Deborah Gash, SVP & Chief Digital Officer
Saint Luke’s Health System
MHC BOARD CHAIR
With the advent of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), block chain, precision medicine; how will these change the dynamics of care delivery?
The introduction of these technologies is interesting and has the potential to foster transformative change in the field of health care IT. Blockchain technology has the potential to address the interoperability challenges that exist today and be the technical standard that allows health care to securely share electronic data. As an industry there has been a substantial growth in the amount of data that is being captured at the point of care. AI is a technology that can be applied to these databases and help to drive innovation, disease prevention, and advance early identification of conditions and automate transactions. I believe this will enable providers to become more efficient and act sooner to address health concerns.
How has Meaningful Use impacted SLHS?
Meaningful use has been a positive driver of change because it expedited the implementation of health care IT across the board and helped to drive providers to a consistent level of adoption.
Is cyber security the biggest challenge facing health care today?
I believe cyber security, like any other risk, is certainly a challenge and impacts many aspects of the business, however if an organization has solid framework to manage information security it can be managed. Organizations must keep it at the forefront when defining business relationships, always be diligent in mitigating risks, and build a culture of awareness to help address the challenges.
What can be done to ensure patients are the center piece of health care?
I think we get so focused on process that we lose the impact it has on people. A continued focus on patient experience and innovation to improve process as part of the organizational culture should keep the patient at the center point.
What benefits and impacts have you seen from the emergence of health information exchanges?
The most significant benefit is transparency of information for health care providers. It is so crucial that doctors and nurses have information about patients to deliver the right care. Information exchanges allow doctors to have information about your problems, medications, allergies and test results. This information can be critical in ensuring the right medications are administered to prevent adverse drug interactions or complications as a result of an allergy. It can also alert them to conditions that may lead to improved diagnosis. I am often asked by family and friends if they should allow their information to be shared. I say yes because in an emergency I want the physician treating me or my family to have that information so they can make the best decisions about my health care.
What benefits and impacts do you see in the next couple of years from health information exchanges?
Information exchanges can play an important role in analyzing the population and identifying trends and gaps that may need to be addressed.
As a nationally recognized health care leader, what aspect of patient care keeps you up at night and what can be done on that matter?
With the introduction of electronic health records we have added work effort to document interactions. That work effort has created a burden on the caregiver which is contributing to burnout. I believe health IT needs to look toward improving the aspects of data capture to reduce the burden on the workforce.