David Baker, Chief Technology Officer, The Asbury Group Integrated Technologies

CAST | February 14, 2018

LeadingAge CAST had an opportunity to interview David Baker, Chief Technology Officer, The Asbury Group Integrated Technologies. David Baker has more than 25 years’ experience in the acute and long-term health-care industry, in information technology, facility management and project planning, development and construction. Mr. Baker is the Vice President of Information Technology for Asbury Communities and also leads the Cyber Assurance and Report Development divisions. 


David, thanks for taking time to talk to us today. How about we start by you sharing with us a little bit of about yourself, your career so far, all the way to being the Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?

David Baker: I started really in acute care side of the house, and I worked in facilities, construction, development and I had biomedical. So, biomedical at that time, back in the early 90s and a little bit before was really the networking side of things. So, we didn’t interact with the software side of the house, but we ran all the cabling and so forth. So, that was really my kick off career into IT.

Prior to that, I was an electrician, so I knew about what high voltage and low voltage wiring, but really when the Biomed part hit, and we wired a couple hospitals, that really kicked that part of it off.

In 1997, I moved to Senior Living, and I’ve been in Senior Living ever since then and I started in 2000 as the CIO for an organization in Pennsylvania in Maryland. So, it really kicked off my career there, but I continued to do construction, new development, design and so forth and the facilities kind of things, so, it’s just a three-headed monster if you will.

David, what’s the most exciting thing that you and your team are working on right now at The Asbury Group Integrated Technologies?

David Baker: The most exciting thing I’d have to say is helping organizations figure out their strategic plan around IT. So, a lot of the organizations we meet with have never even done or completed a strategic plan for IT, they’ve maybe done it for their business, but they have no idea, what does that mean from people, process, and technology perspective for them, and how do they go about planning for the future. They see all these new innovations, artificial intelligence, telehealth and you know Internet of Things coming at them, and they think I will throw a couple access points up.

But, there’s so much more to that, it’s that all that supporting infrastructure that you have to have in place, in order to use any of those things. So that’s pretty much of the most exciting thing is to be able to help them navigate those waters and get through that.

From your view as a CTO when you look at all the new technologies that are coming down the pipe, what do you see as a few technologies that have really piqued your interest?

David Baker: In our industry I think, telehealth is a great way to expand our services from the perspective of being able to provide physicians, you know specific physician services, where we normally wouldn’t have that service in-house. So, somebody that maybe you know from a surgery perspective, from a psychology perspective, psychological perspective, being able to bring them in through telemedicine and telehealth, into the community 24/7/365. Just making that connection, I think, is an excellent opportunity.

Some other ones would be remote monitoring, we’ve talked about this for several years but it’s really with artificial intelligence coming around, more with the combination with the sensors being able to see the changes in patterns, and people can pick up on those changes, where there might be an interaction that’s needed.

What is your advice to other executives on how do they make decisions, what do they base their decisions on?

David Baker: I think in times of change like this, they need to get back to the root of everything and solidifying that foundation if you will. There’s so much going on, there’s so much unknown going on, now’s the time I think to sit back and look at the foundation, do a strategic plan around that, what do you need to have in place to support those new technologies or any changes in governmental regulations going forward, and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to do that now.

You’ve been associated with LeadingAge CAST for some time now. How has CAST helped you in your decisions around technology and investments in IT?

David Baker: I’m a busy executive that spends a lot of time behind the windshield of a car, or in an airplane. So, I don’t get to do a lot of research, the selection tools that CAST has put together around EHR, Telehealth, and Remote Patient Monitoring for Long-Term and Post-Acute Care I can just take some time and read that, and that would have been months of research that I would have had to do that I would never have had time to do. So, those tools are so valuable to me, and to everybody in our industry, they’ve done a great job with that.

How about we close with something that you can share as advice to new entrants in the industry that are looking up to somebody like you and saying, how do I become the next David Baker, how do I become the CTO?

David Baker: I think the advice I’d give is, find out your way, what’s your purpose in life, and make sure you have those boundaries, those lines in the sand that you won’t cross, and once you’ve figured out that that’s your compass, and just follow that. Put that in your heart and follow that forward, and you’ll do well.

David thank you so much for taking time to share these insights with us, really appreciate it. You have a wonderful rest of the conference.