Episode 64 - The Doc Is In
Dr. Geeta Nayyar, a nationally recognized leader in health information technology, is bringing the physician’s perspective to Greenway Health as its new chief medical officer. On this episode, Dr. Nayyar discusses what got her into medicine, the customer benefits of having a chief medical officer at Greenway, and the challenges facing providers today. She was named among “Top 26 Smartest People in Health IT” by Becker's Hospital Review and ranked one of the “Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare. Plus, learn about life outside of work, including her love for the hit series, Game of Thrones.
Joe: On this episode of Putting Possibility Into Practice, you've heard the news, and now meet our new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Geeta Nayyar [SP] joins us on our podcast. We'll talk bridging clinical medicine, business, and health information technology, what it all means for providers who partner with Greenway, and winter is coming. We're talking about life outside of work. She's a huge fan of the television show, Game of Thrones. This is Putting Possibility Into Practice, and it starts right now.
I'm Joe Agustinelli, [SP] Social Media Manager at Greenway Health, and welcome to this episode of Putting Possibility Into Practice. If you are a returning listener, thank you once again for tuning in. And if you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. I invite you to subscribe on your platform of choice. We'll have more of those platforms later on in this podcast. On this episode, I am delighted to be joined by Greenway Health's new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Geeta Nayyar, who is named among the top 26 smartest people in health IT by Becker's Hospital Review and ranked as one of the top 25 minority executives in healthcare by Modern Healthcare. She's also a huge fan of Game of Thrones, which we will get into later on, and I have to be honest, I've never seen an episode myself. But anyhow, I want to welcome Dr. Nayyar to the podcast. Thanks for joining me.
Geeta: Oh, thanks so much for having me.
Joe: First of all, let's give the listeners who have seen the news across our social media and perhaps visit our website to read the press release recently when we made the announcement, a little bit of background about yourself, where you grew up and where you are now.
Geeta: Sure, well I am a proud Miami Hurricane. I went to college and medical school at the University of Miami and I grew up in a medical family near the Steward area. So I'm a very proud Floridian and really proud to be working for a Florida-based company.
Joe: And what made you get into healthcare? Where did the interest come from?
Geeta: Sure. Well again, I said I come from a medical family. So everyone in my household was always talking shop of some sort. But truly I find science fascinating, I find the human body just phenomenal. So I've always been someone who loved science and medicine and wasn't really a lab nerd, couldn't really see myself in research or as a PhD. So medicine just felt like a natural fit.
Joe: And how about moving into healthcare IT? How did that come about?
Geeta: You know, like all good things in life, completely by accident. I was actually at George Washington University where I did my fellowship and my residency, and we were implementing our EMR for the first time, and I just sort of connected the dots and thought it was a phenomenal technology that just really needed a clinical lens, and got really involved in that implementation and rollout and the product, and I really never looked back since.
Joe: And what made you have an interest in joining the team here at Greenway Health?
Geeta: Oh my goodness, so many things. First and foremost is that Greenway is a leader in the health technology space. The executive team is truly phenomenal, and their commitment to everything in patient safety, compliance, innovation was so compelling and I couldn't ask for a better opportunity. So I'm really jazzed to be here.
Joe: And how can providers who partner with Greenway benefit from Greenway Health having a Chief Medical Officer? Not something we've had in the past.
Geeta: Sure. I think the role just complements everything else that Greenway's bringing to the table, and I think truly it's a commitment that the company has to bringing the end user into the product development, the strategy, the implementation. My role is to really be the end user's voice in everything that we do. So I think this role is a true commitment. It's a new role for the company and one that just speaks to the broader commitment to our customers.
Joe: And speaking of the end user, you recently presented at a patient experience summit in Cleveland, Ohio through the Cleveland Clinic [inaudible 00:04:09] don't forget the end user. What was that all about?
Geeta: Sure. I think too often in the health tech industry or technology in general, we tend to build really cool things because we can. But we forget the problem we're actually solving for. And physicians, clinicians, we really like simple stuff. We don't like a lot of alerts, we don't like to have to click 30 times for something, and just because we can do something doesn't mean necessarily we should. So I think that's really what the presentation was about, what the conference was about, and how you really do couple the soft human skills with technology, and that there really is a fine balance.
Joe: And speaking of being an end user and a provider, a little bit for those who may not realize it, you still have a practice over in Miami, correct? And what specialties?
Geeta: Sure, I do. So I'm a rheumatologist by training. I do internal medicine and rheumatology, and I'm on faculty at both FIU and University of Miami. So I see patients there and get to teach a little bit. It's a great balance for me, and again, Greenway's very supportive of that, so I'm very appreciative of that.
Joe: And speaking as a Chief Medical Officer and also a provider yourself, what are some of the biggest challenges facing healthcare providers today?
Geeta: You know, I think it's indicative of where the whole industry's at. It's just being asked to do more with less. So it's being asked to see more patients with less time, it's being asked to do more paperwork, less clinical time, it's trying to do value based medicine in a still fee for service model. There are so many pulls on the average doc today, and there are just not a lot of tools for providers to succeed and there's just not a lot of knowhow or experience. Again, all of us went to medical school to be doctors, but increasingly the administrative side is getting to be quite burdensome. And I think therein lies the opportunity that we have with Greenway and with my role and to just figure out where those synergies are and how we can best help our customers where we can to be successful in present day medicine as well as future day medicine.
Joe: And let's talk about some of the honors I mentioned in the intro. So one of the top…I'm just a social media guy, but you're one of the top 26 smartest people in health IT by Becker's Hospital Review. What does it mean to be recognized by such an industry leading publication like that, as to what sounds like a great list to be on?
Geeta: Oh my gosh. I think it's incredibly humbling. I don't know who the other 25 were, but I think there are so many smart people in the industry. I think I'm one of many, and I have so many mentors and colleagues that I've really learned from, continue to learn from, and I think the space is just perfectly full of opportunity for people who are smart and willing to work hard, and also willing to listen, because I think you get in trouble when you think you know everything, and I think that's half the battle, is recognizing that so much of what we're doing in the industry is new. We have AI, predictive analytics, there's so much that we know and there's so much more that we have to learn, and I'm just really humbled to be recognized for that and to be in the company of so many people that I continue to learn from.
Joe: And another leading industry publication, Modern Healthcare naming you one of the top 25 minority executives in healthcare. And what does it mean to be not only on that list, but a minority executive in the healthcare industry?
Geeta: I guess I don't really think about it, to be honest. Again, I think that there's so much opportunity for executives that bring value to the table, and I think it's wonderful that publications like that recognize so many folks are doing good things in the industry. I will say that I, personally for obvious reasons, I think women in technology are underrepresented and there's an area that we can work on in that space, and I think not just because it's the right thing to do, but because again when we talk about the end user, in the household there are so many studies that show us that the decision maker in the household for healthcare decisions is Dr. Mom. It's mom that takes the kids to the pediatrician, it's the spouse that takes the husband to the doc, it's the mom or the female caretaker that's taking care of elderly parents. So I think in that regard it's really important because so much of what we're doing affects the women in the household, and I think having women at the top representing what the end user wants to get from a patient and caretaker perspective is very important. So I'm very privileged and feel that that's important.
Also as a true doctor, Dr. Mom, who does also take my daughter to a pediatrician, I definitely have plenty of use cases in the areas where I give my opinion, solicited or unsolicited, at our pediatrician's office.
Joe: I know. I grew up in a medical family. My dad practiced dentistry for 38 years. My uncle at a little over 80 years old is still practicing internal medicine. And my mother, from being around my dad so long, they've been married 40 years, seems to have that medical inclination just about, still to this day any time I go get checked out for something, I think I answer more questions from her than I do the actual doc when I'm in the office. So I can understand that Dr. Mom perspective. And talking about that Dr. Mom perspective, so a Chief Medical Officer, you're on the board, you have your own practice. Life outside of work. A, is there such a thing? And what's life outside of work for you? What do you enjoy doing?
Geeta: Sure. First of all, I have a seven year old daughter that keeps me busy and keeps me on my toes. So definitely everything and anything related to her. I love tennis. I'm a big tennis fan. I play pretty regularly. And I love Game of Thrones, I've got to tell you. This is the last season. I don't know what I will do with myself after the show ends. I'm going to have to go actually read all the books now.
Joe: Yeah, and I was going to close out our podcast talking about that. It seems that it's a huge ratings success and it's all over social media, and I'll be 100% honest, I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones. Everything I know about Game of Thrones comes from either what I see on my Facebook feed or on my Twitter feed, and as a huge New York Mets baseball fan, Noah Syndergaard, who's one of their pitchers, posts about Game of Thrones, and I think he's even been a cameo on a couple episodes, but what got you into Game of Thrones? And just talk about that a little bit. And then you mentioned your seven year old daughter, but isn't there a connection between Game of Thrones and your daughter, too?
Geeta: It's so funny you asked me that. I think you must have picked that up from somewhere. Yeah, so shortly after my daughter was born, my family, we started watching Game of Thrones, and there's a particular character called Arya. Arya happens to also be an Indian name. So anyway, maybe six or nine months old, and I remember turning to her dad and saying, "I think we should change her name. We should change her name from Sonia to Arya." And believe me, I still might do it even though she's 7. She's just such an awesome heroine in the show. You've got to watch it, Joe. You've got to stop what you're doing. You've got to stop the podcast and go turn it on. It's just such a cool science fiction story, and people think it's…It's not about any special effects or that it kind of takes place in the medieval sort of time, but it's really about people. I mean, it's really about humans, human nature, and it's a very thought-provoking show, which is what I really enjoy about it, and there is some science and some fantasy, so the science nerd in me really just enjoys it. But it's quite a phenomenon. Our whole family watches it.
Joe: Yeah, I've heard that and seen that, and certainly once the Walking Dead runs its course on TV, perhaps I'll go back and catch up on all the past seasons of Game of Thrones because as you said, it wraps up, this is the last season, correct?
Geeta: It is, until they come up with something new. I've heard that they're going to be doing a prequel, because this'll be the end. So we'll see. Summer is coming. So I guess I'm going to have to find something else to do, but summer is coming and it's about to end.
Joe: We'll keep you busy here at Greenway. So we should be all set by the time Game of Thrones wraps up.
Geeta: That's right.
Joe: Well I want to thank you for taking time out of your always busy day to join me on this episode. I hope that our listeners learned a little bit more about you, life outside of work and what you're going to bring to the team here in Greenway and how providers can benefit from having your expertise on board. So thank you for sharing some of the thoughts and taking time out of your day to join me on our podcast.
Geeta: For sure. Thank you so much, Joe, for having me. I appreciate it, and whenever you want to watch, you let me know.
Joe: I will. And once again, that's Dr. Geeta Nayyar. She is the new chief medical officer at Greenway Health. I thank her for her time here on our Putting Possibility Into Practice podcast. A reminder, you can catch up on all our past episodes in between Game of Thrones or whatever else you watch on TV. You can visit our website at www.greenwayhealth.com to catch up on our past episodes of our podcast, and I do invite you to subscribe to our podcast on your platform of choice, and we are on a number of them now. We are on Apple iTunes, Google Play Podcasts, Tune In Radio, I Heart Radio, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, Libsyn, FM.Player, and look for more podcast platforms coming soon. Once again, I'm Joe Agustinelli, the Social Media Manager at Greenway Health, and this has been another episode of our podcast, Putting Possibility Into Practice. Thanks for listening.