Teal Heath Podcast Transcript

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Headshot of Founder and Principal Teal Heath

Teal Heath Podcast Transcript

Teal Heath joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Teal Heath. Teal Heath is the founder and principal of Equinox Healthcare IT. A leading executive level healthcare IT consulting firm specializing in information and communication technology for healthcare construction. With over 20 years of clinical operational business and technical expertise, Teal is a highly accomplished leader in healthcare IT.

She holds various certifications including registered nurse, Six Sigma Greenbelt Program and Portfolio Management Mastery and is a Project Management Professional. Teal’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Computer Resources and Information Management degree, and is a Distinguished Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Well, good afternoon, Teal. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:59] Teal Heath: Good afternoon. Thank you for having me.

[00:01:02] Brian Thomas: Absolutely. This is so fun. And from time to time, I get to chat with somebody behind the mic that’s been in the healthcare space or healthcare IT space, such as your case.

I’ve been in healthcare a lot of years doing technology and project management as well. But again, just wanted to thank you for making the time today.

[00:01:19] Teal Heath: It’s my pleasure.

[00:01:21] Brian Thomas: So, Teal, let’s jump right in here. Let’s talk about your career in healthcare technology. You were a senior executive board chair.

Now you’re the founder and principal of Equinox Healthcare IT. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:38] Teal Heath: Certainly. So, my journey into health care started way back when I was one of those right out of high school nursing school folks. Right outta high school, I got into an RN program, loved the work, loved nursing, and still very much care about nurses and helping ease the burdens that they have in an inherently difficult job.

While I was nursing Brian, believe it or not, I had. Opportunity somebody approached me looking to find clinicians that they would be able to train up in technology space, thinking that it would be more straightforward to have the clinical person trained on technology, rather than trying to train.

Clinical ideals to a technologist. And so, I thought it over and took the plunge, so to speak, moved into the health IT department, the hospital IT department. And keep in mind that this was before data analytics, business intelligence. The maturation of clinical informatics. It was a long time ago, and I loved it.

And I never looked back. I got in graduate school and finished a master’s degree in I. T and technology in the health care space. So, that has been what I’ve been doing technology. In health care for the last few decades or two, and I’m not sure I really have a career secret, so to speak, but I’m clear on what inspires me and it is hospital construction projects long after I’m dead and gone.

I’ll be able to. Have family members, grandkids, and others drive by these big, beautiful buildings, and they will be the beneficiary of these super cool hospital construction projects. And that’s something that I find very thrilling. It’s really neat knowing that they’ll have a place to park go into big and beautiful and healing environments that are meant to promote efficiencies.

For the people that work there and just a caring and healing environment for friends and family. I think that’s truly an inspirational thing. I still sometimes even for fun will drive by old projects just to have a look and see how the campus is growing or changing and feel very lucky to be a part of no matter how small, big project like that.

[00:04:14] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. And you created something that is long lasting, like you said someday down in the future, your grandkids will be driving by or actually visiting the facility. And that’s just something that you can carry on with your legacy, which is totally awesome. So, thank you again for sharing that.

Love to hear that story. So Teal, we’re going to jump to the next question here. I have for you. You’ve crafted a modern approach to managing all the complexities of technology, budget, resourcing, et cetera, right? We both did this project management part in healthcare construction with your integrated platform, Solstice Key. Could you talk to us briefly about this product?

[00:04:53] Teal Heath: Absolutely. Believe it or not, Brian, construction teams and even hospital IT departments or health IT departments still today approach the construction and the technology components of a hospital being constructed the same way we did, believe it or not, in the late 1990s, early 2000s.

So, the hospital I. T. department largely will maybe have a person or a few people who participated in the last construction project or just resources that have availability in it to work on the technology pieces of the hospital construction project. And then that person, or a few people are expected to turn up and be a good teammate to the construction team and effectively manage end to end all of the technology items for that hospital being brand new build.

And if you think about the way we receive care in a hospital today. That just does not make any sense to us because so many things have changed since the 1990s and early 2000. We are wanting to shift. I. T. In hospital construction into modernity. And just like you said, the way we’ve done that is we’ve effectively managed few dozens of projects across the nation over the last 20 or so years.

And we’ve built out an integrated platform that we call Solstice Key. Solstice Key will automate.

The IT project manager workflow. Now, because things have shifted so much since the 1990s and early 2000s and many more things in a hospital environment, right? A network or applications that I.T. provides, it. ends up being 7-8-9 it project managers in some case, you take on smaller components for technology and manage those items through hospital open using Solstice Key and our project advisors.

We’re able to automate that work for the ITPMs and drastically reduce the amount of ITPMs utilizing our project advisors so that there can be two or so ITPMs with our project advisor. Utilizing Solstice Key as the platform and automate all of the functionality end to end, that the IT PMs will either have to know or provide to the construction team as part of that project.

And one of the things that we really try to also point out is, if you think about it, Brian, It’s not what it used to be where there was just a heavy infrastructure requirement of I.T. In health care for newly constructed hospitals. It still has heavy infrastructure requirements. But now there are hundreds of applications in addition to that has to be rebuilt retested, reintegrated with other applications in order for the full operations of that hospital to function on Day 1 of hospital opening. And so, the application space is a really important space that historical construction team members really don’t have a lot of visibility into that is absolutely necessary for the project.

We’ve gotten to the point where it’s. So much more complex now that I’m not even sure it’s a fair ask of I.T. To with limited information, provide the technology budget on this project that’s. 24 months- 3 years in duration, provide the it resource and plan for a project of that size and that scale.

It’s complex enough that I don’t know how that can be done very effectively without the tool and use and expertise of our project advisors and a product like Solstice Key to support those efforts. That’s Solstice Key product that we have is the accumulation of decades worth of multiple repetitive end to end projects.

So, we’re able to get very close to budgets, very close to resourcing plans and just when the different I.T. Project managers that we partner and collaborate with are being asked for something, chances are pretty good that we’re. Already reaching out to them saying, hey, expect to be asked for this. Here’s the tool that will help deliver on that in the time frame that they need and we’re here.

We can help you avoid mistakes. We can help you get the right budget up front, and we can help with some of the construction vernacular because it is a industry all of its own. In addition to health care. In addition to that they’re expected to perform on and even if they’ve done a recent healthcare construction project for their enterprise, you know, how rapidly the health landscape is shifting. Pricing and apps and functionality drastically change in a very short amount of time, we love being able to help automate the I.T. Workflow. And really help I. T. be a better partner to the construction team.

[00:10:16] Brian Thomas: Thank you for sharing that. And yes, a construction project on a hospital or large building right is complex enough. But when you add that I.T.. component and, you know, I both know we’ve done healthcare I. T. for a long time that if you don’t have some sort of turnkey solution to help monitor and really put some guidance in there in these large complex projects, you can easily see how go-lives don’t go well or cost overruns. So, I appreciate you sharing your platform Solstice Key again, wanted to just bring that to our audience’s attention. So, thank you. Teal, we are a tech platform. I’m a techie, you’re a techie. We like to ask if you’re leveraging any of that new or emerging technologies in your business, and if not, that’s fine, but maybe you could share.

Some cool tool or app that you might be leveraging today.

[00:11:04] Teal Heath: Definitely, one of the things that I’ve noticed and that sort of is a catalyst. For the change in approach for technology on. Hospital construction builds is that retail banking hospitality, the other verticals have elevated and changed consumer expectations.

So, we have an expectation as consumers that All that much anymore. We have online banking. You can take a picture of our check and conduct deposits. Well, I feel like health care has been a bit slower in that evolution than our partners in those verticals like retail and banking and hospitality, but the consumer expectation. Is still there, and it’s not stopping when a person comes to the front door of a hospital.

So, hospitals and health care have been working to not necessarily catch up but definitively to do a better job. Elevating the patient and their families experience. And so, the really neat thing about projects like this is that when you’re building a new hospital, oftentimes, of course, there are certain project constraints, budget constraints, et cetera, but oftentimes you have a thoughtful audience and a blank canvas.

Of sorts that allow for at least the look at different or emerging technologies, and we can help executives prioritize what functionality what special patient engagement or digital services that they want to prioritize for use in their new hospital for their patients and the community. And so that’s one of the things that’s very neat.

Is that blank canvas that we have sort of an opportunity and projects like this Brian to make up for and or help defend new technologies that specifically can enhance the patient and even the clinicians automated workflow, or their experience on a day-to-day basis. And so the emerging technologies that I see is continually going through when we’re trying to define scope and budget for technology on hospital construction projects of the stuff that, you’ll be familiar with, such as digital technologies. think the use of robotics, especially with lab, pharmacy, nutritional services, environmental services is also really exciting because it can automate some of the workflow for extremely taxed people trying to provide good care for patients and that blank slate is just something that I really appreciate because it’s not often that that is the case and you don’t have the opportunity to get that audience and really go through the different options and help them prioritize what’s important to them and their new hospital in the specific community that hospital in for the next tens of years.

[00:14:17] Brian Thomas: Thank you for sharing, Teal. I appreciate that. And you’re right. When you mentioned the blank slate, every project is unique and different. And there’s opportunities there where you can apply some sort of new process or new technology to that. So again, appreciate you sharing your insights on that. And we certainly appreciate it.

 Teal, last question of the evening. Could you share something from your career experience that would be helpful for those listening this evening, looking to grow their career in healthcare or entrepreneurship.

[00:14:46] Teal Heath: Sure. I think about what Seneca defined as luck, luck being when opportunity meets preparation.

And so, for me obtaining different certifications, being open to new job types and roles has been something that’s helped me out. Along the way. And then when opportunities come up, I feel like I’ve had the different certifications, training, or otherwise preparedness to be able to transition into different roles a little bit more seamlessly.

The other thing I would say is I’ve been fortunate enough to have a handful of really skilled, capable mentors over the years. That helped me significantly and you have to be willing and humble enough to ask for mentorship to seek it out and then to be open to the feedback that you get.

There’s so much intellectual knowledge and the folks that are turning up each and every day, working in the healthcare setting, trying their best to take care of patients. The last thing you know is just making sure that your team is recognized for the good work that they do. A lot of times, especially in health.

It might be able to relate to this. You just go from project to project to project, and that is the inherent nature of some of the work that we do. But if you can stop recognize people celebrate accomplishments, I think it helps maintain a good performance over a longer haul.

[00:16:21] Brian Thomas: Thank you, Teal. I really appreciate the gems there that you shared this evening, being adaptable and saying yes to opportunities.

 That’s really a, another theme that we see here with guests on the podcast is saying yes to those opportunities, being prepared, stepping into it and just going for it. So again, thank you for those shares.

[00:16:40] Teal Heath: You’re welcome.

[00:16:41] Brian Thomas: Last thing Teal, it was certainly a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:16:48] Teal Heath: Thank you so much. It was my pleasure as well. Nice speaking with you, Brian.

[00:16:52] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Teal Heath Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.

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