With plans to grow by another 125 tech employees over the next one to two years, Franciscan Alliance Information Services is on its way to employing nearly 550 people—two-thirds of whom work at the original Beech Grove site just south of Downtown Indianapolis.

This large, Indianapolis-based IT team supports 14 Franciscan Health hospitals in Indiana and parts of Illinois, which employ more than 18,000 full- and part-time employees. Franciscan Alliance Information Services is highly involved in the local community and feels a kinship with the people and businesses near the site of the storied Beech Grove Hospital that served the Greater Indianapolis area for nearly 100 years.

As Franciscan Health advances from a reporting model to one of secure cloud-based, real-time analytics and even predictive analytics, Franciscan Alliance Information Services has a significant need for new tech talent, as is evidenced by the large numbers of open positions posted regularly on the TechPoint Job Board. Additionally, there’s a new chief information officer at the helm of the information services division. Charles Wagner has joined the healthcare system, bringing 26 years of experience in healthcare and tech—most recently at OhioHealth.

Charles Wagner
Chief Information Officer
Our number one goal as an IT team is to continually improve the patient experience, and the best way to do that is through advanced analytics and other data-based capabilities that have matured in recent years, as well as universal patient access.

“What’s really driving innovation in healthcare delivery is the expectations of patients, and without a doubt, the top demand is mobile utility, because people expect their interactions to be as easy as buying something on Amazon. We’re working toward more system-wide applications and services that meet our patients where they’re at, especially since patients are bearing more and more of their own healthcare costs.”

One of the big initiatives Charles is undertaking with his information services team is putting the technology foundation in place for virtual health services. As he explained it, Franciscan Health will offer video visits with urgent and primary care doctors that can be scheduled with a few taps on a smartphone. Imagine being able to avoid the extra trips when you’re sick, but still getting the care and medicine you need to get well. The virtual health initiative also improves efficiency across the Franciscan system, streamlining routine visits and allowing physicians to see more or spend more time with patients who need to come into one of the 14 hospitals for specialty care.

“Our IT team is focused as much on the business, operations and value—the experience of utilizing the technology—as they are with just making sure the technology is installed and running. We’re business partners with the entire Franciscan Health network helping to solve real business problems,” Charles said.

That partnership is critical, Charles explained, as the information services division continues its digital transformation project including re-engineering nearly every process and every touchpoint with patients’ electronic health records. He and his team are asking the big questions like: “Are we getting the most out of this technology?” and “Is this offering the best possible experience for our patients as well as our nurses and physicians?”

“My job is to make sure that I’m putting a tech platform in place that allows us to provide healthcare to everybody we can at the lowest price possible,” Charles said. “The best way for us to do that is to continue to apply advanced, proven technologies—like private and hybrid clouds that allow us to scale up or down as needed—and then to ‘fail fast,’ learn faster and bring valuable solutions to the Franciscan network.”

Charles describes it as a different kind of mindset than what we’ve seen in healthcare in the past. He wants to create an environment that builds on the existing, dedicated information services culture at Franciscan and energizes it into an innovation center. “We’re already more nimble and responsive and the projects underway are going to take us further into the space where we need to be,” Charles said.

He expects the culture shift and lure of working with new and emerging technologies and seeing them in action quickly will be big advantages in recruiting as the information services division actively hires for the aforementioned 125 positions. Openings will be posted for the new analytics team, digital transformation team, clinical informaticist program, training program and more.