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Voices of Value is Curation Health’s Guest Writer Series.

This edition comes from Jonathan Kaufman, D.O.,  VP/CMIO of Bayhealth in Dover, Delaware.
Dr. Kaufman is a healthcare leader and physician executive with a passion for the intersection of healthcare, population health, informatics, technology and human behavior. His special talent is gaining active support across clinicians, administrators, and key personnel for population health, quality, business intelligence, and safety programs. He works to develop and champion a vision for value-based concepts using the most user-friendly technology solutions.

Dr. Kaufman is a working clinician, still seeing patients and is ABIM board-certified in Internal Medicine and ABPM board certified in Clinical Informatics.

Q: Tell me about your role and organization.
Bayhealth is a two-hospital system located in central Delaware. We have a community focus and are beginning our journey as a teaching institution in a few weeks when our internal medicine and family medicine residency programs begin.

I joined the organization six years ago as we transitioned to Epic. My role, while still encompassing traditional Chief Medical Information Officer(CMIO) type duties such as EMR optimization and IT strategic planning has grown to include population health, virtual health, business intelligence/analytics . I also serve as the Vice President over our care management service line and  hospitalist physician group.

Q: What do you see as the role of the CMIO in the evolution of digital health and at home-care?

I think the role of CMIO fits perfectly in the evolution of digital health. Digital health, connected devices and home care are coming together more and more. Patients want the ability to stay home when it makes sense to them to do so. The medical community needs information about what is happening inside the patient homes when we’re not physically present to care for them.

CMIOs live at the intersection where this happens. Their unique skillset of understanding IT (it’s pros, cons, limitations and advantages ) and experience in the clinical world make them the ideal person to help select products and launch projects.

I find that oftentimes people will not have one or the other fully fleshed out and project will fail. It’s great to have technology, but if you don’t have people and processes in place to make sure that it’s used to drive clinical outcomes, it’s essentially pointless. The flip side is you may have great organization but lack the right technology or product to help drive outcomes.

Q: How did that role change with the pandemic?

I don’t think the role changed that much during the pandemic, but it accelerated and brought into focus the work that we do on a daily basis. I think CMIOS found themselves perfectly positioned to help drive their organizations rapidly into the virtual space. I think pandemic also put into focus that we can deliver care in different ways, if pushed. I am fearful that some of these things may not stick due to inertia back to where our comfort zone was pre-pandemic. I also worry significantly about the regulatory and payment changes that facilitated most of the care delivery changes. If those are repealed, removed or altered significantly, we will lose the gains we have made.

Q: How do you see these new models of care supporting the move to value over volume?

I think these new models of care are ideally suited for a value-based world. The services are often not reimbursed in a fee-for-service world, but greatly impact things that matter in a value-based world. Reducing re-admissions, improved quality of life, keeping patients in a low-cost but high-quality setting of care are all incredibly important in the value world.

Q: What have you seen work and not work in improving provider adoption of technology?

Technology has to work within the workflow of both the patient and the provider. I’ve seen projects fail where the technology is clunky and requires multiple clicks or changes of applications on both the patient and the provider side. Inevitably folks give up because it’s just too frustrating and gets in the way, rather than facilitating clinical care. People are incredibly creative about finding work arounds, whether it’s using FaceTime or other consumer focused products instead of medical grade products due to their ease of use.

Q: What IT investments do you consider priority for health systems over the next year, five years?

A: Our organization believes strongly in a core vendor approach. We pick partners that are strong across all sectors and will grow with us. I think that having a good governance structure in place that allows for innovation as well as careful consideration of strategic partners is probably the most important investment.

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