December 9, 2023
Baptist Health’s Chief Application Officer Navigates Challenges of Data Stewardship

Number of wellness techniques have a chief application officer, but that position is expanding as overall health systems grow their engineering base and address rising privateness and security issues.

The top countrywide business for healthcare IT executives is placing new emphasis on the value and high quality of applications and details.

Critical to that strategy is the appointment of Stacey Johnston, MD, as board chair of the Association for Executives in Healthcare Data Purposes (AEHIA), a volunteer leadership crew of the School of Health care Information Administration Executives (CHIME).

CHIME launched AEHIA in 2014 as the initially skilled firm serving healthcare’s senior facts technology apps leaders, in the course of the surge in digitization of health-related documents enabled by Obama administration initiatives. That emphasis has considering the fact that widened to replicate an greater emphasis on knowledge as perfectly.

Johnston is the vice president, main software officer, and Epic software government at Baptist Well being, a Jacksonville, Florida-based five-healthcare facility procedure with about 1,100 beds and around 160 ambulatory clinics.

Whilst only a handful of wellbeing programs have a main software officer, Johnston believes there will be many additional in the upcoming.

Stacey Johnston, MD, vice president, chief software officer, and Epic application government at Baptist Wellbeing in Florida. Photo courtesy Baptist Health.

“When I went to the [CHIME] CIO boot camp, there ended up three of the 40 of us,” Johnston claims. “Some organizations have it as a senior director.”

Applications in health devices are not plug-and-perform. The will need for government oversight of their management has grown as different healthcare departments receive these devices during functions, Johnston says.

Baptist Wellness went dwell with its implementation of Epic on July 30, changing previous digital health and fitness documents software program. That system will be utilised when the health and fitness program opens a sixth clinic in December.

“We felt Epic was scalable to whichever sizing business Baptist would conclusion up becoming,” Johnston suggests.

Johnston joined Baptist Wellness in August 2018 as its main professional medical facts officer, spearheading online training of medical professionals as the pandemic surged. But she also located herself responsible for some of Baptist Health’s additional complicated purposes, such as all those in the system’s pharmacy, labs, and cancer clinics.

“Our new CIO leadership stated that in most establishments, the CMIO just focuses on doctor workflow adoption,” Johnston claims. “The workforce being designed up to aid software adoption does not typically report to CMIOs. So I was supplied the preference of remaining as CMIO, or shifting into this position of main software officer.”

There was a good deal to do just after she switched roles in November 2021.

“Some of the applications we uncovered had been 20 decades aged, and persons were not even applying them,” Johnston suggests.
“We didn’t even have a contract. Portion of my process was to overview contracts to identify [if it was] desired to transfer forward as we’re transferring into Epic. How long do you have to retain that system up and functioning?”

In at the very least one particular scenario, the response was to hold the more mature application running for a time, even immediately after the Epic go-live, to validate infectious ailment studies Baptist Wellness was sending to the Nationwide Health and fitness Safety Network and the Florida Division of Overall health.

It’s no exaggeration to say that numerous hospitals are jogging hundreds of programs, and as some of these are retired, a chief application officer have to oversee what is to turn into of the knowledge created by these apps.

Yet another function popping up in healthcare organizations is the chief data officer. At Baptist Health and fitness, that part is crammed by a vice president of data intelligence and conclusion science, who also transpires to be a medical professional, Johnston states.

Johnston’s key job as main application officer is to manage Baptist Health’s apps. She describes this job as “patching correctly, examining info and archiving, figuring out how very long you keep that knowledge, that you might be constantly doing the quarterly Epic upgrades, and turning on all the capabilities and features.”

Not long ago, AEHIA leadership has also been worried about the great importance of sufficiently defending individual data as new threats arise.

“We are just now in my opinion, obtaining to the position wherever CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and boards of healthcare company companies are beginning to recognize the seriousness of this security challenge,” suggests David Finn, vice president of AEHIS for CHIME, as properly as CHIME’s Affiliation for Executives in Healthcare Data Protection (AEHIS). “We’re only going to be as powerful as everybody we link to.”

Executives in demand of purposes facial area twin issues of late: The info blocking guidelines thanks to choose outcome on Oct 6, and current lawsuits alleging that Fb enabled affected individual monitoring on health and fitness method and clinic World-wide-web web sites.

About the Fb allegations, “they received promoting to give them a location inside the corporation,” Finn says. “No 1 stopped them to say, what details are you acquiring, and how are you employing it? It truly is incredibly challenging to individual privateness from security. Medical practice depends on have faith in. The health care provider has to rely on the data, and the individual has to believe in the facts. It all arrives down to the info. I’ve been declaring that for 20 years.”

About facts blocking, “interoperability is likely to be problematic as it rolls out,” Finn suggests. “We described the knowledge, its aspects and how it really should be expressed. We didn’t define any of the needs of our have privacy and security. We are heading to have to do one thing, and that’s almost certainly going to indicate paying some funds at our person provider businesses.”

In addition, clients never always understand the implications of releasing their knowledge by way of applications this sort of as Apple Wellbeing, which could then be accessed by 3rd-celebration apps, Johnston says.

“We have modified our consents a small little bit, so individuals can opt out of interoperability, information sharing, or [Epic] Care Everywhere,” she suggests.

Irrespective of pressure concerning advertising and marketing and IT, wellness program leadership need to ensure that the two do the job alongside one another to boost widespread initiatives, this sort of as electronic entrance doorways. Executives with titles such as chief electronic officer are participating in a massive function in producing these occur, Johnston says.

As for AEHIA, Johnston states her fast priority is to rebuild its board, which experienced some attrition owing to task transitions and the pandemic.

“Standing the board back up is probably likely to acquire a superior few of months,” she claims.

Johnston will remain as board chair into 2023 to assist total the organization’s rejuvenation.

“As main software officer, you have to be an advocate,” she claims. “It is your accountability to each your clients and your organization to make sure if you can find something that you felt could be completed in different ways, to do regardless of what it can take.”

Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.