Innovator Spotlight: Jen Magaziner — Vice President of Digital Health, Boston Children’s Hospital


When it comes to driving impactful digital transformation, few things are more valuable than getting the on-the-ground perspective of colleagues and peers. Innovator Spotlight features interviews with the people who are on the front lines of this crucial work: leaders from our Member health systems and hospitals, who put digital transformation into practice and drive the industry forward.

We spoke with Jen Magaziner, Vice President of Digital Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. Boston Children’s Hospital is ranked the #1 children’s hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is a pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s is now a 485-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. Jen shared her insights on using digital to empower care teams, delivering equitable care, and some of the unique challenges facing pediatrics when it comes to innovation and transformation.

What has been your main focus over the past year?

Our Digital Health team’s objective is to harness digital innovation to drive a more connected, equitable, and personalized care experience for our patient families and our care teams. We have three major digital health pillars that support this and are intentional in driving innovation across all three. The first pillar is creating consumer-friendly digital pathways that connect patient families and referring clinicians with guidance as they are trying to determine which care they need. For us, building a digital front door is not just about matching patients to appointments here in Boston. Given the shortage of pediatric expertise in certain subspecialty areas across the country, we know that finding the right care can be a diagnostic odyssey that can take families many years and several misdiagnoses. We’ve been providing remote opinions for families and their providers for many years, but last year we brought in a new partner and platform to refresh this offering. On a more local front, we also launched e-consults to build more digital connectivity with referring providers.

We also have our “Care Anywhere” pillar, with the objective of continuing to advance a more equitable, multi-modal care model—one that allows patient families to receive care from home whenever clinically appropriate. Last year we were focused on better understanding our clinicians’, patient families’, and referring providers’ preferences on virtual care so that we could recalibrate our hybrid model. Today roughly 20% of our outpatient care is delivered virtually and our team has partnered closely with clinicians, IT, and Operations to identify how we can continue to embed virtual care into our operational model. We’ve also partnered with clinicians to launch several connected device pilots to determine the most impactful use cases for remote patient monitoring.

Our third pillar is focused on digitally enabling our care teams via emerging AI and voice applications. This work feels more important than ever, as our clinicians work tirelessly and there is so much opportunity to leverage AI to enhance clinical decision support tools and to reduce administrative burden for everyone providing care. We piloted ambient listening for provider documentation last year. When providers who spend most of their waking hours taking care of other families tell us that they are finally able to have dinner with their own families again, that is very impactful. Of course, they are also able to see more patients and to devote time to research as well, which helps us advance our core mission. We also have an earlier stage effort to replace the traditional nurse call button with voice-to-text. We are starting small here, on one unit, but it’s been great to see the halo impact on patient experience, and to start to have a data stream on the most common types of requests so we can figure out how to further alleviate the burden for our inpatient staff.

What are your goals for the next 12 to 24 months?

For our digital access pillar, we’ll continue focusing on our digital front door design and on bolstering our CRM strategy. For Care Anywhere, we are focusing on moving from pilots to scale in remote monitoring and on learning from our adult peers who have built Hospital at Home programs under the CMS waiver so we can understand what the next wave of innovation should be for pediatrics. For our digitally-enabled care team portfolio, we are scaling the voice applications I mentioned and are continuing to partner with clinical leadership and IT on our portfolio of emerging AI use cases.

The other large body of work for the enterprise is our transition from a dual EMR to all Epic. That will be a focus for the whole enterprise, and will enable a lot of core transformation.

In keeping with the concept of best leveraging the core technology we have, one of the things we’ve done this year is to add departmental-level adoption metrics to our enterprise dashboard. We’ve picked five priority innovations and developed a digital health scorecard of sorts. This is helping us identify when our digital health offerings aren’t hitting that dual aim of patient and departmental or clinician adoption, and having this data visible to all is prompting richer discussions on how we can move the needle on adoption.

What are the biggest barriers holding back digital transformation, either in your own organization or in the industry?

For health systems, our biggest challenge is that our innovation pipeline is never ending, but there is a long tail of transformation and change management in a hospital. Unless we can transform our broader operating model and care model, we’ll wind up having innovation without digital transformation. Without that ongoing transformation engine, you’re not going to have the credibility or agility to launch the next thing, so it is an important balance. As our digital health portfolio has grown, more and more time goes to that long tail of adoption, and you are constantly balancing your transformation portfolio with the emerging innovations at the gate. When I talk to my peers at other health systems, all of us are thinking about the need to redefine how health systems are structured and how we team so that we can drive that transformation in a more interdisciplinary and efficient way.

Are there any technologies that you’re keeping an eye on in the near future?

We are closely watching platforms that enable smarter remote management of care and AI applications that will continue to disrupt the manual work we all do. I know everyone is watching ChatGPT!

Are there any unique challenges or opportunities for digital transformation within pediatric health?

When it comes to pediatrics, our challenge is that we are often the last stop on the roadmap—for regulatory approval, for payment reform, for technology companies, and so on. New payment models and technology are proven out on older populations where there is a significant disease burden and system spend first. In pediatrics, we try to innovate a bit ahead of that curve, but it’s hard to get to true transformation when the reimbursement isn’t there yet or you have to spend more effort co-developing the technology.

The second challenge is that your end user is not always an individual: it’s a family, or a community. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, as it puts inclusivity at the center of your design. It is one of my favorite parts of working in pediatrics.

And I will close with our biggest opportunity. Our patients and families are asking for a more digitally-enabled healthcare journey. Unlike other populations, where part of the challenge is convincing patients to engage this way, this is often our families’ baseline expectation. Couple this with the fact that we are the number one pediatric hospital in the country, with a mission of improving pediatric health across the globe, and digital innovation moves from a priority to an imperative.

Do you want to join a network of the most innovative health systems in America? Are you ready to put digital innovation into practice? Contact AVIA to find out how you can accelerate the speed and impact of digital at your health system.