An Appointment With: John Bosco, SVP and Chief Information Officer
The role of Information Technology in healthcare is ever more important in delivering outstanding care that patients can trust. Whether it be delivering real-time access to patient information or helping consumers access Northwell services in a convenient mobile environment, Northwell’s IT department is leading the way. As a leader within Northwell since 2004, John Bosco serves as the senior vice president and chief information officer. Overseeing the information technology function of the largest integrated healthcare network in New York is no small task. We caught up with John to hear about how the IT department is continuously growing and how it’s a department that’s Truly Innovative.
How has Northwell’s IT department grown over the past few years and how will it continue to grow?
Northwell’s IT department has grown and continues to adapt to the changing landscape in healthcare delivery and financing. Our priorities have shifted as a result of new care models, new payment models, the move toward personalized medicine, consumer demands, and the acceleration of new, innovative technologies that are starting to take hold. For example, we expect artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will help drive improvements in clinical care, operations, or financial performance, providing better clinical decision support to clinicians, making the systems more efficient for them to use, and helping to automate repetitive tasks. There is a new device or app invented multiple times every day. It’s our job to understand how to take advantage of these emerging technologies to improve the quality and efficiency of care.
As Northwell continues to grow and expand, so do the technologies and staff needed to support our health system. We are very focused on building a connected, integrated health system, where clinicians have real-time access to the information they need to treat their patients. Every Physician practice, hospital, imaging center, ambulatory surgery center, and our many other care venues, are connected together through our Health Information Exchange technology so all data about a patient can be delivered where and when it is needed.
Providing easier and more convenient access for consumers to access Northwell services is a major focus right now. We have got to make consumers feel we know them and their preferences when they come to us, make it easy to get an appointment through an app on their smartphone, and reduce the burden for them to provide the information we need to collect in order to treat them and produce a bill for our services. We want patients to visit our health system from the time they are born and throughout their lifetime.
The protection and safeguarding of our patient’s data is one of our most important responsibilities as a health system. With all of the cybersecurity problems happening today that you can read or hear about in the media almost every day, we continue to invest in people and technologies that prevent hackers and malicious software from entering our networks and systems. Training all Northwell employees on safe practices, such as not responding to potentially malicious emails, is paramount to our effort to protect our technology environments.
Are there any areas in IT that are helping to drive current or future growth?
The changes and innovations taking place in health IT require me to find new skills in the marketplace. Software developers used to shun healthcare given that we traditionally purchased commercial software systems and focused on implementations -but the rapid changes in healthcare delivery, and the innovations taking place, now enable us to develop innovative software that is not available in the market to purchase. IT Security engineers are one of the hottest jobs in the market. Data scientists who can comb through large databases to find insights into how we can improve quality and efficiency are another hot, and difficult skill to find. Software developers and support people who know how to operate in the ‘cloud’ environment are also very valuable to us.
Healthcare IT is going through some big changes industry-wide. How is Northwell being Truly Innovative with technology to stay ahead of the curve?
The three vectors changing the healthcare landscape include consumerization, mobility, and “uberization” of our technology infrastructure. These three vectors are empowering the patient to manage their data, and get access to the right care giver, at the right time, and at the right place. The increase in the tech savvy consumer population has pushed technology towards a consumer model. Smart phones used to belong to a privileged few, now the value of two way real-time voice, data, and video communications has resulted in there being a super computer in the hands of every citizen. Phones have become the camera, the recorder, the guide, and a healthcare access device.
With the arrival of the ‘cloud’, transmission, storage and retrieval of information made the mobile ecosystem whole. Traditional locked-down regimented data centers and applications are in the evening of their life. Cloud is available to the consumer on an as needed basis with a pay as you use model. Uberization has engulfed the technology infrastructure.
Northwell is in the eye of this paradigm shift affecting all facets of healthcare and the care delivery model. Innovation is the art of thinking that leverages this paradigm shift and enables care delivery effectively. With consumerization, mobility, and uberization of information technology, Northwell is on a journey to be a health buddy to our patients throughout the continuum. Agility is our accelerator that enables a real time interface with our patients, providers, administrators, payers and regulators to provide actionable clinical information.
We have invested in people, tools, and new processes that will enable us to be more innovative and quicker to market with new technologies. It is hard work to shift from older technologies and ways of doing things that have existed for decades. We are deploying systems architected on open industry standards such as web, HL7, FHIR, and other standards. Handshakes with external systems are enabled by employing open application programming interfaces (API) stacks. Applications are developed using an agile framework with hybrid-cloud back end, enabling the transmission of data to the right environment to enable mobility and scalability. The overarching strategy is to move data from creation to destination to retrieval in the most effective and economical manner.
Northwell IT is positioned to optimize opportunities resulting from these paradigm shifts in the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies. The future is exciting and holds the promise of a vastly different way of our consumers and clinicians interacting with each other.
How is Northwell IT innovating its workforce practices?
As one of the most innovative healthcare systems, we want to ensure that our technology culture is progressive and attracts and retains top talent. The workforce of the future is more mobile and want new ways to work. In response to this shift, the Information Services department has a group of leaders working on what the future of our workforce will look like and how to keep them engaged and productive.
We see more opportunities to increase collaboration and knowledge sharing across internal departments. Using more virtual workers and work-from-home programs presents an opportunity for us to bring down our labor and office space costs, while increasing employee satisfaction by providing the flexibility they may need and want for work-life balance. It’s also possible we will look toward an IT office in another state in order to find enough talent for our projects.
In addition, the jobs of the future at Northwell must become increasingly centered around the consumer, and some IT workers may not require as much healthcare expertise as they currently require.
We also see an opportunity for using external and internal crowdsourcing to solve problems and innovate.
Northwell IT is already making progress to be ready for the future of our workforce from a leadership perspective, now we are more focused from an organizational and talent perspective.
Our goal is to become an employer of choice and best place to work. In order to meet this goal, we need to respond to the changing labor demographics which in turn allows us to expand our talent pool and retain the best. It’s a win-win for both employer and employees!
What role will Data play in the future of Healthcare IT and here at Northwell?
Northwell has a long history of utilizing the vast amounts of data available to assess our performance and drive clinical improvements, operational efficiencies, and improve financial performance. We continue to grow our capabilities to enable more and more sophisticated analytics with the implementation of an enterprise data warehouse that combines clinical, operational and financial data and cutting edge visualization tools that enable both enterprise-level and department-specific analytics. The next iteration of this will be the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to begin moving toward more predictive analytics to improve clinical care and financial outcomes. Northwell will compete on our data in the future. Our ability to mine the vast amounts of data we possess will be our differentiator, very much like how Amazon revolutionized the consumer experience of buying goods online.
What is an interesting fact that people should know about you?
I don’t know that I’m all that interesting of a person! My priorities are my family, my friends and my career. I love working at Northwell with so many people who share the same passions I do for excellence in everything we do. I am thankful to work at such a great health system where helping people is always our highest priority. I’m a born-and-bred New Yorker and truly believe New York is the center of the universe! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Students: Find your future at Northwell Health as an Information Technology Intern!
At Northwell Health, you have the opportunity to use Information Technology (IT) to make a positive impact on the lives of others. That’s because our progressive Health IT capabilities are critical to our ability to deliver exceptional care for our community.
Through our Information Technology Internship, you can play a key role in advancing our solutions in areas such as strategic planning, project management, security, informatics, infrastructure, and more. Through your participation in the program, you will also be well positioned for success as a prospective Northwell Health employee. But don’t take our word – listen to what our interns had to say!
Northwell Health IT interns don’t sit on the sidelines – they’re in the game! That’s how Rebecca Logan, IT Project Administrator Intern, felt. “I was able to shadow the Project Administrators and was exposed to everything they do on a day to day basis. I was also included in all types of meetings and training. I was even invited to attend their first team outing at Citi Field, which made me really feel like I was a part of the team!”
As an Information Technology intern, you’ll learn from a department that is integral to the largest health system in New York State. Kristin Wisniewski, MBA Project Control Coordinator, discovered this during her internship. “The biggest takeaway I learned is that as a whole, Northwell Health relies heavily on the Information Services department. Information Services is the main driver behind the most current and efficient technologies available to help provide the best quality of care to patients.”
Although you’ll be working in the Information Services department, you are first and foremost, a part of the Northwell Health family. “I especially loved the culture that Northwell promotes in its facilities. I was always greeted with a smile and treated equally,” said Shaina Koch, IT Security Investigations Intern.
The Information Technology Internship can ultimately lead to a job offer. It did for Rebecca Logan, who was offered a Project Administrator position at the end of her internship, “I am very thankful for the opportunity I have been given, and look forward to all of the opportunities to come! I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me as my career unfolds at Northwell Health!”
No matter what path your career takes, an Information Technology Internship is an invaluable experience for any student. Shaina Koch, IT Security Investigations Intern, agrees. “As cliché as it sounds, the most prevalent lesson I learned is to always put in 110%. Always ask for work and ask plenty of questions. Only you can stand in the way of your success!”
The application for the Summer 2019 IT Internship Program will be opening in February of 2019. Check back for more information and be sure to join our talent community.
From the everyday thermometer and blood pressure cuff to the most sophisticated life support, MRI and laboratory equipment, the modern clinician depends on technology in every aspect of patient care. The more advanced the tool, the more important the technological support. Which is why it’s critical that we have experts on our Biomedical Engineering team. And with the increased use of wireless and online communications in health care, this team is more important than ever to protect hospital medical equipment from cyber-attacks.
“Cybersecurity is currently one of health care’s largest concerns. The unlawful manipulation of medical devices locally, or more recently remotely, via malware and ransomware attacks, represents an immediate threat to the safety and security of those for whom we provide care. Biomedical Engineering must now consider the impact of the “Internet of Things” as a growing number of medical devices and systems are electronically integrated, including integration into the medical record.”
— John Langone, Vice President, Biomedical Services Division
Northwell Health’s Biomedical Engineering team assists in the evaluation and selection as well as the management of all equipment maintenance and repair activities that makes our exceptional patient care possible. With 22 hospitals, over 450 physician practices, ambulatory centers, labs, research facilities and more, this team is responsible for approximately 120,000 devices throughout our healthcare system. Those devices and equipment are getting more complex and connected every day.
These new challenges require professionals with additional or “hybrid” skills, part biomedical engineering technician and part medical device security specialist.
What does it take to take on this challenge? You’ll need to be ambitious with a strong electrical engineering background, math proficiency and basic knowledge of physiology. As care continues to move from the hospital environment to offsite or home environments, telehealth is becoming more important. Your experience should include exposure to network and cybersecurity issues, where you will need to think fast and adapt quickly. Above all you must be able to deliver timely solutions to complex challenges, all while keeping your cool under ever-changing conditions.
For those who have what it takes, they can be part of a Biomedical Engineering department responsible for device repair, technological upkeep and preventative maintenance as well as troubleshooting and responding to service recalls on medical equipment. The complexity of the role increases exponentially as you work in collaboration with the health systems network security team to identify and mitigate potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
These positions offer tremendous career potential. Northwell Health has a strong career path, with three levels of Biomedical Engineering Technicians (BMET I, II and III) and in some cases Technical Imaging Specialists, each handling increasingly critical and complex medical equipment. Driven techs are provided with the ongoing education, training and support needed to grow into each level. We also sponsor certifications for all our techs through the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). For those looking to excel further in their career, we have a managerial path as well as higher levels of technology training that takes techs into other aspects of medical device management.
It’s amazing what a difference a day can make. IT professional Amrit Singh found that out last year when he attended the Northwell Health IT Virtual Career Fair.
At the Virtual Career Fair, Amrit visited a variety of virtual “booths” that enabled him to explore opportunities in data security, IT infrastructure, project management, clinical informatics, medical informatics and more. When he discovered the area that aligned with his skills and experience, he was able to speak directly with Northwell Health IT staff and even secured an interview.
“The opportunity to talk to recruiters and be in contact with management was great”, Amrit explains. “I really liked the fact that I could speak directly to hiring managers.”
Following the IT Virtual Career Fair, Amrit was offered the opportunity to join our IT team as an IT Project Administrator for the Office of the CIO. He’s contributing his expertise to an impressive group of more than 1,500 skilled professionals who are implementing and supporting advanced clinical and technological systems to help one of the nation’s largest and most forward-thinking healthcare organizations redefine care.
Specifically, he’s just taken on a new role that gives him the opportunity to make a significant impact on our system through the application of his advanced IT knowledge. “I just finished up a project with the site CIO team to create a report that can be pulled from our PRISM system,” says Amrit. “It allows visibility as to when projects are going live at specific sites.”
Amrit took on this new role because of the great potential for growth and fulfillment it offered.
“I enjoy everything I do with my current position because I am constantly learning in the role,” Amrit tells us. “Since I started, I have gained so much hands-on experience that I can take with me in the future. Northwell Health has always embodied putting their patients first which is what draws me to the organization.”
We’re holding another IT Virtual Career Fair on September 27th ! Interested in seeing what you can accomplish as part of this innovative team? Amrit encourages you to come to the Virtual Career Fair and get in front of Northwell Health’s IT decision makers. “Make sure you are to the point,” Amrit advises. “Many people attend the Virtual Career Fair, and sometimes hiring managers or recruiters are just looking for what you want to do.”
So take the first step on your next professional journey at the Northwell Health IT Virtual Career Fair. As Amrit says, “If you want to see how far a simple chat can take you, come to the Virtual Career Fair. You could end up being one of the people working in this organization at the forefront of healthcare change and patient health.”
We’re redefining health care with IT. Join us at our Virtual Career Fair!
Making health care better is a big deal, and it takes the sharpest minds and most tenacious technology leaders to make it all happen. Our IT team is an impressive group of more than 1,500 skilled professionals implementing and supporting advanced clinical and technological systems for one of the nation’s largest and most forward-thinking healthcare organizations.
Astrid Tucker is one of these amazing people. She attended our IT Virtual Career Fair last year. At this unique event, Astrid was able to visit a wide variety of “booths” where she could explore the many different IT careers available at Northwell Health. At these booths, she spoke with IT staff and leadership and even secured an interview. “I was approached immediately and connected with a manager,” Astrid recalls. “After that, they scheduled a phone interview for me.”
It wasn’t long before Astrid became a key member of the Northwell Health IT team.
“I am currently working in Information Security Governance,” Astrid tells us. “It’s a great team and it brings me in contact with many others throughout the organization.”
Starting on September 27th, we’ll be holding another IT Virtual Career Fair. Astrid encourages anyone interested in an exciting career in IT to register to attend. “Take a look at all the information on Northwell’s IT Virtual Career Fair site”, Astrid advises. “You’ll see that IT is making a big impact on patient care at Northwell Health.”
At this event, you will be able to explore how our IT team helps protect our employees and our patients. Our top IT leaders and staff will be there to answer your questions. And so far, we have over 18 booths ranging from Risk Management to Project Management Applications and Clinical Application Support.
Astrid adds, “If you like technology, you’ll want to attend the Virtual Career Fair. It is a platform to interact with other top tech people and get the opportunity to chat with a possible future manager.”
It is the policy of Northwell Health to provide equal employment opportunity and treat all employees equally regardless of age, race, creed/religion, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, generic information or genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital status, partnership status, victim of domestic violence, or other characteristics protected by applicable law. Northwell Health leaders, including the CEO, are committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.