Intelligent Automation of the Revenue Cycle: How an Integrated Platform Approach Yields Financial Results

Intelligent Automation of the Revenue Cycle: How an Integrated Platform Approach Yields Financial Results
Sean Barrett, Senior Vice President, Product and Digital Transformation, R1 RCM

Healthcare provider networks are experiencing enormous pressure to manage financial margins and invest in contactless patient experiences. With overall financial losses projected to exceed $323 billion as a result of COVID-19, a projected $200 billion in administrative waste due to revenue cycle inefficiencies, and increasing pressure to meet digital consumerism demands, it is essential for health systems to find ways to streamline processes, maximize their revenue cycles and cut costs. These industry trends are pushing organizations to invest heavily in automation solutions, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) to alleviate operational and financial pressures. 

In this rush to invest in automation and digital solutions, providers are often overlooking how a multi-layered technology approach can increase value realization. They need an intelligent automation (IA) platform that incorporates a mixture of powerful AI technology levers such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and optical character recognition (OCR), combined with RPA and workflow orchestration, which enables humans to work harmoniously with these digital assets. This article will examine how this IA platform can be utilized to strategically deliver financial value within the revenue cycle. 

When deployed correctly, IA can help health systems realize new revenue streams by improving net revenue capture, deliver cost reductions through automating time-consuming rules-based revenue cycle tasks and produce more predictable reimbursements. However, in order to achieve these financial and operational results, organizations need to assess how and where to apply technology.

If working with unstructured data such as an image file or clinical chart, NLP and/or OCR technology needs to be deployed to pre-process or extract data; however, if you are working with large volumes of structured data, ML can be utilized straight away to assess trends and determine the best way to complete a transaction. When completing repetitive and routine revenue cycle transactions, such as adjustments, insurance verifications, and payment postings, RPA may be the right choice since it employs digital workers to perform these actions accurately and quickly. 

While these technology levers deliver major enhancements individually, when utilized together they act as multipliers – expanding the number of revenue cycle challenges that can be solved through automation. With an IA platform, health systems can address several distinctive issues all while continually removing waste from revenue cycle processes and creating more capacity operationally. 

With NLP and OCR technology, organizations can convert unstructured data from files that are frequently utilized in healthcare – medical records scanned documents, and audio recordings – into structured, normalized data.  For example, OCR can convert explanations of benefits (EOB) PDFs into a data table that RPA bots can then auto-post into patient records. NLP can extract clinical terms from an EMR note and provide key data elements to a machine learning model that will then assess the likelihood of medical necessity denials prior to adjunction. In these scenarios, NLP and OCR are translating everyday documents into workable data for faster processing and applying the full IA platform to generate cost optimization and improve revenue capture across a health system’s enterprise. 

An IA delivery platform also gives health systems access to better decision-making tools since the technology can consume large volumes of data and subsequently create learning algorithms that make consistent decisions on behalf of operators based on the task at hand. For example, ML can apply historical claim reimbursement trends when assessing data to predict potential write-offs and then using the integrated workflow platform to either escalate high priority items to operators or direct low-dollar write-offs to RPA to process. These learning algorithms can be applied to many situations within the revenue cycle to achieve greater cost optimization and streamline revenue cycle operations.  

Finally, while most revenue cycle processes can be fully automated, there are still exceptions and use cases that require human intervention. Automation technology should be paired with an integrated workflow platform that can determine if a revenue cycle task should be automated or handled by humans to create a natural orchestration and seamless hand-off between digital workers and humans. 

To illustrate how the IA platform truly works, let’s look at a common workflow: correspondence management. Paper document processing is still highly prevalent in healthcare, requiring significant resources from health systems. For example, issuing correct billing correspondence to patients requires receiving paper correspondence from banks, such as letters, checks, and EOBs, reviewing what is typically tens of thousands of files per day, and manually entering data from these files into subsequent workflow solutions.

With an IA delivery platform, this process can be automated by utilizing RPA to retrieve these documents, OCR and NLP technology to convert these documents into standard file formats, and then, once again, RPA to process and attach necessary documents into patients’ accounts in the accounting or indexing system. While these activities are taking place, the integrated workflow platform is tracking the activity and flagging any exceptions or high-risk materials that need to be pulled out and handled by humans. 

This symbiotic platform creates standardized processes patients can rely on and that can ultimately be scaled. Patient experiences are improved by reducing frustrating administrative errors, such as misplaced information, incorrect bills or inefficient handoffs, that can prolong billing cycles. Health systems also typically see reduced revenue leakage and lower cycle times with automated processes since manual errors are significantly reduced and automation runs processes 24 hours a day.

Since an IA platform can take on numerous revenue cycle challenges across a health system’s enterprise and standardize them – removing many common administrative errors or interoperability issues – it gives leaders more visibility into daily operations allowing them to be more proactive in finding opportunities to boost revenue streams (e.g., ways to eliminate revenue leakage, increase ease of scheduling/payment for patients or maximize patient volume) and continually improve performance. Thoughtful application of these technologies in a platform-based strategy enables provider organizations to improve revenue and reduce costs so that they can prioritize their mission of keeping their patient population healthy.  

Now is the time to move past a “one technology fits all” mentality and find solutions that can strengthen and improve multiple revenue cycle workflows and tasks. Given the high cost associated with developing these digital capabilities, health systems need a partner who not only offers the right model, but has made necessary investments toward cutting edge IA research, fully-staffed teams with subject matter expertise, and data-rich analytics needed to foster ongoing performance improvement. With an aligned partnership and IA platform, health systems can produce successful results that achieve intended benefits.


About Sean Barrett
Sean Barrett is the Senior Vice President of Digital Transformation at R1 RCM. He joined R1 in 2018 and currently oversees R1’s core product management, automation, and machine learning functions. Prior to R1, Sean spent 14 years at Deloitte Consulting focusing on serving clients primarily in the healthcare provider segment-leading operational performance improvement and technology-driven transformation engagements at many of the largest health systems in the country.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021 Roundup

Dr. Paul Hain, Chief Medical Officer of GoHealth

Telehealth is Here to Stay in 2021

Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was a limited ad-hoc service with geographic and provider restrictions. However, with both the pandemic restrictions on face to face interactions and a relaxation of governmental regulations, telehealth utilization has significantly increased from thousands of visits in a week to well over a million in the Medicare population. What we’ve learned is that telehealth allows patients, especially high-risk populations like seniors, to connect with their doctors in a safe and efficient way. Telehealth is valuable for many types of visits, mostly clearly ones that involve mental health or physical health issues that do not require a physical exam or procedure. It’s an efficient modality for both the member and provider.

With the growing popularity of telehealth services, we may see permanent changes in regulatory standards. Flexible regulatory standards, such as being able to use platforms like FaceTime or Skype, would lower the barrier to entry for providers to offer telehealth and also encourage adoption, especially among seniors. Second, it’s likely we’ll see an emergence of providers with aligned incentives around value, such as in many Medicare Advantage plans, trying very hard to encourage utilization with their members so that they get the right care at the right time. In theory, the shift towards value-based care will allow better care and lower costs than the traditional fee for service model. If we are able to evolve regulatory and payment environments, providers have an opportunity to grow these types of services into 2021 to improve patient wellness and health outcomes.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dr. Salvatore Viscomi, Chief Medical Officer, GoodCell

2021 will be the year of patient controlled-health

The COVID-19 pandemic brought the realities of a global-scale health event – and our general lack of preparedness to address it – to the forefront. People are now laser-focused on how they can protect themselves and their families against the next inevitable threat. On top of this, social distancing and isolation accelerated the development and use of digital health tools, from wellness trackers to telehealth and virtual care, most of which can be accessed from the comfort of our homes. The convergence of these two forces is poised to make 2021 the year for patient-controlled health, whereby health decisions are not dictated by – but rather made in consultation with – a healthcare provider, leveraging insights and data pulled from a variety of health technology tools at people’s fingertips.


Bullshit Metrics: Is Patient Engagement Real?

Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts

Beyond telemedicine

Telemedicine was the finger in the dyke at the beginning of pandemic panic, with healthcare providers grabbing whatever came to hand — encouraged by relaxed HIPAA regulations — to keep the dam from breaking. But as the dust settles, telemedicine is emerging as the commodity that it is, and value-add services are going to be the differentiating factors in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Offerings like remote patient monitoring and asynchronous communication, initially considered as “nice-to-haves,” are becoming standard offerings as healthcare providers see their value for continuous care beyond Covid.


Rise of the "Internet of Healthy Things"

Daniel Kivatinos, COO and Co-Founder of DrChrono

Telehealth visits are going to supersede in-person visits as time goes on.

Because of COVID-19, the world changed and Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other insurers, started paying out for telehealth visits. Telemedicine will continue to grow at a very quick rate, and verticals like mental health (psychology and psychiatry) and primary care fit perfectly into the telemedicine model, for tasks like administering prescription refills (ePrescribing) and ordering labs. Hyperlocal medical care will also move towards more of a telemedicine care team experience. Patients that are homebound families with young children or people that just recently had surgery can now get instant care when they need it. Location is less relevant because patients can see a provider from anywhere.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

Virtual Healthcare is Here to Stay (House Calls are Back)

This new normal however is going to put significant pressure on the data support and servicing requirements to do it effectively. As more services are offered to patients outside of established clinical locations, it also means there will be more opportunity to collect data and a higher degree of dependence on interoperability. Providers are going to have to up their game from just providing and recording facts to passing on critical insight back into these interactions to maximize the benefits to the patient.


Sarahjane Sacchetti, CEO at Cleo

Virtual care (of all types) will become a lasting form of care: The vastly accelerated and broadened use of virtual care spurred by the pandemic will become permanent. Although it started with one-off check-ins or virtual mental health coaching, 2021 will see the continued rise in the use and efficacy of virtual care services once thought to be in-person only such as maternity, postpartum, pediatric, and even tutoring. Employers are taking notice of this shift with 32% indicating that expanded virtual health services are a top priority, and this number will quickly rise as employers look to offer flexible and convenient benefits in support of employees and to drive productivity.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

Digital expansion: The pandemic has accelerated patient technology adoption, and innovation remains front-and-center for healthcare in 2021. Expect to see areas of telemedicine and digital health monitoring expand in new and novel ways, with increased uses in remote monitoring and behavioral health. CMS has approved telehealth for a number of new specialties and digital health tools continue to gain adoption among healthcare companies, drug makers, providers, and patients. 

Digital health companions will continue to become an important tool to monitor patients, provide support, and track behaviors – while remaining socially distant due to the pandemic.  Look for crossover between medical care, drug monitoring, and health and wellness – Apple 

Watch has already previewed this potential with heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring. Data output from devices will enable support to become more personalized and triggered by user behavior. 


Kelli Bravo, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Pegasystems

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed and disrupted our lives, it has wreaked havoc on the entire healthcare industry at a scale we’ve never seen before. And it continues to alter almost every part of life across the globe. The way we access and receive healthcare has also changed as a result of social distancing requirements, patient concerns, provider availability, mobile capabilities, and newly implemented procedures at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For example, hospitals and providers are postponing elective procedures again to help health systems prepare and reserve ICU beds amid the latest COVID-19 resurgence. While level of care is always important, in some areas, the inability to access a healthcare provider is equally concerning. And these challenges may become even more commonplace in the post-COVID-19 era. One significant transformation to help with the hurdle is telehealth, which went from a very small part of the care offering before the health crisis to one that is now a much more accepted way to access care.
As the rise in virtual health continues to serve consumers and provide a personalized and responsive care experience, healthcare consumers expect support services and care that are also fast and personalized – with digital apps, instant claims settlements, transparency, and advocacy. And to better help serve healthcare consumers, the industry has an opportunity to align with digital transformation that offers a personalized and responsive experience.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Brooke LeVasseur, CEO of AristaMD

Issues pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be front-and-center in 2021. Every available digital tool in the box will have to be employed to ensure patients with non-COVID related issues are not forgotten as we try to free up in-person space and resources for those who cannot get care in any other setting. Virtual front doors, patient/physician video and eConsults, which connect providers to collaborate electronically, will be part of a broadening continuum of care – ultimately aimed at optimizing every valuable resource we have.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Bret Larsen, CEO and Co-Founder, eVisit

By the end of 2021, virtual care paths will be fairly ubiquitous across the continuum of care, from urgent care and EDs to specialty care, all to serve patients where they are – at home and on mobile devices. This will be made possible through virtualized end-to-end processes that integrate every step in patient care from scheduling, waiting rooms, intake and patient queuing, to interpretation services, referral management, e-prescribe, billing and analytics, and more.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Laura Kreofsky, Vice President for Advisory & Telehealth for Pivot Point Consulting

2020 has been the year of rapid telehealth adoption and advancement due to the COVID pandemic. According to CDC reports, telehealth utilization spiked as much as 154% in late March compared to the same period in 2019. While usage has moderated, it’s clear telehealth is now an instrumental part of healthcare delivery. As provider organizations plan for telehealth in 2021 and beyond, we are going to have to expect and deliver a secure, scalable infrastructure, a streamlined patient experience and an approach that maximizes provider efficiency, all while seeing much-needed vendor consolidation.


12 Telehealth & Virtual Care Predictions and Trends for 2021

Jeff Lew, SVP of Product Management, Nextech

Earlier this year, CMS enacted new rules to provide practices with the flexibility they need to use telehealth solutions in response to COVID-19, during which patients also needed an alternative to simply visiting the office. This was the impetus to the accelerated acceptance of telehealth as a means to both give and receive care. Specialty practices, in particular, are seeing successful and positive patient experiences due to telehealth visits. Dermatology practices specifically standout and I expect the strong adoption will continue to grow and certainly be the “new normal.” In addition, innovative practices that have embraced this omni-channel approach to delivering care are also establishing this as a “new normal” by selectively using telehealth visits for certain types of encounters, such as post-op visits or triaging patients. This gives patients a choice and the added convenience that comes with it and, in some cases, increases patient volume for the practice.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

As we close out the year, we asked several healthcare executives to share their predictions and trends for 2021.

30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kimberly Powell, Vice President & General Manager, NVIDIA Healthcare

Federated Learning: The clinical community will increase their use of federated learning approaches to build robust AI models across various institutions, geographies, patient demographics, and medical scanners. The sensitivity and selectivity of these models are outperforming AI models built at a single institution, even when there is copious data to train with. As an added bonus, researchers can collaborate on AI model creation without sharing confidential patient information. Federated learning is also beneficial for building AI models for areas where data is scarce, such as for pediatrics and rare diseases.

AI-Driven Drug Discovery: The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on drug discovery, which encompasses microscopic viewing of molecules and proteins, sorting through millions of chemical structures, in-silico methods for screening, protein-ligand interactions, genomic analysis, and assimilating data from structured and unstructured sources. Drug development typically takes over 10 years, however, in the wake of COVID, pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and researchers realize that acceleration of traditional methods is paramount. Newly created AI-powered discovery labs with GPU-accelerated instruments and AI models will expedite time to insight — creating a computing time machine.

Smart Hospitals: The need for smart hospitals has never been more urgent. Similar to the experience at home, smart speakers and smart cameras help automate and inform activities. The technology, when used in hospitals, will help scale the work of nurses on the front lines, increase operational efficiency, and provide virtual patient monitoring to predict and prevent adverse patient events. 


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

Healthcare policy: Expect to see more moves on prescription drug prices, either through a collaborative effort among pharma groups or through importation efforts. Pre-existing conditions will still be covered for the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

The Biden administration has made this a central element of this platform, so coverage will remain for those covered under ACA. Look for expansion or revisions of the current ACA to be proposed, but stalled in Congress, so existing law will remain largely unchanged. Early feedback indicates the Supreme Court is unlikely to strike down the law entirely, providing relief to many during a pandemic.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Brent D. Lang, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Vocera Communications

The safety and well-being of healthcare workers will be a top priority in 2021. While there are promising headlines about coronavirus vaccines, we can be sure that nurses, doctors, and other care team members will still be on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 for many more months. We must focus on protecting and connecting these essential workers now and beyond the pandemic.

Modernized PPE Standards
Clinicians should not risk contamination to communicate with colleagues. Yet, this simple act can be risky without the right tools. To minimize exposure to infectious diseases, more hospitals will rethink personal protective equipment (PPE) and modernize standards to include hands-free communication technology. In addition to protecting people, hands-free communication can save valuable time and resources. Every time a nurse must leave an isolation room to answer a call, ask a question, or get supplies, he or she must remove PPE and don a fresh set to re-enter. With voice-controlled devices worn under PPE, the nurse can communicate without disrupting care or leaving the patient’s bedside.

Improved Capacity

Voice-controlled solutions can also help new or reassigned care team members who are unfamiliar with personnel, processes, or the location of supplies. Instead of worrying about knowing names or numbers, they can use simple voice commands to connect to the right person, group, or information quickly and safely. In addition to simplifying clinical workflows, an intelligent communication system can streamline operational efficiencies, improve triage and throughput, and increase capacity, which is all essential to hospitals seeking ways to recover from 2020 losses and accelerate growth.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Michael Byczkowski, Global Vice President, Head of Healthcare Industry at SAP,

New, targeted healthcare networks will collaborate and innovate to improve patient outcomes.

We will see many more touchpoints between different entities ranging from healthcare providers and life sciences companies to technology providers and other suppliers, fostering a sense of community within the healthcare industry. More organizations will collaborate based on existing data assets, perform analysis jointly, and begin adding innovative, data-driven software enhancements. With these networks positively influencing the efficacy of treatments while automatically managing adherence to local laws and regulations regarding data use and privacy, they are paving the way for software-defined healthcare.

Smart hospitals will create actionable insights for the entire organization out of existing data and information.

Medical records as well as operational data within a hospital will continue to be digitized and will be combined with experience data, third-party information, and data from non-traditional sources such as wearables and other Internet of Things devices. Hospitals that have embraced digital are leveraging their data to automate tasks and processes as well as enable decision support for their medical and administrative staff. In the near future, hospitals could add intelligence into their enterprise environments so they can use data to improve internal operations and reduce overhead.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Curt Medeiros, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ontrak

As health care costs continue to rise dramatically given the pandemic and its projected aftermath, I see a growing and critical sophistication in healthcare analytics taking root more broadly than ever before. Effective value-based care and network management depend on the ability of health plans and providers to understand what works, why, and where best to allocate resources to improve outcomes and lower costs. Tied to the need for better analytics, I see a tipping point approaching for finally achieving better data security and interoperability. Without the ability to securely share data, our industry is trying to solve the world’s health challenges with one hand tied behind our backs.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

G. Cameron Deemer, President, DrFirst

Like many business issues, the question of whether to use single-vendor solutions or a best-of-breed approach swings back and forth in the healthcare space over time. Looking forward, the pace of technology change is likely to swing the pendulum to a new model: systems that are supplemental to the existing core platform. As healthcare IT matures, it’s often not a question of ‘can my vendor provide this?’ but ‘can my vendor provide this in the way I need it to maximize my business processes and revenues?

This will be more clear with an example: An EHR may provide a medication history function, for instance, but does it include every source of medication history available? Does it provide a medication history that is easily understood and acted upon by the provider? Does it provide a medication history that works properly with all downstream functions in the EHR? When a provider first experiences medication history during a patient encounter, it seems like magic.

After a short time, the magic fades to irritation as the incompleteness of the solution becomes more obvious. Much of the newer healthcare technologies suffer this same incompleteness. Supplementing the underlying system’s capabilities with a strongly integrated third-party system is increasingly going to be the strategy of choice for providers.


Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic

In 2021, we will see more health systems moving towards the goal of truly operating as one system of care. The pandemic has demonstrated in the starkest terms how crucial it is for health systems to have real-time visibility into available beds, providers, transport, and scarce resources such as ventilators and drugs, so patients with COVID-19 can receive the critical care they need without delay. The importance of fully aligning as a single integrated system that seamlessly shares data and resources with a centralized, real-time view of operations is a lesson that will resonate with many health systems.

Expect in 2021 for health systems to enhance their ability to orchestrate and navigate patient transitions across their facilities and through the continuum of care, including post-acute care. Ultimately, this efficient care access across all phases of care will help healthcare organizations regain revenue lost during the historic drop in elective care in 2020 due to COVID-19.

In addition to elevating revenue capture, improving system-wide orchestration and navigation will increase health systems’ bed availability and access for incoming patients, create more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license, and reduce system leakage. This focus on creating an ‘operating as one’ mindset will not only help health systems recover from 2020 losses, it will foster sustainable and long-term growth in 2021 and well into the future.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

John Danaher, MD, President, Global Clinical Solutions, Elsevier

COVID-19 has brought renewed attention to healthcare inequities in the U.S., with the disproportionate impact on people of color and minority populations. It’s no secret that there are indicative factors, such as socioeconomic level, education and literacy levels, and physical environments, that influence a patient’s health status. Understanding these social determinants of health (SDOH) better and unlocking this data on a wider scale is critical to the future of medicine as it allows us to connect vulnerable populations with interventions and services that can help improve treatment decisions and health outcomes. In 2021, I expect the health informatics industry to take a larger interest in developing technologies that provide these kinds of in-depth population health insights.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jay Desai, CEO and co-founder of PatientPing

2021 will see an acceleration of care coordination across the continuum fueled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access rule’s e-notifications Condition of Participation (CoP), which goes into effect on May 1, 2021. The CoP requires all hospitals, psych hospitals, and critical access hospitals that have a certified electronic medical record system to provide notification of admit, discharge, and transfer, at both the emergency room and the inpatient setting, to the patient’s care team. Due to silos, both inside and outside of a provider’s organization, providers miss opportunities to best treat their patients simply due to lack of information on patients and their care events.

This especially impacts the most vulnerable patients, those that suffer from chronic conditions, comorbidities or mental illness, or patients with health disparities due to economic disadvantage or racial inequity. COVID-19 exacerbated the impact on these vulnerable populations. To solve for this, healthcare providers and organizations will continue to assess their care coordination strategies and expand their patient data interoperability initiatives in 2021, including becoming compliant with the e-notifications Condition of Participation.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis

Driven by CMS’ Acute Hospital at Home program announced in November 2020, we will begin to see more health systems delivering hospital-level care in the comfort of the patient’s home–supported by technologies such as clinical-grade wearables, remote patient monitoring, and artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics and machine learning.

A randomized controlled trial by Brigham Health published in Annals of Internal Medicine earlier this year demonstrated that when compared with usual hospital care, Home Hospital programs can reduce rehospitalizations by 70% while decreasing costs by nearly 40%. Other advantages of home hospital programs include a reduction in hospital-based staffing needs, increased capacity for those patients who do need inpatient care, decreased exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses such as influenza for patients and healthcare professionals, and improved patient and family member experience.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jake Pyles, CEO, CipherHealth

The disappearance of the hospital monopoly will give rise to a new loyalty push

Healthcare consumerism was on the rise ahead of the pandemic, but the explosion of telehealth in 2020 has effectively eliminated the geographical constraints that moored patient populations to their local hospitals and providers. The fallout has come in the form of widespread network leakage and lost revenue. By October, in fact, revenue for hospitals in the U.S. was down 9.2% year-over-year. Able to select providers from the comfort of home and with an ever-increasing amount of personal health data at their convenience through the growing use of consumer-grade wearable devices, patients are more incentivized in 2021 to choose the provider that works for them.

After the pandemic fades, we’ll see some retrenchment from telehealth, but it will remain a mainstream care delivery model for large swaths of the population. In fact, post-pandemic, we believe telehealth will standardize and constitute a full 30% to 40% of interactions.

That means that to compete, as well as to begin to recover lost revenue, hospitals need to go beyond offering the same virtual health convenience as their competitors – Livango and Teladoc should have been a shot across the bow for every health system in 2020. Moreover, hospitals need to become marketing organizations. Like any for-profit brand, hospitals need to devote significant resources to building loyalty but have traditionally eschewed many of the cutting-edge marketing techniques used in other industries. Engagement and personalization at every step of the patient journey will be core to those efforts.


Marc Probst, former Intermountain Health System CIO, Advisor for SR Health by Solutionreach

Healthcare will fix what it’s lacking most–communication.

Because every patient and their health is unique, when it comes to patient care, decisions need to be customized to their specific situation and environment, yet done in a timely fashion. In my two decades at one of the most innovative health systems in the U.S., communication, both across teams and with patients continuously has been less than optimal. I believe we will finally address both the interpersonal and interface communication issues that organizations have faced since the digitization of healthcare.”


Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Qgenda

2021 – The year of reforming healthcare: We’ve been looking at ways to ease healthcare burdens for patients for so long that we haven’t realized the onus we’ve put on providers in doing so. Adding to that burden, in 2020 we had to throw out all of our playbooks and become masters of being reactive. Now, it’s time to think through the lessons learned and think through how to be proactive. I believe provider-based data will allow us to reformulate our priorities and processes. By analyzing providers’ biggest pain points in real-time, we can evaporate the workflow and financial troubles that have been bothering organizations while also relieving providers of their biggest problems.”


Robert Hanscom, JD, Vice President of Risk Management and Analytics at Coverys

Data Becomes the Fix, Not the Headache for Healthcare

The past 10 years have been challenging for an already overextended healthcare workforce. Rising litigation costs, higher severity claims, and more stringent reimbursement mandates put pressure on the bottom line. Continued crises in combination with less-than-optimal interoperability and design of health information systems, physician burnout, and loss of patient trust, have put front-line clinicians and staff under tremendous pressure.

Looking to the future, it is critical to engage beyond the day to day to rise above the persistent risks that challenge safe, high-quality care on the frontline. The good news is healthcare leaders can take advantage of tools that are available to generate, package, and learn from data – and use them to motivate action.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Steve Betts, Chief of Operations and Products at Gray Matter Analytics

Analytics Divide Intensifies: Just like the digital divide is widening in society, the analytics divide will continue to intensify in healthcare. The role of data in healthcare has shifted rapidly, as the industry has wrestled with an unsustainable rate of increasing healthcare costs. The transition to value-based care means that it is now table stakes to effectively manage clinical quality measures, patient/member experience measures, provider performance measures, and much more. In 2021, as the volume of data increases and the intelligence of the models improves, the gap between the haves and have nots will significantly widen at an ever-increasing rate.

Substantial Investment in Predictive Solutions: The large health systems and payors will continue to invest tens of millions of dollars in 2021. This will go toward building predictive models to infuse intelligent “next best actions” into their workflows that will help them grow and manage the health of their patient/member populations more effectively than the small and mid-market players.


Jennifer Price, Executive Director of Data & Analytics at THREAD

The Rise of Home-based and Decentralized Clinical Trial Participation

In 2020, we saw a significant rise in home-based activities such as online shopping, virtual school classes and working from home. Out of necessity to continue important clinical research, home health services and decentralized technologies also moved into the home. In 2021, we expect to see this trend continue to accelerate, with participants receiving clinical trial treatments at home, home health care providers administering procedures and tests from the participant’s home, and telehealth virtual visits as a key approach for sites and participants to communicate. Hybrid decentralized studies that include a mix of on-site visits, home health appointments and telehealth virtual visits will become a standard option for a range of clinical trials across therapeutic areas. Technological advances and increased regulatory support will continue to enable the industry to move out of the clinic and into the home.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Doug Duskin, President of the Technology Division at Equality Health

Value-based care has been a watchword of the healthcare industry for many years now, but advancement into more sophisticated VBC models has been slower than anticipated. As we enter 2021, providers – particularly those in fee-for-service models who have struggled financially due to COVID-19 – and payers will accelerate this shift away from fee-for-service medicine and turn to technology that can facilitate and ease the transition to more risk-bearing contracts. Value-based care, which has proven to be a more stable and sustainable model throughout the pandemic, will seem much more appealing to providers that were once reluctant to enter into risk-bearing contracts. They will no longer be wondering if they should consider value-based contracting, but how best to engage.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Brian Robertson, CEO of VisiQuate

Continued digitization and integration of information assets: In 2021, this will lead to better performance outcomes and clearer, more measurable examples of “return on data, analytics, and automation.

Digitizing healthcare’s complex clinical, financial, and operational information assets: I believe that providers who are further in the digital transformation journey will make better use of their interconnected assets, and put the healthcare consumer in the center of that highly integrated universe. Healthcare consumer data will be studied, better analyzed, and better predicted to drive improved performance outcomes that benefit the patient both clinically and financially.

Some providers will have leapfrog moments: These transformations will be so significant that consumers will easily recognize that they are receiving higher value. Lower acuity telemedicine and other virtual care settings are great examples that lead to improved patient engagement, experience and satisfaction. Device connectedness and IoT will continue to mature, and better enable chronic disease management, wellness, and other healthy lifestyle habits for consumers.


Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis Performance Solutions

Healthcare CEOs and CFOs will partner closely with their CIOs on data governance and data distribution planning. With the massive impact of COVID-19 still very much in play in 2021, healthcare executives will need to make frequent data-driven – and often ad-hoc — decisions from more enterprise data streams than ever before. Syntellis research shows that healthcare executives are already laser-focused on cost reduction and optimization, with decreased attention to capital planning and strategic growth. In 2021, there will be a strong trend in healthcare organizations toward new initiatives, including clinical and quality analytics, operational budgeting, and reporting and analysis for decision support.


Dr. Calum Yacoubian, Associate Director of Healthcare Product & Strategy at Linguamatics

As payers and providers look to recover from the damage done by the pandemic, the ability to deliver value from data assets they already own will be key. The pandemic has displayed the siloed nature of healthcare data, and the difficulty in extracting vital information, particularly from unstructured data, that exists. Therefore, technologies and solutions that can normalize these data to deliver deeper and faster insights will be key to driving economic recovery. Adopting technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) will not only offer better population health management, ensuring the patients most in need are identified and triaged but will open new avenues to advance innovations in treatments and improve operational efficiencies.

Prior to the pandemic, there was already an increasing level of focus on the use of real-world data (RWD) to advance the discovery and development of new therapies and understand the efficacy of existing therapies. The disruption caused by COVID-19 has sharpened the focus on RWD as pharma looks to mitigate the effect of the virus on conventional trial recruitment and data collection. One such example of this is the use of secondary data collection from providers to build real-world cohorts which can serve as external comparator arms.

This convergence on seeking value from existing RWD potentially affords healthcare providers a powerful opportunity to engage in more clinical research and accelerate the work to develop life-saving therapies. By mobilizing the vast amount of data, they will offer pharmaceutical companies a mechanism to positively address some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. This movement is one strategy that is key to driving provider recovery in 2021.


Rose Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMyne

Precision imaging analytics technology, called radiomics, will increasingly be adopted and incorporated into drug development strategies and clinical trials management. These AI-powered analytics will enable drug developers to gain deeper insights from medical images than previously capable, driving accelerated therapy development, greater personalization of treatment, and the discovery of new biomarkers that will enhance clinical decision-making and treatment.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Dharmesh Godha, President and CTO of Advaiya

Greater adoption and creative implementation of remote healthcare will be the biggest trend for the year 2021, along with the continuous adoption of cloud-enabled digital technologies for increased workloads. Remote healthcare is a very open field. The possibilities to innovate in this area are huge. This is the time where we can see the beginning of the convergence of personal health aware IoT devices (smartwatches/ temp sensors/ BP monitors/etc.) with the advanced capabilities of the healthcare technologies available with the monitoring and intervention capabilities for the providers.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Simon Wu, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

Healthcare Data Proves its Weight in Gold in 2021

Real-world evidence or routinely stored data from hospitals and claims, being leveraged by healthcare providers and biopharma companies along with those that can improve access to data will grow exponentially in the coming year. There are many trying to build in-house, but similar to autonomous technology, there will be a separate set of companies emerge in 2021 to provide regulated infrastructure and have their “AWS” moment.


Kyle Raffaniello, CEO of Sapphire Digital

2021 is a clear year for healthcare price transparency

Over the past year, healthcare price transparency has been a key topic for the Trump administration in an effort to lower healthcare costs for Americans. In recent months, COVID-19 has made the topic more important to patients than ever before. Starting in January, we can expect the incoming Biden administration to not only support the existing federal transparency regulations but also continue to push for more transparency and innovation within Medicare. I anticipate that healthcare price transparency will continue its momentum in 2021 as one of two Price Transparency rules takes effect and the Biden administration supports this movement.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

Social Determinants of Health Goes Mainstream: Understanding more about the patient and their personal environment has a hot topic the past two years. Providers and payers’ ability to inject this knowledge and insight into the clinical process has been limited. 2021 is the year it gets real. It’s not just about calling an uber anymore. The organizations that broadly factor SDOH into the servicing model especially with virtualized medicine expanding broadly will be able to more effectively reach vulnerable patients and maximize the effectiveness of care.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Joe Partlow, CTO at ReliaQuest

The biggest threat to personal privacy will be healthcare information: Researchers are rushing to pool resources and data sets to tackle the pandemic, but this new era of openness comes with concerns around privacy, ownership, and ethics. Now, you will be asked to share your medical status and contact information, not just with your doctors, but everywhere you go, from workplaces to gyms to restaurants. Your personal health information is being put in the hands of businesses that may not know how to safeguard it. In 2021, cybercriminals will capitalize on rapid U.S. telehealth adoption. Sharing this information will have major privacy implications that span beyond keeping medical data safe from cybercriminals to wider ethics issues and insurance implications.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association

Blockchain solutions in the healthcare space will bring about massive improvements in two primary ways in 2021.

Firstly, blockchain applications will for the first time facilitate patients owning, managing, and even monetizing their personal health data. Today’s healthcare information systems are incredibly fragmented, with patient data from different sources – be they physicians, pharmacies, labs, or otherwise – kept in different silos, eliminating the ability to generate a holistic view of patient information and restricting healthcare providers from producing the best health outcomes.

Healthcare organizations are growing increasingly aware of the ways in which blockchain technology can be used to eliminate data silos, enable real-time access to patient information, and return control to patients for the use of their personal data – all in a highly-secure digital environment. 2021 will be the year that patient data goes blockchain.

Secondly, blockchain solutions can ensure more honesty and transparency in the development of pharmaceutical products. Clinical research data is often subject to questions of integrity or ‘hygiene’ if data is not properly recorded, or worse, is deliberately fabricated. Blockchain technology enables easy, auditable tracking of datasets generated by clinical researchers, benefitting government agencies tasked with approving drugs while producing better health outcomes for healthcare providers and patients. In 2021, I expect to see a rise in the use and uptake of applications that use public blockchain systems to incentivize greater honesty in clinical research.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

The Future of US Healthcare is Transparent, Fair, Open and Consumer-Driven

In the last year, the pandemic put a spotlight on the major gaps in healthcare in the US, highlighting a broken system that is one of the most expensive and least distributed in the world. While we’ve already seen many boutique healthcare companies emerge to address issues around personalization, quality and convenience, the next few years will be focused on giving the power back to consumers, specifically with the rise of insurtechs, in fixing the transparency, affordability, and incentive issues that have plagued the private-based US healthcare system until now.


Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth

Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout

The pandemic has placed unthinkable stress on frontline healthcare workers. Since it began, they’ve been working under conditions that are fundamentally more dangerous, with fewer resources, and in many cases under the heavy emotional burden of seeing several patients lose their battle with COVID-19. The fallout from that is already beginning – doctors and nurses are leaving the profession, or getting sick, or battling mental health struggles. Nursing programs are struggling to fill classes. As a new wave of the pandemic rolls across the country, that fallout will only increase. If they haven’t already, hospitals in 2021 will place new premiums upon staff wellness and staff health, tapping into the same type of outreach and purposeful rounding solutions they use to round on patients.


30 Executives Share Top Healthcare Predictions & Trends to Watch in 2021

Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services

Quality metrics for health plans – like data that measures performance – was turned on its head in 2020 due to delayed procedures. In the coming year, we will see a lot of plans interpret these delayed procedures flexibly so they honor their plans without impacting providers. However, for so long, the payer’s use of data and the provider’s use of data has been disconnected. Moving forward the need for providers to have a more specific understanding of what drives the value and if the cost is reasonable for care from the payer perspective is paramount. Data will ensure that this collaboration will be enhanced and the concept of bundle payments and aligning incentives will be improved. As the data captured becomes even richer, it will help people plan and manage their care better. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) to this data will also play a huge role in both dialog and negotiation when it comes to cost structure. This movement will lead to a spike in value-based care adoption


5 ways digital health, and digital pharma, changed in 2020

Reviewing 2019’s key digital health stories last year I suggested that, while big strides continued to be made, any definitive ‘coming of age’ moment for the sector was unlikely.

But that was before the first reports emerged of a highly contagious coronavirus and 2020 will be forever associated with COVID-19 and the global devastation and disruption it has wrought.

Now, after a year that feels like it had many more than the usual 12 months, ‘digital’ has most certainly come of age across all aspects of our lives, including communication, commerce, working life and, yes, health.

So, what were the standout changes for digital health, and digital pharma for that matter, in this most unusual of years?

I suppose I could just answer ‘COVID’ and be done with it.

In fact, preparing for our year in review articles, we decided in our editorial meeting to have at least one look at medical progress away from COVID.

Nevertheless, the pandemic was clearly the biggest change-agent for digital health and digital pharma in 2020.

1. Digital transformation moved front and centre

COVID-19 brought rapid, deep and likely lasting changes to healthcare and the pharmaceutical sector, as both scrambled to respond to unprecedented demands.

Consequently, what might previously have looked upon as a 3, 5 or even 10 year plan suddenly required progress within just days or weeks.

As I noted earlier this year, healthcare companies went from being lost in a ‘digitalisation jungle’ in 2019, to this year making huge progress thanks to the ‘digital accelerant’ of COVID, with many channels being used for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

2. Telehealth reached a tipping point

The rapid digitalisation of life during COVID-19’s acute phase also had a huge impact on healthcare delivery.

If you, or someone you know, has had to see a doctor since March, the chances are the health service tried to avoid an in-person visit to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Here in the UK, as elsewhere, directives from the top made adopting telehealth a vital part of the pandemic response.

Questions certainly remain about how far the use of telemedicine will return to pre-COVID times, but the sustained focus on changing healthcare models this year looks to have put in place a lasting transformation.

3. AI made historical progress

Moving away from COVID, up to a point, and artificial intelligence (AI) in pharma and healthcare looked to be everywhere this year, having already made significant moves towards centre stage in 2019.

The year began with Exscientia moving the world’s first AI-created drug into clinical trials in January and there were also signs of the technology’s potential in drug pricing and spotting COVID-19 in chest x-rays.

Google’s AI company DeepMind grabbed many headlines in November when it solved the 50-year-‘protein folding problem’, but there was less theoretical progress made too with the announcement in Nature Medicine of new standards for clinical trials that involve AI.

The CONSORT-AI reporting guideline should help determine the difference between hype and useful data when AI is used in medical studies – a small, but growing area.

Meanwhile, just one of the big pharma companies expanding its focus on AI was GlaxoSmithKline, which opened a new AI hub in London in September and hopes to end 2020 with a nearly 100-strong AI team.

4. The FDA took a strategic approach to digital health

The creation of the FDA’s Digital Health Center for Excellence in September marked a major step forward for the US regulator’s approach to new technology.

Although a few years in the making, the new centre should accelerate the FDA’s responses to new mobile health devices, software as a medical device, wearables and a range of other types of health tech, particularly when coupled with the September update to its digital health pre-certification programme.

It wasn’t the only major body taking steps to advance digital health this year, with the WHO publishing in February its draft global strategy on digital health for the next five years, in which it noted:

“Digital technologies are an essential component and an enabler of sustainable health systems and universal health coverage. To realise their potential, digital health initiatives must be part of the wider health needs and the digital health ecosystem and guided by a robust strategy that integrates leadership, financial, organisational, human and technological resources.”

5. Record-breaking digital health investments

Investor interest in digital health has been running high for some time but, with all of the above going on this year, 2020 is looking like being a banner year for deals.

Indeed, the first six months of the year saw unprecedented digital health activity, with venture funding reaching $5.4 billion led by standout deals such as Teladoc Health’s $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo.

With fragmentation still an issue in the sector, further consolidation is expected if the current lack of scale among some companies is to be overcome, and well-placed observers see large amounts of private equity waiting in the wings to support this.

Looking back on this year, we can see digital health increasingly becoming a necessity for ensuring patients have the best outcomes.

Consequently, the advances seen in 2020 should provide solid foundations for pharma companies – and others in the digital health ecosystem – to continue to make further progress in the new year, and beyond.

About the author

Dominic-TyerDominic Tyer is a journalist and editor specialising in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. He is currently pharmaphorum’s interim managing editor and is also creative and editorial director at the company’s specialist healthcare content consultancy pharmaphorum connect.

Connect with Dominic on LinkedIn or Twitter

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Innovaccer, SyTrue Partner to Generate Actionable Insights from Healthcare Data

Innovaccer, SyTrue Partner to Generate Actionable Insights from Healthcare Data

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer partners with SyTrue to uncover powerful insights
and accelerate its efforts to drive healthcare’s digital transformation.

– The integration of SyTrue’s proprietary NLP OS with
Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform will empower healthcare
organizations to identify diagnosis codes and Hierarchical Condition Categories
(HCC) from patient care progress notes and other unstructured texts.


Innovaccer, Inc., a San
Francisco, CA-based healthcare
technology
company, announces its partnership with SyTrue, a leading provider of clinical data
extraction, to generate robust, actionable insights from healthcare data. The
partnership allows Innovaccer to leverage healthcare’s most-advanced Natural
Language Processing Operating System, NLP OSTM, and dive deep into clinical
data,  extracting valuable details about patient health journeys. 

Empowering Healthcare Organizations to Improve Patient
Risk Scores

The integration of SyTrue’s proprietary NLP OS with
Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform will empower healthcare
organizations to identify diagnosis codes and Hierarchical Condition Categories
(HCC) from patient care progress notes and other unstructured texts. With the
ability to gain insights from the unstructured datasets, providers can improve
the accuracy of patient risk scores. 

SyTrue’s NLP OS will empower Innovaccer’s data platform to
semantically search, identify, and discover key elements from medical records
across the organization, delivering relevant, actionable insights at the moment
of care. NLP OS will allow Innovaccer to help its clients extract details about
lab records, medications, vital signs, diagnoses, and other elements from
structured and unstructured sources to successfully meet quality requirements.

The partnership will allow Innovaccer’s customer provider organizations to understand their patients’ medical records in a more comprehensive manner and optimize reimbursement through advanced coding, smart cohort identification, and unstructured data normalization. 

“Creating a longitudinal record is paramount to enabling an intelligent journey throughout our complex healthcare system. Too often, crucial patient data is not included as part of the complete medical record because it is locked in faxes, portable document formats (PDFs) and other unstructured documentation. To unlock the insights contained within these files is expensive and time-consuming,”  says Kyle Silvestro, CEO at SyTrue.  “Our partnership with Innovaccer will reduce the time and cost to create intelligent and comprehensive insights which will significantly enhance the patient journey.”

Innovaccer Launches COVID-19 Command Center to Help Healthcare Organizations Manage Their COVID-19 Operations

Innovaccer Launches COVID-19 Command Center to Help Healthcare Organizations Manage Their COVID-19 Operations

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer launches COVID-19 Command
Center to assist healthcare organizations in optimizing their COVID-19
operations.  

– The solution offers a unified
information hub to manage COVID-19 resources and operations and empower teams
with unprecedented visibility into their environment.


Innovaccer, Inc., a San
Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, today announced the launch
of its COVID-19
Command Center
to assist healthcare organizations in optimizing their COVID-19
operations. The solution provides real-time insights and predictions into
patient and resource status and helps organizations adjust to their fluctuating
demands.

Connect Your Systems to Create a COVID-19 Command Center

Innovaccer helps healthcare organizations build a network of
intelligence while sitting on top of systems of records to provide
enterprise-wide insights and improve efficiencies in financial, operational,
and clinical outcomes. Innovaccer’s COVID-19 Command Center provides a
unified information hub for users to manage their COVID-19 resources by
integrating data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs), supply chains, human
resources, and financial systems.

Manage Your COVID-19 Resources and Information in Real-Time

Dashboards on the solution provide real-time monitoring of
bed capacity, medication inventory, staffing plans, PPE supplies, and other
critical resources. It also automatically generates CDC-compliant reports on
these resources and gives an up-to-date detailed overview of the consumption
rates at each facility.

360-Degree View into COVID Operations

The plug-and-play integrations of the Command Center provide
360-degree visibility into all COVID-19 operations and a system-wide overview
of daily and total year-to-date COVID-19 cases. Its descriptive pandemic
population maps allow continuous tracking of cases across the region and the
entire network.

COVID-19 Resource Optimization and Inventory Management

Additionally, the solution enables healthcare organizations
to take full control of their COVID-19 management activities by furnishing them
with smart analytics and forecasting capabilities and action plans based on
detailed analyses of COVID-19 trends and resources. The COVID-19 Command Center
provides visibility of their caseloads, inventory, and resource requirements to
more accurately predict upcoming demands. 

Why It Matters

“The need for visibility across the network has never been more crucial than during these pandemic times. Healthcare organizations are struggling to gain an edge with visibility into their patients, resources, and facilities,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer. “With our COVID-19 Command Center, we aim to solve this problem by providing them with true transparency and in-depth visibility across their networks, operations, and patients. Our solution is built to support the digital transformation of their COVID-19 operations and to help them care as one.”

The Modern Approach to Acquiring Healthcare IT

 Cheryl Rodenfels, Healthcare Strategist, Nutanix

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the shortcomings of today’s hospital and healthcare IT infrastructure, with many healthcare organizations quickly adopting the latest and greatest technology to support remote operations. However, in the scramble to adapt, many IT leaders did not ensure that the acquired technology integrated well with legacy systems – resulting in underused components and wasted costs. As we enter into a new era in healthcare, it is paramount that these organizations adopt technologies that support overall digital transformation and are fiscally responsible. The IT acquisition journey has taken us from focusing on the speed of components to the speed of the cloud, but we must work to innovate further. To adopt infrastructure that works at the speed of the business, healthcare IT providers must evaluate legacy IT acquisition efforts, the current models, and how they can evolve in the future. 

Past Performance

The historic view of acquiring healthcare IT has been to move at the speed of the components. This lifecycle management approach was born out of the perception that acquiring new IT systems were too expensive for the return on investment. The focus was on the management of equipment, licenses, and contracts, causing IT leaders to spend the majority of their time patching and updating existing systems. The inability to predict a system’s capacity for computing, storage, and data meant less time spent on security, which left health systems vulnerable to outside threats. 

Today’s Operating Model

Today, the focus has shifted to ensuring IT infrastructure moves at the speed of the cloud. Many hospitals and healthcare organizations have adopted an on-premise cloud and consolidated their licenses, equipment, and contracts to streamline service and reduce maintenance interruptions. This allows IT departments to proactively manage infrastructure capacity while also gaining security hardened systems. The technology management approach provides application-based cost management for healthcare organizations that require a variety of different needs, adjusting the perception of IT to that of service providers. Healthcare organizations that embrace this model are able to move and house their applications based on need, rather than pre-existing equipment constraints, which was unattainable before. 

The Future of IT Acquisition

Looking ahead, there is no doubt that hospitals and healthcare organizations need to continue to evolve to maintain seamless operations. With COVID-19 highlighting infrastructure vulnerabilities, it is paramount that IT adjusts for increased technology, network traffic, and security weaknesses. Healthcare organizations that are working through issues with tools, cloud skills, and other obstacles that impede hybrid cloud adoption believe these problems will soon be resolved. With that in mind, it is likely that within the next decade there will be aggressive hybrid cloud adoption across the healthcare industry.

Additionally, in response to shifting priorities, subscription and consumption-based service models are growing in popularity because of their ability to flex up or down to optimize costs and efficiencies. In the future, healthcare organizations must move at the speed of the business as well as meeting community needs, like COVID-19 data reporting and analytics. 

Instead of investing in legacy solutions that have proven difficult to manage, healthcare organizations looking to adjust their IT infrastructure can consider adopting numerous “as-a-service” models. For organizations that have specific software, application management, and full system infrastructure needs, Software-as-a-service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) are top considerations. Some organizations may only need access to software for a set number of users, rather than full support for the entire system, pointing them to subscription-based software instead of the as-a-service options. Conversely, consumption-based software models are growing in popularity.

Organizations that prefer to pay for applications or devices based on actual usage of the product may prefer this model because it often implies the user pays a certain amount in advance and then draws down against the pre-payment based on their use (“consumption”) of the application. This option allows systems to better budget from the onset, rather than determining costs as the year progresses. 

Historically, projects and supporting product offerings are based on yearly budget and funding allotments. That is until the product offerings changed. Software subscriptions, software-as-a-service (anything-as-a-service), and consumption-based services are dramatically impacting the way that IT is purchased, which helps reduce costs.

When looking at healthcare IT spending more broadly, organizations allocate millions of dollars each year, even though they often have mixed experiences in the success of implementations. Since companies usually pay based on project implementation milestones, there are rarely performance clauses. With this in mind, organizations need to hold vendors accountable for successful implementations and first-year operations. In the future, many healthcare organizations will pursue shared risk cost models as they allow the provider to develop system improvements while mitigating costs for the organization.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed how health systems assess and acquire IT infrastructure. With unprecedented amounts of network traffic, telehealth needs, and sensitive patient data, organizations need to prioritize IT planning and acquisition to avoid procurement delays and exorbitant costs. As 2021 budgets are being determined, hospital decision-makers should consider adopting subscription and consumption-based models to help them the best support and protect their data and meet the demands of tomorrow.


About Cheryl Rodenfels

Cheryl Rodenfels is the Healthcare Strategist for Nutanix. She is a seasoned technology executive, responsible for improving customer success and experience across the entire portfolio of Nutanix products and services. Cheryl’s responsibilities include developing the healthcare practice at Nutanix by identifying market opportunities, creating industry-specific training and documentation, enabling sales, and improving technology adoption and solution delivery. Cheryl can be found on LinkedIn.


Healthware Group buys Finnish digital agency Make Helsinki

Healthcare agency, consultancy and digital health group Healthware Group has acquired Finland-based digital service development and creative agency Make Helsinki.

The acquisition builds on prior collaborations between the two organisations, including in best-in-class full-service agency offerings, digital transformation, technology/enterprise solutions and corporate venturing.

The move will see Make Helsinki’s CEO and co-founder Petteri Kolehmainen assume the role of managing director Finland at Healthware Group.

He said: “We have been cooperating together for several years, and have found that we strongly share similar focuses, cultures and targets. As part of Healthware Group we can serve our existing and new customers better, faster and with wider expertise than ever before.”

Make Helsinki was founded in 2015 and offers services such as virtual reality (VR), customer experience, design, augmented reality (AR) and recruitment for virtual trials, as well as having strong knowledge of the Nordic market.

The deal will see Make Helsinki rebrand to Healthware and function as a regional hub for the group, continuing to offer its services in addition to the entire Healthware Group offering. Existing employees in the region will report into the new organisation.

Healthware CEO Roberto Ascione said the acquisition will allow the group to focus on the Nordics and Baltics region and become part of the burgeoning Finnish tech ecosystem.

Ascione said: “We are excited about this new acquisition, which extends our global footprint with a Nordics and Baltics presence and reinforces our expertise in key disciplines that are increasingly important to the future of health.”

Founded in 1997, Healthware has seen rapid growth in the past few years. It became privately-owned once again after spinning out of a healthcare communications conglomerate in 2015 and saw €10 million investment in early 2019 led by FITEC, one of the main European VC funds focusing on technology. This latest deal follows the group’s acquisition of pharmaphorum earlier this year.

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Healthware Group announces acquisition of Make Helsinki

Healthcare agency, consultancy and digital health group, Healthware, has announced the acquisition of Finland-based digital service development and creative agency Make Helsinki.

  • Healthware strengthens its geographical coverage with the creation of a hub dedicated to the Nordics and Baltics region
  • The deal combines Healthware’s consulting, full-service agency and digital health capabilities with Make Helsinki’s additional expertise in Virtual Reality, Customer Experience, Design and recruitment for Clinical

Salerno/Helsinki, 1 December 2020 Healthware, founded in 1997 and led by digital health expert Roberto Ascione, has seen rapid growth in the past few years and has evolved into a partner able to guide the transformation of life sciences, health tech and health insurance companies, as well as the start-ups to partner and connect with the healthcare stakeholders. Make Helsinki Ltd., founded in 2015 brings complementary services spanning Virtual Reality, Customer Experience, Design, Augmented Reality and recruitment for Clinical Trials on top of a full service agency.

The acquisition builds on successful prior collaboration between the two organisations, including best-in-class full-service agency offerings, digital transformation, technology / enterprise solutions and corporate venturing. In addition, Make Helsinki brings knowledge of the Finnish technology playground and Nordic market.

Petteri Kolehmainen, CEO and co-founder of Make Helsinki, who will assume the role of Managing Director Finland at Healthware Group, said:

“We have been cooperating together for several years, and have found that we strongly share similar focuses, cultures and targets. As part of Healthware Group we can serve our existing and new customers better, faster and with wider expertise than ever before.”

Due to both companies being privately owned, the terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Make Helsinki will rebrand to Healthware and will function as a regional hub, continuing to offer its services in addition to the entire Healthware Group offering. Existing employees in the region will report into the new organisation.

Roberto Ascione, CEO & founder at Healthware Group, said:

“We are excited about this new acquisition, which extends our global footprint with a Nordics & Baltics presence and reinforces our expertise in key disciplines that are increasingly important to the future of health.”

Healthware Group is privately owned and backed by FITEC, a leading European VC fund focusing on technology. This has accelerated the company’s growth and enabled key strategic investments and acquisitions within life sciences and digital health.

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Zebra Medical Vision to Co-Develop AI-Based Models for Osteoporosis Early Detection & Prevention

Zebra Medical Vision to Co-Develop AI-Based Models for Osteoporosis Early Detection & Prevention

What You Should Know:

– Zebra Medical Vision, the deep-learning medical imaging analytics company, and Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID were chosen to co-develop new AI-based osteoporosis prevention solutions under EUREKA intergovernmental network. 

– The UK-Israel research and development grant will be
co-developed with clinical teams from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Assuta
Medical Centers in Israel.


Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID and Israeli AI
start-up Zebra Medical Vision have
won a UK-Israel research and development competition with a proposal for a
revolutionary, machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention
of osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. The
collaboration will involve close engagement with clinical teams in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Assuta Medical Centers. The project is
co-funded in part by the UK and Israel under the EUREKA framework to foster
industrial research collaboration between the UK and Israel.

Early Detection of Osteoporosis Through AI-Based Models

For the next two years, an international, multidisciplinary
team of clinicians, data scientists and computer scientists will develop a
machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention of
osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. The solution
will analyze medical imaging data and patient records to help clinical teams
identify and treat people with risk of fractures before they happen.  

“We are pleased to partner on the development of this innovative new service for osteoporosis patients through the expertise of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub. This is another example of a successful collaboration between industry and the NHS to move forward innovative healthcare. Our clinical teams at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will support the aim of this project to ultimately identify and treat patients with increased risk of bone breakage before it happens,” said David Lowe, Emergency Consultant, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Clinical Lead, West of Scotland Innovation Hub.

Nuance Sells Off Transcription and EHR-Go-Live Services Businesses to DeliverHealth

Nuance Sells Off Transcription and EHR-Go-Live Services Businesses to DeliverHealth

What You Should Know:

–   Nuance announced that it’s planning to sell
two sections of its healthcare business – Health Information Management (HIM)
and Electronic Health Record (EHR) Go-Live Services – to a new independent
company, called DeliverHealth, in early 2021.

– Nuance will be a minority shareholder of DeliverHealth
and continue to provide its technology to the company.

Nuance
Communications, Inc.,
today announced the planned sale
of the Health Information Management (HIM) Transcription business and the
Electronic Health Record (EHR) Go-Live Services business to a new independent
company, DeliverHealth Solutions LLC
(DeliverHealth),
formed by Assured
Healthcare Partners® (AHP®)
in partnership with Aeries Technology Group (Aeries).  


Transaction Details

The HIM Transcription business includes both Nuance Transcription Services (NTS) and the eScription technology platform. The transaction is expected to be completed in early 2021. As part of the self-off, Nuance will be a minority shareholder of DeliverHealth and will continue to provide its technology to the company. DeliverHealth plans to build on HIM, transcription, technology and EHR services already in place while expanding into intelligent, technology-enabled revenue cycle automation and clinical documentation improvement services within the EHR’s workflow in 2021. DeliverHealth will include both Nuance Transcription Services (NTS) and the eScription technology platform. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.


Sell-Off Accelerate Growth as Conversational AI Market
Leader

 The sale
demonstrates Nuance’s continuing execution to focus R&D investments in the
healthcare and enterprise markets – where the company has substantial
competitive advantages and opportunities for growth and value creation. In
2019, for example, Nuance sold its document imaging business to Kofax and
spun-off its automotive business into Cerence, Inc., an independent,
publicly-traded company.

Nuance’s goal with the sale is to enable:

– Existing customers with continued service quality, newly
expanded offerings, and enhancements from DeliverHealth in close collaboration
with Nuance

– Nuance to focus its innovation and market resources as a
pure-play conversational AI market leader while providing continuity of EHR
Go-Live Services and HIM Transcription businesses to existing and new customers
via DeliverHealth

– DeliverHealth to leverage a leading position in healthcare
professional and technology-enabled services, expand global market share,
advance growth plans for the EHR Go-Live and Optimization Services, and provide
enhanced HIM technology and services to a worldwide market in partnership with
Nuance

Nuance’s growth and market leadership in healthcare are
driven by the accelerating adoption and development of its core cloud-based AI
solutions, including the Nuance® Dragon® Ambient eXperience™ (Nuance DAX™)
ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) solution, Nuance Dragon Medical One, Nuance
CDE One, and its array of diagnostic imaging solutions such as PowerScribe One™
and PowerShare™.


“The dramatic acceleration in the digital transformation of healthcare continues as organizations deploy the power of conversational AI and deeply integrated cloud-based solutions at scale to address physician burnout, expand patient access, and improve system efficiencies and the revenue cycle,” said Mark Benjamin, CEO of Nuance. “With this strategic transaction, we’re aligning our resources to increase our market and technical leadership position in high-growth, high-impact areas that help our customers in a transformative way to improve patient care and operational performance. At the same time, we’re enabling the medical transcription and EHR Go-Live Services businesses to reach their full potential as a separate, focused company benefiting from the enhanced investment and operational experience of AHP and Aeries and technology support from Nuance.”


Innovaccer Launches Member Engagement Solution to Scale-Up Digital Transformation Efforts with Payers

Innovaccer Launches Member Engagement Solution to Scale-Up Digital Transformation Efforts with Payers

What You Should Know:

–  Innovaccer
launches member engagement solution for healthcare payers to drive improvement
in healthcare cost and quality boosts member satisfaction and enhances member
enrollment and retention.

– Innovaccer’s solution create member-oriented care
plans, enhance connectivity with care managers, and drive interventions for
social determinants of health risks through the solution.

Innovaccer, Inc., a
leading healthcare
technology
company, has launched its member engagement
solution
for healthcare payers. The solution will enable payers to use a
more consumer-oriented approach and allow the network members to take charge of
their own healthcare journeys. The solution will empower them with the right
information, resources, and the network’s best-performing providers.

Creating a Patient-Centered Care Paradigm

U.S. healthcare is making strides toward a more
patient-centered care paradigm. The latest Interoperability and Patient Access
final rule is one of the initiatives that put patients at the center of care.
The rule made it mandatory for payers to share electronic health data with
patients, which will enable them to participate more in their healthcare
decisions.

In addition to meeting the regulatory requirements, the
member engagement solution enables payers to provide on-demand, mobile-based
educational materials, lab and test results, clinical visit notes, personalized
health assessments, and digitized services to health plan members.

Enabling Payers to Become More Patient-Centered

Innovaccer’s solution enables payers to become more
patient-centered.  Payers can create member-oriented care plans, enhance
connectivity with care managers, and drive interventions for social
determinants of health risks through the solution.

“By building strong payer-beneficiary collaboration, we will be able to establish a more active, responsible, and value-driven care journey. Engaged members will know and understand exactly what is being done for the successful management of their medical conditions. A more informed and savvy member can potentially contribute to improving the quality of care, reduce excessive resource utilization, and decrease their costs,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer.

Medidata Acquires Digital Biomarker Business of MC10 / Clinical Trials & Wearable Sensors

Medidata Acquires Digital Biomarker Business of MC10 / Clinical Trials & Wearable Sensors

What You Should Know:

– Clinical trials technology company Medidata has
acquired the digital biomarker business of MC10.

– MC10’s offerings will bring novel clinical analytics
and biosensor capabilities to Medidata’s existing technology solutions,
enhancing Medidata’s capabilities to integrate data from wearable sensors –
including clinical grade metrics – in clinical trials.

– With this acquisition, Medidata’s integrated offering
will help provide life sciences companies and device developers with greater
understanding of diseases, transformational therapies, and novel endpoints.


Medidata,
a Dassault Systèmes company, the global leader in creating end-to-end solutions
to support the entire clinical development process, acquired
the digital biomarker business of MC10. MC10’s offerings will bring novel
clinical analytics and biosensor capabilities to Medidata’s existing Patient Cloud solutions
in ePRO (patient-reported outcomes), eCOA (clinical outcome assessments), and
biomarker discovery. This will enhance Medidata’s capabilities of integrating data from
wearable
sensors – including clinical grade metrics – to help
customers successfully virtualize clinical trials.

MC10 Background

MC10 is a Lexington, MA-based privately held
company focused on improving human health through digital solutions. The
company combines conformal BioStamp sensors with clinical analytics to unlock
novel insights from physiological data collected from the home or in clinical
settings. The company flagship product, BioStamp nPoint, is intended for the
clinical research community.

Why It Matters

Remote, patient-centered technologies have become
an essential part of clinical research, especially in the age of COVID-19; the
physical restrictions placed on patients and clinical sites caused by the
pandemic can interfere with launching a clinical study and carrying it to
completion. Wearable sensors are used in about 15 percent of studies, and the
use of sensors is expected to grow to approximately 70 percent by 2025.* 

Medidata leads the industry in building and integrating new technologies to revolutionize clinical research in pursuit of patient-centric therapy development. MC10’s focus on clinical-grade data capture and novel digital biomarker development represents an important next chapter – advancing the understanding of disease progression and treatment effect in the home. 

“Medidata is excited to add the pioneering work at MC10 to our ongoing efforts in building a new platform for ingestion and analytics across a wide array of mobile sensors,” said Anthony Costello, senior vice president, Mobile Health, Medidata. “Incorporating remote biometric data capture and analysis that includes the MC10 nPoint Biostamp, alongside other leading mobile devices, will further strengthen the Medidata platform and help propel the digital transformation of life sciences.”

Acquisition Builds Integrated Offering

An integrated Medidata offering will provide research companies and device developers new and innovative ways to collect, normalize, and analyze data in pursuit of new therapy development. This enhanced capability will also create a closer connection between patients and the ecosystem of trailblazing researchers, practitioners, and life science companies committed to deepening a shared understanding of the disease, transformational therapies, and novel endpoints.

“Medidata is an exceptional fit for MC10. Our combined expertise will help customers and partners take a more data-driven approach to bringing targeted therapies to patients,” said Ben Schlatka, co-founder and CEO, MC10. “We are looking forward to moving ahead together, accelerating the development and deployment of new innovative offerings for our customers and ultimately transforming therapy development to improve the lives of patients.”

Banner Health Taps Innovaccer’s Data Activation Platform to Power Digital Transformation

Banner Health Taps Kyruus to Enhance Patient-Provider Matching Across Network

What You Should Know:

– Banner Health, one of the country’s largest non-profit healthcare systems, has partnered with Innovaccer for its digital transformation.

– Banner Health will leverage the platform to create unified patient records that drive comprehensive, preventive, and whole-person care solutions for patients across the care continuum.


Banner Health,
one of the country’s largest non-profit healthcare systems, has partnered with Innovaccer, Inc., a leading healthcare
technology company, to leverage its FHIR-enabled Data Activation
Platform to realize digital transformation in their care delivery. The
partnership will consolidate their health data and several vendors and
transform the way they manage healthcare data to drive actionable insights and
their population health management strategy for more than one million lives.

Creating Unified Patient Records to Drive Whole-Person
Care Across Care Continuum

As an integral part of their digital transformation journey, Banner Health will leverage the platform to create unified patient records that drive comprehensive, preventive, and whole-person care solutions for patients across the care continuum. The health system will integrate clinical and payer data distributed across its multiple practices, hospitals, and systems. The platform supports FHIR APIs and complies with the latest FHIR v4.0.1 version to ensure seamless data exchange across the network. 

Digital First Approach to Banner Health Network

As a part of the “digital-first” approach and to gain a more
comprehensive view of its network, Banner Health will leverage InGraph,
Innovaccer’s solution that generates insights using analyses with population
stratification, advanced analytics and customizable dashboards.

With the platform’s point-of-care alerts and digitally
connected ecosystem, Banner Health will engage its network providers with
real-time updates on care gaps, coding gaps, and other relevant information for
a comprehensive view of their patients. Combined with Innovaccer’s referral
management solution, these insights will enable them to conduct value-based
referrals and reduce network leakage. 

Banner providers will be able to assign the appropriate care
management pathways for particular patient populations designed in
collaboration with Innovaccer. The digitally connected environment provided by
the platform will enable the organization to personalize healthcare experiences
for their patients with outreach and virtual patient engagement
strategies. 

“Banner Health’s mission is to ‘make health care easier, so that life can be better.’ Technology plays a critical role in our efforts to create a robust population health management strategy. In our partnership with Innovaccer, we are confident in our path forward. Their comprehensive set of solutions is exactly what our population health management program needs,” says Julie F. Smith, VP of Clinical Applications at Banner Health.

Geisinger, OSF, Presbyterian Double Down on Digital Transformation with AVIA

Geisinger, OSF, Presbyterian Double Down on Digital Transformation with AVIA

What You Should Know:

– AVIA, a healthcare innovation network comprised of 50+
health systems and other healthcare stakeholder groups, today announced that
Geisinger, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and OSF HealthCare have renewed or
expanded their partnerships with the organization to accelerate digital
transformation within their individual systems.

– While hospital spending has steeply declined due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, today’s announcement indicates that AVIA Members value the
Network’s shared learnings and rely on AVIA’s unique service model to better
understand new markets and select/scale digital solutions.


While hospitals and health systems across the country face
tremendous financial pressures and declining consumer confidence, AVIA Network
Members continue to lead healthcare toward practical, impactful, and
sustainable digital
transformation
. AVIA is the nation’s leading digital
transformation partner for healthcare organizations. Through renewed and
expanded partnerships with Members and new initiatives underway with consulting
clients, AVIA sees strong momentum across the country in the
strategic moves powered by digital.

This momentum is accelerated by AVIA’s differentiated
service model. Unlike other services firms, AVIA enables sustained
results through its membership insights and customized support. Insights are
distilled and delivered to Members from AVIA’s deep expertise coupled with
long-term relationships and understanding of where health systems are acting.

Renewed membership

Geisinger,
a nationally-renowned leading health system in innovation, renewed their
membership in the AVIA Network. “At Geisinger, we’re constantly
seeking new ways to improve care for our patients, our members, and our
communities,” said Dr. Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation
Officer, and Founding Director of the Steele Institute for Healthcare
Innovation. “In AVIA, we’ve found a partner to help us operationalize and
accelerate our innovation efforts.”

In the next chapter of Geisinger’s AVIA membership, the two organizations will work closely together in support of the Steele Institute’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO). With a charge that includes purview over advanced and predictive analytics, informatics, software development, experience strategy, product design, and product management, Geisinger will prioritize their key capabilities with AVIA’s support. AVIA will help the DTO team assess the market for digital solutions that enable these capabilities, and accelerate technology selection and deployment.

Expanded partnership and tailored support

Presbyterian Healthcare Services was
looking to innovatively improve how they digitally serve their patients, to
extend support both locally and to remote communities through telehealth and
innovative models of care. In a time of great uncertainty, Presbyterian wanted
to partner with an organization they trusted to catalyze the work, and chose to
partner with AVIA.

“AVIA knows us, and they’re already an extension of my team. The support they provide goes beyond what a traditional consulting firm would provide, because they have an active membership of like-minded health systems, and are gaining real-time insight into what other organizations are doing successfully, and where there are roadblocks. This sets us up to innovate effectively and with speed, especially during unprecedented times,” said Ries Robinson, Chief Innovation Officer at Presbyterian.

OSF
HealthCare
 engaged AVIA to assess the opportunity for
digital technology across the system to inform their operational and transformational
activities in support of current year financial targets. Specifically, AVIA mobilized
and assessed OSF stakeholders to identify where AI and robotic process
automation could enable Mission Partners to more meaningfully contribute to the
Ministry as well as support a sustainable cost structure for the system. In the
next phase of work, AVIA will develop a prioritization framework and
make final recommendations to the OSF executive team.

 AVIA furthers its Members’ insights through tailored support that provides strategic advice for action, grounded in what is possible, not theoretical. “It has been exciting to see health systems both embrace digital and AVIA’s service model. Through membership, we’ve been able to offer a combination of market research, advisory support, and peer collaboration,” said AVIA’s Chief Product Officer, Eric Jensen. “This unique mix is helping our members to move faster.”

Pharma’s digital transformation journey and the role of customer reference data

Better management of customer data could help pharmaceutical companies’ digital transformation, according to Veeva’s Rebecca Silver. pharmaphorum’s Richard Staines spoke to her about how the use of customer reference data can transform pharma companies, increase competitiveness, and benefit the bottom line during these challenging times.

Precision medicine is emerging as a key approach for disease treatment and prevention, which makes it even more critical to get the right medicine to the right patients. But according to OpenData’s general manager Rebecca Silver, the industry is often challenged with having accurate data on the doctors and the organisations they work for.

Times are changing, though, and with the advent of COVID-19 the use of digital technology has increased considerably. One of the noticeable effects of this has been a massive uptake of remote working across the industry, which has accentuated difficulties in conducting remote sales engagements due to poor customer data quality.

The changing pharma environment during COVID-19

According to Silver, the coronavirus pandemic changed the pharma industry’s priorities overnight, and several other factors are transforming the way that pharma companies are interacting with doctors.

Speed to market is all-important in accelerating innovation, she notes, adding that using customer data well is crucial to get the kind of targeted approach needed when interacting with healthcare professionals.

“Personalised medicine is driving the need to get more information to more physicians. It’s targeting the right medicine to the right patients, so giving very specific information to physicians is really important”

“Personalised medicine is driving the need to get more information to more physicians. It’s targeting the right medicine to the right patients, so giving very specific information to physicians is really important.”

But Silver identified some challenges that must be overcome to allow pharma companies to make the most of their customer reference data. For example, data is often siloed in different parts of the company, instead of a centralised database that allows company-wide access.

Quality of data is another issue identified by Silver as being detrimental to a coordinated approach to customer relations management. She pointed to the Veeva European Customer Reference Data Survey that showed 41% of companies are not satisfied with the quality of their third-party legacy providers of customer data.

“Complexity comes in when data’s in silos and fragmented. If the data is in silos within a pharmaceutical company, you’ll find multiple people that are buying the same data assets and storing them and managing them in various systems completely disconnected from each other.

“It’s almost impossible to get a single, comprehensive view and an actionable view of their customer. It makes it really difficult to derive insights from that data because they’re not getting the full picture of their customers.”

Real-time updates

Ensuring that customer data is accurate and up to date is a priority, no matter what size a company is.

One way of making sure that the data is also useful to reps is having technology that allows customer data to be updated in real-time, whether they are looking to engage with healthcare professionals directly or via remote detailing, according to Silver.

Good data governance will help to get the information accurate and up to date – but making a case for improving it isn’t always an easy task.

But Silver said it’s possible to make the case for strong data governance by outlining the productivity benefits it can bring by taking steps to identify who owns the data and ensuring a single department is responsible for curating it.

“People don’t like the term ‘governance,’ but it’s the reality of it, and there is a strong impact. If companies have data governance issues and undertake initiatives to improve data management, they’re more likely to be satisfied with the ability of their data to support their analytics.”

Properly curated customer data allows reps to make fast decisions, as they have confidence in the information available to them.

Silver said: “Customers want their reps in the field to be able to react with speed and they want to maximise the value out of their investment of those reps. So, it is important to empower the sales rep with the most accurate data updates while they’re standing in a hospital and can still effectively execute on a call, for example.”

C-suite taking notice

Despite these challenges Silver said pharma companies are more likely to overcome them now that the C-Suite is starting to notice the issue.

Companies are increasingly realising that their customer data is an important strategic asset that can have a real impact on the bottom line. Driving this is a realisation at executive level that getting customer data right is crucial to keeping a company competitive.

Pharma companies that don’t use data as an asset risk falling behind, whether they are competing in a tight market where there are many other therapeutic options available or whether they are launching a new product and under pressure to bring in sales.

Silver said: “All of that pressure and that stress has increased the awareness around data in the C-suite. So, what I’m seeing is many business leaders are re-examining their data organisations and searching for opportunities to reduce wasted time and effort, while at the same time increasing productivity.”

Data is ‘cool’

The digital revolution has moved far beyond fascinating gadgets and devices, and promises to profoundly change the way pharma companies operate.

Pharmaceutical companies are starting to adopt a business model with data as a foundation for the company’s strategy.

Customer data and helping reps on a day-to-day basis will be at the heart of this, but companies will also be guided during crucial projects such as launching new drugs, when pharma must maximise opportunities in the often-crucial initial window for sales.

According to Veeva, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to fundamentally change the way pharma companies operate as they are forced, at least in the short term, to move away from conventional sales operations based on face-to-face meetings with doctors.

These will still have their place, but the future is expected to favour a hybrid approach as the importance of digital support for physician interactions grows, driven by innovations in multi-channel materials and remote detailing.

To guide this hybrid approach, pharma companies should look to the insights that can be found through a sophisticated analysis of CRM data – the advantages of which are increasingly being recognised by those at the very top of their organisations.

Silver concluded: “Customer data is the foundation of companies’ success; data is now cool.”

About the interviewee

Rebecca SilverAs general manager, Veeva OpenData, Rebecca leads a dedicated team of product managers, data stewards, engineers, and services professionals to deliver a superior reference data experience for Veeva customers. Before leading the global OpenData team, Rebecca was vice president of Veeva OpenData North America, where she led the launch and growth of Veeva’s data offering. Earlier, as VP, professional services, North America, she directed successful implementations of Veeva’s suite of commercial products for many of the world’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies.

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Intermountain to Deploy AI-Powered Digital Assistants Across Clinically Integrated Network

Intermountain to Deploy AI-Powered Digital Assistants Across Clinically Integrated Network

What You Should Know:

– Intermountain Healthcare announced it will scale
Notable’s AI-driven platform across the health system’s clinically integrated
network to support thousands of providers, automate administrative workflows,
streamline the check-in experience for patients, and simplify provider
follow-up.

– The Notable Platform uses intelligent automation to identify and engage more patients in need of care and enables staff and clinicians to better serve patients by eliminating manual, administrative tasks like registration, documentation, and billing. 


Intermountain
Healthcare
, today announced it is partnering with Notable Health to reimagine the
manual, repetitive administrative aspects of patient intake and post-visit
follow-up into a fully automated, intuitive digital experience across the
health system’s clinically integrated network (CIN).

Empowering Digital Transformation from Check-In Through Collections

Intermountain to Deploy AI-Powered Digital Assistants Across Clinically Integrated Network

Intermountain is harnessing Notable Health’s platform to
digitally transform ambulatory check-ins through mobile registration and
virtual clinical intake for both in-person and telemedicine appointments.
Available within general internal medicine groups in the Salt Lake City region,
over 55 percent of patients from these clinics are now completing their entire
digital check-in prior to their office visit, decreasing check-in time by 25
percent. Intermountain reports an industry-leading 94 percent patient
satisfaction rating for their digital check-in and registration experience,
including 86 percent for patients 65 and older.

Notable extends the capabilities of My Health+, Intermountain’s health app, with digital assistants that automate administrative workflows for staff, streamline the check-in experience for patients and simplify follow-up for providers. Following an initial deployment that went live in under one month and results realized across over 100 providers, Intermountain will scale the Notable Platform to support thousands of providers within additional specialties and states across the clinically integrated network in the coming months.

Initial Notable Deployment Outcomes/Results for Intermountain

Intermountain to Deploy AI-Powered Digital Assistants Across Clinically Integrated Network

Intermountain patients benefit from a digital intake process
that assists with registration, verifies insurance eligibility, and prompts
patients to enter symptoms and medications directly from their smartphone through
dynamic questionnaires customized for an individual’s medical history. The
platform enables patients to complete their entire check-in before their visit
for a touchless, paper-free experience. This reduces the number of people in
waiting rooms, and patients can be offered virtual visit options when
appropriate.

Today’s announcement comes after general internal medicine
groups in the Salt Lake City region generated significant results across 100+
Intermountain providers:

· By automating clinical documentation through the Notable
Platform, Intermountain medical assistants save 30 minutes of charting time per
day;

· More than half of patients now complete their entire
digital check-in prior to their office visit, decreasing check-in time by 25%;
and

· Patient satisfaction ratings for digital check-in and
registration have topped 94%, including 86% for patients 65 and older.

“Creating a more seamless and empowered consumer experience is critical to meeting evolving patient expectations. This starts with digitally transforming the complex process of accessing and registering for care,” said Kevan Mabbutt, senior vice president and chief consumer officer at Intermountain. “By engaging patients to provide information through My Health+ about their health before their visit, we can better address what type of care our patients need, and where and when they can receive it across the care delivery continuum.”

Anthem Expands Relationship with doc.ai to Power Digital Health Offerings

Anthem Refuses Full Security Audit of IT Systems from OIG

What You Should Know:

– Anthem extends the use of doc.ai’s platform and portfolio of privacy-first technologies and artificial intelligence software services to drive the personalization of Anthem’s digital assets and create improved value for users.

– doc.ai’s product offerings are deployed on its cloud-agnostic and zero-trust infrastructure that lets clients like Anthem launch products faster and at lower costs.


Anthem, today announced it is extending its partnership with doc.ai, an enterprise AI platform accelerating digital transformation in healthcare to power its digital health offerings. The expanded relationship extends Anthem’s use of doc.ai’s platform and portfolio of privacy-first technologies and artificial intelligence software services to drive the personalization of Anthem’s digital assets and create improved value for users. Payors, pharma, and providers license doc.ai’s enterprise AI platform that unlocks the value of health data.

Most recently, Anthem licensed Passport, doc.ai’s privacy-first COVID-19 evaluation tool for a safer entry to the workplace, and Serenity, a guided mental health chat companion that helps manage anxiety and depression. In addition, doc.ai’s technology has streamlined Anthem’s ability to create an ecosystem of developers. doc.ai’s product offerings are deployed on its cloud-agnostic and zero-trust infrastructure that lets clients like Anthem launch products faster and at lower costs.

Appoints New CEO and Chief Scientific Officer

In addition to the expanded relationship with Anthem, doc.ai
has announced key executive leadership appointments: Sam De Brouwer, co-founder
has been named its new CEO; Walter De Brouwer, co-founder takes on the newly
created role of Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH has been
appointed as its first Chief Medical Officer.

Sam De Brouwer, co-founder, and previous Chief Operating Officer has taken on the role of Chief Executive Officer, with a focus on scaling its enterprise offerings. Co-founder Walter De Brouwer has transitioned from CEO to the new role of Chief Scientific Officer where he will focus on vision and will lead research, innovation, and engineering efforts for the company. As doc.ai’s first Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH will lead the clinical focus and medical research of the platform company. These new appointments will join doc.ai’s leadership team alongside current CTO Akshay Sharma and CFO Greg Kovacic.

“What doc.ai has accomplished in a remarkably short period of time is impressive, and I’m excited to join such a talented team,” said Dr. Shah. “Doc.ai has brought cutting-edge technologies to the market that will help break down many of the silos in healthcare, and will ultimately increase the pace of innovation and create pathways to better health outcomes.”

Dr. Shah is a Senior Scholar at the Clinical Excellence Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine. His expertise spans across the health industry as a member of the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and as an independent director for public and private companies and foundations.

He served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for clinical operations at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, where he oversaw the region’s health plan and hospital quality while ensuring effective use of technology, data, and analytics to produce better patient health outcomes. In addition, he served as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, where he was responsible for public health insurance programs covering more than five million New Yorkers and led public health surveillance and prevention initiatives.

COVID-19’s lasting impact on digital communication in healthcare

The ongoing digital transformation of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries has been greatly accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. In The Medscape Professional Networks’ latest white paper, Healthcare’s New Normal: COVID Speeds Shift to Digital Communications, key opinion leaders and industry experts agree that in the post-pandemic world, even as lockdowns are lifted and restrictions relaxed, the emerging trends for an increase in digital communications will stay.

Medscape, the leading online destination for physicians worldwide, interviewed a series of respected physicians and healthcare professionals on how the pandemic has impacted the way they manage their practice and learn about new clinical advances and treatments. Dr. Kerr, professor of Cancer Medicine in Oxford, United Kingdom, emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has driven an enormous change in how he delivers cancer care: “there’s great momentum for our national health service to be able to embrace the new digital health technology. It has been a remarkable turnaround. And it’s here to stay.” Dr. Silverberg, a gastroenterologist in Toronto, sees this current moment as an “opportunity to embrace new technologies to make medicine and healthcare more efficient and more tech-friendly”.

The white paper also features exclusive insights from a recent Medscape survey about how the pandemic has changed the way global physicians interact with the pharmaceutical industry, including:

  • 91% of physicians outside the US (OUS) report higher consumption of online medical content
  • A shift to virtual interactions with pharma reps is expected, with 61% of OUS physicians anticipating a decrease in in-person meetings
  • Virtual congress attendance has dramatically increased, with OUS physicians reporting a 67% increase
  • 56% of OUS physicians say changes in how they use different information sources will last more than a year, if not be permanent

 

Read the full white paper, Healthcare’s New Normal: COVID Speeds Shift to Digital Communications, to discover more.

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emids Acquires Payer IT Consulting Firm FlexTech

emids Acquires Payer IT Consulting Firm FlexTech

What You Should Know:

– emids – a leader in digital engineering and
transformation solutions for the healthcare and life sciences industries –
today announced the acquisition of Nevada-based FlexTech, a payer IT consulting
firm recognized by KLAS as a category leader.

– The FlexTech deal will drive expanded channel
partnership opportunities for emids among leading core platform vendors and
position emids as the go-to partner for advancing adoption of new digital
business models.


emids, a Nasvhille, TN-based provider of digital engineering
and transformation solutions to the healthcare and life sciences industry, today
announced it has acquired FlexTech, an Incline Village, NV-based
information technology
consulting company with deep expertise in leading payer core administration and population health platforms, in a deal that closed late last month. The partnership, driven by heightened urgency for health
plans to adopt breakthrough digital-based strategies, enhances emids’ ability
to help its clients accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

Acquisition Benefits for emids

The acquisition is part of emids’ purposeful growth plan and comes on the heels of a strategic equity investment earlier this year from the Blue Venture Fund, a majority investment last fall from New Mountain Capital. The FlexTech deal will drive expanded channel partnership opportunities for emids among leading core platform vendors and position emids as the go-to partner for advancing the adoption of new digital business models. FlexTech, a KLAS 2020 category leader in payer IT consulting services, brings a proven and experienced team of 120+ subject matter experts, each with an average 20 years of experience in managed care, core administration and population health platforms, and strong partner relationships with the leading healthcare payer technology vendors.

“The need for deep domain expertise combined with digital transformation capabilities is vital as our payer and ‘payvider’ clients expand their government-sponsored business lines, and we’re excited to bring our clients the proven payer platform expertise that FlexTech has built over 30+ years, delivering more than 250 core platform implementation programs,” said emids Founder and CEO Saurabh Sinha.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Swittons Introduces Smart IoT Devices for Pharmaceutical Lab Digital Transformation Initiatives

Swittons, a P360 company, has announced a new line of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled smart devices built specifically for pharmaceutical labs. The fully customizable devices align with strategic Lab of the Future(LoTF) initiatives and help automate various laboratory workflows between people and existing digital lab equipment, systems and solutions. Built on an agile technology platform, Swittons devices are easy to deploy within pharmaceutical laboratories of all types.

“There are profound changes taking place in the area of life science research and development,” stated Swittons CEO and Founder Anupam Nandwana. “Driven by technological advances and the development of precision medicines, these modernization initiatives are designed to propel laboratory efficiencies into the future, allowing scientists to spend more time on science. This has changed the very concept of what the lab is, and Swittons is a key part of that evolution.”

The Swittons software platform is designed to provide life sciences companies with a modern, flexible user interface that not only integrates with other systems, but other IoT devices as well. This flexibility gives labs the power to create their own LoTF, configured in the way that works best for their specific use case. This means Swittons devices can be uniquely programmed, even within an individual laboratory, so end users aren’t forced into workflows that don’t fit their job function. In addition, the devices take up very little desk space, so they are conveniently available and work seamlessly within individual work styles.

Swittons devices are designed to be compatible with existing IT systems and integrate with lab support platforms and services such as LIMS, eDOC and ticketing systems. Swittons also features a powerful backend portal and reporting system, where administrators can view user CLICKS in one convenient location. The devices are even able to trigger phone and video calls via a built-in integration with Microsoft Teams.

Each Swittons device can be custom branded, and programmed for a wide range of laboratory scenarios. In pharmaceutical lab settings, Swittons fills the gap between the scientist and the lab by automating functions such as:

  • Trigger equipment maintenance
  • Open equipment service ticket
  • Indicate equipment availability
  • Trigger a video call
  • Notify of temperature control deviation
  • Notify of spill/cleaning needed
  • Equipment occupancy notification
  • Open Tickets in service software such as ServiceNow, Salesforce Service Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics
  • Reorder reagents
  • Re-stock disposable supplies
  • Report OOS or Aberrant result
  • Summon a lab runner
  • Open SOP software
  • Alert in an emergency

Swittons is built on Microsoft Azure, and each device comes out of the box ready and automatically connects through a Wi-Fi or GSM cellular connection. More information about Swittons for LoTF initiatives is available HERE.

Swittons is powered by the technology and expertise developed by P360. Delivering a 360-view through the pharma physician, laboratory and patient ecosystem, P360 designs and deploys capabilities that ensure the highest efficiencies and returns on sales operations, data management, clinical trials, patient centricity and IoT innovation. To learn more about P360, visit P360.com.

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Healthware launches global resource hub for COVID-19’s ‘new normal’

Healthware has launched a new online resource that aggregates information and analysis on how to respond to the huge changes COVID-19 has wrought across life sciences and healthcare.

The open access newnormal.health aims to help guide executives from pharma, biotech and medical device companies in their response to the pandemic and its aftermath.

Roberto Ascione, Healthware Group’s CEO, said: “The ‘new normal’ is a seismic shift for the life sciences industry and requires a transformation of how we conceive of healthcare that’s far broader than just an app or other piece of technology. We need to be thinking about how people, processes and policies need to change.”

The site contains content from Healthware and its partners, including pharmaphorum, and covers customer engagement, digital health, digital transformation, and trends and perspectives on future scenarios for the industry.

These include looking at how AI can help fight COVID-19, the ascent of telemedicine, drivers of change within pharmaceutical marketing and future roles for digital therapeutics.

“The special conditions that COVID-19 and its lockdowns generated have acted as a catalyst, accelerating companies’ existing digital transformations and speeding the uptake of telemedicine.

Digital health and digital therapeutics were already growing, but only at a certain pace – the pandemic created a number of conditions that have massively accelerated that,” Ascione said.

He added that the need for home access to care, and the isolation of those affected or potentially affected by the virus, had demonstrated that remote monitoring of patients at home was possible.

At the same time, within the pharmaceutical industry, stranded field forces have been taking advantage of remote detailing to overcome their lack of physical access to healthcare professionals, adapting it to HCPs’ needs for meaningful information.

This has shown, Ascione said, “that promotion is not enough, you need to render meaningful services and move from push marketing to marketing-as-a-service as a baseline. That, to me, is part of the new normal when it comes to pharmaceutical companies”.

Newnormal.health will be regularly updated, including with a planned series of New Normal Talks that will feature one-to-one virtual fireside chats between experts from all side of the healthcare ecosystem.

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Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience

Virtually or In-Person, Automation Improves The Healthcare Experience
Muthu Alagappan, MD, Medical Director at Notable Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented shift in the way consumers view and access a variety of goods and services—and healthcare is no exception. Recent studies show that many patients, including vulnerable populations like those living with cancer, are delaying recommended care and procedures—and will continue to do so for at least several months amid fears over the safety of in-person visits. In response, reports of providers adapting to offer care virtually are all the more commonplace, with almost half of physicians now treating patients through telemedicine platforms, up from just 18 percent in 2018.

These trends have solidified virtual care as a mainstay, and as a result, the virtual visit has become a commodity—a service that can be provided by many capable vendors. However, the logistics that power the adoption of virtual care are often overlooked. As healthcare administrators turn to telemedicine to resume “non-urgent” healthcare services, we must ensure that best-in-class technology solutions are utilized to improve the virtual care experience—for providers, clinical staff, and, importantly, patients.

Health systems and their networks face significant operational issues when delivering care in a remote setting, due to the range of potential interactions and diversity of devices—adding to the already recognized administrative burden that comes with routine patient care. With each patient visit comes over a dozen manual tasks, including patient intake and registration, in-visit clinical note writing, as well as back-office billing and claims processing. The virtual visit adds even more steps, such as helping patients access the appropriate technology for a two-way video interface or sending custom links to a “virtual waiting room” at the right time.

Facilitating a seamless virtual care experience before, during, and after a patient’s visit should be top-of-mind—particularly as patient expectations have heightened and healthcare has progressed towards a technology-enabled future. Fortunately, the automation of operational workflows can help healthcare administrators smooth the friction around conducting virtual visits at scale.

Intelligent automation extends our capacity in healthcare by enabling us to do more with the same workforce and technology infrastructure. In fact, digital medical assistants can use artificial intelligence to automate repetitive, cognitively tiring, and error-prone tasks. This technology can support the influx of virtual visits by offloading administrative processes, such as co-payment collection, clinical documentation, and pre-population of common clinical orders. 

For patients not as familiar with digital interactions and the variety of telemedicine modalities, which can include platforms like Amwell, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc or video conference solutions like RingCentral and Zoom, participating in virtual visits can be a daunting change. Additional technological challenges associated with virtual care can result in heightened frustration, increased no-show rates, or decreased activation, so maintaining patient engagement throughout the patient journey is even more important in a virtual environment. Digital medical assistants can automate appointment reminders, offer detailed setup guidance for patients, and provide “just-in-time” virtual visit links to ensure patients and providers can make the most of their time together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also introduced new variables and risks that patients, providers, and healthcare institutions at-large must consider when seeking and delivering care. Until recently, it was a relatively straightforward process to determine where a patient should receive routine care. Now given the risk of disease spread, providers find themselves considering which patients to see when to see them and whether to see them virtually or in-person.

This creates additional complexity in determining when to schedule patients and in which medium to conduct the visit. Platforms that leverage intelligent automation can help clinical teams to pre-screen all scheduled patients, collect a thorough medical history, intelligently segment patients into risk cohorts and triage each cohort to an individualized destination, be it a return to in-person care or a virtual environment.

In the “virtual exam room,” things also look a little different. From the provider’s perspective, one of the oft-cited drawbacks of virtual visits is the limited ability to measure vital signs, perform a physical exam or order point-of-care diagnostics. At-home diagnostics, wearable devices and remote patient monitoring tools allow providers to collect continuous clinical data that can be gathered asynchronously and quickly, resulting in a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s health. Further, platforms that use intelligent automation algorithms to organize data collected across the care continuum can parse these data streams to identify at-risk patients and then automate outreach and care management to follow clinical care pathways.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reimagine healthcare using a modern suite of technology for patients, providers and staff that does away with outdated and inefficient processes. But we also have a responsibility to replace them with solutions that improve digital experiences by supporting patients before visits, automating repetitive workflows, and parsing large amounts of data to support clinical decision-making.

Combining intelligent automation with virtual visits creates a powerful tool to efficiently manage patient populations and offer an experience that feels intuitive while enabling healthcare systems to do more with less. By accelerating the digital transformation of healthcare today, we can position ourselves for a future of increased capacity, decreased overhead, and improved quality.


Muthu Alagappan, MD, is an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, a trained engineer, and medical director at Notable Health, a healthcare experience automation company.