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HC2HC Event – Doug King, CIO at Northwestern Medicine
Episode 22315th November 2021 • This Week Health: News • This Week in Health IT - Hello@ThisWeekinHealthIT.com
00:00:00 00:12:38

Transcripts

Bill Russell:

Today in health, it,

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Another one of our interviews and action.

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This comes from the healthcare to healthcare event, which I was a guest

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at from the serious health care team.

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It was in Montana.

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And I was able to sit down with a handful of CEOs.

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And I'm going to share those with you here shortly.

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My name is bill Russell.

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I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in health.

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It.

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A channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged.

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I hope you're enjoying these interviews and action.

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We were able to do these interviews at the health conference, the

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chime conference, and now the healthcare to healthcare event.

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I've really enjoyed doing them.

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, just a reminder.

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We're going to get back to our normal programming where I take

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a new story, break it down.

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And talk about why it matters to health.

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It.

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We're going to be doing that as soon as the interviews are done we have

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done 10 from the chime conference eight from the health conference and

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we have five from the healthcare to health care conference so i hope you

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enjoy another one of these interviews

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All right.

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Another interview from the healthcare to healthcare, uh, invitation

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event from Cirrus healthcare.

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And now we're with Doug king CIO for Northwestern medicine, both

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the school and the health system.

Bill Russell:

Um, yeah.

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Had to, I didn't mention that.

Bill Russell:

Well, welcome to the show.

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I'm looking forward to the conversation.

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Yeah,

Doug King:

absolutely.

Doug King:

Thank you very much for having me.

Bill Russell:

It's time.

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A lot of interesting conversations over the last couple of days.

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What's what's top of mind.

Doug King:

Top of mind for me right now, uh, is talent.

Doug King:

Um, I think that, uh, within healthcare and within technology, um, we finally

Doug King:

have, uh, technology and new tools with the cloud and machine learning

Doug King:

and artificial intelligence and natural language processing to make a

Doug King:

significant impact, uh, in a positive way.

Doug King:

Uh, now.

Doug King:

Uh, and also providers, but I think that we need the talent to do it.

Doug King:

And it's such a competitive landscape, uh, that, uh, you know, constantly

Doug King:

focusing on up-skilling re-skilling and recruiting, um, and really growing

Doug King:

that as a society, uh, is going to be a challenge for us, upskilling,

Bill Russell:

reskilling and recruiting, and you're downtown Chicago, correct?

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For the most part,

Doug King:

we're in the Chicago land area.

Doug King:

So we are downtown and then we are also in the collar counties.

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The collar counties.

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Yes.

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I had not heard of that before.

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So, uh, man, those are interesting topics because when I went to chime, I would

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say the number one topic I heard was this whole idea of labor were struggling.

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People are recruiting people away from us.

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Uh, I heard one CIO say, I can now hire in 48 states, which you

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know, which means that talent can be, uh, gone after and whatnot.

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What, what kind of programs, what kind of things are you putting in place to

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attract new talent and really retain.

Doug King:

Yeah.

Doug King:

You know, I think, uh, I think that that that's right.

Doug King:

I mean, it acknowledges so portable across industries.

Doug King:

So we're competing, not just with health care, but with the Uber's

Doug King:

and the Microsofts and all of that.

Doug King:

A couple of things that we've really been focusing in on is, uh, you know,

Doug King:

we, we focus in on our pipeline and really looking at how we can get

Doug King:

interns to convert to college hires.

Doug King:

And then those college hires, we continue to.

Doug King:

Train them and bring them up to speed.

Doug King:

And we've done that through, uh, focusing on it over the past two to three years.

Doug King:

Um, and now, you know, we'll have things where we'll have, we'll have

Doug King:

years where we have 30 plus interns and then those interns, they go back

Doug King:

to college for their senior year with an offer and a job in hand.

Doug King:

And that has really started with.

Doug King:

Dividends, um, as far as having great young talent that wants to grow, um,

Doug King:

and it's, it's beneficial for them and it's beneficial for Northwestern.

Bill Russell:

You're bringing new blood into the health it world.

Bill Russell:

What, what does that do for your

Doug King:

culture?

Doug King:

It's, it's actually great.

Doug King:

A couple of things.

Doug King:

Number one, uh, when you bring new blood into it and at Northwestern,

Doug King:

uh, it's not just about them.

Doug King:

It also provides mentorship opportunities for a lot of our.

Doug King:

Uh, people that want to start to grow talent and they want to

Doug King:

start to work with others and really gain leadership experience.

Doug King:

So it's a great opportunity for them, but then bringing in the younger elements,

Doug King:

um, it, it has a different dynamic and that different dynamic is a more energetic

Doug King:

and a lot of ambition and a lot of wanting to drive and say, I'll try that.

Doug King:

I'll do that.

Doug King:

I'll go over there.

Doug King:

And that really just kind of disrupts in a positive way.

Doug King:

Um, overall for our culture.

Doug King:

And I think that's important, uh, especially when you start to think

Doug King:

about, you know, fixed mindset versus growth mindset and bringing new ideas

Doug King:

really helps kind of push that growth

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mindset.

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It's almost a, uh, it's actually creative.

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Uh, my, my son works for a consulting firm.

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He does, does work for a consulting firm and he's 25 years old and he's presented.

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Yeah, multinational organizations presenting these new digital front

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end he's does UI and UX work.

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And, uh, he called me up.

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He said, dad, I can't believe these people are listening to me.

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I'm like, this is, this is incredible.

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But th there's almost a beautiful ignorance that it's like, these,

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these people on the other end, they're going, I've never seen

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this approach to this before.

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And that's what they bring.

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They bring that, that energy and that, that, uh, almost, uh,

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I call it beautiful ignorance.

Bill Russell:

It's just like, they don't know what they

Doug King:

are.

Doug King:

Yeah, I meet, uh, when we have new hire new talent, come in, I meet

Doug King:

with all of the interns as a group, I meet with every single new hire,

Doug King:

um, that we onboard as a group.

Doug King:

And we talk about growth mindset versus fixed mindset.

Doug King:

And it's, uh, you know, I think the, I always tell them when you're

Doug King:

learning here and remember you're you have the freshest ideas right now.

Doug King:

So challenge the status quo.

Doug King:

Um, and if you ask someone, well, why do we do it?

Doug King:

Like.

Doug King:

And the responses cause we always have it's the exact wrong answer

Doug King:

because we've got to continue to look at those things and they bring

Doug King:

those questions and it's great.

Bill Russell:

Now, one of the things my listeners are going to

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be saying is, okay, this is great.

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How did you do it?

Bill Russell:

Um, I, I found, and I think you've probably found as well that the colleges

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and universities are like, yeah, come on board, talk to our people,

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set up these programs, but you will also went all the way down to high

Doug King:

school.

Doug King:

Yeah.

Doug King:

You know, we're really starting to actually justice here.

Doug King:

We're starting an apprentice.

Doug King:

And it's, uh, something where we, I think we're having six apprentice in

Doug King:

my senior year of high school, and we're working with, uh, high schools

Doug King:

within, uh, the city of Chicago.

Doug King:

Um, and they are in underserved areas as well.

Doug King:

So it's a win, win, win, win across the board.

Doug King:

And the way it's going to work is they're going to be apprentices and

Doug King:

then they will come in for senior year.

Doug King:

And ideally it's just kind of an earlier step to our talent.

Doug King:

Cause if they're apprentices and then they can go to college, then they can be

Doug King:

interns and then there'll be new hires.

Doug King:

And if you have that, where they've known you for five years and we've known them,

Doug King:

uh, it's a fantastic fit from a culture standpoint, as well as from a technical.

Bill Russell:

So have you, I assume you have somebody who's in charge of this.

Bill Russell:

Yes.

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Because it you've set up a program and those programs take time.

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You have to develop those relationships.

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And obviously all the HR practices that go along with that.

Bill Russell:

Did that take a fair amount of time or was that.

Doug King:

Yeah, it did.

Doug King:

I would say that we started at about three and a half years ago.

Doug King:

Um, and, uh, we do it internally.

Doug King:

Um, and it is absolutely, uh, now primary focus for a program manager

Doug King:

that we have to really stand that up.

Doug King:

But it's also important because we do partner with HR.

Doug King:

And so it's beneficial for HR.

Doug King:

It's beneficial for it.

Doug King:

Um, because we are a little unique within the technology lane.

Doug King:

Uh, in focusing in on that program, but we have somebody that is day in, day out.

Doug King:

They wake up, they get out of bed and they think about talent

Doug King:

management at Northwestern for it.

Bill Russell:

I'd be remiss if we didn't talk about innovation,

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the academic medical centers seem to be a, a hub for innovation.

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What, what areas are you finding, uh, solutions at and how are you?

Bill Russell:

I don't know, priming that pump to, to see the innovation sort of come through your.

Doug King:

Yeah.

Doug King:

You know, it's, um, uh, I, I would say a couple of things on that.

Doug King:

Number one, um, at an academic medical center and a lot of institutions,

Doug King:

not just academic, there's so many good ideas and getting those

Doug King:

ideas out of someone's brain.

Doug King:

And then through the, the system, if you will, to kind of build that up

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and actually get it to be something that where you can focus in on it and

Doug King:

you can try it to see if it works or.

Doug King:

Um, we're, we're trying to do that as well.

Doug King:

So really a funnel for all of these good ideas from clinicians and from others.

Doug King:

Um, but when we look at innovation, um, a couple of things I think makes us unique.

Doug King:

If we're going to invest in a company or we're going to create something, we will

Doug King:

use that technology at Northwestern and we're doing it because we think it'll be

Doug King:

better for our patients, our providers.

Doug King:

Um, and we also think that we can make that piece of technology, uh, better.

Doug King:

So when we go to innovation, we think of internal ideas that we want to do.

Doug King:

Helped foster and create and improve upon.

Doug King:

And then we also go to startups that we will maybe partner with.

Doug King:

Um, and we'll let them into Northwestern if you will.

Doug King:

Um, and give them the best lab in the world when you're talking about clinical

Doug King:

workflows and data and knowledge.

Doug King:

And then we look at, uh, the digital giants and how can we partner with

Doug King:

the Microsofts and the Amazons and the Googles to really say, where's it

Doug King:

going to be value for everybody and then really move forward together.

Bill Russell:

It's interesting.

Bill Russell:

So I, you know, governance is an interesting concept here.

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Cause I, I remember we, we did want to create that atmosphere

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where everything could rise up.

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There's amazing.

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Number of great ideas.

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So how do you, how do you focus it in,

Doug King:

you know, I think part of it is when we look at all these ideas, we

Doug King:

try not to chase the shiny object and we try to align them with the problems

Doug King:

that we're facing as an industry.

Doug King:

And we will ask our operators and we will ask the presidents and we will listen.

Doug King:

I think listening is probably a key element to understanding where to focus

Doug King:

the innovation resources, because it's finite, you know, we are a large health

Doug King:

system, but in the end of the day, we have a limited amount of people that can really

Doug King:

turn the dial on these innovative ideas.

Doug King:

And I think the key part is to listen to the CNS, listen to the CMOs, listen

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to the problems that are having, and then try to bring solutions.

Doug King:

To them, with all of the new capabilities that we have within our digital

Doug King:

platform, uh, such as, uh, machine learning or natural language processing.

Doug King:

Those are just different tools now in the toolbox and a few apply them correctly.

Doug King:

You can solve problems in new ways that were not possible.

Bill Russell:

We have, uh, incubators, we have, uh, innovation arms.

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We really almost have within healthcare, VC operating in health systems.

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Do you guys have any of those kinds of things?

Bill Russell:

Yeah, we do.

Doug King:

We are, we're actually, um, you know, just now building out

Doug King:

a physical space that is going to house a lot of our innovation team

Doug King:

and our digital team working together.

Doug King:

We're going to try to take startups and sit them with them

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or sit them with that team.

Doug King:

Some of our departments are also going to have a space there so that we can

Doug King:

really cultivate those ideas and kind of come up and we do, uh, we have.

Doug King:

Groups of people that I would say meet, um, and they try to come up with

Doug King:

problems to solve, but honestly, most of the good ideas come organically.

Doug King:

And now, um, at our health system, just because of some of the great

Doug King:

things that we done partnering with the clinical side of the house,

Doug King:

it's, it's getting out there.

Doug King:

So it's the organic idea.

Doug King:

I have this difficult problem.

Doug King:

I'm going to go talk to it or I'm going to go talk to innovation

Doug King:

and see how they can help me.

Doug King:

And those are probably some of the ways that the ideas come, uh,

Doug King:

come the best ideas come from.

Bill Russell:

Fantastic, Doug, thanks for your time.

Bill Russell:

Yeah,

Doug King:

thank you.

Bill Russell:

Don't forget to check back as we have more of these interviews

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