Podcast with NYP CIO Daniel Barchi, Part 1: “It’s a Testament to the Ability to Plan and Execute.”

September 17, 2020

Perhaps the most common thread for health IT leaders during the past few months has been the spike in telehealth adoption. Organizations had to quickly expand — or in some cases, build out — their offerings to ensure care continuity. But there were a select few who already had the infrastructure in place; one of those was NewYork-Presbyterian, an academic health system located right in the heart of the Big Apple.
The fact that NYP’s OnDemand platform was already being utilized on a large scale came in handy, particularly during the early days of Covid. Some might even say the organization was lucky. Luck, however, had nothing to do with it. Instead, it was leadership’s dedication in pushing the initiative forward — without pushing it on physicians — and ensuring the right pieces were in place, that led to what has been a tremendous success story, according to Daniel Barchi.
Recently, healthsystemCIO spoke with Barchi about how Covid affected his team’s strategy (particularly in terms of its Epic implementation), why transitioning to remote work turned out to be a positive, and how disaster planning is forever changed.

Key Takeaways

* Being located in New York, one of the areas hit hardest in the early stages of Covid, it was critical to focus first “on the most important aspects of clinical care,” and putting other priorities on the shelf.
* The fact that NewYork-Presbyterian was able to safely open a new facility during a pandemic, despite dealing with a surge of patients, is a credit to the leadership team and its ability to “plan and execute.”
* Having an integrated EHR platform wasn’t just helpful in terms of being able to provide quality patient care; it also helped keep NYP’s implementation schedule on track.
* In some ways, utilizing a remote workforce can increase efficiency, particularly when it comes to go-live testing.

Q&A with Daniel Barchi
Gamble:  In terms of the status now in New York City, there has been a dramatic decrease in Covid cases, correct?
Barchi:  There has. We’re averaging less than 1 percent positivity rate in testing, and have been at or below that level for quite a while now. And so we went through the worst of it in March and April, but I think that New York as a whole is managing COVID well.
Gamble:  It’s interesting; I remember speaking with CIOs in areas like California, which experienced a resurgence after they appeared to have flattened the curve early on. I’m sure that’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind — not thinking you’re too far ahead of this thing.
Barchi:  While I think we’re very happy with where we are. We certainly don’t want to take our eyes off of the need to be careful. That means guarding everything that both health systems and the government are doing in the state of New York.
Gamble:  In what ways has the pandemic most significantly affected your strategy?
Barchi:  From an institution point of view, New York-Presbyterian has been operating in incident-command-center mode to make sure that we manage all 10 campuses and work well with Columbia Doctors and Weill Cornell Medicine so that we have a coordinated response. We’ve focused on the most important aspects of clinical care and have been thoughtful about our shorter and longer-term projects and what gets prioritized.
I’m proud to say that even in the midst of all of this, we had a successful Epic Go-Live at Columbia right before Covid hit in February. At the beginning of August,