Q&A from the 1st Annual CIO Panel Forum with HIMSS

February 16, 2018

On February 9, 2018 the HIMSS community convened at Minute Maid Park for its 1st Annual CIO Panel Forum and heard some of the top CIOs from the Texas Medical Center speak on various topics impacting their organizations and healthcare information technology today. Healthcare Growth Partners was in attendance and below you will find a summary of our notes from the panel discussion.

Speakers:            Myra Davis – Texas Children’s Hospital, Sr. Vice President and CIO

                            Craig Owen – University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Vice President and CIO

                            Robert Eardley – (Formerly) Houston Methodist, Sr. Vice President and CIO

                            (currently) University Hospitals – Cleveland, Ohio, CIO

Moderator:          Amanda Hammel – Memorial Hermann Health System, Vice President, IT Operations and Population Health

Q1: Which areas hold the greatest potential for Health IT?

  • Machine learning, especially in areas such as supply chain and clinical diagnoses
  • Voice assistants, like Alexa, will be transformational in assisting physicians during patient visits
  • Genomics and personalized medicine

Q2: What are some ways that Health IT has underdelivered on its promises?

  • Helping with physician burnout
  • EHRs, because many providers find them to be hard to use or clunky
  • Lack of clarity around the proper utilization of new tech for clinicians

Q3: What is missing in the current patient experience?

  • Simplicity
  • Personal Health Records (PHRs)
  • Traditionally healthcare was designed to revolve around physicians, not the patients – this trend should reverse
  • Waiting rooms need to be upgraded

Q4: What costs will change with the transition from Fee for Service (FFS) to Value-based Care (VBC)?

  • With improved claims tracking we can better understand where Medicare patients have received care throughout their patient history, thereby allowing us to discover the true costs of care delivery
  • Increased interoperability will reduce redundancy between hospital systems lowering costs
  • The cost of medications

Q5: What are some thoughts on telehealth and tech’s role in continuing care outside of the hospital?

  • To unlock the real value of new tech, we must first decide how best to utilize it – for telehealth we must establish guidelines around billing
  • Artificial intelligence avatars that follow up with patients after their discharge in the form of mobile apps will provide care that extends beyond the hospital’s walls

Q6: How can we provide the best digital experience for patients?

  • Improving the current apps
  • Medication tracking
  • Tracking patient outcomes to an even greater extent
  • Providing the ability for patients to interact with their own health records
  • By listening to patients and by interacting with them and their health data through the medium of their preference

Q7: What are your opinions on the cloud?

  • Trust in the cloud
  • The reality is that each project or service has a cost-benefit associated with being in the cloud, so being in the cloud is situational versus universal

Q8: What are some thoughts around cybersecurity?

  • Patching and encryption are the handwashing of cybersecurity – they must be done and often
  • Regulations must be improved for medical device manufacturers – there are too many entry points into the system

Q9: Do you see blockchain being used for medical records?

  • Blockchain will assist in the transition for patients to owning their health data
  • It can allow each patient to have one health record, unlike today where health information is dispersed
  • It will disrupt healthcare and it’s not just hype, it’s happening now, though the question remains – when will we start to see improvements in patient outcomes?

Q10: What are the most overused buzzwords in Health IT?

  • Big data
  • Population health

Q11: Thoughts on how traditional healthcare systems will handle new entrants such as the recently announced Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase partnership?

  • Administrators and executives must have talks within their organization regularly to ask questions around improving processes in healthcare the way other business segments have been doing for decades

Q12: How do you decide which new tech startups to work with?

  • Group decision making by our internal innovation group
  • We ask them directly – what problem are you going to solve?

Q13: What are your top investment priorities?

  • Patient experience
  • Provider experience
  • Data collection that creates purposeful information
  • EHR usability
  • Telehealth
  • Patient access
  • Quality of care measures
  • Analytics

Q14: What are some of the use cases for AI in healthcare?

  • Artificial Intelligence is slang for “software algorithms that lower the cost of predictions”, and we’d like to see it help manage the costs associated with healthcare delivery on the population level


Healthcare Growth Partners would like to extend a special thanks to the speakers, the HIMSS Houston Chapter, its organizers and staff, as well as Texas Children's Hospital, Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann Health System and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.