"Technology solutions are a critical success factor in giving patients the information to make critical choices"

Scot Stevens, CIO and VP of University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, on the challenges facing the Irish healthcare sector.

11th January, 2019

What's your name?

Scot Stevens

What position do you hold?

CIO and VP, UPMC Hillman Cancer Centre and UPMC International in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I oversee the development and execution of the information technology strategy for UPMC’s US-based oncology service line as well as all international locations. I am fortunate to work on a daily basis with clinical and operational industry experts from UPMC, providing outstanding patient care to the communities we serve, through clinical and technological innovation, research, and education. The mission of UPMC, and it’s focus on the patient, is what motivates me to deliver excellence in customer service and innovation.

What is your professional background?

I’ve been involved in IT systems professionally for over 25 years, almost entirely in the healthcare industry. My first health IT related job was building computers for a start-up health insurance company in Denver Colorado. I was the second IT staff member, and tenth employee.

For nearly ten years, I led the development of their IT services as the company grew to cover a majority of Colorado’s underserved populations. I did everything from building PC’s to designing local and wide area networks, security, systems administration, and software development. I designed the corporate data-centre and built a service focused organisation that supported all technology aspects of the insurance business. I learned a lot about aligning IT investment with the business needs of the organisation. I can honestly say, I worked myself out of my position as both the organisation and my team matured.

I was able to transition into a consulting arrangement to pursue developing an IT services solution I had envisioned for physician practices. That was short lived as my wife and I started a family which led us to Pittsburgh and my current employer, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre). At UPMC I began with oversight of IT support for the oncology outpatient clinics. My initial focus was to help move a few innovative IT software ideas along that were being led by a few of our lead visionary physicians. One, an oncology decision support platform, ultimately led to a spin-off company called Via Oncology, now owned by Elsevier.

My role at UPMC evolved to oversee the oncology service line comprised of over 70 cancer centres, and to bridge the IT strategies for cancer research as well as UPMC’s international initiatives which include 4 cancer centres and three hospitals currently.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I spent two amazing years between college and graduate school pursuing the ultimate adrenaline fix skiing Colorado’s Rockies. I made ends meet by driving snow-cats and serving as a “handy-man” for a large vacation rental company. I learned a lot about self-resilience, independence, and picked up some skilled trades that I still use today. A major bonus was that I met my wife during this “extended vacation!”

You are speaking at the 2019 Health Summit. What are you speaking about?

I will be presenting on what healthcare innovation means to UPMC, provide some examples of what we are doing in the United States, and share a few projects that are underway in Ireland.

What challenges do you see for the healthcare sector in Ireland?

Ireland’s public health system is unacceptably overwhelmed and access to necessary healthcare services is difficult for a majority of patients.

Where would you like to see the health service in 10 years’ time?

I would like to see the patient become empowered in their healthcare services by having the necessary information to make critical choices, have access to high quality and timely care, and become more focused on wellness thereby reducing the overall cost of care and improving health overall. I believe technology solutions are a critical success factor in achieving this and accelerated innovation is required if we are to see a change in the next decade.

Scot Stevens is speaking at the 15th national Health Summit on February 7, 2019 at Croke Park. Full details are available at www.healthsummit.ie

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