Veena Goel Jones, MD, medical director, Digital Patient Experience, Sutter Health and Pediatric Hospitalist at Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Jones completed inaugural fellowships in pediatric hospital medicine and clinical informatics programs at Stanford University. She joined Sutter Health in 2016 at age 30 as medical director of digital patient experience, while simultaneously practicing clinically as a pediatric hospitalist. She helps set clinical priorities for digital health implementations including the organization’s online patient portal, telemedicine initiatives, off-site call center operations, and strategic partnerships, and offers subsequent stewardship over the operational implementations of these programs. Her passions lie in harnessing technology and digital tools to empower patients and their families to make informed decisions as they navigate all aspects of their healthcare.
MHE: Why did you choose your profession?
Jones: It is my greatest privilege to help children and their families navigate illnesses and the healing process as a pediatrician. I chose this profession because I have always been humbled and moved by children’s innocence and resilience. During the course of my medical training, I also developed a passion to improve the overall quality and delivery of care within healthcare systems. I am fortunate to have found a career that allows me to leverage digital technology to lead organizational change, while also revolutionizing the experience of patients and providers.
MHE: What has been your biggest learning experience?
Jones: The most powerful experiences I have had in healthcare have been at the patient bedside, from seeing a family struggle to access care for a loved one, to holding a parent’s hand as they have grieved the loss of their child, to bringing a smile to an ailing patient’s face. These are just a few examples of situations that have taught me that no matter what incentives are created by healthcare laws, hospital policies, and financial models, at the end of the day, the field of healthcare is about helping people. Maintaining this perspective keeps me grounded and keeps the patient at the forefront of my mind when it comes to making decisions and leading change.
MHE: What change would you like to see in healthcare in the next 10 years?
Jones: I would like to see digital health solutions more thoughtfully integrated into healthcare delivery systems to make it easier for people to access the right care, via the means they desire, when they need it. From artificial intelligence platforms to telemedicine, there is great potential for such technology to become ubiquitous within healthcare if payment and incentive models can evolve to make care more affordable.
MHE: If you could sit down to dinner with anyone involved in healthcare, who would it be?
Jones: William Osler, MD—the father of modern medicine. He pushed against previously accepted standards in medicine with his vision for patient-centered medical education. I would be fascinated to get his perspectives on innovating and adapting how we can provide patient-centered care in the digital age.