CommonSpirit Health has appointed its first senior executive vice president. Suja Chandrasekaran has been named chief information and digital officer.
Chandrasekaran will lead technology strategy to connect the 142 hospitals and more than 700 facilities of CommonSpirit Health. She will report to Kevin Lofton, who along with Lloyd Dean, leads the $29 billion not-for-profit Catholic health system.
CommonSpirit Health has said an important part of its alignment is creating interoperability between its preceding health systems.
CommonSpirit was formed in February after the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. It operates in 21 states and has 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians.
"Suja's experience driving technology and digital transformations across major consumer-driven corporations will set the trend for how we integrate today's emerging technologies into a health system," Lofton said. "To truly change healthcare in our country, we need the very best leaders at the table. Suja has a distinct vision to accelerate the development of innovative operating capabilities and new digital pathways to support our people as they deliver the highest quality of care to our patients."
Chandrasekaran led the global IT strategy for Kimberly-Clark. She also held IT leadership roles at Walmart, Nestle and The Timberland Company.
Chandrasekaran's first priorities will be ensuring the system's facilities have a high-performing technology infrastructure supporting them, digitizing core processes and improving artificial intelligence and analytics use. She will also focus on creating digital experiences for patients.
"I believe technology can play a unique role in healthcare. By linking CommonSpirit Health's clinical and digital strategies and modernizing work processes, we can free up time for our physicians and staff to focus on their number one priority—the patient," Chandrasekaran said.
Chandrasekaran will be responsible for assessing CommonSpirit's EHR usage since the legacy CHI and Dignity facilities continue to use separate electronic health record platforms: Epic and Cerner.
Dan Morissette, CommonSpirit's chief financial officer, said on a call earlier this year that the system was working to bring those together so that reporting could be consistent. In that call, the leadership team said the merger that created the new system will generate at least $500 million in cost savings over the next three years.