So that's where I think we're headed. But also couple things I'm really keeping an eye on is, one, is your ability to, to do that safely, right? So if you think about we're very fortunate that our patients come and see us and trust us with their care.
We have to take care of the data in a way. So we're really keeping an eye on how do we, as we again, as mentioned, move towards that, that cloud and different infrastructure making it safe but also how do we make it from a automation machine learning so that a lot of what we do now we can kind of think about how do we remove the human or the manual factor and automate that.
So, I mean, really there's, I would say, The ai space commonly known has matured quite a bit. But there's still a lot of unproven things that are being touted as, Oh, if you just buy this, this will do this. And a lot of the, the technology vendors will say a lot, but you know, there's still a lot of things have to be proven to make sure it's reliable technology and it's scalable.
And so that's kind of probably two spaces I'm really keeping an eye on is, Okay, how do. Really leverage the power of computing artificial intelligence to be able to help our caregivers or patients so that the machines can kind of help you automate, but also how do we do that safely so that we can protect the data and the technology and things that we're doing so that it does not get disrupted.
All right. Last question. I wanted you to think about a vendor partner that you've worked with over the. Five or six years. And we have, we have a lot of partners and vendors who are trying to partner with healthcare, who listen to this show. And in our surveys they said, Hey, could you start asking these CIOs for what they value in those vendor partners?
What they, So if you think of one that has been a particularly good partner to you over the years, what are the characteristics of that Fender partner and how do they help you? To deliver on the, the needs of the community that you serve.
Funny is, I think it's no different than building out your own IT team or healthcare team or any kind of a team is really vendor partner. First thing I look for is really the culture and the people that not only you know The leadership, the executives, but really the culture that exists there. Cause one thing that I value is I don't more and more as I get, maybe, maybe I'm getting older, but I want my vendor to be less transactional, but really focusing on helping us solve problems.
Right. So I, I don't want it to be where I, I just purchase goods and services from them, but I really wanna partner with them in a way that we can kind of. Bigger problems together. So that's one is really understanding the culture that exists. And then really from executive all the way down to frontline staff, like they truly care about taking care of the customer.
If we're gonna purchase their service and good. So probably that's one of the most important thing I try to make sure I pay attention to. And then from a technology, I wanna make sure that sometimes you do need a kind of a. A point to point solution meaning I need this vendor or technology to solve a particular problem, but I, I always look for opportunities to say, can this vendor partner really help me build a, a scalable platform, right?
So that it's not just this one problem I'm solving, but do they have an opportunity to help solve more problems and skill that in the future? So a lot of times I, I wanna make sure I understand. Not only their current technology, but where's their vision around leveraging that existing capability to really grow and, and partner with us deeper as we go.
Cuz it's so hard today. There's so much technology out there. I mean, literally I get probably like a hundred emails from vendors every day. saying, Hey, have you thought about this? Or, Hey, we can help you solve this problem. So it just saturates, especially in healthcare in the last 10 years is we're just inundated with all these new technology that's hitting our, our industry.
But really what I, what I try to pay attention is again the culture and the people. Is this something somebody that we can work with and make sure that they're gonna take care of us, but you know, we're the headed, right? Again, we're not just by a, a specific solution, but I want to see if there's an opportunity for us to kind of work together in a long-term period.
Yeah. And for those partners who are working email out there, I think the number of times I've gotten an. And done business with a partner. Like my first contact with them is an email is like one out of a thousand . It's just, it's, it's so rare cuz more times than not, it's, it's it's me picking up the phone calling you and saying, Hey, hey Chris, I know you guys have done this and this.
How how are you guys going about it? You say, Well hey, our partner's not really that good there. We're looking at somebody else. Or you'll say, Hey, we've got a great partner here. Let me tell you some of the things we've done. More likely to happen than the email that pops across your desk that you go, Oh my gosh, I'd never thought of that. That's amazing. What a great, what a great pitch.
Well they're getting so creative with their emails now. I dunno if you're seeing that, but it's like, They'll add like a joke or they'll add like a, some, some like a soundbite or what do they call it? Like a clip art or something that trying to get their, your attention to pay attention to their email. Right. So they're, they're being very creative in how they're emailing you nowadays.
Yeah. It's amazing. Chris, I wanna thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you next week. This will give it away when we're recording this, actually. I look forward to seeing you next week at Chime. It should be fun to, to catch up with you. And the rest of our colleagues face to face should be fun.
Well, hey, Bill, always appreciate having a conversation and honored to be on your podcast again. And yeah, we'll, we'll see you next week. 📍 Sounds good.
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