Innovator Spotlight: Steven Short — Administrative Director of Innovation, Shannon Medical Center


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 is a series from AVIA featuring interviews with the people on the front lines of this crucial work: leaders from our Member health systems tasked with putting digital transformation into practice and driving the industry forward.

This Innovator Spotlight highlights the work of Steven Short, Administrative Director of Innovation at Shannon Medical Center. Steven offered his thoughts on the barriers to innovation in healthcare and emphasized the role that change plays as a foundation for growth.

What has been your main focus over the past year?

Over the last 18 months, we started building out a team, which has been incredibly helpful. Innovation is a cultural change. It takes work to get out of that firefighting mindset and shift more to fire prevention. We need to be ahead of the game, so that’s the direction we are going. That’s been a tremendous success.

Staffing has also been a challenge for us—so we brought in Moxi. We were one of the first health systems to use a Diligent Robotics product. We’ve been using that robot so much to make deliveries that we’ve cut down on the time clinical staff time needs to spend running things around the facility. We have been able to increase the efficiency of our pharmacy deliveries & the pharm techs who make the runs. Moxi has been so successful that our pharmacy leaders are asking for a Moxi of their own. 

What are your goals for the next year?

My highest priority this year is implementing a change management system and process. We were a smaller organization but have grown rapidly. Ten years ago, we were half the size. As we grow, we have to figure out how we can implement change successfully and repeatedly. That change management process is what we’re going to focus on this year, so we can make sure our providers, clinical staff, and frontline staff are on board and understand why we’re changing. We don’t want to be the team who keeps coming in and moving their cheese, without their buy-in.

What technology or solution especially interests you?

Care at home is going to be one of those big things that we’re looking at. We haven’t jumped in head first because we’re part of an interesting market. We serve 10% of the area of Texas but only 1% of the population, so we’re spread out a lot more than other facilities.

We’re thinking about what we can do to prepare ourselves for when the time is right, so that we can be ready to jump in to help at home. That’s one key area we’re keeping an eye on. The future of health is at home. We’re trying to prepare.

What do you think are the most significant barriers to innovation?

Things change so fast. All of the change we just went through, coupled with the fact that we’re still in such a rapid period of change, have led to change fatigue in the organization. People are trying to figure out how to make things go back to the way they were, or they’re still searching for a new workflow that they like today.

At the end of the day, we still have to keep changing. Change isn’t going to slow down. It’s rapidly accelerating. We’ve got to work through some of that fatigue. It comes back to getting people on board with the change rather than the change itself. We’ve got to address change in our organization now for us to have the foundation to grow and innovate at the pace that we need to in order to survive and thrive.

What advice would you offer to health systems struggling with innovation?

Innovation isn’t a one-person thing or even a one-department thing. It’s a team sport, and you’ve got to get through the day-to-day firefighting so you can be proactive. Once you can get people on board, and the more people you can get on board, the easier it’s going to be for you to implement changes that are sometimes drastic or wildly different than the processes you’ve had before. You need to focus on involving as many people as you can.

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 in your health system.