Choosing New Tech Tools: Tips from a Hospital CMO

July 20, 2013

digital health and mhealth toolsVanguard Health System probably doesn’t come to mind as a digital health and mhealth toolsVanguard Health System probably doesn’t come to mind as a pioneer in mobile health or health IT, but the Nashville-based hospital system has dipped its toes in and has liked what it’s seen.

Dr. Mark Montoney is the chief medical officer of a 28-hospital system that’s spread out over five states. He’s in charge of coordinating efforts in clinical quality improvement, patient safety and the use of clinical information technology to drive outcomes.

He talked with MedCity News about the process of choosing and implementing new mobile health tools in a health system.

Tell me about Vanguard’s mobile health strategy and some of the things you’ve tried or want to try.

We’ve had some good early experience with mobile applications of AirStrip OB and more recently AirStrip Cardiology. There could be some further opportunities to expand from there. We’ve had some other positive experiences in telehealth applications. We’ve got an eICU in one of our markets where we’re able to monitor critically ill patients through a common location, and we’re certainly interested in expanding applications of telehealth.

What’s the process of finding and adopting a new mobile tool?

Certainly we get approached a lot, but probably the more common way is we identify the issue that we’re trying to address and where we think the application of technology could be a fit. We determine what the potential options are and go through the process of evaluating those various options and determining what the best solution is given the clinical situation.

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How do you evaluate the potential options?

It’s a matter of determining the problems that you’re trying to solve and trying to identify those technological solutions that can help in that process. Mobility, interoperability and ease of use for the clinician are important points to consider.

The other thing is it’s important to recognize that it’s not just about the technology; it’s about considering the process and improving the process and fitting technology in as an enabling solution. People, process and technology — it’s important to coordinate all three.

Any advice for other CMOs looking to try out a new mobile technology?

I think it’s generally good when you’re bringing a new technology into a system to pilot it in a defined or discrete area to demonstrate effectiveness in that area, and then consider expanding from there.

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