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Top Strategies for Digital Acceleration Within a Health System

Featuring Edward Marx, CEO of Divurgent and former CIO of Cleveland Clinic

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On The Agenda:

Edward Marx, CEO of Divurgent and former CIO of Cleveland Clinic, reveals the strategies required to push digital innovation projects forward within a health system. In an age of heightened digital demand from providers and patients, Marx suggests that executives such as CIOs, CMIOs and CDOs place their emphasis on governance within the healthcare organization, and take the time to go “undercover” in the hospital to understand daily challenges on a tangible, human level. Tune in to hear the full episode.


00:00 - 08:40

Professional Background

08:40 - 11:40

Digital Acceleration Projects and Winning "Innovator of the Year"

11:40 - 18:30

Challenges & Solutions for Digital Acceleration in a Health System

18:30 - 22:54

Nay-Sayers: How to Handle Pushbacks within a Health System

22:54 - 27:05

Bullish or Bearish? Ed Marx Places his Digital Bets on Emerging Technologies

27:05 - 29:15

Which Patient Engagement Technologies are on Ed Marx's Wishlist?

29:15 - 35:43

Career Advice & Why Ed will Attend More Marketing-Focused Healthcare Conferences


00:00 - 08:40

Professional Background

08:40 - 11:40

Digital Acceleration Projects and Winning "Innovator of the Year"

11:40 - 18:30

Challenges & Solutions for Digital Acceleration in a Health System

18:30 - 22:54

Nay-Sayers: How to Handle Pushbacks within a Health System

22:54 - 27:05

Bullish or Bearish? Ed Marx Places his Digital Bets on Emerging Technologies

27:05 - 29:15

Which Patient Engagement Technologies are on Ed Marx's Wishlist?

29:15 - 35:43

Career Advice & Why Ed will Attend More Marketing-Focused Healthcare Conferences

Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Liat: Today we have a very special guest who I had the chance to meet personally at HIMSS this year, he won numerous awards, including HIMSS and CHIME 2013 CIO of the year recognized as one of the top 100 leaders by CIO and Computer world, named by Becker's as 2015 top healthcare IT executive and one of the 17, most influential people in healthcare. Today, he serves as CEO of Divurgent and was former CIO at Cleveland Clinic. I'm gonna take a breather here because the list goes on and on, but I'll pause and give a warm welcome to our friend Edward Marx. Edward. It's great to have you here with us today.

[00:00:34] Edward: Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to, uh, share whatever I can. And of course all those accolades. Uh, well, while very kind, uh, really a reflection of the teams and the organizations that I served with. So I just happen to be in the right spot at the right time, but it's really those teams that made all that magic happen.

[00:00:49] Liat: But it's also your commitment and devotion to the healthcare industry. That really is amazing. So, um, we're gonna be bringing that out in today's discussion, um, for anyone who's been in healthcare IT industry, we know Ed also is a bestselling author of several books and ed, I actually waited very patiently on a long line at HIMSS at the, uh, QliqSOFT booth to get your signature, um, on one of your most recent bestsellers healthcare, digital transformation, and your next book will be for the Mayo clinic.

[00:01:14] Edward: Yeah. So I'm really excited. I'm writing a book, uh, for Mayo clinic press with the CIO of Mayo clinic, Chris Ross. And we both had these horrific, uh, episodes with cancer, but both healed. And so we're writing about patient experience, but really it's a book that's gonna be going to going to the public market. So it's not gonna be a healthcare book, but it's gonna be sold in, you know, uh, everywhere.

[00:01:37] Edward: You'd see other books, you know, like, uh, New York times bestseller type books. And, uh, so it's completely flipping the script. So it's kind of fun to write. 

[00:01:44] Liat: That's interesting. Looking forward to seeing that as well. Where are we catching you right now? 

[00:01:48] Edward: So I'm in the great city of New York. It's this first time back since.

[00:01:53] Edward: Pandemic, of course, I served here as CIO at New York city health and hospitals, 20 15, 20 18. So it's kind of fun to be back and catch up with a lot of my friends and, and see a show or two. So it's been a lot of fun. 

[00:02:03] Liat: I'm gonna jump right into it. Um, I want us to rewind, you have a lot to share and many accomplishments, but one fun fact is that ed started his, um, healthcare journey as a janitor at a medical center. at age 16 So why don't we go all the way back and, you know, run us through your timeline? 

[00:02:21] Edward: Yeah. I was literally had a job opportunity at a medical clinic on at Peterson air force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of my friends already worked there. He cleaned out the dental department and there was a opening for some other person to come in and do the medical clinic and, you know, had emergency room and, and, uh, a pretty big multispecialty clinic. And it was like, okay, I gotta work with a friend. And it was a great job cuz it was sort of after hours except for the ed of course, which was 24/7. But basically we could come in anytime after five or 6:00 PM. And as long as we did, uh, the sweeping, the mopping taking out the trash by 7:00 AM the next morning, uh, we were good to go.

[00:02:58] Edward: So for our teenager that was in sports and all kinds of stuff, it was really a flexible job and paid well and you know, it was there while I was cleaning these offices. I really felt this kindred spirit to. I wanna serve in healthcare. And I didn't know at the time, you know, I was 16 and 17. I didn't know how it would manifest itself.

[00:03:15] Edward: You know, whether I'd be a, certainly never would've thought about CIO or, but if would've been a physician or a nurse, I just didn't know. But I just knew I had this connection. So, you know, when I was graduating from high school, I was a youngest of seven, kind of a. Lower mid class family. We all had this expectation.

[00:03:31] Edward: We'd all be going to college, but we had to burn our own way. And so the army reserves offered me this opportunity to get a little bit of a scholarship. If I joined and I took a test, I joined and they said, you could be anything you want. So I looked at the list of things and one of them was combat medic.

[00:03:46] Edward: And I was like, yes, that fifth feels right based on. Janitor experience. And so after that I was hooked and it was like, okay, whatever I do in life, I, I really wanted to be in healthcare. So it took a little while, you know, I went through school and graduated and was actually a combat engineer officer, but there was always this tug back to healthcare.

[00:04:05] Edward: And so I got pulled back in, uh, sure enough, I worked in. Uh, a little bit of in the, or I worked in a strategy office and finally my big break came where I got into it. And then once I got into it and realized the power at the intersection of clinical business and tech to really save people's lives, which in this case was my first born daughter.

[00:04:26] Edward: I was like, this is my mission in life to, to do all those things, leverage technology to save people's lives. I remember just looking around in this one particular. And looking, you know, I saw the, the accolades of the particular physician on the wall and I saw the exam room. And, and even though I was emptying the trash and sweeping floors and stuff, it was like, wow, I wanna be part of something like this.

[00:04:47] Edward: You know, I wanna help people. That's what, you know, where the seed was planted. You know, it really was this key central driver in my. My career, you know, and I got married really early and had kids early. And so I was, you know, really focused on trying to find a career and being very purposeful. So I kept coming back to healthcare and I would take any job.

[00:05:07] Edward: In fact, the first job I could get, you know, so by now, by this time I had some degrees and I was told that I. Overeducated or under experienced. So I was in that zone where I I'd apply for these great healthcare jobs, but they're like, you have no experience. And then I would take lesser healthcare jobs that didn't require a lot of experience, but I was overeducated.

[00:05:26] Edward: And so another little fact that, uh, very very few people know is that I applied to be an anesthesia tech at the local hospital. They had a six week temporary job for anesthesia tech and I, and I did not disclose I had. Uh, other than my, my combat medic. So I got the interview and at the interview, I disclosed that I had these degrees and, uh, they said, oh, that's, that's great.

[00:05:49] Edward: You know, they didn't, they didn't care. Cause it was only a six week gig, but that gig, uh, led to being doubled. And then while I was there, I developed a relationship with the clinicians and, uh, and the staff of the, or, and. They were implementing a new computer system and they weren't really part of the, it, it really didn't have the, or yet for whatever reason.

[00:06:08] Edward: And so they were like, can you help? Cause I had a little bit of computer knowledge now cause I'd been a combat engineer officer. So there's some technical aspects to that. And they're like, can you help us implement this system for the, or, and I was like, sure. So that sort of how I got into full time. And then there I was in the, or.

[00:06:25] Edward: It was just a fascinating environment. I contemplated becoming a physician, but at that point again, I was in a young family and I was like, I don't think I could muster the, the will the strength, the money, uh, to go to med school. So there's gotta be something else and something else. Sure. Uh, sure did 

[00:06:39] Edward: come along.

[00:06:40] Edward: So, you know, we also just hosted Jake do, uh, CIO and innovation officer at how far health system. One of his biggest pieces of advice was. Be everywhere and look at every single room in the hospital, really roaming the rooms and getting to know all of the players in the field, um, in order to become the best CIO possible.

[00:06:56] Edward: So you kind of did that, you know, naturally, 

[00:06:59] Edward: and that's, that's something I've carried through. So I I'm, I'm glad and not surprised, uh, that Jake does something similar. So. What I've always done is I never had it meetings in it. So, you know how you have weekly meetings with your leadership team? We always had them. So like when I was at the Cleveland clinic, we never had 'em in it, or rarely had 'em in it. We would have 'em in the business units. And then we would meet with the executives of those particular business units. And then we'd go to the institutes. We had 23 different like clinical institutes. So like heart and vascular, we would meet in their offices.

[00:07:28] Edward: They would. They would come in for half the meeting, the leadership. So we'd talk about how we could improve, what else is going on. Strategy, those sort of things. We'd take tours. Then we did the hospital. So we had, you know, 15 or so hospitals and we'd do the same thing with the hospital leadership. Then we'd take tours.

[00:07:42] Edward: So I always had my team and then my teams would do that cascade right down to their teams. So I always had our teams like always spend time in the, in the shoes of our customers. And then the last thing I did, I did a couple other things, but just maybe it'll help someone. In the audience is I took a clinical position with, uh, at the clinical, at the Cleveland clinic.

[00:07:59] Edward: So I was on medical staff at Cleveland clinic. And remember I told you I was an anesthesia tech. So I was like, Hey, can I work in anesthesia? Like I wanna work one shift in the, or every week so I can see patients. I can see clinicians, I can understand how everything works and I wanna be sort of undercover.

[00:08:15] Edward: I don't want people to know it's not like a celebrity thing. And so I did, and, and only one or two people knew, uh, that I was down. And that was fascinating. And then, and then I would volunteer every week in the cancer center, uh, just as a regular volunteer. So I'd have this patient interaction. So those are simple things that anyone can do.

[00:08:30] Edward: So I Jake's Jake's right on with his examples. Uh, but you need to, no matter what position you are or how long you've served in healthcare, you need to be out there with the people that you serve for sure. 

[00:08:40] Liat: Um, well, fast forward to today, what are you working on today? When it comes to the digital patient experience?

[00:08:47] Edward: Yeah. So, you know, as CEO of divergent, now I'm helping a lot of different organizations in this particular, uh, journey. And they're all at different places, as you might imagine, I'm sure you encounter as well, but it's really making technology so personal. It's like the human touch. And that's really what, what I'm after and, and wanting to help all of our clients with is, you know, technology's great.

[00:09:11] Edward: We love it, right. It can do a lot of things, a lot of good in the world and a lot of good in healthcare, but it has to be so personal. It is like that human touch. So, so how do you do that? How do you really make it? You know, I hate using the buzzwords, but people understand what I'm talking about when I use them, you know, seamless.

[00:09:26] Edward: Transparent. I love the voice, you know, and what you all are doing. And the conversational AI, I think, is key to the future. You know, we're hearing about that now in the clinical side, but I think it needs to come to the patient side. And so that's exciting to work on as well. 

[00:09:42] Liat: So any specific project that you're working on, because my next question is asking how you measure the success.

[00:09:47] Liat: What KPIs you define when it comes to guaranteeing successful outcome of digital transformation projects. 

[00:09:53] Edward: Yeah. So the one that I can give you the best data points on, uh, just completed a few months ago. Uh, but the organization involved, they won like the CIO there won innovator of the year as a result, but it had to do with patient experience, but not maybe as, as, as touch, like as we're.

[00:10:11] Edward: Talking about, but you know, it was really around remote patient monitoring. So, you know, patients don't want to go to the hospital. It's not a fun place, no matter how beautiful your lobby might look. And so you need to do whatever you can to treat them where they're most comfortable. And for most of them it's home, not all of them, but most of them.

[00:10:27] Edward: And so we set up, uh, this capability to do remote patient monitoring. And for this specific patient cohort ones that had. Um, ones that had a comorbidity like of CHF. And we coupled that with, uh, RPMs had CHF and another core morbidity and they had a 30%, uh, mortality rate, meaning 30% of this particular patient population was dying of COVID when we did the RPM.

[00:10:54] Edward: So now the, from a patient experience, they were being monitored like every hour, not just, you know, on a episo. Basis. Uh, and then that way the clinicians could be proactive when they notice something, you know, going out of variance. And as a result, they went down to 0% mortality. Wow. So that saved people's lives, which again is really my passion and why I do the things that I do.

[00:11:19] Edward: And so we're hoping to publish this in a journal cause it was quite, yeah. Quite a dramatic experience, uh, for those patients. And that's why they won, you know, the innovator of the. Um, so that's, that's a recent project where we had measurable KPIs, which was mortality rate was the main one, but you got quite, 

[00:11:36] Liat: quite a rate, quite an impressive rate.

[00:11:37] Liat: I'm curious when it comes to these digital transformation projects, what are some challenges that healthcare executives in charge of these 

[00:11:46] Edward: projects faced having effective governance? Now we've been talking about governance and it for so long and cuz no one. Or very few people have solved it. I've been fortunate to work at some organizations where we took a, a different approach and it really helped because this is what happened.

[00:12:01] Edward: So the problem and, and you know, this is, everyone's doing some great things. Like, I, I don't wanna mention who I just met with earlier today. It's exactly what's going on in their organization. And so it's very common. So they're doing some great things with it, like amazing things, but. It's it's what, uh, I would call a pocket of brilliance.

[00:12:22] Edward: They had a different term, but similar and I wish I could remember. It was very clever. The experience though for the patient was really uneven. So our goal, and so this is what's lacking. Our, the what's lacking is the ability to go from pockets of brilliance, to enterprises of excellence. So the example that I could give you and this person gave you the exact same one, because again, it's common.

[00:12:49] Edward: You could go and look at their digital front door. It is. So they did a lot of the right things. It looks good. It's easy to navigate, but if you wanna really have meaningful interaction with their health system or with health systems where I've been, you'd have to have more than that one app. So it's a pocket of brilliance, right?

[00:13:12] Edward: It's a great app. So if I have cancer, let's say cancer. I have cancer. It's a cancer app for their cancer Institute. Awesome. But I have to, as a cancer patient, I have to not only interact with the cancer Institute, but other parts of the organization as well, I've gotta get different labs, might have radiology, uh, you know, other disciplines.

[00:13:31] Edward: And so now I need their generic patient portal. As an example. So it's, it's cool app, but it's not a patient satisfier because now I've got multiple apps for the same organization. So again, so the biggest problem is, and it's related to governance, it's pockets of brilliance and trying to move to these enterprises of excellence.

[00:13:54] Edward: I think this person called a random, um, random acts of brilliance or something like that was, was his particular phrase. So it's like a random. But it doesn't need to be random. It shouldn't be random. It comes back to governance. It's come back to how do these organizations do they have a strategy and many of them don't.

[00:14:12] Edward: So what's interesting. And not to go down too far on a rabbit trail, but please, a lot of people will say they have a strategy. If you ask to see the strategy, there is no written strategy. So yes, there, there's no doubt. They're not telling. A lie, they have talked about it, but no one's written it down to, and with definition and with KPI, you know, like your earlier question, how do you know this project is successful, especially one around patient experience or consumer experience, right?

[00:14:41] Edward: How do you know? And so they never get down to that layer of granularity. So as a result, people just, they can associate and justify. Pocket of brilliance to whatever that one statement is about their strategy, but because it's not written codified, there's no roadmap. They never get to where they really wanna go.

[00:14:59] Edward: And then they spend all their money on these pockets of brilliance and there's no money left at the end to do sort of that enterprise of excellence. So that's probably the biggest challenge. And I talk to a lot of CEOs. So this is not just CEOs or CMOs, but this is coming straight from CEOs as. 

[00:15:14] Liat: So it's pockets of brilliance, but you also need the brilliance of unifying the project and having a very concise roadmap, as far as what we want to see ahead, what would be your advice for a CIO that would want to take on such a project?

[00:15:29] Liat: What would they have to do in practical terms to actually make it a brilliant pocket, you know, on all end. . 

[00:15:35] Edward: Yeah, I, I think it, they really have to nail down governance and, and when they do is develop a strategy that is signed off by the executive team. And so sometimes we do get a strategy and we do have a it committee, but it's not the executive team.

[00:15:52] Edward: And when I say executive team, I'm talking about the C-suite. So the ideal governance structure. is when the C-suite is the governing body for all decisions related to digital or, or tech, however you wanna say it. So what cause otherwise what happens is a lot of people spend a lot of time in committees, a lot of meeting time and they might come up with some ideas and actually write down a plan.

[00:16:15] Edward: But then someone at the C suite says, no, And so I'd rather get all of that out of the way, very transparently in the beginning. So what I do, yes. I definitely have committees to where I'm getting all the clinical input. You need the, all the business input, all the tech input, but then it's going straight to the C-suite.

[00:16:34] Edward: And so I did that at the Cleveland clinic. So I, I asked for 30 minutes once a month for it governance at. At the C suite and that's where we did it. So I said, here's the recommendations that have come up. I need your approval because then the CFO was right there saying yes or no, there was no politics behind the scenes that often happens in large organizations, maybe small organizations as well.

[00:16:55] Edward: Everything was on the table and everyone heard the same thing. So if you committed in front of the CEO, who was the co my co-chair. Uh, he, it was done deal. It was codified, ratified, written in the books, in the budget done. And so, wow. That that's where you really need to get to. And then from there, you've got a platform to write the strategy, to write the roadmap because the roadmap approval happens at that same level.

[00:17:18] Edward: So everyone's in on it. And of course the smart CIO will always include everyone at that table in writing that roadmap. They don't go off and do it by themselves. No, no, no. They get all the opinions of naysayers. They get the opinions of. Of the influentials those people that are super influential, but may not have the title, they get the people's input with the title.

[00:17:37] Edward: And then when they go back to that steering committee, that plan, they don't even have to give, be the presenter. So I did exactly that. So what I'm sharing with you is, is sort of a best practice that I've actually done, right? So this is not theory or consultant talking when we. Presented the plan to the C-suite.

[00:17:53] Edward: I didn't say anything. It was members of the C-suite or their direct reports. So when there was time for anyone to say, uh, you know, come almost like that, a wedding, when you say, uh, is there anyone here who, you know, wants to say, yeah, uh, it was all transparent and they had to object right there in front of anyone.

[00:18:10] Edward: And no one did. Why? Because they were part of the process. All their objections came out way earlier. So if you do that, I mean, your chances of success just went 10 up tenfold. That's such a 

[00:18:20] Liat: great nugget of advice and a practical nugget of advice from your own personal experience. I'm sure many people enjoy learning from you.

[00:18:27] Liat: Can I ask those naysayers? What are some reasons you get pushback? 

[00:18:31] Edward: Sometimes people, people have their own well, one, they have a bad experience with you with it, with a vendor and they're jaded. So they've had this bad experience and there's no trust. So it's really important to identify naysayers way in advance and win their trust.

[00:18:48] Edward: So I always believe in personal relationships. So I always created opportunities to hang out and if they didn't come to those, cause I, I would do generic ones and invite anyone, uh, if they didn't come and I knew they were a naysayer, an influential. I would go to them, of course. And so I've always found that breaking bread together or sharing glass of wine or beer, whatever the juice really does a lot to take a naysayer off their position or, and, or.

[00:19:17] Edward: You learn more about why they're a naysayer and maybe they have some very valid points. And so you need to really listen. Uh, I, and I'm thinking of like real life examples, you know, as I'm, I'm sharing, sharing this with you, so that, so that's, that's one thing. The other thing is is you, you know, you have to win their trust, develop their relationship, but then prove yourself.

[00:19:35] Edward: So it's one thing to, Hey, let's have a meal together in sing kumbaya, which I believe in, but then you've gotta prove it. And so I've asked people for chance. I said, give us a chance. I said, I know you don't wanna do this, and I understand your reasons why, and here's two things we're doing to make sure we've mitigated your angst, give us a chance.

[00:19:54] Edward: And if we blow it, then I'm with you. We're not gonna do it. And there's been times before where I've agreed with the naysayer and we didn't do it. What, what they suggested. And I said, let's wait a year. I, I, I don't think we're ready. Let's I agree with you. Let's wait a year and see how we mature. And I've done that before, too.

[00:20:09] Edward: And that speaks volumes to the organization as well, that you're willing to. And take action on that listening, even though it's not what you preferred, is 

[00:20:16] Liat: there an example of a time when you. Agreed to just not go with something, but today, looking back, how would you, would you have pushed 

[00:20:24] Edward: more? We were, uh, implementing.

[00:20:27] Edward: So I'm gonna kind of be a little bit generic, uh, is nothing negative against the, the, the company, but I'll, I'll just be generic. Sure. Where they, we, we had an enterprise radiology solution, uh, you know, everything was with the same vendor. So we had an enterprise vendor, but this particular Institute really didn't feel comfortable with that particular vendor.

[00:20:47] Edward: Radiology offering. It was a little bit less mature and there's a lot of different reasons. And I agreed with them that we would wait a year. And that was, that was, uh, a good decision because if you force something it's not gonna go well. So that was the thing I was like, I know it's the right decision to do the enterprise solution.

[00:21:06] Edward: I know, I know. I know. And the political capital that it would take to force it. I would spend all of it and I'd be without political capital. And you have to think that you have to think about those things. I'd lose that relationship with that Institute, which was very important to the organization.

[00:21:20] Edward: Right. And they, they, their hearts wouldn't be in it. So the chances of success just went down. So for those reasons, I said, you know what? Let's let's just go with what they wanna do. And, and mm-hmm and revisit a year later, uh, which has been revisited and now they're moving to the enterprise solution. It was just the right thing, you know, but here's, you know, going back to the, to the relationship is I took that individual, uh, during this one year period and I asked them to visit our data center.

[00:21:50] Edward: And I'm not a proponent of data centers, I believe in the cloud and all that. But this was, you know, three, four years ago. And our organization quite hadn't made that switch yet. And. He showed up. And after an hour I had to go, I had another obligation. He stayed for another hour. He was so fascinated by how the data center reminded him of the circulatory system of the heart and the body.

[00:22:14] Edward: Wow. And looking at the networks and literally looking at the cabling and the infrastructure, he was so fascinated anyways, that led to his decision to go with the enterprise. So. Was hanging out in our data center and learning more built. He gained trust. He saw the people there, he talked to the management there, he gained respect.

[00:22:35] Edward: He gained trust, you know, and, and that's really what sort of healed, healed everything. And, and they ultimately went with the enterprise solution, but had I forced it. He would've never come out to visit it. Would've been negative and we would've had a bad relationship and it wouldn't have been good ultimately for our patients and our practicing clinicians.

[00:22:53] Edward: So I'm glad we did what we did. 

[00:22:55] Liat: We are gonna play a game where you place your digital bets. Okay. I'm gonna name a technology in healthcare and you tell me if it's bullish or Barrish you ready? 

[00:23:05] Edward: Awesome. Number one, telehealth, Louis consumers want choices. And that as soon as hospitals catch up to consumers, I thought we would have through the pandemic.

[00:23:17] Edward: And we didn't, we kind of, uh, enticed consumers back to the hospital, which is the weirdest thing, my very progressive health system, where I led the digital strategy. And we were like, 50% of visits are gonna be all virtual. This was pre. They were like sending me emails, Hey, it's safe to come back. Why don't you come back in?

[00:23:33] Edward: And I was like, no, no, no wrong, wrong, the wrong answer. But I think consumers. So we did go like, you know what, up to 70%, some organizations down to about average now, 10% think it's kind of flattened out. I think it's gonna push back up. So, so I think it's just a matter of time that consumers are gonna continue to push and all the digital natives that are coming in disrupting.

[00:23:53] Edward: And, and being, uh, only telemedicine, like, uh, I think it's gonna, uh, really finally force the hospitals to, to go back to telemedicine. Okay. 

[00:24:04] Liat: All right. Next one. Bullish or bearish, wearables, 

[00:24:08] Edward: bearish. And the reason is until someone figures out how to make it really easy for the clinician, uh, there's so many different wearables, uh, for so many different conditions.

[00:24:19] Edward: There's just so much, uh, M and a, that needs to happen in there before. We go on the bull side. I think, I think it can be maybe in five, 10 years. Uh, we'll see a lot, a lot more of practical things, but right now the clinicians, they, they don't want all these different data points coming in. It's very time consuming for them.

[00:24:37] Edward: So we need to figure out a layer on top of all that, either a layer on top of all that that takes out. Uh, you know, all the, all the things they don't need to know about and just presents the important things or, or there is a platform that comes out that can do 80% of what all these niche providers do, 

[00:24:53] Liat: bullish or bearish, conversational, 

[00:24:55] Edward: AI bullish.

[00:24:56] Edward: So, uh, I think it's gonna take still a little while longer to perfect it. I know you all doing in a good job, um, but to where it becomes like you and I talking right now, I think we're getting a lot closer, but this is the future. Once they use their hands anymore. It's, it's, it's kind of silly. We should just all be able to talk.

[00:25:14] Edward: And, uh, you know, we all know these capabilities exist today. Now it's a matter of perfecting it for healthcare, so, right. So very bullish on this bullish or 

[00:25:21] Liat: bearish. We're almost done. I know what you're gonna say about this one, but remote patient monitoring. 

[00:25:26] Edward: Oh yeah, yeah. Bullish. So again, patients don't wanna be in the.

[00:25:31] Edward: Hospitals are beautiful. I think we've overbuilt. I think we're gonna learn that we overbuilt, uh, not for acute care, but for things that are non-acute care. And so, uh, this is gonna become more predominant and we're seeing it already. Insurance companies are doing it. Uh, some progressive providers are doing it.

[00:25:48] Edward: Um, so we're gonna see more and more, cuz it goes back to the consumer and making technology so personal, like the human touch it's like the satisfactions, right? So the early indicators that we've heard about are patients are more satisfied. Uh, the outcomes are the same or better, and it's half the price.

[00:26:04] Edward: So it, it answers a lot of the challenges that we face today in healthcare. Last 

[00:26:08] Liat: one, augmented reality, bullish or bearish. 

[00:26:12] Edward: Bullets eventually. So, uh, it's gonna take, it's gonna take a little while longer still. I I've done some things and very successful or, but all early stages. Uh, I think it's gonna still be a little while.

[00:26:25] Edward: Uh, but, but I've loved what I've seen. A lot of good organizations are doing little experiments. Like what we did. Like we did simple things like, like while kids were getting their, their, uh, their, their cancer treatments, they would be at the zoo. Walking around the zoo. Right. Um, so we've seen things like that.

[00:26:42] Edward: We did some facial reconstruction surgery where augmented reality was really important to make sure that, uh, there was a really good outcome. So we're gonna see more of it. I think it's gonna take a little while longer. Okay. I 

[00:26:54] Liat: love that. That they're at the zoo. I think adults should be at the zoo as well when they're getting these treatments.

[00:26:58] Liat: Yes. Why is it only kids? Right? We have an inner child. I know. 

[00:27:02] Edward: they shouldn't have all the fun. Yeah. I agree with 

[00:27:04] Liat: you there. Exactly. Speaking of technologies, um, are there any emerging technologies on your wishlist when it comes to patient engagement? 

[00:27:11] Edward: You touched on a little bit, but I think voice is so key because, you know, I, I, I'll never forget.

[00:27:16] Edward: So we do patient rounding, you know, that's another thing that everyone should be. On a regular basis, not this once a year thing, that, that that's almost trite, I'm talking on a very regular basis. So, uh, I was rounding on a patient one time and I came in and he had no arms and legs and it occurred to me.

[00:27:34] Edward: It's like so obvious, but occurred to me. Well, how was he using our, you know, portal? Well, he was actually a very proficient user at the portal using his mouth in a special pen. And he, they had set him up to where he was really good at it, but I thought not everyone is going to be, uh, so skilled as he was and so motivated necessarily.

[00:27:52] Edward: Right. So not everyone we take it for granted that we can type or, or what if they're elderly. You know, and, and don't have, you know, the keyboards are pretty small on our phones. Um, and so don't have that easy or, or they're blind. Um, there, there's a lot of use cases as you know, where voice would just simply be better.

[00:28:11] Edward: And for everyday use too, it's just faster. Uh, it's, it's more clear, you know, I just think that that's an area that's really gonna, uh, disrupt things. I, I remember working in the, or like I told you and all of the. All of the things that the clinicians had to touch, uh, during a surgery that could have been voice activated or voice responsive or even better is.

[00:28:37] Edward: Uh, and so I can see this with patients as well. Uh, but even better is, uh, that ambient capability in the, or where they, the voice would listen for all the safety measures to have been taking place just automatically. And if they didn't take place, maybe a red light flashes or a beep, there's an. It's like, Hey, safety alert.

[00:28:57] Edward: Uh, you, you didn't introduce all the members of the care team or, you know, or you didn't say left side right side, whatever it might be. So I could see the same with a patient and just. Being able to interact with their caregivers, just a lot of opportunity to really make it much more personal. 

[00:29:13] Liat: Okay. We're reeling down to our more personal questions because I just love who you are.

[00:29:17] Liat: Best career advice you've been given or best career advice for CIO. I've 

[00:29:21] Edward: received a lot cause I've, I'm a big believer in mentoring and I've had many formal mentoring relationships. And I recall when I first became CIOs really young, uh, not, I, no one taught me. So I, I, I didn't have someone who sort of mentored me into that.

[00:29:36] Edward: And so I reached back to the CIO at. HCA. So it was Noel Williams at the time. So I reported up to her and I said, no, oh my gosh, you know, my dream came true. I suddenly got the CIO job, but I'm scared to death. What do I do? And I, I wish I, I probably have saved this email someplace. She said, ed, here's the best advice I can give you.

[00:29:55] Edward: She said, people are not your most, uh, Treasured asset. And I was like, what? Everyone says, people are your greatest asset. What is she talking about? She said, the right people in the right place are your greatest asset. So make your assessment very quickly and make sure you've got the right people in the right place and everything will work out.

[00:30:17] Edward: And so I took that to heart and, and really cleared up my team pretty quick. And we ended up having a stellar team that. Dramatic things. I mean, we're, we're, we're Gartner wrote us up in one of their case studies, how dramatically we turned that organization around from a technology, uh, point of view, uh, and that times in my career, because I make mistakes.

[00:30:39] Edward: And there's a couple times in my career where I did not do what she told me, because I let some other emotion get in the way it bit me every time. And so I really hold that, that as the, you know, the best advice, because when I followed it stellar outcome, when I didn't follow it, I paid the price. I, I can tell you three examples right off the top of my head, where I've made some difficult decisions, letting people go, it's no fun.

[00:31:07] Edward: Uh, it's something I don't like to do, but I did it. And in all three situations, and it just differed in terms of how long the time was, but I'll, I'll just give you one story. Uh, maybe a year and a half later, I was at a conference and I was walking. I was leaving the conference, walking to my car. And someone called my name, ed ed, and I turned around, it was a guy had fired a year and a half ago.

[00:31:29] Edward: And when I fired him, he was really upset, you know, but it was the right thing to do. Um, and so he to, you know, ran out the office yelling type of thing, kind of awkward, but that was the last time I'd seen him. And, um, so now I got ready for a punch. So I was like, literally like went into fight mode, you know, flight or flight or whatever.

[00:31:48] Edward: Yep. Uh, I got ready, like, is the guy gonna swing at me? And then he, then he reached out and put his hand on my arm. He started crying and he said, I know that was a difficult, uh, decision for you at that time. And you didn't know it, but I was going through some really bad things in my life. And that's what kind.

[00:32:08] Edward: How I lost focus at work and you did the right thing and it really changed me. So I took some time to reflect. I changed my life around and today I'm now a CIO at some other health system and we were both crying and hugging. And so I'm crying. Yeah. But I know I'm getting kind of teary thinking about the situation too.

[00:32:26] Edward: It was like 10 years ago, but, um, it was a right thing to do, and I wish I had done it for this other person that I'm thinking about where it came to bit me. Cause that person's still probably the same person. He. And he's probably having the same issues in his new gig. And, uh, I should have been leader enough to make it, let him go and, and help him, but I didn't.

[00:32:48] Edward: And, uh, it came to bit me and it's bright biting him today 

[00:32:52] Liat: when we live and we learn, right, which next industry event 

[00:32:55] Edward: will we catch you at? So I'm into my new role, right? As CEO at divergent. I'd probably be at a lot of different places. I tend to speak a lot anyways. And so I've recently like just in this month in may, I was like, I was a keynote to Ohio HNS and Texas hymns.

[00:33:11] Edward: And then, uh, the fun, the fun one was in salt lake city for a marketing, you know, healthcare marketing. And I'm finding that that's probably more where I'm gonna spend more of my time is with strategic leaders and transformational leaders and CEOs and marketing, because that's where, you know, a lot of.

[00:33:29] Edward: Digital is sort of moving to, uh, that's a topic for a whole nother podcast and it's not a popular one. Some of my former peers don't like it when I talk about it. But, uh, you know, there's a lot of CDOs coming into the industry from outside of healthcare and it's, it's good. Uh, but it's also a reflection perhaps of.

[00:33:48] Edward: Of us not doing all that we could have done or should have been doing for our organizations to prepare for consumerism. And, um, so, so a lot of that has shifted to marketing and strategy and different areas and, or whole new digital areas that are separate from it. So spending a lot of time there, uh, but definitely, you know, HIMMS and chime are, are still my go-to type of, of places.

[00:34:11] Edward: Right, right. 

[00:34:12] Liat: That you write that you write about that in your book as well about, uh, folks who come in from different industries and also how the health industry can learn from them and what they can bring to the table. So amazing. So, ed, who would you like to nominate as, um, our future guests? A trailblazer in the industry.

[00:34:26] Liat: So when making 

[00:34:27] Edward: an impact? Yeah, there's two people. So, uh, one is Daniel broach brought you from, uh, New York Presby. So he's my running buddy. Whenever I'm in New York, we've long, been long time friends. He always impresses me every time I hear him. Or talk, I'm always impressed. We go on these runs and we just we're like mentor each other, you know, on these runs.

[00:34:46] Edward: And he tells me about a problem and maybe I've got some ideas and vice versa. He's, he's full of knowledge. He's a great leader. Um, so he, he would be one another one, a non more non-traditional would be Jared Johnson. So Jared was a former. Marketing director for a hospital. He's very progressive thinking.

[00:35:05] Edward: He then has since left working for hospitals. He's kind of struck out on his own, trying to provide support to hospitals that that will use him, but he's a very leading edge thinker when it comes to consumerism. Uh, so I've, I've hung out with him. I I've learned from him. I've listened to his. Podcast he's he really helps if all CIOs would listen to him, uh, they'd get a lot of great ideas, you know, what they could do in their 

[00:35:27] Liat: organizations.

[00:35:28] Liat: Thank you, ed, for taking the time to share your unique perspective and thank you to our audience for tuning into patient journey pioneers. Um, ed, we're gonna see you what the next event. Yeah. 

[00:35:37] Edward: Thank you so much. Uh, for having me you're you're a great person, great organization, and I really appreciate the opportunity.

[00:35:42] Edward: Thank.

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About the host
Liat Kozuch
Liat Kozuch
Podcast Host, Hyro

Part production junkie, part people lover, Liat's passionate about making genuine connections and amplifying peoples’ life stories. With exposure to Hyro’s champions at leading health systems, she started Patient Journey Pioneers to expose strategies from healthcare’s most influential digital leaders and C-suite executives, who share insights that are inspiring the industry to move further and faster than ever. Join the journey as Liat continues to seek the next-best-disruptor in healthcare.

About the speaker
Edward Marx
Edward Marx
CEO, Divurgent

Edward Marx is a highly-decorated health IT leader; over the past decade, he has been named HIMSS/CHIME CIO of the Year, “Top 100 Leader” by CIO and Computer World, and “Top Healthcare IT Executive” and “17 Most Influential People in Healthcare” by Becker’s. After a successful tenure as CIO of Cleveland Clinic and several other healthcare organizations, he now serves as the CEO of Divurgent. Ed is also the NY Times bestselling author of “Healthcare Digital Transformation: How Consumerism, Technology and Pandemic are Accelerating the Future”.

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