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Today on This Week Health.
When we got into healthcare all these years ago we did it for a reason. Every one of us, whether you were a clinician or whether you were just working in the space, it's because you wanted to be able to make a difference and help patients be better. And I think staff across the gamut in our health systems, are struggling to be able to hold up the mirror and ask themselves, am I able to do that every day? And they're not for a variety of reasons and it's deteriorating and I, I think it's gonna continue to be a problem.
Welcome to Newsday a this week Health Newsroom Show. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former C I O for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health, A set of channels dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and engaged. For five years now, we've been making podcasts to amplify great thinking to propel Healthcare forward. Special thanks to our Newsday show partners for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders now onto today's show.
All right. It's Newsday and today we're joined by Laura O'Toole, founder and CEO of SureTest. Laura, welcome to the show. Hey
Bill, always great to see you. I'm happy to
be here. Yeah, and, and happy New Year by the way.
Happy, happy New Year. did you get a good break? You
know, I got a fantastic break. It was awesome. Got to really spend some time with my son and I don't ever get to see him much anymore cuz he is busy and self-sufficient. So that was cool. And it was nice. I didn't do a lot, slept a lot, read a lot, chilled out.
Yeah, I, I did some of the same stuff. I just read a book on Dwight Eisenhower's leadership. Somebody gave it to me for Christmas, and I'm like, all right. I don't, I don't know what else to read. So , I've read it and it's, it interesting great stories in there of D-Day and all those things that happened.
So alright. We've got like five stories to go through today. We might not get through all of them. Most of 'em are the typical beginning of the. What top 10 stories, what happened last year? Where are people going and that kind of stuff. Yeah. But before, but before we get there sure. Test c e o for those who aren't familiar what is Sure. Test. What do you guys do? So Sure.
Test is a company that was very purpose built to solve a very specific problem for our clients. How do you help our clients deal with manual testing that everybody hates that they don't wanna do? That takes a lot of time and a lot of money.
So we developed a solution in a platform that completely solves that problem. And it's a nice entry to automation where automation is becoming so important for our health systems. But what our solution does is it allows us to take about 80% of those manual efforts around testing and save our clients.
15 to 30,000 hours a year. And we did it in such a way that we built a library of automation for the most common workflows for those EHRs that most health systems have that allow our clients to really jumpstart that automation in a very quick fashion. And, Let them see value immediately. And that's what we do for the E H R and surround systems.
But really anything you can do with a keyboard and a mouse that emulates an end user, we can automate and give ours back to our clients.
Well, sounds like you're in the right place. So automation saving hours, these tend to be themes that we're seeing not only in the stories, but in the conversations we're having with CEOs.
Our CIO CEOs. This year is gonna be one of those that we have. Laser focused on efficiency, on cost savings and whatnot. In fact by the time this airs, this will air on Monday. By the time this airs we all have done our webinar. That is going to happen in a couple of hours. I know.
I'm excited. I'm gonna be on it. It looks really interesting and what the panel you have.
Yeah, it'll, it'll be fun. But I have a feeling financial pressure is gonna be one of those things that gets talked about as one of the driving forces this year. All right. So let's we could, we could play this like jeopardy, or we could, so here are the five stories.gital health eight Trends for: e spending needs to go in, in:
And I have seen firsthand what our health systems are dealing with in terms of their staffing crisis, the pressure that they're facing operationally in order to be able to serve their patients. And it, it's, it's a problem that's, Gotta get attention.
Yeah. In fact, I, I, I did a poll this week and let's, let's check in on the poll.
Let's see where we're at. So I asked what's, what are the number one pressures that are that are impacting health systems right now as we speak? I gave four primary answers, the. being financial pressure, the last being, worker shortages and the worker experience. We're worried about people leaving burnout and those kind of things.
The, the second and third were new competitors and patient experience, financial pressure and worker shortages and experience as garnered to date. This is only nine. There's two days into the poll about 240 votes. 86% are financial pressure and workers shortages. And it, that's, that's I think is gonna be the, the story for the entire year.
Right. How do we, and, and by the way, it's not just nurses. We, a lot of times we'll say nurse shortage, it's not just nurses, it's across the board. It's, it's people working in healthcare. We're, we're struggling to fill key positions and therefore the patient experience will suffer. The there's, there's just not enough people to do the work that needs to be done, and that's what it feels like to me. And that's what you're describing in your experience.
Absolutely. And you know, one of the things I like to do around the holidays, at least for my local clients, where my home is in New Jersey, is I wanna stop by and we wish them happy holidays. And I asked that exact question. So this is a handful of clients that I went to visit.
And although anecdotal spot on with what you said I did have a couple clients say they. Are in the cyber security woes. And that continues to be top of mind. But if you ask those CIOs, they absolutely said the human capital problem, the operational spend how they're gonna bring what I like to call based on something. I heard when you were talking to Peter, marks from WakeMed Joy back to the workforce. And it's just not for nurses, it's for the workforce. I mean, all of us, if you think about it, when we got into healthcare all these years ago we did it for a reason. Every one of us, whether you were a clinician or whether you were just working in the space, it's because you wanted to be able to make a difference and help patients be better.
And I think staff across the gamut in our health systems, are struggling to be able to hold up the mirror and ask themselves, am I able to do that every. day and they're not for a variety of reasons and it's deteriorating and I, I think it's gonna continue to be a problem. So I heard that definitely as a pressure.
The other thing I heard is just how CIOs now are having to become even more strategic than ever, really partner with the service lines and the business on how to solve these problems. Because now they're also fighting we don't have a local market anymore, so the competition. Everywhere in terms of how they're gonna win for consumerism for their patients.
It's not now about just addressing your local market. You have to compete across the board. So between that pressure and then not having the staff to serve and to serve well, it's, I feel for my clients every day.nds that we're looking at for:
And we saw this, we saw this with telehealth and other virtual care type solutions. And I, I think we're gonna see this, if I were predicting 20, 23, 4, 5, mm-hmm. , there's just gonna be a massive trend towards virtual first care. There's gonna be a massive trend towards remote monitoring. In fact, I mean, I live in a place.
There's a lot of old people. I'm down here in Southern Florida. Mm-hmm. it's interesting to me the, the things people are going in for surgeries and doing things, and first of all, obviously the speed at which they're recovering is a lot quicker. Mm-hmm. we've gotten better at non-invasive surgeries and that kind of stuff, but also they have a, a lot more of them, and this is an older crowd mm-hmm. Are getting devices when they. That are monitoring, monitoring certain aspects. I think that is just gonna continue to kick up steam, especially as we, as we have these shortages that might create other challenges. But what are some areas, do you think that digital and tools are gonna step into this, this gap that has been created? With worker shortages? Staff shortages today?
Well, I think it's gonna be about concierge medicine in my mind. And I, and by that I don't mean just the people that can pay for concierge medicine, I mean, about putting the patient completely at the center. And I don't think it's gonna be a lot of the incumbents.
There's so many entrepreneurial startups and some real great innovation that's happening coming out of even some of the universities that I think are gonna be the ones that make an impact to be able to leverage everything we're trying to do in digital, but to really bring the care to the patient and the way that the patient wants it, I mean the days of my parents saying, the doctor says jump and I say, how high are are over.
People are smarter. Consumers are managing their care better or attempting to manage their care better. So I think we're gonna start to see solutions that. Allow the patient to be more empowered and those health systems that embrace their patients being empowered, I think are the ones that are gonna beat and win in the competition.
Because like I said, I think it's going long outside of a local market now. So I think you're gonna start to see tools that bring all kinds of remote hands and even the diagnostic imaging. to make it easy for the patient to get the services that they need. I sit on a board of a, a company called Rochelle Imaging, and I liken it too.
I don't know if you, if you've ever traveled to your wife or your daughter's bill, where it's called glam squad, where you, you're in a hotel, you want someone to come do your hair and makeup or whatever, and they come to you, you have an app, you can track where they are. Well, this company does that for ultrasound.
And other x-ray diagnostic services. So basically there's an app. They have this cadre of ultrasound and echo text that will come right to the patient and perform the exam. I think we're gonna start to see much more of that innovation that allows for remote hands and can have the diagnostic review done remotely and get information to the patients to help them.
Make the next steps for their care. So tho those are the trends that I'm starting to see. It's how can we be more innovative to get in a concierge way to the patient?
Yeah, so very in context, culturally relevant. Like people are travelers. People can't get off during the day. That kinda stuff. Culturally relevant care when and where they need it in, in, in a manner, in a form that that works for them. Let's, let's talk about the incumbents a little bit. So one of the stories we looked at was own trips. The story. And I, I love this phrase digital front doors that actually lead somewhere.
Yeah, I saw that. Yeah. Too many digital front doors lead to tiny healthcare houses. There's the, the thrill of immediate service once you're in, but then the familiar frustration, no real connection to or understanding of the patient's benefits let alone their health history, unique needs and preferences.
I, I think this. , this marks one of the areas that the incumbents have to get better at, and I call it the difference between the EHR and the crm. Mm-hmm. , it's like the, the EHR tracks healthcare. The c R M is customer relationship management tracks a customer, tracks a person. , and I think that's what we need to get better at.
We need to get better at that personalization, understanding who our clients are and customizing our services. And this, this might sound foreign to some healthcare providers, but customizing our services to their specific needs. That's not. Customizing healthcare to what they want to hear. Right. Which I know some doctors will hear it and say, oh, you just want me to tell 'em what they want to hear?
No. That I, I don't want to get your, your scores up by just saying nice things. I, I, I really want us to understand and know. , the people were, who are across the, the, the, either the, the video call from us or across the, the chair from us that we're talking to and know, Hey, you know what? I shouldn't, I shouldn't recommend this.
They can't afford it. Or they live in this area that's a food desert. Or they all the information that w that provide us like a whole picture of who the person is that we're talking, talking to, and. and I use the digital front door is a as sort of an example of that, of just when we go through most digital front doors, they do know us and they say, Hey, right, you're interested in cosmetics, you're interested in this. And when we go through the digital front door in healthcare, they, they don't act like they know.
And not only that, if you think of where we've gone to from an ambulatory perspective where everything is moving to ambulatory and it's one thing the digital front door when you walk into the brick and mortar of the hospital or to one of the ambulatory centers, but it's not even that anymore because it's from my perspective, it's no longer local.
So all the mediums that you need to think about in terms of patient engagement and digital are not even in the ambulatory. Realm anymore, in any local environment, they're, they're gonna be all over the place and those services are gonna be all over the place. So how do you bring that together and really be able to serve someone?
It, it's not just the digital front door, it's, it's virtual in every medium you could possibly imagine in locations that, Outside of the community that the hospital systems have typically served. And that's where I think we're gonna see a big, a big shift and starting to target those communities and understand what those communities need and be able to service them and service them well.
And then you think about just the whole health equity component of it, which is is so disturbing to me. How not only are you gonna deal. Handling, getting into the digital front door and having it actually go somewhere that's meaningful. But how do you make sure that as you're walking down that hallway, you've got the right door for multiple different makeups of people?
and what they need, whether it's based on their age, whether it's based on, quite frankly, their sexual orientation, whether it's based on their demographic, their access, their ability to, even my dad who doesn't know how to use a cell phone. We have to, we have to start walking a mile in other people's moccasins and not assume that just based on the communities we typically served.
That that's gonna stay the same because it's not. And I believe we have a fundamental obligation to make that better for people.nd. It is priorities for:
so we have two more stories. The EHR vendors, I'll probably steer clear of that. Suffice it to say epics winning more, share Oracle's really focused in on their government contract Yeah.
And seems to be losing some market share. I think Meditech's has solidified their position in their grow. I agree. And then the government is the government's gonna drive integration and interoperability between them using the QUAIA framework and some of the other things that they have going on.
Yeah. So I sum that up as quickly as I I can. Yeah. Cause, because I do want to talk to you about AI machine learning. They have the top 10 stories. This is from healthcare IT News. Mm-hmm. . there's some interesting stories here for sure, but mm-hmm. I sort of wanna ask you where do you see, let, let's just limit it to 12 months. Where do you see progress with AI and machine learning in health or healthcare in the next 12 months?
I think you're gonna see like, the big systems. Like if you look and I, I forget which article it was, I saw where Penn had just done a study and of course that's, that's one of my clients. So I follow the work that they're doing. They're doing a ton around ai. My hope is, and where I think we'll be at the end of next year, is that there'll be more.
trust I hope we start to be on the trust continuum with ai and that there's gonna be progress made in a lot of the duplication of data that we see in healthcare. And there appears to be a lot of focus and study around how do we eliminate some of that duplication so that there can be more of a community of trust around. AI Yeah, that's where I think we're headed. I,
I agree with you a thousand percent. Transparency will be a big theme this year in AI and machine learning models because it's hard to build trust without that. And we will see that. By the way, the study AI study finds 50% of patient notes duplicated.
And that was at Penn University or, yeah. University of Pennsylvania. Yeah. School of Medicine. And I think that leads to the thing I would say for this year, which is there will be a. Realization, an absolute realization that almost across the board, everyone goes, we cannot deliver healthcare anymore without technology, without AI and machine learning, because AI and machine learning can process millions of images. where in the same amount of time that a person can process hundreds. Absolutely. So, absolutely. At, at the end of the day, in every other industry there, there comes this tipping point, and I think this year for us is that tipping point where people finally just saying no moss, we cannot keep up.
We don't have enough people. And then you will see an ex a. Almost an invitation of, yeah, if you have technology that can help us with this, please introduce.
Yep. And I, I think we kind of got to the perfect storm in healthcare. We've had these shrinking margins, we've had these operational pressures. Now you have this war for talent in a human capital. Fiasco that I've never seen in, in my career, quite frankly, in healthcare. And I think sometimes for healthcare, as much as I love our industry bill, it takes like this storm to come together to smack us in the face and say, We gotta get on board here, like every other industry can do, and it it's time and I don't, there's no turning back.
And it's going to be about innovation. I think the health systems that embrace innovation, embrace a AI trust in automation. are the ones that are gonna have to lead our industry because that's that's the only way, from my perspective out of this, which it's, it's one of the reasons I'm excited about what we are doing because workflow in a patient's workflow and making sure that that workflow isn't broken to protect patient care and to do what's right for our patients is critically important.
And if you can find ways to automate that and to test that thoroughly so that you're comfortable. You're doing, you're doing the right thing and you're saving time and money, and I just think. Our health systems are, are leading there. They're, they're embracing it. It's unfortunate it took this pile on of all these storms to come together to get us there, but I think we're there.
Well, I I was giving the, given the product overview of shore tests last year before the break, and I appreciate you doing that. If, if people. Taking a look at it. shortest.health is the url and they do have a, a great set of client references as well that they're working with automation around testing reducing your testing time. By, I mean, tens of thousands of hours. I mean, that's that's like real money. Yeah,
absolutely. So, and it's. , everybody's gotta do their part to help, to help our clients with their shrinking margins, help them be comfortable that they're doing all the right things for their patients to be competitive in the market.
And quite frankly, just to give back time. And if this can be something that helps bring back a little bit of joy. To clinicians, to IT staff, to any end user. Then we've done our job, because I've been walking the halls of hospitals. I've had so many people in my family, sick or die this past year.
It's like I can't even take anymore. But I've seen it upfront and personal and I, I see the pain on people's face and people wanna do the right thing, bill and they are good people and they wanna do the right thing. Yes. And if we can be a small part of bringing some joy back and give people time to work on more strategic projects that mean more than testing we've done our job, but it, it's important. You gotta do it. There's risk if you don't, a lot of.
Well, Laura, thank you for joining us on the Newsday Show. This is your first attempt at the Newsday show. And a strong attempt, by the way, a lot of times some people come on. It's not not easy. To to talk about these things and whatnot. So I, I really appreciate your time. I really appreciate your sharing your experience with us.
Well, and I, I love talking to you. Every time I talk to you, I learn something and every time I listen to one of your podcasts or. Watch what you're doing. I learn something. My people are learning folks and I love what you're doing and, and I love your motto that you're trying to grow up the next set of healthcare leaders and, and keep people informed.
And I think it's fantastic cuz these folks are so busy. And if you can give them some bite size little moments that keep them educated, make them feel fresh, make them in tuned with what's going on in this industry. Hallelujah. I love what you're doing, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.
Well, thanks. I appreciate it. I appreciate you giving me card words. That's, that's, that's wonderful. All right. Hey, until we, until we meet again, we'll do this again in about six weeks or so and looking forward to it. Thanks, Laura. Okay. All right. Thanks.
Great to see 📍 you.
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