Marc Harrison: Today, I'm with Tyler Shimakonis, who works in compliance at the central office. Tyler, please tell us a little bit about yourself. Then, I'd love to hear what's on your mind today.

Tyler Shimakonis: I've been with Intermountain for about six years. The last year, I have been on the Central Compliance Team, serving as the policy manager. I oversee all of our policy procedure and guideline development, and system. Before that, I spent five years in the SelectHealth Compliance team.

Marc Harrison: Great. You know, I had the opportunity to come and visit with your team, and great conversation ... really great group of people.

Tyler Shimakonis: It was. That's actually ... part of that conversation got me thinking about this question. We live in a very tech-savy state. There's a lot of industries that are going to more telecommuting, and enabling employees for cost cutting other benefits. Also, previously in our Total Rewards Survey, that we had taken last year, there was a question regarding telecommuting as a benefit. So, myself and other caregivers have asked the question, "Where did that fall in line? What are your thoughts, with regards to telecommuting, as a benefit?

Marc Harrison: Great. Well, thanks. I really appreciate the question. As you know, we're living in a society here, that's near full employment. Right? Our greatest asset are the people we work with. They do work that supports our patients, fellow caregivers, and the communities. I think we need to have all appropriate tools in our toolbox, including telecommuting.

Now, I'm not an HR expert, in terms of what the criteria are that make a job or a person eligible for telecommuting, but there are some guardrails around this. If a person wants to telecommute, they need to have certain personal characteristics. They need to be really good at their job. They need to be self-sufficient. They need to be in good standing with the organization, et cetera. That's one set of criteria that, I guess, should apply to people who wish to telecommute.

The second piece, is really around what sort of job do they do. Is it amenable to telecommuting? At this point and time, probably doing a heart catheterization over the web is not going to work out very well. Right?

Tyler Shimakonis: Correct.

Marc Harrison: There are certain sorts of jobs ... including in information services, HR, compliance probably works, some coding and billing ... at times, can really be terrific. When I actually talked to our continuous improvement experts, collaboration is not always about being eyeball to eyeball. It's being connected with other people.

Long story short, is, yes, I'm very open to this, as long as it's done with the right criteria applied, and the right expectations for collegiality and performance associated with it. Does that make sense to you?

Tyler Shimakonis: It does. It does. It actually was interesting when you did come speak at the compliance team, where you had touched on our Connect Care. It got me thinking, even our clinicians, on the clinical side, are able to start doing more of that telepresence, and work from home type aspect.

Marc Harrison: 100 percent agree. That's been a little bit hard for some clinicians to get their minds around. Generally, until they hear the voice of the patient, who says that they love it, and get value from this. All most of us want to do is, provide additional value to the organization that we love, and contribute to.

I guess, one of the questions I have for you is, do you think that if we use tools like this appropriately, it actually broadens the net, in terms of potential caregivers who we can get to join our team?

Tyler Shimakonis: I think it's a huge benefit, and it's something that many people, especially if there was either work from home, or potential telecommute, or you have to come in an office, and commute 35 miles every day ... for a lot of people, that's going to be huge benefit to throw that out there. Especially, where your environmental impact, your reduced time constraint, your added production ... I think, especially today, people take that into consideration when they're looking for employment opportunities.

Marc Harrison: I agree with, and support what you said. I'd add a couple of ideas. One is, what's the geography you need to live in, in order to work for Intermountain? Does it become a national workforce, in some ways? I don't know. Does it become an international workforce in some ways? Possibly, for certain kinds of jobs.

The other thing I'd suggest, is when we know that rural poverty is actually a big problem in the United States, in general, and inter-generational poverty in rural areas ... Utah's a particular problem ... are their opportunities to support economic development in those communities, using tools like telecommuting, that could actually make those communities healthier yet? I think that's kind of interesting. What do you think?

Tyler Shimakonis: I think that is the case. Really, I think for the biggest thing, in a rural setting, especially, it's a different mindset, like you said. It has those generational aspect. When you present something like this as a benefit, it gets people thinking a different way, and potentially aligns with creating that one Intermountain aspect, where everybody is starting to see the same vision.

Marc Harrison: If you want to telecommute, certainly, the right first step, is to work with your leader. I think, as an organization, we also need to get our heads around ... as a one Intermountain organization, can we apply the principals uniformly, so, that you neither have nor lose an opportunity based solely on which part of the organization you work for, regardless of whether the criteria are met or not met? I think, that's an important question, and one that we need to take up with our individual leaders, but also with our Human Resources professionals, to make sure that each individual caregiver has the same opportunities open to her, or to him, regardless of whether you work for IS, SelectHealth versus the Intermountain part of the organization, et cetera.

Thank you for raising this idea, that there are criteria, but there also are potentials to apply them, yet, more uniformly. I'm told that for leaders who are interested in learning more, if you type in Telecommuting on, you'll come up with the resources, so, that you can be really, fully informed as your caregivers come to you, and help them achieve their goals.

Tyler Shimakonis: Great.

Marc Harrison: Thank you. It was a great conversation. I really appreciate the positive attitude and spin you put on this ... much appreciated.

Tyler Shimakonis: Thank you.