Providing Healthcare in the Digital World

Episode 41

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David Chou, VP and Principal Analyst for Constellation Research
David Chou has held executive level positions across the healthcare industry. Today, he joins Ian to discuss how technology has transformed healthcare as we know it.

“You only need one good idea to make a positive impact happen within an organization.” —@dchou1107

Show Notes

When you think of tech innovation, the healthcare space probably isn’t the first to pop into your head. But for David Chou (T: @dchou1107) healthcare and IT go hand-in-hand. David has been a leader in the digital space of the healthcare world for decades, serving in executive positions at Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospital, University Of Mississippi Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare and Prime Healthcare. Recently, he accepted the role of VP and Principal Analyst for Constellation Research (T: @constellationr), where he will continue to revolutionize the digital healthcare space.

In this episode, David and Ian (T: @ianfaison) discuss the ways healthcare has become one of the most digitally-focused industries in the world, and the challenges everyone in the field had to overcome in order to get there. Today, you have access to your doctor or healthcare practitioner from the palm of your hand and your entire medical history can be brought up with a few simple clicks. But how did we get here? And where will we go in the future?

Introducing David — (1:30)

  • He just accepted a new role with Constellation Research as a principal analyst focusing specifically on the healthcare sector from the lens of a CIO.

Trends in the technological advancements in healthcare — (3:40)

  • The biggest reason for change is consumer expectation.
  • Patients have choices and they now no longer need to see a doctor in the geographic region in which they live. Technology allows them to see any doctor anywhere in the world from the comfort of their home.
  • The new model healthcare is transitioning toward is based on value and how you take care of a population pool.
  • “In terms of the future, it’s not, ‘How many patients are you going to see?’ It’s, ‘How many patients are you not going to see?’ because you’re more focused on wellness and keeping them out.”

David’s past experiences as a CIO — (5:35)

  • In the past, there was no CIO in hospitals. But as technology has become more prevalent, the technology director role has morphed into a CIO or IT Director position.
  • “Progressive organizations want to have the next generation CIO who is focused on business outcomes and making the right decisions to make people’s lives better whether you’re a patient or an employee.”
  • The role of CIO is one of the hardest roles in the C-Suite in a hospital or healthcare setting for that reason.
  • David focuses on speed and experience when he is structuring his departments and he encourages movement toward the cloud as much as possible.

Making difficult changes and dealing with big and small challenges — (10:50)

  • Switching from paper to digital documents was — and still is — one of the biggest challenges. Major systems and hospitals are digital but small mom and pop shops are still lagging behind in some ways because they don’t have the resources to switch over.
  • Utilization of cloud is difficult in healthcare systems because some of the big enterprise apps are not cloud compatible.

Best practices from a data management perspective — (15:20)

  • There’s no way to achieve perfect governance. If you have something that’s good enough, go live with it and then adjust on the fly as needed.
  • Liberating the data is key.

What does mobile look like for health IT? — (16:30)

  • Having resources in the palm of your hand is incredible. You basically have a doctor, or nurse or another healthcare provider in your pocket.
  • There is still a learning gap with practitioners who are not used to doing work on a mobile device.
  • Training needs to start happening in the education space so that nurses and doctors are natively trained in mobile-first technology when they enter the workforce.
  • “As the next generation of professionals grows to become the next leaders, I think the way they work is going to be different. The future of work is all going to change regardless of what industry you’re in.”

Blockchain and how CIOs should stay up to date on the tech — (20:15)

  • You have to be aware of these technologies. The people who will be impacted by something like blockchain are the middlemen, which can change an entire industry.

Being a CIO with a CEO’s mindset — (22:50)

  • “You have to understand the operations. I’ve sat in every department trying to figure out how they operate.”
  • Really think about the business model. Understand what you’re doing and how it’s affecting the employees, the investments, the bottom line and all other aspects of an organization.

Presenting new ideas to leadership — (27:25)

  • “When I look at CIO’s I think the ‘I’ really stands for influence. You’re the chief influence officer. You are always trying to sell ideas. … You have to persuade people that this is the right path and you have to persuade the boots on the ground to execute. You’re constantly selling and getting people to believe.”
  • Every organization is dysfunctional to some extent, and that hampers people from moving forward. To get ahead, you need to realize that you can be strategic and present an idea to make things a little better.
  • “You just need one good idea to make a lot of positive impact happen within an organization.”

Keeping up with innovations throughout the industry (29:30)

  • Connecting to the right folks in your community and not being afraid to ask questions will help you stay ahead of trends.
  • “You’re always reinventing yourself and reading the latest trends. Don’t just read it. Think about how it impacts you and take it a step deeper into thinking about how you can change those trends or create your own trends.”

The Lightning Round — (31:15)

  • Uses AI as a timesaver.
  • Best advice for a first-time CIO: “You know more than anyone else. Don’t think you need to get advice from another leader. You’re at a stage in your career where you were chosen to lead. Trust your gut instincts.”
  • Most excited about the evolution of the smartphone. 90% of his work he can do on his phone, which gets him extremely excited about the future.



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David Chou, who has had executive level positions throughout the healthcare field, joins Ian to discuss how technology has changed the entire face of healthcare. From moving from paper to digital forms to allowing patients to connect with doctors from mobile devices, David has helped usher in sweeping technological changes that have revolutionized how healthcare is provided.

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