Q&A: Kaiser Permanente's CIO on Predictive Analytics and Other Challenges

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , April 30, 2013

HealthLeaders: If there's innovation going on, you're going to help foster that?

Fasano: We are, and I'd say the call to action is really for the healthcare system and the information technology community to really get going on this work.

I really believe that this industry is at a tipping point, and over the next five years, can truly transform, to where we [have] used information technology to make healthcare as convenient as your banking relationship, as convenient and accessible as any other relationship you have as a consumer.

And now your expectations have been heightened by all the apps that are available to you. Healthcare should be just like that. It should be a simple, convenient experience that satisfies you. A phrase I like to use in our organization is, 'delight our members, delight our customers, delight our patients.'

Healthcare should be delightful. It would be nice if it [were] at every touchpoint. I think the technology and the healthcare industry now [have] a responsibility to come together and really create a delightful experience that not only is delightful, but also benefits everyone's health.

HealthLeaders: To what extent is shortage of talent resources an issue? There are only so many trained people out there to build some of this stuff. Doctors only have so much time to devote to sitting down with the technologists and sharing what they have, because they're busy treating patients. To what extent is that an impediment?

Fasano: The talent challenge in health IT is a significant issue for the United States today. As an industry, the demand for really high-quality information technology skilled professionals is going to be a key turning point for the industry's ability to go through this kind of a transformation.

That said, the great thing about being in Kaiser Permanente is [that] we have 17,000 physicians who are a part of our system, and their passion is for better health, and their passion is for innovation.

So they're oriented exactly right to really drive the future that I'm describing in this book. I'm thankful to have that as a great resource to partner with in the organization. But I would say that my only concern is that we as an industry need to be thoughtful about leveraging the technology capabilities that are being built, because there is a finite resource in terms of numbers of people who will be available to us.

HealthLeaders: Just think what you could do if you had twice as many.

Fasano: For sure.

Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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