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      Your Guide to an Autonomous Revenue Cycle
      Plot a course toward forward-thinking innovation that improves efficiency, the patient experience and your bottom line.
       

      HIMSS 2024 Geoffrey M Roche

      Healthcare Rethink - Episode 93

      During this session, Geoffrey Roche highlighted Siemens Healthineers’ strategic initiatives to combat healthcare workforce shortages and enhance health equity. He discussed innovative partnerships, like the one with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, designed to mentor and train youth from underserved communities, thereby addressing key social determinants of health. Roche also shared his perspectives on policy impacts, the integration of mental health care, and the promising future of healthcare technology. The podcast provided a comprehensive overview of current challenges and pioneering efforts in healthcare, reflecting on the broader implications for policy, technology, workforce development, and health equity.

       



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      Brian Urban:

      Yes, this is the Healthcare Rethink podcast live at HIMSS 2024. We're still talking to the biggest innovators and change makers across the ecosystem. And joining us here again, a two-time returning guest on the Healthcare Rethink podcast at HIMSS, is the director of North America Workforce Development, Geoffrey Roche of Siemens Healthineers. Geoffrey, it's so good to see you in person.

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      So good to see you, Brian.

       

      Brian Urban:

      Yeah. Man, so you're a three times HIMSS attendee here. So tell me about your HIMSS experience so far.

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. It's been great. I mean, obviously I've started Monday at the Behavioral Health Forum. I had an opportunity there to talk about mental health in the workplace and why that's so important, and obviously been making my rounds. And then today did two sessions on workforce.

       

      Brian Urban:

      Just doesn't end. One of the busiest guys in healthcare that we talk to here. So Geoffrey, I got to ask, you have had experience in Health Equity Task Force at the state level. Now you have workforce development, where you oversee a ton of different staff and challenges across the ecosystem as well that we still have. So I'm looking at everything that you've touched. What are you seeing as a common theme that's challenged healthcare for the better part of the last maybe five plus years here?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. Well, I mean, look, I mean, workforce is actually an aspect of the social determinants of health. I mean, if you look at it from the job side, the sustainability side, it's an important element. And so I mean, at Siemens, we view workforce as a vital element of social determinants of health. And so if you take that back and think about advancing health equity, you can advance health equity, or you can advance our work in healthcare if you don't have a workforce that actually reflects the patients that they serve. And today, we also just need to have a workforce. We're dealing with really significant shortages in every aspect of the system, and so profound impact on advancing health equity and the social determinants of health.

       

      Brian Urban:

      I love hearing that because I hear Siemens, and I think immediately of imaging, a lot of diagnostics works, but not necessarily so with where Siemens is going. So I'm curious of the Healthineers side of this. I love this. You were describing, it's like pioneers, but health is in front of it.

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah.

       

      Brian Urban:

      So in thinking about the pioneering efforts that Siemens is doing today, can you tease out a few things that you have in '24 or beyond that are really on the innovation curve, pushing us into the next generation?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah, so there's a couple of things I'm excited about. I mean, one, you probably have seen, we do these really exciting value partnerships with healthcare systems. We have one with SSM Health, for example, several others. In those partnerships, we're actually doing some really innovative workforce work. So an example is the Urban League, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. We're building an apprenticeship with them where we're going to literally take individuals that are youth in that community who live in low, significant areas of poverty who don't necessarily have the same access that you and I would have. We're going to mentor them, coach them, bring them into the next workforce at that healthcare system. So it's total about addressing social determinants of health because we're going to address housing in it, we're going to address transportation, we're going to address everything as part of it.

       

      Brian Urban:

      Wow. That's amazing because I feel right there, you're not just going surface level, but you're going deep into generational challenges that have existed for a lot of these families that are of low socioeconomic needs and different communities across the U.S. and probably in the world too. You have such a global reach as well at Siemens. So I'm curious, Geoffrey, there's been so many different tech vendors that are here this year that may not have been here last year, and I think one thing I've been hearing from a lot of guests we've had on our little show here today has been, hey, there's a huge influx of health tech startups and new players trying to add a helping hand or really bridge the gap and help digital transformation. With that said, are you seeing a lot of these new organizations helping with digital transformation? Or is it just too much right now? Is there a big influx?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      I mean, I think there is an influx, but we know healthcare has to transform when it comes to these things. And so I was just meeting with one as I was walking up here, super interesting organization that's actually looking at humanity, and how do we use technology to bring more humanity into how we communicate with our patients and how we communicate as staff. Look, I started as a hospital administrator. I'm encouraged when I see startups and new companies in this space because we know healthcare has a lot of work to do, and we still have a lot of work to do to make it more human-centered.

       

      Brian Urban:

      I love what you just said, and as a little tease as well, Geoffrey Roche is actually going to be one of our advisors, formal advisors as a part of our Data Humanity Lab that FinThrive is launching here in 2024 to be donating our SDOH data to improve health equity programs and research. And we're just pumped to have you on this just renowned board of advisors that we'll soon announce. But aside from that, you've just spread across so many different things. I want to take a quick turn into policy for a moment. So the U.S. White House launched their health equity framework, and it's a very strong guidebook for everyone across the ecosystem to advance at a programmatic level, different impacts to improving health equity. So I wanted to get your take on that because they seem to love you at the White House as well. You got a Christmas card direct this year, signed with love from the president. Tell me maybe your work at Siemens, if it touches policy, or maybe what your perspective is on some of the policy right now that's pushing health equity forward.

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      So I can't give an official Siemens approach on the policy because that would be government affairs. But from a Geoffrey Roche perspective, I mean, look, first of all, you know that that policy was without question influenced by Dr. Rachel Levine. And you know that Dr. Levine was the Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania that I had the privilege to serve with on the task force that ultimately drove a lot of the policy changes in Pennsylvania. I'm encouraged that we have an administration that actually sees health equity as a priority. We have not necessarily seen that historically, and we have a lot of work to do. I feel that that policy and the changes that they're making, looking at Medicare, looking at all the different layers of government, Medicaid included, we've got to advance it. We really have a lot of work to do in this space, and we've got to have policy changes that make it more equitable across the entire care population continuum.

       

      Brian Urban:

      I love that. And I love the way you think too because very strategic in a lot of things that you speak on, and you're being able to actually have a touch into Siemens Healthineers as well. So we're launching a new thing called CEO Predictions. My own prediction is you're not far away from the C-suite, my friend. So can you give us maybe a little flavor of three big CEO level predictions of 2024 and beyond related to digital transformation, whether it is niche tech startups in mental behavioral health, or if we're going to start to see better care coordination in different points of care or anything beyond that? I'm curious, any big predictions you have coming into this space for '24 and beyond?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. I definitely see some level of more tech-quity. There's a lot of focus right now on how do you merge health equity and tech? Can we get to a point where we're building technologies and actually also advancing health equity? So I'm excited about some of the integration work that's occurring there. When it relates to care coordination, I think absolutely. I think we're going to continue to see a lot of work to advance better care coordination. We need to, because we know more care is being provided in the home. We're providing more outpatient care, and so that transition of care is really, really important. And I think startups and organizations in the space of transformation around that are in a really, really good place.

       

      Let me just say, behavioral health I think is going to continue to be a space of a lot of innovation too. I think one of the areas that we've seen growth in is actually startups in that space, and I'm encouraged to see that. This is still a country that has not prioritized behavioral health, and we need to see additional solutions in that space as well. So I would say we're going to see that continue to really grow.

       

      Brian Urban:

      I love that you're saying that because it's right on track with Dr. Jacqueline Naeem. She's the medical director of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation that we talked to earlier today, and she gave me this crazy stat because her background's in psychiatry, and she does a lot of SDOH data analysis at her Center for Innovation in Dallas. And she came across 20,000 different mental behavioral health apps that are available to market today. And that's just an overwhelming figure. And you are a huge advocate for improving mental health, not only from an individual perspective, your career, family, but also for organizations, especially with your work and work-first development. So with Siemens Healthineers, is there a perspective that you have on the exploding app space in mental behavioral health or beyond? Or is it, we're trying to figure this out, maybe we need all these players to help us whittle down who are the biggest impact makers?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. Look, I think, I mean, Siemens certainly sees it from the vantage point of how are we better managing chronic care and disease management across the board, because mental health is all aspects of holistic health. We can't continue to have this, your physical health, your mental health are separate. And so when you think about it, if you think about Siemens as a company, I mean, Varian is a part of Siemens. And so you think about Cancer Moonshot, you think about radiation therapy, all the work that occurs in oncology, we've got a huge role in that. Mental health is a huge aspect of oncology, but we still separate that out in the acute care structure. It's not as if we generally have mental health navigators in cancer centers. We should, because family members, patients all are dealing with those types of things. We have to bring this all together. And I'm amazed in 2024 we still have an acute care system that is still so siloed. And so I'm hoping that we'll see continued work in that space.

       

      Brian Urban:

      That's really exciting, Geoffrey, because I think about mental behavioral health. I think that there's no infrastructure in the U.S. Right now, we fall, you get an injury, you immediately have paramedics, you have ambulatory centers to go to for additional care. Rehab as well, physical rehab, and then in home. Right now, if I had a mental breakdown, what happens? What's the process? It's different in a lot of different scenarios. Do you think in 10+ years, we're going to have more sound infrastructure for addressing episodic care for mental health or even other in-centers care for mental behavioral health?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      So I have a little pause, because we have a significant shortage among those going to become psychiatrists. And so if we're going to have more psychiatrists, we also have to adjust the pay for psychiatrists. I mean, the physician compensation is very different when you look at all the different specialties. And unfortunately, psychiatry is not one of those that appeals to a lot of people. It's a tough industry to be in, but it also doesn't pay the same. And so we also have to address some of those things.

       

      What I'm encouraged by though, to your question, is we are going to see that emergence of more digital apps. We're going to see the emergence of new players in the market. That encourages me because I think we're also going to see more of this, how do we deal with rural populations? How do we deal with urban populations? How do we deal with the schools? I mean, mental health in the schools right now is just the worst it's ever been. We've got to have more resources there because ultimate, if we can help address it earlier in the system, it obviously is going to have a structural impact later in the system. And so we've got to be more preventative, and we've got to invest in those areas. And I'm encouraged that this administration with SAMHSA and such are thinking about those things and have put investments into those areas.

       

      Brian Urban:

      SAMHSA is huge too. It's helping be a funding mechanism and a, I'd say accelerant for a lot of programs that have been maybe just ideated on and just stuck. So you are no stranger to rural Pennsylvania. A still, I believe, a lecturer at Harrisburg University, the capital of Pennsylvania. But it's interesting. Earlier today we talked to VP of Revenue Cycle Management of Pennsylvania Mountain Healthcare Alliance. So supporting all the rural community hospitals across Pennsylvania, and I think about the closures and economic challenges to community hospitals. So in terms of points of care to rural populations, is there anything that Siemens Healthineers is focused on right now for rural populations' access and care, whether it's digital or a balance of digital and in person?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. We've got some great solutions actually in that space. It starts with, we've got a product out called WeScan, where we're actually able to do remote scanning in populations that may not have the workforce. They can still have a non-licensed individual position the patient onto the bed and then onto the scanning unit. And then we're actually doing the remote scanning from North Carolina in many remote areas. That's one. That's WeScan it's called.

       

      We also are doing some really innovative work, just launched a partnership with OU Health in Oklahoma. And with them, we're going to be launching a mobile access truck that's going to go out to provide different access to care screenings. Again, try to get at this preventative nature. Health system and med device tech company coming together to go across the state. Obviously to get into tribal communities, but also very rural parts of Oklahoma. And so there's a litany of different things. For Siemens, we believe access to care and access to education are an effective combination to truly move the needle in health equity and also to improve care as a whole. We see access to care and education as totally our recipe for success.

       

      Brian Urban:

      Yeah. And they complimentary to each other so much so, addressing a lot of the human condition challenges that we all face. But you have that combination, you can really advance a lot of health improvement in the population. So that's why you were in Oklahoma recently.

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yep.

       

      Brian Urban:

      I can't keep up with you. I don't even know. Where are you going next? Tease us a little bit. Where's the next stop on Geoffrey Roche tour?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. So other than I have some PTO coming up, but after PTO, actually, I'll be going back to Pennsylvania. I haven't been in Pennsylvania in a while, but I'm heading back to Pennsylvania first to help with the Pennsylvania Department of Health as having a statewide health equity summit. They've asked me to come back and make a visit, and then I'll be back in Pennsylvania for a couple other visits around all healthcare-related issues and social determinants of health.

       

      Brian Urban:

      Wow. I love it. Geoffrey Roche, you're here. You're there. You're literally everywhere. So leave us with a couple really big things that you learned from HIMSS this year. Anything that you can take away that's going to impact your work in '24 or beyond?

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Yeah. I'm so excited that HIMSS is really starting to understand this human-centered element. There was a lot more focus in 2024 on the human-centered aspects of our healthcare delivery system. So that has me excited. I just was speaking, to your point, at the Gold Foundation's Gold Humanism Summit. And so I'm really encouraged that we're starting to see everyone understand this humanity side. And obviously FinThrive is, to your point earlier, is doing some amazing work in this space.

       

      We've got to prioritize the humanity part of healthcare. We are losing what makes us all work. And the Stanford video, for those that haven't seen it, is so powerful. I've shared it twice here in talks that I've done here at HIMSS called I Am Human. We are losing the humanity side of our healthcare system, truly, and we see that in data. And so I'm encouraged to see that emphasis. The other piece I would say is I love to see the future of our workforce here at HIMSS. There's a lot of the young students here that are going to represent the future. I actually see more students here this year than last year. That excites me because they're the future of our healthcare system. And I'm obviously getting older, as you can see, with no hair. That excites me for the future.

       

      Brian Urban:

      That is so thrilling and promising to hear. And as two current students, maybe lifelong students ourselves, it's good to see the next generation being more involved in what's happening around healthcare and digital transformation. So I love it. North American Director of Workforce Development at Siemens Healthineers, Geoffrey Roche-

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Good to see you.

       

      Brian Urban:

      ... Thank you so much for joining our little show here-

       

      Geoffrey Roche:

      Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

       

       

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