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Technology in the healthcare trenches

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Feb 07, 2019

People ask me all the time if I miss nursing. My response is always: “I am still a nurse and have the license to prove it. Being in a leadership position just allows me to do nursing a little differently.” I understand where the question is coming from. People assume that as I moved into leadership positions over the years, I put the nursing profession behind me. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a nurse for over 30 years and I am very proud to be one. Sure, I might not spend much time on the front-lines with direct patient interaction any more, but I can now affect change in a different way which will improve healthcare on a bigger scale.

 

Accepting the role of Chief Nursing Officer with the population health team at Philips represents a new and exciting leg of my journey as a healthcare leader. Even though it is a new position for both me and Philips, it feels a little like coming home. That’s because I have partnered with Philips for over 10 years in my role in health systems. I use the word “partner” deliberately as that is what I believe makes Philips stand out from the crowd. A cynic would say that this is part of a corporate narrative and something every Philips employee would say. Well, my perspective is still from that of a customer, a partner. The people at Philips listen. They ask the right questions to get to the heart of the real problem facing health systems and health staff. They adjust, advise and tailor. They, like the health systems they partner with, want what is best for the patient. I am very excited to be able to now substitute “they” for “we.”

Early health technology, such as EMRs, focused on ensuring health systems met regulatory requirements and that the bills were paid. The patient was not the focus.”

This type of partnership thinking is what is needed as we drive population health forward. It is in fact the secret sauce that will change minds and make pennies drop, and that is what healthcare of the future requires; a mind-shift. Although I am keenly aware of the potential of technology and data in healthcare, I know that in order to get technology to live up to its shiny promises, we need to make sure it’s well planned with a clear destination in mind.

 

That’s where I come in as Philips Population Health Chief Nursing Officer. I will serve as the liaison between Philips and the customer. I know what the front-line trenches in hospital systems look like. I know how regulations shape how work gets done. I also know how care can improve when technology is designed with the user in mind. I know what it takes from both the customer and the vendor.

 

Technology has a bad reputation in many healthcare circles. It is often associated with an increased administrative burden, too many clicks and little to show for it. My view is that early health technology, such as EMRs, focused on ensuring health systems met regulatory requirements and that the bills were paid. The patient was not the focus. Things have changed. I am proud to say that Philips puts the patient right at the heart of care when designing solutions that will make it easier for healthcare professionals to personalize care in a pro-active way. Data can give healthcare professionals amazing insights with great speed. It can tell us who is at risk for what and allow us to intervene with the right care at the right time in the right place. That gives us a real chance to take healthcare to the next level.

 

The potential is there, but I also recognize that population health doesn’t come in a box neatly wrapped up with bow. It is kind of messy and it will require different approaches in small rural areas and big urban centers and in different countries. That’s OK. We don’t need one grand solution that fits all as long as the right mind-set is there; to improve care for the patient. That’s another thing Philips got right. We recognize that it’s about connecting systems and solutions to tailor make population health. With a large eco-system of offerings from sleep systems and remote monitoring to data aggregation tools and informatics, we have the breadth to make population health a reality.

 

I am very excited about this next leg in my career journey with Philips. I feel that I can make a difference and be a part of improving 3 billion lives by 2025. That’s not just another corporate statement. It’s awesome. If you’re ready to talk population health, reach out to me and I’ll listen.

About the author

Cindy Gaines

Cindy Gaines,
Chief Nursing Officer

Philips

Cindy Gaines has over 28 years of healthcare experience, splitting this time between quality and operations across the continuum. During her esteemed career, Cindy has led the integration of patient care across the care continuum and integrated program requirements of third-party payers including pay-for-performance criteria to maximize clinical, operational, and financial initiatives.

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