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Vinay Vaidya

Our interactions with our technology vendors go much deeper than simple business relationships.”

Vinay Vaidya, M.D.

Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer

Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

A perspective on the future of Healthcare IT in pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Q. How do you measure the success of IT at Phoenix Children’s Hospital?

Measurement of success is an absolutely inherent part of any technology project and I think there is one single goal that stands out – how did it help the patient? If you keep the patient at the center of attention, the nucleus, then that becomes a yardstick for you to measure success. You cannot improve what you cannot measure, and data gives you the tools for measuring. Unless we measure how we are doing, we cannot be improving. At Phoenix Children’s Hospital we ask ourselves: How can we cure somebody? How can we save a patient’s life? Can we get a patient home earlier? Can we get them back to school? Every single yardstick of success has to be measured with the patient as the center of our attention.

Q. How do you spread the role of IT among the front-end clinicians and other specialists?

People think that if you have the right IT solution, it should be implemented tomorrow and it will fix everything. However, the technology solution has to be considered as part of the entire ecosystem – the patient, the family, the physician, the provider, their computer awareness, knowledge, and skills. The newer generation of physicians are very adept in the use of new technologies, whereas those belonging to my generation did not grow up with technology and medicine in tandem.

 

Today, we cannot be dogmatic; we cannot force technology on people. Rather, we have to demonstrate how technology is an enabler of patient care, and then it quickly becomes second nature, just like booking travel via an online website, which is far easier than making multiple calls to the travel agent. If you do it gently, without pressure, without force, and physicians can see that the technology tools are not clashing with what they do, but rather enhancing their practice, then adoption happens naturally, hand in hand with the culture change. But I think we have to recognize that technology is just a tool, and not a panacea for every healthcare challenge.

Q. How do you see healthcare technology evolving in the next 15 to 20 years?

Those living in the era of horse-drawn carriages could imagine the future in terms of a faster horse-drawn carriage, and only those whose thinking extended beyond this limitation could dream and create the motor car. I see a future where information technology will be ubiquitous. I see personalized medicine being commonplace, spurred by advances in genomics. I can see a tsunami of clinical data, where information is captured not only during clinical encounters in doctors’ offices and hospitals, but also at home and school, at work and play through wearable monitors and sensors. And I dream of the day when all this wealth of information will be seamlessly interconnected to produce meaningful insights that reduce the burden of disease, no matter where you are, to take us to horizons we have never even imagined.

Q. How do you see the role of artificial intelligence evolving?

These terms make it sound as if clinical medicine will soon be replaced by artificial robots that would supersede the very human role in diagnosing and treating illness. However, the practice of clinical medicine at its very basis involves careful gathering and analyzing of information from patient’s symptoms, signs, test results and data from multiple sources, an information-processing activity not unlike that of machines processing similar data.

 

Rather than replacing human clinical judgement, artificial intelligence will augment the clinical acumen to scales that we may not imagine today. Just as autonomous self-driving cars depend upon the power of artificial intelligence to have changed this from a science fiction dream to a reality today, so also will artificial intelligence play a critical role in the medicine of the future, hand in hand with the most amazing supercomputer of all – the human mind. We will see more and more of man plus machine in medicine, rather than man versus machine.

Q. How has the role of the medical technology partner changed for Phoenix Children’s Hospital?

Our interactions with our technology vendors go much deeper than simple business relationships. We look to our vendors and our suppliers as our partners in healthcare, as being committed to the same mission and values that we are committed to – caring and taking care of the children. In Philips, we see the same kind of energy, enthusiasm and commitment, not just to succeed at a short-term business venture, but to create more lasting partnerships that together will improve healthcare outcomes for our children, the one thing that matters to us above all. 

See how Phoenix Children's Hospital is

Erasing boundaries in pediatric radiology

PCH Video

People say data is the new gold or data is the new oil. I would go a bit further than that and say that data is the new life-saving drug."


Vinay Vaidya, M.D.

Vice President and Chief Medical
Informatics Officer at Phoenix

Children's Hospital

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DISCLAIMER: 

Results are specific to the institution where they were obtained and may not reflect the results achievable at other institutions.