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The opening session from Paubox SUMMIT 2021: Secure Communication During a Pandemic.

Pande is the vice president and chief technology officer of Stanford Children’s Health, the only healthcare system in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to pediatric and obstetric care. It is also one of the few in the country. As CTO, Pande is responsible for all aspects of technology selection, deployment, and delivery for Children’s Health.

Pande explores what digital transformation means in a post-pandemic world and how organizations worldwide can focus on technology as a support rather than a crutch.



Anshul Pande: We saw that there were certain pillars, EHR for us, for us was a pillar. Same thing with eirp. These are systems that are really hard to change, or they’re expensive to change. And they’re not things that you change every 234 years, they have usually a 10 to 15-year cycle, if you’ve got a good product, if you’ve got a good company backing it, and you’ve got a good team continuing to support and implement it.

We also thought the way we have developed our governance, which helps us to ensure that we’re able to make decisions quickly, we’re able to get different perspectives and the decisions that we’re making and engage our business and operations, as well as clinicians, was a huge pillar for us. And then everything else that we did from a digital perspective was in between things that these things can solve, we were looking at products, so think about a VP of products on the digital space, that is then connected to these pillars that are kind of immutable, for us.

One of the other ways we looked at projects that we are working on is what stage is this project on? Is it in the ideation stage, we’re just talking about it, talking to different vendors and software developers about it, talking to some of the pillars about it, to understand what is possible and trying to get best practices not only from healthcare but from other industries? So for example, chatbots, we talked a lot to folks in other industries, especially in banking, because they had done chatbots before.

So we had a lot of conversations with Capital One, we had a lot of conversations with eBay in terms of how they were thinking about it so that we could take some of those best practices into healthcare. Once we have completed the ideation, we had a sense of what the product is, we had a sense of what the market looks like, we start getting into proof of concepts, we pick up anywhere from one to two docs to one to two practices to actually test it out and learn in real life, what this would look like and how it would feel.

After that it was the scaling upstage to say, Can we do this across the board and scaling up has its own challenges can the product with standard, can we as an organization scale things up. And finally getting into a steady state, which is you’re just looking at feature enhancements, upgrades, etc. It’s less cumbersome, and there’s a support team handling at not a project team. And then some of these things transitioned over time as we mature. And then, you know, COVID hit, and it was all hands on deck.

It was an interesting period for us, in terms of the impact and the implications it had to our lives in the early days were pretty scary, we actually did not quite understand what this virus does, how it propagates, and what the implications could be. And if you think about us, we take care of the sickest kids in the Bay Area. And that meant we had to be extra cautious a lot of them how our immune-compromised, which meant that any risk could jeopardize their chances of survival. Now luckily for us, we have a really good program for infection prevention and control. And they went into a full mode in terms of ensuring that the best practices that they use could be adopted throughout the hospital very, very rapidly. And this is one of my favorite quotes.

You know, with every crisis is an opportunity, we shouldn’t waste that. And we definitely took advantage of this particular one. Despite it being a pretty painful time, it was also an incredible time to innovate in healthcare. In fact, we think that we did in six months, what historically would have done in six years. And part of the reason for that was one, there was no playbook for COVID so a lot of things were done on the fly as we were learning more about it. And as we learned more our approach to doing things changed. In fact, we create a new rule for engagement we had to be very creative, we had to do rapid test cycles. We were okay with failing fast and moving on. And this is unheard of in healthcare is extremely conservative as a business.

So you know, when you talk about measuring twice and cutting once we measure 10 times and cut ones you know, even the waterfall approach for project management fails miserably, which is what we use heavily. And Sprint’s weren’t fast enough when we were dealing with COVID and dealing with new information coming in.

So we were making decisions on the fly, and timelines were deeply compressed during this period of time. But on the flip side, if you looked at our adoption, we standardized a whole bunch of things very, very quickly. We did not customize it. And then really there wasn’t another choice, both from a provider and a patient perspective.

The whole concept of let’s give a lot of choices kind of went away. And the idea of giving one really good solution was what we were driving towards. Finally, there was tremendous executive engagement. You know, we have to rethink our business models and support models and you have to survive before you can thrive. So it made a lot of sense for us to kind of work together.

Watch every minute of Anshul Pande's session here.

Learn more about Paubox Spring Summit, Secure Communication During a Pandemic.

Read a full recap of Paubox Spring Summit.

Learn more about Anshul Pande.


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