Walk a mile in my shoes! Those words have been – excuse the pun – well-worn over the years. While often attributed to Native American tribes, the phrase actually comes from an 1895 poem by Mary T. Lathrap, “Judge Softly.” Harper Lee perpetuated the idea in her American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. Elvis Presley even romanticized the idea in song written by Joe South. There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

One of our Citrix Healthcare Evangelists, Christian Boucher, gained first-hand experience as an IT leader at Southcoast Hospital Systems. With that background, he really has walked in the shoes of many of the IT leaders he meets. To share knowledge and document best practices, Christian is starting a blog series in which he will recount what he learns first-hand from IT leaders about their experiences. His goal is not only to gain a deeper understanding of the problems faced by technologists in our healthcare customer community, but also to fill technology gaps he discovers as he visits different environments. Recently, we sat down to talk about the new blogging effort; here’s what he had to say:

Kathy: Tell me about your expectations for this blog series?

Christian: We want to document key trends from the conversations I have with IT leaders when I’m on the road. I have a lot of face-to-face conversations about the issues that these IT leaders deal with on a daily basis and I want to find even more ways to help them solve deployment problems and deal with business challenges. I also want to share first-hand stories with industry peers in a way that is both informative and insightful.

Inside Citrix, I hope to become a change agent, as well. This kind of back-and-forth dialogue is a win/win for everyone.

Kathy: What role does your experience at Southcoast Health Systems play here?

Christian: I’ve worked across a broad spectrum of verticals, including banking, high tech and education. Healthcare has a different vibe. Customer satisfaction is a major business driver. If physicians aren’t happy with a technology solution or it doesn’t help them treat patients more efficiently and effectively, they simply won’t use it.

It’s crucial to understand the link between technology and the end user rather than just force the technology down their throats. I routinely met with physician, clinical, and business leadership to understand the clinical and technical requirements for a new project or initiative. Then I packaged those requirements and brought them back to my engineering team so we could develop a solution.

The team always kept in mind that technology has to be an enabler instead of a distraction. At the end of the day, the goal of our internal customers was singular: to provide the best possible treatment for patients. The solution had to be as transparent as possible.

That’s why I believe it’s beneficial to go into a doctor’s practice or to a hospital unit to get a real understanding of how they work. In some practices or units, there might be several different use cases and delivery methods for the same application. Each needs a different strategy. Physicians view mobility in different ways. Some doctors want complete freedom of mobility and others prefer a part office/part exam room approach.

Being able to leverage Citrix technology to span a host of mobility/use case needs will be crucial for many organizations that I visit. Given my experience, I can add value in designing deployment strategies and insights into best practices learned from various resources over the years.

Kathy: What is your goal for the work that you do, both internally and externally?

Christian: My goal is to strengthen the ties between Citrix and our customers. I worked in healthcare IT for twelve years, running the gamut of interaction with end users all across all the technology platforms. For me to be able to have candid conversations with our customers—to understand the challenges that they face on a daily basis—will allow us not only to identify where our solutions fit, but also take back the information we glean from that dialog and enhance our product lines to fit with the needs of a variety of diverse healthcare organizations across the globe.

Kathy: Within Citrix, how will you help drive change?

Christian: What I want to do is start gathering a database of things that I see, so that I can share them in a quarterly information exchange. I may deliver a report that shows, for example, that 80% of our customers are talking about a particular issue and I’ll provide a suggestion as to how we might resolve it. Then, as a team, we’ll determine together how we can move forward.

I’ll also look for gaps. Maybe we can identify something that we aren’t doing that could fill a void in the marketplace and help CTOs leverage our technologies better.

Kathy: Tell me about how you’ve changed the relationship between IT and physicians.

Christian: At Southcoast, we had a large growth phase, going from fifty doctors to three hundred and fifty within two or three years. My main role was to help new doctors use the hospital’s technology. They needed to admit patients to our hospitals. They needed to discharge patients. They needed to leverage radiology services. We needed to extend applications, so that they could access them remotely. We were constantly working to understand and expand the use cases for our technologies and make them more user-friendly.

Kathy: What are the top two or three action items you’d like people to take away as a result of your blog series?

Christian: My focus has always been to enable our healthcare entities and clinical personnel to give their customers the best experience possible.

How do you meet all of the mandates of HIPAA and still maintain the productivity of your organization? Our customers are at various stages with technology. Some healthcare entities haven’t used EMRs before. Some have used older ones and now are moving towards much more robust solutions. What I want them to do is to understand that Citrix can offer a wealth of opportunity to change the way their users interact with the technology by delivering information and apps securely and quickly and by enabling customization. Citrix technology makes it possible to do this with minimal upheaval to IT and clinical staff.

I want to talk about how Citrix plays in the security arena. I also want to share how Citrix can deliver value in concert with other technologies. Citrix can offset costs and perhaps help avoid the need for some other technologies because of what is inherent in the product portfolio.

Kathy: What trends and issues are you discussing with clinicians?

Christian: Citrix has a large adoption rate on the healthcare side because the technologies fit perfectly into the needs of most healthcare organizations. Because of that, I think, many times, our conversations will not be focused directly on Citrix. They will be about operational issues and how we, as an extended team, can build out solutions that make sense fiscally and operationally – solutions that better the life of their clinicians and therefore drive better patient care.

Kathy: There was a point at which you made a conscious decision to come to the healthcare arena. What makes you passionate about healthcare now?

Christian: I witnessed significant traction being made in the healthcare IT industry. There were a lot of emerging technologies and a push for electronic medical records and digitization. Everything was technical: server infrastructures, new EMRs, new applications. I saw an opportunity to really embed myself in some of the newer technology in this high growth industry.

Also, my wife is a nurse, so I’ve been involved in healthcare-related community activities, and witnessed firsthand how healthcare organizations can impact families’ lives for the better.

Kathy: What brought you to Citrix?

Christian: I have used Citrix technology for close to twenty years, and have used it across all verticals. I was a huge proponent of Citrix and its products for many years before I joined the company.

On a cultural level, I saw that Citrix has an extremely high retention rate and enthusiasm among its employees. That’s unusual in the industry, and speaks volumes about the company’s commitment to their employees and the technology Citrix has. Citrix is an organization that allows you to be who you are and as long as you are passionate about what you do, it’s a great fit.

Kathy: Tell me about how you intend to help make other organizations successful?

Christian: I hope to be able to listen and learn from our customers. I also want to share insights from when I was in their shoes, share what my thoughts were regarding certain initiatives or technologies and explain how I see technology as an enabler of productivity and improved patient care. When you get right down to it, every health system has similar issues: they are there to treat patients. They need to document care within the EMRs. These organizations need leverage mobility, and have the ability to collaborate across multiple practices or facilities to improve the continuum of care. And of course, they need to do this securely! How they choose to handle those issues is where the challenge lies.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say I joined Citrix because I know it’s a perfect fit in healthcare!

Follow Christian on Twitter or find him on LinkedIn
Follow Citrix Solutions for Healthcare on Twitter.
Follow Kathy Holoman (that’s me!) on Twitter.

*If you are in the healthcare industry, we invite you to begin a dialogue with us. You can share your thoughts on the topics in this blog or any other healthcare IT issue with a Citrix researcher by clicking here.

*If you are in the healthcare industry, we invite you to begin a dialogue with us. You can share your thoughts on the topics in this blog or any other healthcare IT issue with a Citrix researcher by clicking here.

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