Hospital leaders used technology throughout 2021 to deliver virtual care, predict outbreaks and more. Here, four health system CIOs share their picks for the health tech that made the biggest difference this year.
Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity and style.
Atefeh Riazi. CIO at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York): In our opinion, the virtual triage made the biggest difference. By first connecting remotely with patients, hospitals were able to determine who needed to come in for COVID-19 testing. It also allowed hospitals to defer visits to those whose conditions were not as severe, allowing healthcare resources to be targeted to those most in need.
BJ Moore. CIO in Providence (Renton, Wash.): In the context of another year marked by COVID, patient engagement tools such as planning, communication, pre-visit tools, payment and telehealth have made the biggest difference.
Zafar Chaudry, MD CIO at Seattle Children’s: I think the key technologies driving the most value in 2021 are collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx; digital care tools used in telemedicine; and the use of artificial intelligence and big data to drive drug development.
Scott MacLean. CIO at MedStar Health (Columbia, Maryland): Our national investment in the EHR over the past decade has demonstrated significant value for patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we learned more about the disease, we were able to modify assessments, order sets, and establish COVID-19 early warning systems across the company. Since the EHR is implemented in all of our hospitals and clinics, any approved changes to our care processes were immediately available to all clinicians. It has also served us well as we have established telehealth workflows, testing modalities and vaccination clinics. When monoclonal antibody therapy became available, we were quickly able to offer it in four of our emergency departments. The EHR linked to the regional health information exchange technology has also eased the burden and made public health reporting more accurate.