Forget About the House, Is There a Doctor in the IT Department?

By Light Provides IT Community with Clinicotechnical Center of Excellence

If you’re reading these words, you’re too late.

The fusion of medicine and technology has occurred. Real-time Location Systems and Asset Management Systems are not about to be integrated with clinical care, they already are integrated. The Internet of Things is not about to be used in healthcare, it already is being used in healthcare. The Insight Economy is not about to take over healthcare, it already has.

Everything you, the so-called disruptive agent, have been preparing for, has already happened. It’s happened so quickly and so quietly, you probably missed it.

Now you’re desperate to catch up. What do you do?

You may have hired a visionary Chief Medical Officer with decades of clinical experience. But they can barely spell IT. You may have the world’s greatest technologists at your disposal, but none of them truly understand the challenges a healthcare provider faces every day.

You’re drowning in a series of “-ologies”; process methodologies, medical technologies, organizational pathologies. Point of care, emergency preparedness, and longitudinal research are different snarling heads of the same beast, lashed together with knotted sinews of data governance, privacy and cybersecurity. Even national security is a part of this scaly monster!

You probably feel like an ancient king, who never needed to read or write because he had a trusted scribe. Suddenly, your people, your fellow kings, even your enemies have become literate. Reading and writing is no longer a special skill, it is a commodity everyone is expected to know. You’re behind the times, and suddenly having a scribe on retainer isn’t a competitive advantage, it’s a rapidly fraying lifeline.

So it is with clinical expertise and technological expertise.

Put simply, the days of having a venerable but tech-illiterate clinician as a Chief Medical Officer are over.
Put simply, the days of having a venerable but tech-illiterate clinician as a Chief Medical Officer are over. The days of having a health-illiterate Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer are over, as well. For Government and Industry alike, healthcare IT requires thought leadership which treats these subjects as commodities; something as basic and second-nature as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

“So,” you may ask, “where do I find this thought leadership? This Clinicotechnical thought leadership?”

Therein lies the problem. The Information Age comes at the cusp of a generational shift, as Baby Boomers retire even as a tidal wave of Millenials rises in between. Meanwhile, the beleaguered Generation X sits, dwarfed in the shadow of both generations.

Healthcare IT vendors and Government leaders may search for Clinicotechnical thought leadership, only to choose between a younger, tech-literate but inexperienced clinician; and an older, supremely experienced but tech-illiterate one. Time will solve this problem, but who has time to wait, when assailed by mission demands and changing technologies?

Luckily, By Light Professional IT Services has found lightning in a bottle. As health IT took on an increasingly prominent role in the Federal sector, By Light realized that a Chief Medical Officer needed expertise in healthcare delivery and IT.  The person they chose is Steve Kastin, MD, who now serves as By Light’s Chief Medical Officer and Clinicotechnical Strategist.

By Light leadership realized that the key to success was the following:

  • Source clinicotechnical talent from a tech-forward clinical domain
  • Identify experienced, high-performing, hybrid
  • Share insights with the community

Nuclear Medicine is among the most tech-forward of all clinical domains, and Dr. Kastin is a Nuclear Medicine physician by training. His understanding of high-tech medical devices, and how clinicians use them, affords him an up-close understanding of the interface where Medicine and IT meet, to become one.

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Dr. Steve Kastin, Chief Medical Officer and Clinicotechnical Strategist

Dr. Kastin is also an experienced, high performing hybrid clinician. In his almost 25 years at the Department of Veterans Affairs, he has:

  • Overseen all diagnostic services at the Bronx VA Medical Center within four years after completion of residency.
  • Served as Director of Clinical Informatics at the hospital.
  • Served as Chief Health Informatics Officer, and later Chief Information Officer, for all of the VA hospitals in the New York City metropolitan area

This dual clinical and technical focus paid off. In 2010, Dr. Kastin was recruited to work for the VA’s national Office of Information and Technology, as their Chief Healthcare IT Strategist. In this role, he evaluated new technologies for suitability in the VA ecosystem.

Success builds on success, and in 2016, Dr. Kastin moved to By Light to serve as Chief Medical Officer and Clinicotechnical Strategist. He ensures emerging trends and technologies are proactively integrated into By Light’s Healthcare IT offerings. He trains and advises By Light’s technical staff on clinical knowledge and perspective, to ensure offerings are clinically focused. He liaises with clinical bodies and clients to communicate technological advances and limits, in doctor-friendly terms. As Dr. Kastin says, “Doctors care about bedside manner. These days, most people have a smartphone at their bedside.”

In hiring Dr. Kastin, By Light designed his role to feed back to the Healthcare IT community. Dr. Kastin is aggressively involved with Government-industry partnerships such as AFCEA Bethesda, ACT-IAC, AMSUS, AFFIRM, ATARC, HIMSS, and more. Moreover, By Light provides Dr. Kastin as a resource on any and all teaming engagements, where his insights are directly involved in opportunity identification, capture, proposal, and task order delivery.

It may seem unusual to have a CxO roll up their sleeves and get involved this way, but in a world where the clinicotechnical expert is a rarity, it pays to share. By Light has served as a trusted partner in the Federal Health IT community, in both the prime and subcontractor roles, and keeps this value proposition strong by ensuring clinicotechnical expertise is leveraged in the community.

If you’re reading these words, you’re no longer too late. The Health Care IT community knows what it has to do to marry clinical and technical expertise. It will take time for such a disruptive shift to ripple through the community. Yet, there is a shining light that industry and Government alike can use to stay afloat during these chaotic times. By Light Professional IT Services is using its clinicotechnical strategy to light the path for the Health IT community. In doing so, By Light provides value for clients, trusted partners, and even competitors. The result will be improved outcomes for America’s Veterans, Military and citizens alike.

 

About the Author: Mike Farahbakhshian was born at a very early age to hardworking parents on the distant planet Krypton. After arriving in the DC Metro Area, Mike spent seventeen years in the healthcare IT industry. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Business Development for By Light Professional IT Services. He also serves on the leadership committees for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Mission:ABLE Awards and AFCEA Bethesda’s Night for the Children. Mike also does independent game design and filmmaking, including six awards from the DC 48 Hour Film Project. His weaknesses include filing expense reports on time and glowing green rocks.

By Light is an ISO 9001:2008 CVE-verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB) that provides a broad range of hardware, software, engineering and IT integration services. By Light provides a portfolio of solutions focusing on digital citizen engagement, including the largest Federal Personal Health Record (MyHealtheVet); the largest Federal identity management initiative (Master Veteran Index); and the National Cemeteries Administration Memorial Enterprise Letters. By Light also provides a portfolio of critical health interoperability applications (VLER Health, VLER DAS, and eMI); data warehousing (Administrative Data Repository, Health Data Repository); and reporting tools. (Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry, Breast Cancer Registry). By Light dedicates its services to improving access to healthcare and benefits to Veterans nationwide.

 

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