Why this talk from the CMIO of Baycare gave me goosebumps
This August, Larry, Amanda, and I attended HIMSS, one of the largest healthcare conferences in the US.
While there, I was fortunate to have the chance to listen to Dr. Alan Weiss, the Chief Medical Information Officer at BayCare, give a talk on BayCare’s COVID response.
He dove into tremendous detail into all the things that BayCare had to do as one of the largest health systems in Florida. BayCare was responsible for millions of patients across their 17 hospital locations.
I knew Dr. Weiss from Clearstep’s partnership with Baycare. But I only narrowly appreciated how difficult his job has been through COVID until his talk. He and other BayCare leaders had to oversee decisions around:
- testing, restaffing
- repurposing facilities
- changing EMR workflows
- setting up new tech systems
- dealing with various supply shortages
- vaccine distribution with an initially limited supply
- developing statistical models to predict surges
- dealing with the death of colleagues and patients
- and much more
I was overwhelmed. It was truly incredible and genuinely humbling that we even had the chance to work with such an incredible organization to increase the impact of their response to COVID even in a small way.
There was a key detail Dr. Weiss shared that gave me goosebumps.
In addition to Clearstep's COVID screening and navigation solution, BayCare deployed a COVID care journey monitoring software.
The care journey monitoring software was a system where COVID patients were monitored via AI chat after discharge from the hospital. Here’s how it worked: based on their risk profile, patients would be sent a text by BayCare with a unique link to a COVID symptom tracker. The symptom tracker would assess via chat whether their symptoms had improved or worsened. Based on their responses to our questions, our clinical intelligence categorized the patient into different risk strata. As soon as a patient completed their tracker, that data was sent to BayCare and populated the population health team’s dashboard. If a nurse on the team saw that someone moved to a severe strata, they could pick up the phone and call the patient.
I was stunned when Dr. Weiss frankly stated that: “this system saved people’s lives.” He gave example stories of patients whose symptoms progressed rapidly. Because of the care journey monitoring system, nurses immediately got in touch, called an ambulance to the patient’s home and brought them to the ER, saving their lives
Hearing this raised the hair on my skin. It gave me such deep appreciation for the opportunity we have to partner with groups like BayCare. When working in technology, it’s easy to get lost in the lines of code. Thank you to BayCare and Dr. Weiss for reminding us that clearer, better technology can save lives.