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Medicine is About Care not Clicks

Episode 332

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Recommended Book:

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Best Way to Contact Aleks:

dwhittenburg@iscribehealth.com

Company Website

iscribehealth

Medicine is About Care not Clicks with Daemon Whittenburg, Chief Technology Officer at iScribeHealth (transcribed by Sonix)

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes, and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez: Welcome back to the podcast. Today I have an outstanding guest. His name is Daemon Whittenberg. He’s a Chief Technology Officer at iScribeHealth. Daemon as an effective tech leader that’s passion about solving difficult problems especially in healthcare. He’s an experienced objective thinker that improves processes that enable teams to deliver more efficiently. Something that we need to keep in mind and healthcare is how we do allow our teams to deliver more efficiently whether it be frontline clinicians or even business level administrative executives. He’s a firm believer in DevOps and the value it brings to product development teams to be able to deliver quality and on time to the customer. He enjoys working with empowering talented teams in an agile environment to create innovative solutions. He’s excited about improving the quality of service that users can provide to their clients. And he’s doing that at iScribe in a very unique way. We’re gonna dive into that and into some of his thoughts here in today’s podcast. So Daemon, it’s a pleasure to have you on today.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez: Yeah absolutely. So did I miss anything in your intro that you want to talk to the listeners about?

Daemon Whittenburg: No I believe I was good other than 18 years in healthcare I.T. 16 years and electronic health record company and then just continuing to solve the problem for providers, efficiency and doing their clinical documentation.

Saul Marquez: Love it brother that you know anybody with that amount of time in health I.T. definitely has the same insight. So I’m excited to dive into those things but what what is it that got you into the healthcare sector to begin with?

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah well I guess I got a little lucky in coming out of college there was an electronic health record company that was just starting up in the year 2000. So I was able to get an internship there writing software as a software developer and just continued to grow within that and was able to learn about the mini I.T. or technology challenges in health care I.T. today. And then from there just to continue to absorb that you know healthcare is always going to be a need for people and technology could help improve that.

Saul Marquez: For sure. And so without a doubt I think the focus of today is going to be electronic health records and and you know the pain, the beauty, and the things that we need to improve there. So I loved it… to hear from you as it relates to that Daemon what should the focus be for every healthcare leader as it relates to electronic medical records?

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah I think from when they when we started building an electronic health record in the early 2000’s you know it was a really good plan to electronic something that was previously paper, big offices of storing paper records. And we did a really good job of electronifying all that clinical documentation. However all we did was take the paper records and stick it into a computer somewhere. We didn’t really make it smarter for a lot of the users using that data including physicians who were or went to school to take care of patients. So I guess you could say I was a part of building the current problem that we have because today you’ll find many physicians who are getting burned out having to now use an electronic health record because some of their needs to be intuitive nice added to how they use it because physicians at the school to treat patients they didn’t necessarily go to school to enter data into a system and that’s what we created with building the electronic health record. So you know one of the pain points with physician burnout across the entire industry is really the focus of what we’re doing here at iScribeHealth.

Saul Marquez: Well I think it’s it’s fascinating work and sort of how everything evolved right and started from a solution and then became a problem. The genesis being we didn’t really make it smarter. We just digitized everything. So I love to hear from you Daemon what you guys are doing at your current firm to make this better.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yes we are… we want to allow the physicians to do what they’re used to doing so we’re allowing them. We’ve built a mobile a modern mobile solution that allows them to essentially dictate as they’re used to. So we’ve created a mobile application where we use artificial intelligence, real time speech to text, speech recognition so the users can pull up a mobile application just like they do any of any other industry where they’re using modern applications and pull put patients records would dictate the clinical documentation and then as we pull out the discrete elements from that documentation and build all the integrations back to the electronic health record. So it removes the physician away from having to point and click in that laptop or whatnot during the encounter so they can just dictate just like they’re used to doing you know a decade or two decades ago and we handle all the integrations and putting all the data back into the electronic health records.

Saul Marquez: That’s beautiful. So a patient could sit you know sit with their patient for the 10 minutes or so that they have, not have to spend half of it or more typing into a computer. So do they do it during the visit? Do they do it after the visit usually? What are your thoughts?

Daemon Whittenburg: Yes the physicians… each physician has their own preference of how they do their close documentation. You know several are able to with iScribe hold an iPad and flow through the documentation while they’re with the patient. Some actually choose to do it afterwards and they dictate and we have transcription services as well as virtual scribe services that allow them to just send us an audio file if they choose that mode and we handle getting all the information back into their electronic health record. So what you see today you know the big problem is is with electronic health record as the provider may spend three or four hours a day seeing a patient and then they have to spend another two actually entering the data for each of those encounters into the electronic health record. And we’ve seen you know with our users that we use iScribe that it removes that extra two hours that they have to spin entering the data into the system. Essentially if they use the real time speech to text as soon as they’re done with the encounter essentially they’re done based on the encounter and they go home and they’re done with their documentation. They don’t have to do anything afterwards. So that’s the real big benefit with what we’re doing today at iScribe.

Saul Marquez: That’s huge. So folks if you’re listening and you’re working on initiatives to improve your workflow to to improve physician wellness I know that’s on the top three list of a lot of chief medical officers then and even the C suite of hospitals today you know consider this option and it’s a great way to to improve morale, step in the right direction to help these physicians take care of patients. And overall just do better. Tell us something. You know obviously you guys are up and running. You’ve got customers. Nothing happens that easily. Tell us about maybe a setback you guys had and what you learned from it to make guys better.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah. So initially you know we set out to really provide a modern and innovative solution to this problem. We were well aware of the problem. We’ve had a lot of experience in the industry and we just wanted to make this physician burnout easier and remove that burden for physicians. So initially we weren’t the most innovative route in providing more technology to providers and providers today are you know they’re just they have so much technology being thrown at them that we saw that wasn’t the only mechanism that they would like to use to do the clinical documentation.

Saul Marquez: Yeah.

Daemon Whittenburg: So initially when we rolled out that innovative technology and I believe there’s going to be a transition to get there I believe we will be there one day. We’re just real not just us but other innovators as well or just early in the process. But when we first rolled it out we found that there were I guess different ways that different providers wanted to document. So we had to step back and provide them with those different ways to allow them to transition into the real time speech to text the innovative way. So with that we now allow them to do. They can do the real time speech to text. They can also do transcription and we have current transmission services that are serving that. And we also allowed to do virtual scribes as well so they can send the audio we actually have someone that enters the data into that EHR for them.

Saul Marquez: So the assumption was “hey it’s going to be done this way you get into it rubber meets the road” there’s like three or four or five different ways. So you choose the top three make it fit to what the market needs and now you’re you’re moving forward with it.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah. Essentially we allow those users to use the technology as in-depth as they would like to or as shallow as they would like.

Saul Marquez: Love that. And you know I want to I want to dive a little bit deeper into a nugget that you just provided Daemon and folks listen to this. And Daemon said it clearly providers have lots of tech being thrown at them. I don’t want to skip over this point because we tend to get so so you know just enamored in love with our products or services. This is the solution. But if you take a step back. Providers have so much tech being thrown at them. How can you simplify this. How can you meet them where they are. I love that that you brought that up Daemon I think it’s a phenomenal point for us to remember.

Daemon Whittenburg: I think a lot of businesses are innovative products are started from a technology idea but we’ve really spent a lot of time with our users and even prospects and really wanted to try to understand their pains and how they would want to use technology. You know just like I said I think we’re going to continue to see adoption into using more innovative technology. However I keep providing the meeting them where they’re at and providing them with the easiest route and allowing them to transition is essentially what we’ve provided by going out and meeting with our users on a weekly basis.

Saul Marquez: Love that. That’s a great point. Now this was a roadblock. You guys obviously blew right past that and created some great inroads for customers to start using your. Now tell us about one of the more exciting or interesting or proud moments that you’ve had as a company and as a leader within that company.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah. You know that always goes back to testimonials for me. So getting unsolicited feedback from users I mean it’s just some of the proudest moments we can have when we hear providers say hey I saw 52 patients today and I went home and I don’t have anything else to do. When last week I was spending three hours in bed while the TV was on trying to finish my documentation that makes us really proud. When we also hear I mean we’ve heard several physicians literally about to quit about to give up on practicing medicine because of having to duplicate documentation and we have testimonials where they speak toward that they’re going to continue another five, ten years practicing medicine just because it’s more efficient. Now with how they can do their clinical documentation and they can focus more on taking care of me and taking care of you and take care of all your listeners because they don’t have they’re not burned with entering that data.

Saul Marquez: I think that’s huge. You know it’s something that to be proud of. So congrats to you guys for creating that hope that energy for for physicians to continue practicing, we need it. You know there’s a physician shortage in this country and we need to make it easier for those men and women taking care of us. What about an exciting project or an exciting focus that you guys have today? Would you say that is?

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah. So we started out as an innovation company trying to modernize this problem and create a more efficient model for that so as a part of that process the vision we’ve always wanted to just make it smarter, make the technology invisible so the user doesn’t even have to know that they’re using technology. So we’re working out we’re currently working on some piece of natural language processing adding that capability so that we can continue to pull discrete codified data from unstructured data. And we can use that to create more efficiencies with the technology to build those integrations back into the EHR. That’s one that we’re really excited about. That’s really going to continue to move the technology or make it more visible so the users really aren’t interacting with technology as much it’s there and they’re using it but they don’t have to point click and see things to do that. But I do think there’s going to be a transition into that. I think you know you hear a A.I. and know and things like that is really exciting. But as we stated before I think we’re going to see a gradual comfortability with the outcomes from the natural way with processing. But those are some things we’re working on as well as some secure messaging features to allow better communication between providers and care staff and other staff at iScribe and things of that nature.

Saul Marquez: That’s excellent. Yeah. You know I think of things that that work behind the scenes Daemon that make our lives easier. Things like I mean as simple as that I think everybody can relate. Get on your iPhone and or Droid or any device that you may have. And now there’s there’s just like you know at least on the iPhone there’s the thumbprint. And you don’t even need to remember your passwords anymore. You just put your thumbprint and instead of going through three different things checking your passwords, where it is, typing it, and you just do your thumbprint and it’s those things to make it easier that make the adoption of these technologies a lot better. And you guys are doing it. And so and it’s not easy. So really want to give you and your team kudos for putting these systems together for clinicians to really have more fulfilling practices.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah. Thanks for that. We definitely have a passion for solving this problem. That’s number one throughout the organization.

Saul Marquez: And you also enjoy chatting with customers so if you’re if you’re a physician if you’re an executive at a hospital and you have some feedback based off today, Daemon would you welcome it?

Daemon Whittenburg: Absolutely.

Saul Marquez: So what would be the best place for them to reach out with the comments, feedback.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah they can reach out to me directly. I’m sure to be in the show notes but it’s dwhittenburg@iscribehealth.com. You can find us on LinkedIn and those would be probably the best ways to reach out to us.

Saul Marquez: Excellent. So folks if you have feedback, these guys and gals are really working on some great stuff there. They’re open to making it better. So reach out if you have some feedback. Let’s pretend I’m in you and I are building a leadership course on what it takes to be successful in health I.T. today. The one on one of Daemon Whittenburg and so we’ve got a course that we’re going to build a syllabus for, five questions lightning round style followed by a book for our listeners. You ready?

Daemon Whittenburg: Yes sir.

Saul Marquez: All right. What’s the best way to improve healthcare outcomes?

Daemon Whittenburg: I believe we need to focus on preventative real time monitoring and learning to keep up with patient information before there’s a problem. I think we can really make some advancements there. We tend to go into the physician when we have a problem. But there are a lot of times we could have not had that problem had we’ve been doing things a little bit differently before the visit. I think that I think also better communication between patient physician and staff. I think the communication gaps that exist today with back and forth phone calls and things like that, giving it more into a real time communication mechanism. Those two would be the biggest ways to improve healthcare outcomes in my mind.

Saul Marquez: What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?

Daemon Whittenburg: Thinking that healthcare integrations are going to be easy. There are many people are trying to solve these challenges in healthcare and many come in from different industries and that’s good. We do need to solve these problems in healthcare but the understanding of what it takes to build the integrations with a health system or an electronic health record is extremely complex and just avoiding that and looking for either a partner or getting some knowledge upfront about how to build those integrations.

Saul Marquez: How do you stay relevant despite all the change?

Daemon Whittenburg: I believe it goes back to somewhat process but not a rigid process. More thinking in the agile methodology but being able to pivot as needed. And we have processes in place the this scenario that allow us to change quickly and just know that the only constant is change and be ready for that. And even given noticed we don’t do yearly releases we do two week releases so we’re continuing to release value add. And I believe this allows us to make change direction as we need to based on the market.

Saul Marquez: Love that. What’s one focus that drives everything in your organization Daemon?

Daemon Whittenburg: We are passionate about solving the physician burnout issue that exists in this industry and everything we do is focused around that. Every time we introduce our product and we get the valuable feedback from the users if there’s one more thing that they’re looking for you know we’re passionate about really digging into that issue and making it easier for them to do their company documentation so they can have their time back and so they can treat us like they went to school for to treat our healthcare.

Saul Marquez: Love that. Daemon what would you say your number one success habit is?

Daemon Whittenburg: Number one success habit?

Saul Marquez: Yeah.

Daemon Whittenburg: I would say attention to detail… just really not making any assumptions. And if you need to have a quick conversation just to clarify something, I believe that we should just to ensure that you know two people are on the same page. So attention to detail and and process as well. Having a good process but not really not rigid but had a process.

Saul Marquez: Love that man that’s powerful. And what book would you recommend to the listeners?

Daemon Whittenburg: I would say Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

Saul Marquez: Yeah.

Daemon Whittenburg: That’s a really good book. The it kind of… so when you’re at a startup in a sense I don’t want to relate it to a war zone but in a sense you know you’re really trying to create something from nothing. And that book of how they were in a war zone and they relate that to executive leadership and how you own everything you’re doing as an individual it just speaks to having to own the things of as part of a startup as well.

Saul Marquez: Great recommendation folks if you haven’t had a chance to read it. A great read. It’s about accountability and owning your part, as a leader owning the whole thing and great recommendation if you if you all want a link to that book as well as just all the show notes, a full transcript go to outcomesrocket.health and in the search bar type an iscribe and you’ll be able to find all that there. So Daemon this has been a ton of fun. I’ve enjoyed our conversation. And I really really appreciate the work that you and your team are doing. Leave us with a closing thought and well you’ve already shared where the listeners could get a hold of you but it’d be worth recapping and we’ll include it in the show notes. So let us know what’s your closing thought.

Daemon Whittenburg: Yeah I believe that we all have the power within ourselves to make positive change in this world. I believe if we see a problem that we are all able to solve it by just taking action. So that’s the main thing would be to just take at if we see a problem, let’s not dwell too much on the problem was take actions to see what we can do to solve those problems especially in healthcare. And you can reach me at again at dwhittenburg@iscribehealth.com. I’m on LinkedIn, also on Twitter mostly non-work related stuff but you can find me in those locations.

Saul Marquez: Outstanding. Daemon this has been a ton of fun. Really appreciate the insights you’ve provided to us and now looking forward to staying in touch.

Daemon Whittenburg: Thanks for having me Saul, really appreciate it.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration, and so much more.

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