November 2017 | Q&A Spotlight

Revolutionizing healthcare through technology: Talking with Cathy Johnson of Providence Health & Services

Revolutionizing healthcare through technology: Talking with Cathy Johnson of Providence Health & Services

Cathy Johnson is senior vice president and chief operating officer, information services for Providence Health & Services, the third largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. Her responsibilities include strategic planning, leading teams in the delivery of enterprise applications and technology services, managing IT services integration for mergers and acquisitions, and implementing transformational technology to improve quality and business performance. Cathy joined Providence Health & Services in 2012. She has more than 20 years of technology and information services leadership in the public and healthcare sectors.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in your industry today?

A focus on population health – an approach that aims to improve the health of the entire human population and reduce health inequities among certain groups – is changing the economics of healthcare and the industry’s delivery paradigm. At the same time, healthcare consumers are looking for sophisticated digital solutions to everything from telemedicine visits on demand to mobile applications that integrate electronic health records with personal health applications to personalized medicine that leverages genomics. Our technology is essential to adapting quickly to these changes and expectations.

What trends in the local market are you most excited about?

The Pacific Northwest is so fortunate to have many large technology companies that are working to expedite the delivery of innovative healthcare solutions for their own employees – thereby helping accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare for all consumers. Additionally, the region’s extensive genomics and proteomics research requires exceptional big data and data science acumen to support personalized medicine. That is changing the way we treat disease, prescribe medicine, and revolutionize health.

How are you using technology to improve the way your business runs?

We are focusing a lot of energy on reviewing our foundational technologies – including networks, servers, and storage – to make sure we leverage emerging capabilities to streamline services and reduce cost. We also have numerous notable data analytics programs underway, with a national focus on population health. Finally, we are in the process of selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that supports our organization’s growth and the transformation of our service delivery model.

Technology is an ever-evolving subject. Which local business organizations or local events do you attend to stay connected to the community?

I regularly attend events held by our core vendors. I also try to make sure that, each year, I am updating my understanding of where major technologies are headed.

One of West Monroe’s core values is social responsibility, and we know Providence also has a strong commitment to giving back. What’s one community activity your company is doing that you’re most excited about?

As a non-profit, faith-based healthcare organization, we have numerous community activities in motion at all times. For example, we have an enormously productive pea-patch garden in Renton that provides food for a women’s shelter. Another great example is our staff trips to Guatemala to build infrastructure, such as stoves and sanitation utilities. This year, we are also assisting in organizations that fight human trafficking. And we routinely collect eyeglasses, baby supplies, and canned goods for those in need.

What’s your favorite thing about living and working in the Northwest?

Summer and Seahawks!  

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