PIH Health, the largest employer in the city of Whittier, California, serves more than 3.7 million residents in Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Gabriel Valley of the Golden State.
But that isn’t the health system’s only distinction. In July 2022, Fortune and Merative named PIH as one of the “15 Top Health Systems” for the second time, as well as one of the top five medium-sized healthcare systems in the nation.
Key performance indicators included: clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, and patient experience as compared to its peers. Low readmission rates, inpatient mortality, and patient complications were also factors.
“PIH Health is honored to receive these prestigious recognitions once again,” James R. West, president and CEO, said in a press release.
“These awards exemplify our continuous commitment to our patients and communities and are a testament to our exceptional employees and medical staff who uphold standards for high-quality care every day. We applaud their consistent efforts and unwavering dedication to outstanding care for all we serve.”
That level of care wouldn’t be possible without an incredible team working behind the scenes to keep PIH’s infrastructure evolving to meet the needs of tomorrow. That’s where CIO Jason Fischer comes in. Fisher’s team includes 160 people stateside, with an additional 30 support personnel overseas that cover everything from security to analytics to electronic health record management.
Since coming to PIH in 2014, Fischer has seen incredible change.
“It’s three times the size now compared to when I got here. That’s progressive growth,” Fischer told Toggle. “We’ve stood together, shoulder-to-shoulder, through every change and have educated our staff on newer and broader technologies over the years. It’s been interesting and never stagnant.”
Before coming to PIH, Fischer served as the director of business applications and revenue cycle for nearly eight years at Children’s Hospital in Orange County (CHOC).
The CIO said the experience provided great exposure to IT, finance, and the business side of healthcare operations. Additionally, CHOC had a chance to practice accountability in supporting major change initiatives.
Fischer sees IT as a way of enabling business strategy, and that mindset has clearly been a winning strategy at PIH—even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It wasn’t exactly a “normal” pandemic period for Fischer. PIH had just acquired Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, which had about four hundred beds. The IT team was in the middle of a ninety-day due diligence period, working to align the two hospitals both in operations and technological efficiency.
“We had been through this before but were right in the middle of things when COVID-19 hit,” Fischer told Toggle. “My goal was to make sure we stayed on track to deliver upon multiyear plans and ensure cost-reduction opportunities.”
The pandemic also gave way to innovation. PIH Health’s telemedicine platform, which did not exist prior to the pandemic, was seeing up to 980 patients a day. Within two weeks of the platform’s completion, over half of PIH’s total visits were online.
When it comes to long-term planning, PIH is currently working on restructuring its storage infrastructure. Fischer noted that it may not be evident to end-users, but the advancements will be appreciated by customers who utilize PIH’s technologies.
Innovation, adaptation, and continuity on the technological front have allowed PIH to keep bringing home the hardware. At the end of 2022, PIH found itself the beneficiary of yet another award. The Integrated Healthcare Association listed PIH as one of a handful of organizations showing the greatest year-to-year improvement in comprehensive diabetes care measures, prevention, and screening.
The “Align. Measure. Perform” award is just the latest sign that when technology and care are connected, patients come out ahead.
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