Decoding Innovation: Digital Health Insights into Surgery Partners' Tech Evolution

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During a recent interview, Varun Gadhok, Chief Information Officer of Surgery Partners, spoke with Sarah Moors from Digital Health Insights. Gadhok provided practical insights into Surgery Partners' embrace of advanced technologies, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI). This discussion delves into the profound impact of these technological advancements on the healthcare landscape, influencing both patient experiences and staff operations. 

Embracing AI for Operational Excellence 

Gadhok outlines Surgery Partners' strategic use of AI to optimize surgical processes. Central to their operations is the coordination of surgeries, achieved by efficiently managing block times. AI plays a pivotal role in aligning surgery schedules with surgeon availability and preferences. The focus extends beyond cost savings, with emphasis on enhanced patient quality of care and risk reduction. The company's approach is grounded in data-driven decision-making, with pilot projects serving as testing grounds for innovations and learning opportunities. 

Gadhok provided a crucial insight into Surgery Partners’ approach to implementing innovative solutions. "In our efforts, we focus on quantifying outcomes in our pilot projects. Our goal is to be as data-driven and objective as possible to identify what works and what doesn’t. We learn a lot from failures that highlight opportunities and guide us to refocus our efforts. For us, automation is an essential aspect of AI integration. We’ve implemented numerous bots, including dozens of call bots, designed to analyze and handle routine, predictable processes.” 

The Automation Advantage 

The goal of AI integration at Surgery Partners is to liberate employees from mundane tasks, fostering a work environment that prioritizes career growth, learning, and challenges. Leveraging AI and automation creates a great workplace for existing employees and an attractive option for top talent. 

Flexibility in Healthcare Solutions 

Surgery Partners recognizes the diverse needs of healthcare systems, particularly in catering to the differing requirements of rural and urban hospitals. Gadhok emphasizes the company's unique selling point—flexibility. Whether forming partnerships with physician groups or acquiring centers with existing systems, Surgery Partners avoids unnecessary changes for the sake of standardization. The challenge lies in managing multiple systems across facilities. Business intelligence acts as the connective tissue, aggregating data for better visibility and efficiency opportunities. 

Strategic Approach to AI Pilots 

Gadhok outlines Surgery Partners' approach to choosing and managing AI pilots, with emphasis on input from their extensive team of around 13,000 colleagues. The company actively seeks insights from those with experience in specific systems, technologies, or processes. Collaboration with existing vendors and staying informed about industry trends through partnerships, including Gartner, guides their AI initiatives. Gadhok underscores the importance of extracting maximum value from existing relationships and partnering with vendors on new developments rather than venturing into areas where core competencies might be lacking. 

Adaptable, Yet Distinctive 

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare IT, Gadhok acknowledges the growing interest in AI. However, he emphasizes the need to distill practical and relevant applications within Surgery Partners' unique environment. The company remains adaptable, embracing technologies aligned with its mission and fostering a culture of continual improvement. 

To read the entire interview please visit: 

Hear More from Varun Gadhok 

Listen to an episode featuring a conversation with Varun Gadhok and Phil Sobol, and CereCore Vice President of Business Development, on The CereCore Podcast.  

Read About Our Work With Surgery Partners

Read how we partnered with OakLeaf Surgical Hospital through the various phases of their MEDITECH Expanse project. 

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