Takeaways from the CHIME Fall CIO Forum

by | Nov 6, 2018 | Healthcare

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It’s one thing to implement technology in an organization and to see positive results from that. But the impact of those results can be multiplied when you can connect the technology implementation to a greater mission.

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This sentiment was front and center at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum, held Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 in San Diego, California. The various sessions and keynotes emphasized how an inspiring goal and a smart approach to technology can yield powerful results.

Combating the opioid crisis

More than 42,000 people in the U.S. die every year from opioid overdoses, according to national statistics, and 40% of those deaths are attributable to misusing prescription opioids.

Last year at the Fall CIO Forum, CHIME launched its Opioid Task Force, to bring together technology brains and see how they could impact change in this area. This year, the group discussed some of its successes, including sharing some of the successes that Geisinger Health System (based in Pennsylvania, which has the 4th highest opioid overdose death rate) has seen in reducing the number of opioid prescriptions.

CalvertHealth, based in Maryland, also discussed its opioid stewardship program. The hospital wanted to reduce its opioid prescriptions by 20% in the first year of its effort. The organization built in accountability within the EHR system, and was able to achieve a 26% reduction in 18 months, all while having no effect on patient pain management scores.

For this year, The CHIME Opioid Task Force kicked off a fundraising campaign to create the CHIME Opioid Health IT Action Center. This online forum will enable healthcare technology experts to share best practices and successes in combating the opioid crisis.

Detecting adolescent depression

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was by Rady Children’s Hospital, in which the San Diego-based organization discussed how it is using technology to improve its depression screening among patients.

Every year, there are nearly 45,000 suicides in the U.S., according to CDC statistics, and more than 6,000 of those are committed by young people ages 10-24, making it the second-highest cause of death for that age group. The Rady staff says they have seen an increase of behavioral health issues in the emergency department, and they wanted to figure out how to better screen patients for depression before they got to a point of self-harm.

The organization created a standardized screening process in its EHR, and rolled this out to all departments in the hospital. This way, when adolescents come in for treatment—even if it is not for behavioral health issues—they will be screened for depression. This is important, given that the primary cause for a visit (diabetes, asthma) can often lead to depression.

Once an adolescent has been identified as at-risk, the hospital has decision support built into its EHR so it can determine the best course of action. Rady is currently exploring predictive models to try and figure out the various correlative factors.

Gender diversity improves results

One of the keynotes at the event was given by Emily Chang, who discussed the importance of diversity within organizations, primarily as it relates to gender. Chang argued that women bring new perspectives to the table, and that it is financially beneficial for companies to have these diverse perspectives as they are creating products. Chang, a reporter at Bloomberg TV, authored the book, Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley. (Note: I am planning for this to be a future Dimensional Insight Book Club selection! Let me know if you want to read along.)

Statistics show women are currently 25% of tech employees and 8% of VC partners, despite being nearly half of the workforce and more than half of all college graduates. Chang argued women have largely been excluded from the creation of technology, and as a result, technology has been more engineered towards the needs of men. In many cases, the technology itself reinforces bias against women.

When it comes to funding companies, women founders receive approximately ¼ of the funding they ask for, while men founders receive ½ of the funding they ask for. A potential upside of these hard-to-swallow statistics is that as a result, women founders are forced to consider profitability much more quickly than men founders consider it. That can be a benefit to organizations.

In summary, Chang urged CIOs to challenge themselves and their organizations to eliminate bias against women in hiring, and to own the problem instead of continually saying it’s someone else’s problem to solve. She said of gender diversity in the workplace, “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

Congratulations to the Most Wired hospitals

On the last day of the Fall CIO Forum, CHIME announced the 2018 Most Wired winners. The Most Wired program honors those hospitals that are transforming healthcare and improving patient outcomes through technology.

Dimensional Insight had several customers on this year’s list, and we would like to congratulate all of them for their dedication to improvements through technology. In particular, we would like to call out this year’s #2 Most Wired hospital, Baptist Health South Florida. The organization says it attributes its success to:

“Significant support from the Baptist Health South Florida Board of Trustees and senior executives enabling IT as a strategic asset; an outstanding, qualified, passionate team dedicated to BHSF’s mission and their profession; patience from family members allowing us the opportunity to be the best we can be; and perseverance.”

As this award demonstrates—and what many of the sessions at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum demonstrated—when you connect a technology implementation to a broader organizational mission, you can achieve stellar results.

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Kathy Sucich
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