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Healthcare CIO Edward Marx: IT ROI is measured in lives saved

Mary K. Pratt | May 20, 2014
Edward W. Marx focuses on technology's power to transform the healthcare industry.

Another area is patient engagement. That goes back to population health, but it's about mobility and connected health. Not too many people want to come to the hospital, so is there a way to deliver healthcare at a lower cost that's not in the hospital? We call it connected health. You should be able to do a lot more today with your local provider on your smartphone than you do. And we're trying to engage the clinician in the same way. Why go to the hospital if we can give them the data wherever they are so they can take immediate action?

The third area is predictive analytics. We should be able to take this data and make predictions around risks so I could get a call or text from my personal health record that says, "Come in in 30 days for another lab workout" or "Keep exercising."

What's next for your IT department? I think there are three areas. [One is] optimization. We implemented a lot of technology and we did pretty well, but as you get more experience and add new features, you have to make sure you optimize your investment. We come back through with another team after we've been doing it a couple of years and see what more we could be doing or what new features we could take advantage of. Another area is BI. We're going to get to prescriptive analytics, get very customized to the individual. And then the third area is the whole concept of innovation. We have to constantly challenge ourselves on how we can come up with a better way of doing things.

What can IT leaders in other industries learn from you and other healthcare CIOs? Once a year, I take my leadership team and I pick another company and we spend the entire day together. I've done this with Kimberly-Clark, RadioShack, Pier 1, 7-Eleven. And we learn from each other. I think what they can learn from healthcare IT is our focus on quality and testing. If we make a mistake, it can cost someone their life. In other [industries], it might mean cost overruns. So we take extraordinary steps to make sure there's high quality and lots of testing.

What does it take today for IT departments to ensure high customer satisfaction? I have three formulas. You have to have as much eye-to-eye communication as possible. They need to see me rounding with doctors and nurses on the floor, so they know I understand what they're doing. Another way is face to face. You have to know the strategy, where they want to go. And the final is peer to peer. Physician satisfaction is a key indicator to us, and our highest area of satisfaction for the physicians was IT at 94%. We're above 80% overall with everyone, and that's world-class according to Gartner.


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