Northwell Health - June 2020

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Data and technology driving transformation IN ASSOCIATION WITH


NY’s biggest healthcare provider’s data-driven transformation


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Northwell Health’s Chris Hutchins on how data and analytics are transforming healthcare


echnology has enabled us to accomplish a lot more than we’d imagined,” says Chris Hutchins, VP, Chief Data and

Analytics Officer for New York State’s Northwell Health, discussing how the healthcare provider has adapted its operations to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We basically flipped the switch one day, and most 04

of our workforce who are not involved with direct patient care started working remotely. I can only imagine that the load on the system was massive, but we didn’t experience a lot of disruption. It’s been remarkable,” he adds. “Our entire executive team has taken extraordinary measures to prepare the health system for many scenarios that involve disruption to health system operations.” Northwell is the largest healthcare provider in the state with more than 72,000 employees. Founded in 1997, it has 23 hospitals, nearly 800 outpatient facilities, medical and nursing schools, as well as the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, which alone has 50 research labs. “It’s the most truly integrated delivery network that I’ve ever seen,” Hutchins elaborates.


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Let’s take a look at how Northwell Health improved efficacy of in-house claims with Sutherland Robility.

Automated outreach to payor websites for claims status updates and integration of updates into billing system

Automated the process of performing coding validations for bundled denials and supporting appeals

Automated collec record data & s clinical summa


es more

d the s staff

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“ Technology has enabled us to accomplish a lot more than we’d imagined” Chris Hutchins, VP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer for New York State’s Northwell Health

being deployed in inpatient units that enable communication, entertainment, food service options and much more. Its use, says Hutchins, is “about providing the patients with some of the comforts of home”. For some time, healthcare has been shifting to a preventive model, with the aim of reducing the need for hospitalisations. “Thanks to technology and advances in medicine there are more and more services that

Presently, a key focus for Northwell 08

can be done in outpatient settings

is understanding the entire health

or in same-day surgery facilities so

system from the patient experience

that patients don’t require long-term

perspective. Indeed, the organisation

hospitalisation,” Hutchins affirms.

has a department dedicated to this

Telemedicine, which makes virtual

led by a Chief Experience Officer,

appointments with clinicians possible,

who, along with other members of

and chatbot technology, which helps

the executive team, examines every aspect of potential interactions with the health system from a patient perspective. They assess environment and services, noise levels, ease of access, signage, comfort and even the patient dining experience. According to Hutchins, technology is helping Northwell to achieve a more personalised, positive patient experience. For example, smart devices are

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09 to rapidly identify patient test results

isolation, which Hutchins says, has

and is integrated with the electronic

been received very well. “I have heard

medical records (EMR) have come to

a number of stories where patients

the forefront. According to Hutchins:

were having to say goodbye to their

“Northwell is really depending on

family this way, although my favour-

these types of technology, particu-

ite stories are the ones where the

larly right now, because we have to

patient recovered and was reunited

limit our interactions due to social

with loved ones. Those are the best

distancing guidelines.”

stories of course, but, sadly they’re

This has taken on greater signifi-

not all like that. But just being able to

cance due to the impact of the global

deploy innovative technologies and

COVID-19 pandemic. For exam-

solutions that we previously hadn’t in

ple, patients are being given smart

order to make that kind of difference

devices so they can communicate

for those receiving healthcare is

with their families while they’re in

really significant.” w w r t hwell. ed u

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Hutchins has been interested in healthcare since his early days, when his mother worked in a hospital radiology department. During vacations and on weekends he gained valuable experience, learning about managing care from the ground up. “I liked the idea of being able to help people,” he


Year founded

$12.5bn Revenue in US dollars

says, “and over the years I have had amazing opportunities to get involved in new areas.” A variety of roles followed, from working in back-end operations scheduling appointments and cod-

72,000 Number of employees

ing visits from physicians’ notes, to learning how to build databases and

was blessed with the opportunity

integrating budgeting systems, until

to join Northwell Health.

he was heading up reporting and

Over the course of his over

analytics, which led to a role as an

20-year career in healthcare he’s

IT director. His duties grew untill he

seen how data and analytics have

was responsible for building out new

increased in importance. “It’s only

facilities when practices expanded,

really been in the last decade or so

and for big enterprise analytics. This

that companies in the US have had

eventually led to a role where he was

a chief data officer,” he says. “It’s a

responsible for extending an enter-

result of recognising the important

prise data warehouse function while

role that data and analytics play,

integrating three different data ware-

in helping you to make decisions and

house environments, and helping to

in developing effective strategies

lead implementation of a new consoli-

that not only support your business,

dated EMR. A year or two into this role he

but improve and grow it.” w w r t hwell. ed u


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“ It’s a result of recognising the important role that data and analytics play, in helping you to make decisions and to develop effective strategies that not only support your business, but improve and grow it” Chris Hutchins, VP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer for New York State’s Northwell Health

locations we’ll need vehicles, and where we’ll need to bring in assistance from the countless professionals that have come to support us in New

The value of data and analytics is

York from across the country, as well

particularly evident in the midst of the

as local and state government. All of

current crisis. Northwell’s emergency

those things are being supported with

operations centre uses analytics to mon-

data and analytics.”

itor call center volumes, occupancy rates,

Similarly, analytics is also enabling

staffing and load balancing and multiple

the company to better coordinate

other critical data points to enable coor-

care so it can provide the right level of

dination of critical activities. Hutchins

information for scheduling, for exam-

explains: “We’re monitoring where we

ple when a patient is due for various

have capacity to send the patients so

screenings, or lab testing.

that there are no surprises and sites are prepared when patients arrive.” The company also uses analytics to make predictions such as anticipating what the demand for ICU beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment will be, along with how many staff and transportation vehicles are needed. “It helps us to see in which w w r t hwell. ed u




“ We really have a unique opportunity to make significant discoveries if we can harness this data. I believe it could reveal tremendous transformational insights that can have a positive impact for future generations” Chris Hutchins, VP, Chief Data and Analytics Officer for New York State’s Northwell Health

Hutchins says that one of the things

taking for them to be seen from the

that’s been most impactful is the crea-

minute they walk in. We’re understand-

tion of a registry that’s updated in near

ing what the workflow is that will predict

real time. By analysing records, includ-

where we need to increase staffing

ing data from clinical systems, billing

levels. It’s tied into our emergency

data from insurance claims, and other

operations centre, so they’re able to

information, the company is able to tell

determine where to route patients that

if a patient is due for a test, for example.

call in for emergency services.

“We’re looking at virtually every patient

“We’re also using datasets to man-

in every emergency room we have in

age emergency response vehicles,

the health system, understanding how

and understanding what’s happening in

long they’ve been there, how long it’s

the geographic locations that we serve,” 15


Chris Hutchins Title: VP, Chief Data & Analytics Officer Industry: Healthcare

Location: New York

Chris is a senior health care leader with over 20 years’ of experience developing analytic teams, establishing data governance, data warehousing and business intelligence implementation, delivering solutions focused on patient experience, outcomes, cost, population health, quality, regulatory and risk based arrangements, revenue cycle, health system operations. He has extensive experience with organisational transformation and specialises in integrating analytic, IT and Informatics teams across organisational lines to improve solution delivery and enabling data driven insight. w w r t hwell. ed u

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he continues. “This means we’re able

enterprise data visualisation across

to anticipate where surges may arise,

multiple departments, including strat-

and so can move those emergency

egy, quality, operations and finance

response vehicles proactively so we

because, as Hutchins explains, it’s

can respond quickly. It’s heavily used

intuitive and easy to interact with.

in logistics, and we’ve seen that more

SAP is widely used for cost account-

so with Covid than ever before.”

ing and financial reporting; it also

Internally, Northwell has several key

uses Sutherland Healthcare Solutions

partnerships that help it manage its

for robotic process automation,

operations. Athena Health has been

primarily focused on revenue cycle

the company’s enterprise physician

areas presently.

revenue cycle tool for a number of

Allscripts provides the enterprise

years, using its billing and accounts

electronic medical records platform as

receivable management and analyt-

well as managed IT services. Northwell

ics. Tableau Software is used for

and Allscripts are teaming up to build

Clinical Laboratory of New York CLICK TO WATCH



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Great things can happen when you change what’s possible. Allscripts is proud to partner with Northwell Health in the mission to raise the standard of healthcare for all. Explore your possibilities at

for cancer prevention and treatment. I want to see us continue to attract the best minds for research, medical practice, Information Technology and data science. “There’s a tremendous opportunity here in the New York City area. We have an enormous population centre that’s incredibly diverse, and has repa next-generation EHR that will incorpo-

resentation of the population across

rate input from physicians, nurses and

the globe,” he adds. “We’ve been accu-

other medical experts and relies on an

mulating data for a couple of decades

infrastructure that includes voice recog-

here that would take an unlimited sup-

nition, clinical decision support, artificial

ply of money, and a lot of time to build

intelligence and machine learning.

a similar infrastructure in other parts of

Looking ahead, Northwell continues

the world to start capturing this data.

working on a platform that they have

We really have a unique opportunity

deployed that allows patients to inter-

to make significant discoveries if we

act directly with the health system,

can harness this data. I believe it could

using the web and their smartphones

reveal tremendous transformational

to schedule appointments, search

insights that can have a positive impact

for physicians who can treat specific

for future generations.”

problems — for example by typing in simple keyworks like ‘joint pain’ — and even look for healthy food options in their area. “I’d like to see us continue to grow and I’m sure that we will,” Hutchins says, “doing more breakthrough research and innovation, particularly w w r t hwell. ed u




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