Stanford Hospital CIO Uses Innovation Council to Screen Ideas

12-7-2012 6-38-39 PM

For Carolyn Byerly, CIO of Stanford Hospital and Clinics, innovation is a process, not a buzzword. To make sure that the teaching hospital with 1,044 faculty physicians regularly incorporates innovation, Byerly created a 10-member Innovation Council consisting of a mix of clinicians and IT staff.

Byerly, speaking to the Southern California HIMSS CIO Conference in Los Angeles on December 5, said the council meets regularly to screen ideas. “If the council says OK, we will send it to the test lab. If it passes the test, we will create a prototype,” she said.

The CIO said the council has been actively seeking new technologies to implement at the new hospital Stanford is building, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

Byerly noted that Stanford has become a region wide healthcare organization in recent years by buying medical groups in on the San Francisco Peninsula and in the East Bay. Stanford Hospital uses Epic, and it has been actively encouraging its referring medical groups and IPAs to move to Epic by subsidizing ownership costs.

The CIO said that Stanford’s top priority now is to become a provider of community-based medical care, and it is building out care capabilities to serve patients in their home. She noted that this is an major change of direction from the historic priority of seeking to serve patients in the hospital.

She said the drive for community-based care is driven by new reimbursement models such as fee-for-results and incentives for meeting specific quality measures.

To further this goal, her department is investing in technologies to support the new clinician workflow with an emphasis on connectivity and coordinated care.

She cited as one example Stanford’s online portal. “We must extend it and make it available across other organizations.”

Also, her department is working on providing a real-time quality dashboard”to clinicians and looking at investing in predictive analytics.

Byerly said she believes in outsourcing when it makes sense and noted she recently spent $30 million on a contract for security and privacy of PHI.

Stanford is fortunate to be located in Silicon Valley. The hospital is actively working with a number of local high-tech employers such as Intel, Cisco, eBay and Google. She notesd that Stanford has opened a dermatology clinic at Cisco to complement the company’s existing employee clinic.

The new dermatology clinic uses Cisco Telepresence technology to enable patients to have online consultations with dermatologists based at the hospital. Byerly said Stanford is seeking to become a global provider of certain clinical services and has opened telepresence clinics in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

This article was contributed by James Harris, president of, a healthcare technology marketing agency.

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