Rachel

Leaving a Legacy with the Arch Collaborative

I have been a friend and fan of KLAS for many years. But in March of 2019, I stepped into a new role with KLAS as a global leader for the Arch Collaborative.

Many friends and colleagues have been curious about my recent career shift. I’d like to explain my excitement about these changes and the causes that have prompted me to make such a strong commitment to supporting KLAS’ research.

New Ways to Help

I happened to step out of my CIO position in the NHS during the same period in which several other CIOs moved from the NHS into the private sector. While our timing was similar, each of us chose to leave for different reasons. We have various things going on in our lives that have prompted us to make some changes.

One of my motivations for leaving the NHS was my new position of CEO of the NHS Digital Academy. The Academy aims to train 300 NHS digital leaders—particularly CIOs—in an informatics leadership course by the end of 2020. I feel that my role at the Academy will help me in my goal to improve the digital side of healthcare.

I feel a deep sense of urgency in this goal. Several of my family members are struggling with significant health problems, including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and muscular dystrophy. In my experience, the healthcare system has been suboptimal in serving my family. I know that in order to improve care for my family members and other patients, industry leaders will have to help our physicians.

When I learned about the opportunity with the Arch Collaborative, I knew it would complement my work at the NHS Digital Academy. I felt it was essential for me to get involved, not for money or gain, but to help increase the momentum of positive change. That is what I’m passionate about: moving the needle.

Why KLAS?

KLAS has always been incredibly important to me because it has given transparency into the state of the market. It’s impossible for providers to keep our eyes on the entire healthcare IT industry. In many cases, we don’t even know how mature a segment is. KLAS provides a high-level look that helps me orient myself in the market, as well as details that allow me to drill deep into areas of interest or concern.

Population health, for example, was a difficult market segment and concept to understand. KLAS data provided context for population health that I was excited to share and discuss with my colleagues. In fact, much of KLAS’ framework for population health was used in documentation for NHS England. This shared frame of reference allowed us to get further faster.

KLAS has also given me a view of the actual vendors in the marketplace, the functionality those vendors provide, and how satisfied the customers are. That data helped me as an operational CIO; my colleagues and I used it while making decisions about procurements and who to partner with. Without that information, we could not have created a competitive dialogue around healthcare IT in Europe.

But simply accessing KLAS’ trove of knowledge wasn’t enough for me—I wanted to contribute to it. My efforts to work more closely with KLAS eventually led to me joining their Advisory Board in 2015 and then to jump into the Arch Collaborative with both feet.

The Arch Collaborative’s Potential

KLAS has always been like an encyclopedia of product and vendor data. When they introduced the Arch Collaborative, they became a tool for creating a better clinician experience. The Collaborative allows individual provider organizations to measure themselves against the market and work on areas of improvement.

My healthcare experience has taught me that efficiency and effectiveness save lives. So when I saw the body of actionable evidence being gathered in the Arch Collaborative, I felt a huge sense of urgency to embrace it. Provider organizations had never had a shared standard in the market. We’d been flying a plane without a manual, and the sudden appearance of a manual thrilled me.

I had previously been involved with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and participated in PDSA cycles, and the Arch Collaborative was just as exciting to me. I could see in the data that we would be able to achieve significant outcomes.

At one point, I asked several clinician colleagues, “If we don’t act quickly to improve the way we use our EHRs despite knowing that we can, are we causing patients harm?” Like Peter Parker, I knew that “With great power comes great responsibility.” I felt that I had to act on the powerful information being gleaned from the Arch Collaborative.

I knew that KLAS was in the perfect position to present such critical data. They are an honest broker and trusted partner that can bring together health systems from across the world. No other entity I can think of could do what KLAS is doing with the Arch Collaborative. So when I got the opportunity to take a part-time position working with KLAS on the Collaborative, I was eager to jump on board.

The Future of the NHS

I’m grateful that my work with the NHS Digital Academy will keep me connected to the NHS. I’m eager to help the NHS in any way I can, and I think the combination of the Academy and Arch Collaborative could be very valuable.

One particular way I think the Collaborative can help the NHS has to do with finances. Many of my fellows from the NHS fear that there isn’t enough money to work with and that no significant improvements will be made until more funds are invested in the NHS. But members of the Arch Collaborative have proved that money can’t buy success.

Of course, a certain baseline of funds is necessary to keep a health system running. However, the Arch Collaborative data shows that most potential improvements to the clinician experience are relatively inexpensive. In fact, throwing too much money at the EHR can make things worse.

With Collaborative data in mind, many organizations in the NHS are investing at or near the minimum amount to achieve success. Health systems need to be smart about their estate and financial strategies, but and a few awkward shifts might be necessary for some organizations. But it’s amazing how many improvements Collaborative participants have made at little to no monetary cost.

I would advise NHS members—as well as other healthcare organizations—to focus on balancing money with knowledge, skills, and a solid strategy. Organizations can make strides by making the right investments. For example, investing in the cloud and telehealth may allow organizations to cut back on some resources used to run on-premises work.

In short, I am optimistic about the future of the NHS. We have a journey to finish, but the distance between us and improvement isn’t nearly as far as many believe. I plan to walk beside my NHS friends every step of the way.

All About Family

Working with KLAS is part of the lifestyle I need to support my family and follow my passion. In fact, KLAS has come to feel like part of my extended family, just as members of the NHS have. Both parties espouse similar values that I believe in and do my best to embody.

I’m grateful for the privilege to be lending my efforts to two organizations—the NHS Digital Academy and the Arch Collaborative—that increase my knowledge and abilities to make a difference. I think this is how I will leave the best impact on healthcare. And it’s by helping to improve healthcare that we can leave the legacy I want for my children, my grandchildren, and patients everywhere.