What’s Next in Virtual Care and RPM?

As Chief of Virtual Care and Digital Health at Providence, Eve Cunningham, MD, looks at the future of healthcare delivery with an eye toward expanding access. Listen in as we discuss the latest innovations in virtual care and the potential impact on workforce shortages.


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Are office visits a thing of the past? In this future-looking episode, Dr. Eve Cunningham, Chief of Virtual Care and Digital Health at Providence, shares how Providence is addressing clinician shortages through innovative telemedicine programs. Dr. Cunningham is excited about the potential for AI to enhance the physician-patient relationship while alleviating administrative burdens. In addition to the tech talk, Dr. Cunningham touches on the unique challenges women face in healthcare leadership and the growing importance of mentorship. Key takeaways:

  • Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring continue to offer major upsides for large health systems like Providence. Embracing telehealth can help reduce overall cost of care and improve patient access.
  • It can be difficult to get clinicians to adopt new technologies. You need executive sponsorship from the top and clinical sponsorship from key users to be successful.
  • Mentorship is vital in healthcare IT, particularly for women. Dr. Cunningham purposefully uses her platforms to help mentor and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.

In this podcast:

  • 03:51 How to leverage partnerships for innovation.
  • 07:51 New care models are needed to address chronic diseases.
  • 23:29 How Dr. Cunningham transitioned from a physician to a healthcare technology leader.
  • 33:46 Persistence, confidence, and mentorship are necessary for career advancement

Our Guest

Eve Cunningham, MD, MBA

Dr. Eve Cunningham currently serves as Group Vice President and Chief of Virtual Care and Digital Health for Providence which includes several virtual care enterprise service lines, telehealth, a hospital at home, remote patient monitoring programs, virtual nursing team, digital product incubation and a digital clinical content team.

Dr. Cunningham joined Providence St. Joseph Health in 2017 as the Chief Medical Officer of Providence Medical Group Southwest. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has practiced for over 12 years in the South Puget Sound community. Prior to joining Providence, Dr. Cunningham served as Service Line Medical Director and Division Chief of Women’s, Children’s, Urgent Care and Virtual Care Services at CHI- Franciscan Health (currently, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health) in Tacoma, WA.

During her time at both CHI and Providence, Dr. Cunningham has developed a strong passion for applied technologies and care transformation in healthcare, with a goal of improving the cross-continuum care experience. Dr. Cunningham has a strong background in clinical informatics, clinical operations, and leading transformational change.

Dr. Cunningham received her medical degree at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and postgraduate residency training at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center. She received her Master’s in Business Administration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


[00:00:00] Dr. Eve Cunningham: what we love about patient care, us as physicians and taking care of patients is that relationship.

Right. that opportunity to provide compassion and dignity and support for our patients. and some of that has been lost, which is why I think we see a lot of the burnout, 

[00:00:21] Narrator: From Healthcare IT leaders, you’re listening to Leader to Leader with John McDaniel sitting in for Ben Hilmes. Our guest today is Dr. Eve Cunningham, chief of virtual care and digital health at Providence. In our conversation with Dr. Cunningham, she emphasizes the need for virtual care and digital health to address workforce shortages and improve patient care.

[00:00:43] John McDaniel: Good morning. appreciate you taking time to join us. I’ve got a set of questions you know, based on your industry knowledge, expertise, and skill sets, I think it’s so relevant to have individuals like you talk about what’s happening in the industry. And I think one of the first questions I thought about when thinking about it is, I know your title is Chief of Virtual Care and Digital Health at Providence.

Can you tell me a little bit more about exactly what your responsibilities are and the definition of that role?

[00:01:12] Dr. Eve Cunningham: Yeah, and I would say these are roles that didn’t exist, you know, a couple of years ago. So we’re all kind of called different things. Chief clinical transformation officer or chief digital health officer and other health systems. But basically, I’m the physician clinician, Leader that is also leading care transformation, for the health system and, specifically care transformation that involves technology or, new ways of using technology to deliver care.

And so, under my. Umbrella of responsibilities within my portfolio, we have a broad array of different products and services that we provide for the health system anywhere from inpatient telemedicine programs, virtual nursing. Hospital at home, remote patient monitoring, remote therapeutic monitoring, and then digital products.

there’s a product that I founded called med pearl. That’s also being used across the system. And so our goal and our job is really to kind of help the health system. Change and move and operate differently. It’s really hard to do that at scale in a large health system, just from the operations teams, because they’re all just busy keeping the wheels on the bus.

So we’re there to help them strategically start to implement. These new programs and new ways of doing things. We do a lot of change management. We do a lot of workflow redesign. We do a lot of evaluating different technologies and scouting them, and then really strategizing which programs and services from a strategic perspective, make the most sense for us to stand up, due to different needs.

And we have three strategic priorities when we’re thinking about our programs, workforce shortage and burnout, hospital throughput and capacity and care fragmentation. So we really have those three challenges that are sort of existential challenges for every health system in mind when we think about, hey, let’s bring on a new program like telecardiology and the reason why and how it relates to those strategic priorities.

[00:03:23] John McDaniel: One of the challenges I suspect you have is there’s just so many. Solutions available in that marketplace, you know, as you start to look at how do you make a decision about a particular vendor or solution that you’re looking at?

Are you looking at making decision to become a partner? Are you looking at building something out? Are you looking to outsource it? Or are you looking to build it from scratch? And then, from delivery to the end and continuation of supporting it?

[00:03:51] Dr. Eve Cunningham: That’s a really great question, and I think that it is something that obviously many in the health tech industry, many vendors that are out there are really curious. Like, how do I get in to a place like Providence? The answer for Providence is probably not the same answer that you would get in every health system and there’s large and small.

and we’re actually a beast. I mean, we’re enormous. So, we’re not typically going to bring in a very early stage company or vendor because, you know, We could actually crush them, they won’t survive trying to accommodate us. So first of all, you asked like, if we do build versus buy, I would say.

For the most part, we don’t want to have to build something. If there’s a great solution out there that already solves this problem. the issue is, is that there’s a lot of things that still need to be built, moving forward because especially when we talk about AI and things like that, there’s just so much new technology on the market that’s going to have to develop more over time.

 We try to go with buy or partner initially. That’s always like our first choice. And then when we think, okay, are we going to actually build this? Providence actually does build products, right? it’s a unique health system in that way. most health systems don’t have the resources or the expertise or the background and capability to do that.

And building a product is no small thing. Having gone through the product development from, a prototype to full scale to commercialization. It is not for the light hearted. and it is a very difficult thing to do. So I would say that we’re extremely strategic about building things.

 we want to make sure that what we’re building is something that is a unique innovation that doesn’t currently exist in the market. And there just really isn’t a solution out there. And then when we talk about partnerships.I think that the answer to that has changed a little bit since, AI has really started to explode.

So, historically, I think there was a lot more willingness to do partnerships and things like that. And we still do a lot of partnerships, but there also is a lot of concern, I would say, at the health system level around our data and security and ensuring. Thank you for your time. that, who we partner with has a very sound and robust, ability to ensure that our patient data is going to be secure.

We don’t share our patient data to go out, into the general, LLM world that’s out there. Like we take those things Really seriously. So we do have some partners like Microsoft. they’re a massive technology company.

and so when we talk about partnership, again, if it, you’re a very early stage innovation. It’s probably not going to happen at Providence, until you’ve gotten a little bit more, validation, experience growth in the market before we would consider partnership. And so that’s kind of the way that we look at it.

[00:06:54] John McDaniel: I’ve heard you speak a couple of times at some large conferences and one of the quotes I love hearing you say is the office visit is dead. Can you talk about what you mean by that and kind of what reaction you get from the physicians and colleagues that you’ve worked with their Providence.

[00:07:09] Dr. Eve Cunningham: It should be dead. I mean, I’m a gynecologist, so I’m the first person to admit that there are things that have to be done in person. But at the end of the day, we are bringing so many patients in to do face to face visits that do not need to be coming in face to face. So I’m trying to get people to start thinking differently.

 one of the things that I mean about this is I’m not. Really, the traditional office visit is dead when it comes to managing chronic diseases. We do not manage chronic disease as well. 78 percent of patients with heart failure are not within guideline directed medical therapy. That’s directly correlated with all cause mortality.

54 percent of the people over the age of 60 60 have uncontrolled hypertension and 50 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes have a hemoglobin A1c of greater than seven, which is poor control. And we can not properly manage chronic diseases in the traditional manner where we bring somebody in for a 20 minute visit every two to three months.

We have to manage our patients differently. we’re failing our patients and so, when I say the office visit is dead, I’m really bullish on remote patient monitoring, remote therapeutic monitoring, enhanced recovery, digital integration of care journeys I really think that if we want to do better for our patients and really improve overall health, we have to start thinking about how we start to scale these innovative care models, like RPM, hospital at home, and, EROS, workflows.

[00:08:44] John McDaniel: you’re keen on significant investments in the virtual care and digital health space, how does that help address the shortage in the workforce that exists today?

Obviously, COVID changed the world 

[00:08:58] Dr. Eve Cunningham: I’ll just give some examples. We have some really large scale, inpatient telemedicine programs. So, telepsychiatry, we have a 40 hospital telepsychiatry program across 5 states. So, on any given day, we have 2 psychiatrists covering 40 hospitals. We know that 65 percent of non metro areas in this country do not have a psychiatrist living in the community.

 so the fact that now I can take these two psychiatrists who are covering, stretch them across five states, 40 hospitals to provide inpatient telemedicine consultations in the ERs and things like that. That’s one example of how we’re going to address clinician shortages is by.

Being able to take these specialists, and their expertise and extend their capacity. The other way that we’re addressing. We have a virtual nursing program because we know there’s a shortage of nurses and, our chief nursing officer. So, he’s our executive sponsor. We help with staffing. Some of these, 

nurses, through our program and help with the implementations. And, that is going to be the way forward with addressing some of the nursing shortages. I expect within three to five years that every single hospital bed at Providence, will have an end point for us Beam in virtual nurses, virtual support, virtual specialists.

we have 12, 000 beds and I expect every single one of them will have a camera and a screen in it because that’s going to be one way that we address the need. We also have digital products, so. A MedPerl is a digital assistant and clinical intelligence engine product that we developed at Providence that’s designed to support clinicians with point of care, next best actions, and reduce cognitive burden by surfacing relevant patient data, in a clinical context.

And it’s helping to provide supportive technology and upskill our clinicians at the point of care, help them with confidence about what are the right next best things to do for their patient. Because. We can’t consume all the information and data that’s in a patient’s chart. there’s just too much information.

So how do we curate that and present it to a clinician in a meaningful way, in a clinical context to help supercharge their decision making and improve their efficiency? So these are the types of things that we’re gonna need to do to address the burnout and the shortages. We also have a big implementation of ambient technology through DACS at Providence as well, and that’s, been very helpful in, providing supportive technology it’s the shortage and it’s also retention, right?

and productivity. So it’s all addressing all of those things. One 

[00:11:54] John McDaniel: off the challenges I hear often in the industry is, you know, how do you really. identify and manage the gains that you gain from this technology. You know, a lot of people talk about, well, there’s productivity gains, but are there other metrics that you’re looking at that help you identify better value?

And how do you use that to get buy in from clinicians?

[00:12:14] Dr. Eve Cunningham: let’s start with telemedicine. So for inpatient telemedicine, we know for our tele neurology program, we do close to 20, 000, consults a year in that program. And 70 percent of the time, it’s a 90% hospital plus program across eight states. 70 percent of the time we know that we can keep the patient in their community hospital and they don’t have to transfer to the big hospital.

so we’re talking about what 14, 000 patients a year across our system that we keep in their critical access hospital, their community hospital, empower the people boots on the ground to retain that patient. Patient wants to be in their community as well. And so that’s like a huge value for the health system from a patient flow and reducing ED boarding perspective, our tele psychiatry program, 30 percent of the time when we beam the psychiatrist into the ED, when a patient’s having a mental health crisis.

They’re able to get the patient to a place where they can discharge that patient 30 percent of the time from the ED with a safety plan. And again, we don’t have enough hospital beds. We don’t have enough behavioral health access. So that’s on the telemedicine side, remote patient monitoring. We’ve rolled out a remote patient monitoring program with 1500 plus patients, hopefully 5, 000 by the end of this year for our CHF, congestive heart failure patients.

We’re seeing two to three X increase in guideline directed medical therapy for our hypertension and diabetes core cohorts. We’re seeing a reduction in average glucose and blood pressure. These are all pieces of our,quality metrics across the system. So there’s huge value there. and then for med Pearl, and for, The ambient, technology, program.

We’re able to demonstrate improvements in EHR efficiency, improvements in reduction in pajama time or after hours time, improvements in referral values, improvements in level of confidence, reported level of confidence from clinicians who have MedPerl, for example, pre MedPerl, post MedPerl, those are all.

Value drivers, improvement in productivity. So we have very specific KPIs and ROIs that we try to stay, true to. I think it’s very important to partner with your strategic finance team. because if there are going to be investments in these things, and we want to make sure that we’re investing in wellness and burnout and turnover, but we also need to make sure that we can make the math that we’re doing.

Make sense to the health system given the state that everybody’s sort of in today where we’re all kind of struggling to make Sure that we have a sustainable business model. these things are important for our virtual nursingit’s nursing turnover and the number of, travelers and things like that, that we have to employ.

So agency costs and things like that. So those are the types of things that we’re looking at the health system level to ensure that we’re getting a return on the investment that we’re making in these technologies.

[00:15:16] John McDaniel: One of the questions I often hear from individuals as I travel around the country is, you know, with all this advanced technologies is how do you get your physicians to change the way they practice? I mean, I hear all things. Well, I’ve learned it this way. I know it works, but as this new technology really becomes available, how do you Changed behavior

[00:15:38] Dr. Eve Cunningham: You cannot underestimate the lift on change management. even though we have MedPerl out there, there’s still a bunch of clinicians that don’t know about it or don’t realize it’s there. you know, DAX is available to me and I still see patients. I’m like, okay, I’m going to do it next week.

 now with the DAX co pilot, and DAX express, it’s like a really easy lift to onboard, it’s very, very hard, to get clinicians to change. And so I wouldn’t say I know the secret sauce, but at least we’ve been able to have some success with, some of our approaches.

So I’ll just kind of give a little bit of a breakdown of some of our playbook. You’ve got to make sure you have executive sponsorship. Yep. Right from the top and you got to make sure you have clinical sponsorship. at the bottom you got to make sure that you’ve got really well mapped out rois and kpis You want to make sure that you build out sort of a champion’s model to begin with go to the path of least resistance, right?

First where there’s enthusiasm and interest and then cultivate in that area And make sure that you’ve got those roi kpi like value levers to measure because clinicians want data You So they want to know that. This thing is actually going to make their life better. except for the ones who are usually the earliest adopters, they’re like, I’ll try whatever, you know, go after those people, but then measure that impact and then have a very strategic communication campaign about how you’re going to share that information and the progress that you’re making.

For a lot of these projects, we have like a steer co or an executive. Steerco where we like have like executive sponsor the clinical champions where we come together and we have like a cadence to make sure that we’re following along and continuing to have that support and engagement. I know there’s like talk about is it pilot or pioneer program or whatever it is you call it.

I like the word pioneers better than pilot. The end of the day, you want to make sure that you have an end point, right? we’re going to do a nogo or go. you do not want to be in this perpetual pilot stage. So one of the other things that’s super important is that if it’s going to require IT to do some type of an integration, a lot of times these pilots or pioneer programs don’t have integration.

 you need to make sure that they’re on board and that they can stick this into their strategic roadmap, because otherwise you’re going to end up getting really delayed.

[00:17:58] John McDaniel: based on your extensive experience and really what you’ve learned. How would you advise other health systems looking to expand into virtual care and digital health spaces? Any ideas, concepts or thoughts that you could play it with them?

[00:18:14] Dr. Eve Cunningham:  I think that you need to be, strategic cause everybody’s going to have limited resources and you probably want to Go after things that, are easier to stand up first versus harder. So just an example, like we have a hospital at home. we’ve been in the hospital at home business for now three years.

it is a very difficult. Challenging logistically operationally complex thing to stand up. And I’m not saying it’s not the right thing. Cause actually, if we don’t do this now in 2030, we’re probably going to be in trouble, but, let maybe the big health systems that are doing this kind of get.

Their arms around how to do it and make it scalable. So if you’re a small or medium sized hospital, that might not be where you want to start. Right?and then the other thing I would say is, there are lots of opportunities to partner, where your partner can bear some of the. Risk some of the investment required to get some of these things stood up like.

A health system partners are,really looking to get vendors are really looking to get in to health systems and to get access, obviously be careful about your data and, you know, your security and things like that. But if you find the right partner, you know, they should have skin in the game too, and they will.

if you find the right one, they will invest in you as a health system. So you don’t have to feel like you have to do everything yourself. Just think strategically about how you structure that. because I think there are a lot of opportunities for partnership, with some of these health tech companies or virtual care companies out there.

[00:20:01] John McDaniel: There are a number of business models out there today around reimbursement. How do you see. Virtual care evolving and what advocacy is needed to really support that transformation. So, obviously, it was fee for service value based care. There’s all these components of business models they’re reimbursable.

But, what really funds this ongoing process.

[00:20:23] Dr. Eve Cunningham:  that’s a really great question. a month and a half ago, I testified on Capitol Hill to advocate for continued telehealth reimbursement, or permanency in telehealth reimbursement, because we actually are at risk of going back to pre COVID days.

 if Congress doesn’t act, I think they will act. It appeared to be a very bipartisan issue, but the question is in what capacity. So if they decide to reimburse at a lower rate, I think they are going to be sorely, disappointed with what they get as a result, because there is no lack of patients.

In fact, we are overwhelmed with patients. Physicians are overwhelmed and the shortage. is so bad and it’s getting worse. It’s not getting better. So when you tell a physician who already got part of their reimbursement, they had a reimbursement reduction this past year from Medicare, because they didn’t, renew the patch.

if you tell them now, I’m going to say those three patients that you see in your clinic that are virtual today, I’m going to reimburse you 25 percent less or 50 percent less, they’ll just make them come in. Because why would they do that? so the problem is, is that We weave virtual visits into our practice, and it’s not like we do virtual only work and somehow I have a reduction in my overhead as a result of that.

 we’re drowning in patients. So it’s a supply demand issue. So I really do think that they need to make permanency and parity, an important part of, the reimbursement model. But I will say, now that remote patient monitoring is, available and billable standing up some of these other healthcare, these other innovative care models.

I think we’re going to see some really great impact on reducing total cost of care. So I know that the concern from Congress around reimbursement for telehealth is that it’s going to drive up costs. But I actually think we’re going to see the opposite if we really take the time to study it and evaluate it.

because I think at the end of the day, we can better care for our patients and reduce costs. So, for example, reducing unnecessary transfers for our telescope. Program discharging the patients from the ER for our telepsychiatry program. reducing days on the vent for our tele ICU programs.

Like those things all lower total cost of care. And then for remote patient monitoring, reducing readmissions, reducing EMS calls, reducing, ED visits. So if we really kind of think thoughtfully about the entire ecosystem and the impact that these technologies can have on that integrated care delivery system, I think there’s a total cost of care reduction opportunity if we look at this and slice it in the right lens.

[00:23:18] John McDaniel: You mentioned early in our conversation that you were trained and worked as an OBGYN. what point in time and why did you decide to transition into technology in the IT space?

[00:23:29] Dr. Eve Cunningham: So I actually didn’t, I was practicing as an OBGYN and I actually came up through a non traditional route. Like most people who go into a role similar to mine can’t come up through informatics and come up through like, you know, healthcare IT. And I actually earned my chops as a physician leader and, a chief medical officer over a medical group, over service lines, on the strategic hospital strategy side.

 And clinical operations and. I was leading this very large medical group at Providence had 350, physicians and advanced practice providers across 25 specialties. We have graduate medical education programs and I didn’t have a technology background, but I have a long history of care transformation and implementing care transformation, getting doctors to do things that they don’t usually do.

 I realized Providence was making all of these investments in partnerships and healthcare technology, and there was a lot of news and fanfare around it. But when I would go back and talk to my doctors, they were all so frustrated. And they were so burnt out and they’re like, none of this is helping us.

 And we’re not a playground for people to build stuff that we don’t need. You know, they were frustrated with their experience and they’re like, why isn’t any of the needs that we have, like, translating to the front lines. And so. I got engaged with the folks in our corporate development team who are making some of these decisions around the investments and managing our partnership with Microsoft and sort of said, Hey, you guys need a doctor on your team.

And that’s where I earned my chops in healthcare technology. I started working with the corporate development team. I became their chief medical officer. I was tech scouting. I was helping them with product incubations and innovations and learning as much as I could about the industry. And that’s also when I started incubating MedPearl and then eventually took over all of the virtual care, Digital health, team I didn’t build those programs.

I received, the opportunity to be the leader over those programs and has helped to grow and scale more of them since that portfolio came under me, but, kind of did a lot of this learning on the job and. I truly believe that technology and informatics is going to be a core competency of being a doctor.

And I try to tell the doctors, that it’s not the, Oh, here’s the it team over there. And there’s CMIO, and the EHR people, and then there’s us. It’s like, no, this is part of the way you’re going to practice. You’re going to have an ecosystem of different technologies that you need to be comfortable with and different workflows that integrate those technologies, because.

it’s going to be, you know, part of the daily fabric of our practice. And so I encourage the clinicians to really engage and learn as much as they can and not be afraid of it, because it’s not that hard. I mean, technology wasn’t part of my role three years ago, and now here I am. And, we can all learn these skills.

[00:26:41] John McDaniel: how would you describe your leadership style? And what are certain traits or beliefs that you kind of lean into as a leader? I kind of got some sense of some of that.

[00:26:51] Dr. Eve Cunningham: I would say that my leadership style is authentic leadership.not to say that I don’t sugar coat things, but I’m pretty straightforward. I kind of say it how it is. I think that’s sort of my brand and my reputation is that I’m just like, Hey, let’s just like, get it out there.

I think also it’s very important. To provide for clinicians in particular, to have expertise, especially clinical expertise that you can speak to, and provide data to back up whatever statements or things that you’re talking about. So when I talk about authentic leadership, genuine leadership, I really think that people want to hear.

Specifics and data and examples, and I weave a lot of storytelling, I would say into that because you know, that gets people engaged. So I try to be inspirational in that way and encouraging. there’s not a lot of women that have moved into roles that I’m in, in the industry.

So, there’s more and more, but I think that I do feel a sense of responsibility in some ways, because I do mentor a lot of people, not just, you know, Women, I tend to attract a lot of women who are looking for a mentor and I have been mentored. I have benefited from excellent mentorship throughout my entire life.

And so I feel like it’s part of my responsibility, as a, Physician leader as a female leader to provide that mentorship to those that seek it as well. obviously within the capacity that I can, but, I feel like a lot of the mentorship that I provided early on was more towards women.

earlier on in my career, it’s like, how do I get to this level? How do I become a chief medical officer? When I joined Providence, there were 13 chief medical officers of medical groups, because Providence has 13 medical groups or 12 medical groups. I was the only female chief medical officer of the medical groups.

Now there’s like. Four or five of them. So it’s really changing and evolving over time. but now I also have, some men that have sought me out as a mentor too. 

Usually it’s women, but, I support talent. I support people who are also genuine and authentic and just want to do great things for healthcare. and so I love being able to watch people grow in their careers and provide that support.

For them.

[00:29:14] John McDaniel: you’re on the cutting edge of technology. you’re in the forefront. What excites you the most about what’s coming in the near future relative to technologies that’s going to transform our industry. So you kind of talked about AI and some of those, you see it that obviously growing and others emerging as a, major transformative tool.

[00:29:36] Dr. Eve Cunningham: obviously there’s just so much to unpack with AI because there’s so many use cases and opportunities. I think it’s actually gonna be really messy. for a couple of years, just because everybody’s trying to figure it out. What are the right use cases? I think we’re gonna see a lot of.

Noise and, AB testing, beta testing. but then how do you sort of fit all of these things together? I think that’s going to be a big, challenge. I’m a surgeon at heart. So, I can tell you that I think that, there’s going to be a lot of change in surgical assistance, or being able to give really data driven feedback to surgeons to improve and enhance performance, or, Surgical assisted guidance within the operating room.

So I’m, excited to see some of those innovations. I think ambient is in its infancy of what it can do. What I tell people is like, we need to build Jarvis for doctors. We’re at version 0. 1 right now. But if you take some of these things and bring them together, we can build a Jarvis for doctors.

And so that’s like the future state is that in the future, be able to go into the room and, have your conversation with the patient, look into the patient’s eyes, ask for things to be brought up maybe on a big screen that you can demonstrate to the patient, like that is like the future state and I can.

See it. it’s going to be, like I said, messy to get there and there’s a lot of things that are going to happen. But if we think thoughtfully about how we start to weave some of these capabilities together, the future is really bright. And what we love about patient care, us as physicians and taking care of patients is that relationship.

Right. that opportunity to provide compassion and dignity and support for our patients. and some of that has been lost, which is why I think we see a lot of the burnout, where it’s so hard to do all the administrative things that we need to do and also build that strong relationship with our patients that bring so much joy.

And so. Whatever we can do to help us get there is sort of the mission that I’m on. 

[00:31:53] John McDaniel: you know, I’ve been doing this for 50 years and you’ve just gave me a couple new ideas and thoughts around leadership style. I’d never thought about what you were talking about around authentic leadership and really using facts and actual storytelling 

[00:32:06] Dr. Eve Cunningham: I want to tell you my, first mentor story though.

[00:32:10] John McDaniel: Go ahead.

[00:32:11] Dr. Eve Cunningham: Okay. So my first mentor was my grandmother. My grandmother, when she was, 40 years old and housewife, my grandfather was a dentist. She decided that she was bored and she was going to go to law school. And so she became a lawyer. And she practiced in Arizona.

I grew up in Arizona. so there were three women in her law school class when she went to law school. And,She actually shared an office next to my grandfather’s dental office. And then, this judge like pissed her off because she’s trying to get a continuance or something happened.

And she decided that she was going to run against him. So when she was in her fifties, she ran for superior court judge in Arizona and she won and she became the third female judge in Arizona, superior court judge in Arizona, and she had this amazing career where But one of the things that I think was really tough for her was that at that time it wasn’t acceptable, for a woman like her to be in a role like that.

So she had to battle a lot with the bar association and just the challenges and the perceptions that people had with women in these types of roles. And, she, Prevailed and had a full career as a superior court judge eventually ended up, retiring cause they had age limitations. And so she had to retire, but, she always like invested in me and always encouraged me and told me like, there is no glass ceiling, just keep going, keep working at it.

Don’t get upset. if, you know, people say things or do things To some extent, like people didn’t think I belonged in technology, right. When I went over to technology and, gave me a really hard time about it. Well, what are your credentials or what’s your background?

And it’s like, she kind of helped give me that confidence that it’s okay. you can push through, you can move into spaces and areas that, you may not have started from, and that you can learn.along the way and show up well and become an expert. And so that’s what she did. 

not all women have had a woman in their family that has had an experience like that has had such a successful career early on. and so being able to provide that to others. You know, who may not have had a,grandma Lillian, like I did. being able to provide that is something that I think is really important, and is something that, I think people need.

If, I can provide that support, for other women and encouragement for them. then I feel as though that success, for me as a human, right. And in contributions that I can make.

[00:35:03] John McDaniel: We, all need that. This has been great. Thank you for sharing so much of your time with us around your thoughts, ideas, experience, knowledge, a wealth of information. I’m sure the individuals that listen to this will benefit greatly from it’s greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

[00:35:19] Dr. Eve Cunningham: Well, thank you for having me and thank you for letting me share. 

[00:35:22] John McDaniel: Dr. Cunningham is a leader with so many insights into how technological innovation and mentorship are shaping healthcare industry.

Here are the top takeaways from our conversation. One, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring continue to offer major upsides for large health systems like Providence. Embracing telehealth means reducing overall cost of care and improving patient outcomes. Two, it’s difficult to get clinicians to adopt new technologies.

You need executive sponsorship from the top and clinical sponsorship from the bottom in order to be successful. Three, mentorship is vital in healthcare IT, particularly for women. Dr. Cunningham platforms to mentor and cultivate the leaders tomorrow.

So what did you think? What were your big takeaways from this episode? I’d love to hear from you. On our social media channels or drop me an email from our website at healthcareitleaders.com.

Thanks for joining us for Leader to Leader. To learn more about how to fuel your own personal leadership journey through the healthcare industry, visit healthcareitleaders. com. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any insights and we’ll see you on the next episode.

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