The majority of industries have decreased or eliminated their use of the traditional fax machine over the past decade, including aviation, retail, and even finance. While the healthcare industry is at the forefront of disease research and treatment, however, it is still heavily reliant on this aging technology.
Traditional fax has become ubiquitous in healthcare. It worked for health systems for many years, but the overwhelming volume of patient data and paper documents the healthcare industry is now processing makes traditional faxing more challenging. In today’s environment, fax is no longer the most convenient, safe, or secure communications format but it is still an ingrained part of practice workflows. The good news is, there is no need to “axe the fax” in order to improve office communications and alleviate paper overload. By transitioning to electronic fax, healthcare providers can maintain their workflows and the benefits of fax, while incorporating it into their overall virtual communications strategy – further simplifying the business of healthcare.
The Traditional Fax Challenge
The challenge with traditional fax isn’t new. In fact, in 2008 the Obama administration allocated nearly $30 billion to incentivize American hospitals and doctor offices to switch from paper to electronic systems. Since then, the industry has made small steps towards a more digitized system via fax servers and virtual patient communications such as secure text and broadcast messaging. While this solved part of the problem by making documents electronic and streamlining communications, it did not address the issue of inefficiency at its core, as practices are still printing, signing, and scanning paper documents. This inefficiency is causing a bottleneck when it comes to getting information transferred quickly, creates unnecessary costs for practices, and causes a lack of integration between health technologies across our healthcare system.
This fragmented, outdated way of communication is not only inefficient and costly, it also impacts patient privacy and safety. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Texas health department received so many test results via fax in one day that it simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of paper being spit out – resulting in hundreds of confidential results being dumped on the floor. In addition, the vast differences between old and new technology being blended together are making it difficult to keep track of patient records, share data between practices or report to the government, and more, including important racial, ethnic and geographic data that the Trump administration required for COVID tests. In addition to these challenges, traditional fax eats up staff time that could instead be spent on patient care.
Addressing Outdated Systems and Driving Transformation
While on the surface the solution seems simple, actually addressing this challenge at its core is not as easy as it seems. Many providers and large health systems face barriers when it comes to implementing this technology, such as:
Compatibility between systems
Fear of competition and/or losing patients to other health systems if e-fax enables patients to easily share data with other physicians
Regulatory issues around the transfer of data between providers/EHRs through electronic fax
Despite these challenges, the pandemic has highlighted the delayed, disjointed communications that exist within our healthcare system – and underscored the need for practices and health systems to adopt electronic fax technology. For example, a CNBC survey found that due to COVID-19 tests results coming in via fax in such large amounts, almost 40% of Americans had to wait more than three days for their results, which was too late to be clinically meaningful.
It’s time to address this challenge industry-wide. Last year’s MGMA 2020 virtual conference theme, Rise Above, focused on giving providers actionable tools to navigate through the challenges COVID-19 has presented. The importance of virtual care solutions, including communications tools like electronic fax and forms, are unprecedented. Electronic fax technology can help alleviate the bottlenecks and inefficiencies that currently exist in healthcare. These solutions can:
Reduce costs spent on traditional fax hardware, such as paper, ink, toner, etc.
Increase accessibility, allowing providers to view documents via mobile, etc. at their convenience
Improve practice workflow and efficiency, allowing practices to edit, organize, assign and complete patient forms online
Additionally, electronic fax should integrate seamlessly with other patient management solutions that practices are leveraging, such as video chat, SMS text, electronic forms, and a virtual waiting room, ultimately streamlining the entire patient experience.
Healthcare has transformed dramatically this year and will continue to do so — there’s a new expectation of patient care post-COVID. In order to improve patient communications, practice efficiency, system interoperability, and data sharing, practices must adopt an entire virtual care strategy, including electronic fax. Offering telehealth but still communicating via traditional fax will hold your practice back. It’s time for our healthcare system to ditch outdated systems and go completely paperless. This is how we will tap into the true power of the inbox, drive practice profitability and efficiency, and better serve patients.
About Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox With a successful track record in helping organizations use technology to transform the way healthcare is delivered, Mike has more than 25 years of healthcare leadership within software, behavioral health, and HIT organizations. Updox was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America for the past six consecutive years.
– Healthcare private equity firm Heritage Group launches a $300M fund to invest in high-growth healthcare services and technology companies.
– Heritage is backed by some of the leading healthcare organizations in the nation, including large provider systems, payers, and healthcare service providers.
Heritage Group, a Nashville, TN-based healthcare-focused private equity firm, today announced the closing of over $300 million in its oversubscribed third fund, an increase of nearly $100 million over its prior fund in 2016. Heritage will continue its successful strategy of investing in solution-oriented, high-growth healthcare services, and technology businesses that are addressing the industry’s most pressing challenges.
“We are very pleased with the market’s response to our offering, especially during such a challenging economic environment,” said Paul Wallace, partner at Heritage. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of our longtime investors, and we’re excited to welcome several new LPs. We’re fortunate to have a great team and a unique model, which combine to create value for all of our stakeholders.”
Investment Model & Approach
The firm was founded by Rock Morphis and David McClellan in 1986, Heritage seeks to make majority and minority investments, ranging from $20 to $40 million per portfolio company, in high-growth healthcare services and healthcare technology businesses that address the challenges of the U.S. healthcare system. Heritage engages deeply with its strategic investors, who provide unique value and insights through all stages of the deal process, including the identification, evaluation, and subsequent growth of its portfolio companies. The firm’s strategic investors operate over 550 hospitals, with 90,000 beds, and handle approximately 3M discharges annually.
Heritage’s strategic investors and partners represent
national leaders in the payer, provider, IT, and service sectors of healthcare.
This diversity is particularly valuable as these sectors begin to converge in
the shift towards value-based care. Limited Partners include Adventist Health
System (Florida); Amedisys (Louisiana); Cardinal Health (Ohio); Cerner Corp.
(Missouri); Community Health Systems (Tennessee); Health Care Service
Corporation (Illinois); Horizon Healthcare Services (New Jersey); Intermountain
Healthcare (Utah); LifePoint Health (Tennessee); Memorial Hermann Health System
(Texas); Sutter Health (California); Tenet Health (Texas); Trinity Health
(Michigan); and UnityPoint Health (Iowa).
“Heritage’s strategic engagement is outstanding and allows us to work together as true partners. We are able to lend our expertise and share the key pain points that we encounter as we strive to provide care in a value-based model, which requires new ways of reaching and treating consumers and patients,” said Scott Nordlund, chief strategy and growth officer at Banner Health. “Heritage has been instrumental in identifying innovative businesses that solve these concerns for our organization.”
Heritage has invested in some of the leading healthcare
services and technology companies, including Aviacode, AllyAlign Health, Medical Solutions,
Sharecare, Abode Healthcare, MDLIVE, Lumere, Reload, Spero Health, etc.
– NRC Health today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer
Trends Report, which surveyed 2 million healthcare consumers against the
backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
– The latest report highlights the major trends that came to light last year, and how they will continue to impact the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond – from declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of telehealth, a rise in wearable tech, and a broader focus on social media marketing.
– Hospital leaders will also find value in learning how
to recapture patient volumes lost in 2020 and how to bring more human
understanding into the care experience.
NRC Health, a provider of in-depth
customer intelligence in healthcare, today released its 2021 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report. For its
third-annual industry review, NRC Health surveyed millions of healthcare
consumers against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From
declining brand loyalty, increased care deferment, the fast adoption of
telehealth, a rise in wearable tech and a broader focus on social media
marketing, NRC Health’s latest report shines a light on consumers’ evolving
preferences and behaviors related to key healthcare trends and offers insight
into how provider organizations can recapture patient volumes in 2021.
COVID-19 Accelerated the Trajectory of Consumerism in
“It cannot be overstated just how dramatically COVID-19 has accelerated the trajectory of consumerism in healthcare,” said Helen Hrdy, Chief Growth Officer, NRC Health. “The onus falls on healthcare leaders to move the industry forward by ensuring patient safety, building consumer trust and bringing more human understanding into every care experience. Those organizations that are willing and able to evolve with the times will be best-positioned for success in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
“For years, consumers have made consistent appeals for autonomy, convenience, and freedom of choice,” said Hrdy. “As unsettling as it’s been, COVID-19 has brought some of these consumerist-driven measures to the forefront. While healthcare leaders have proven they can be nimble and adaptable, even in the face of crisis, consumers want a partnership with their providers and a care experience that exceeds their expectations moving forward. But only with the right data and the right understanding, can we ensure that healthcare is capable of adapting.”
4 Key Healthcare Consumerism Trends to Know in 2021
1. Consumers favor convenience, provider rapport over brand loyalty
Consumer loyalty is a major driver of health system
profitability, but unfortunately for hospitals and health systems, overall
brand preference among healthcare consumers continues to decline, from 31% in
2018 to 36% in 2020. More than a third of consumers expressed no particular
preference for a healthcare brand, when compared against independent
practitioners, and 62% anticipate their brand preferences to change after the
Ironically, providers themselves are in the best position to
earn back consumer trust. An analysis from NRC Health’s Real-time Feedback
database shows that consumers report an overwhelming fondness for their
providers, especially since the outbreak began. To capitalize on that goodwill
and bring patients back into the healthcare fold, all evidence points to
convenience. Almost half of consumers say a convenient location is the number
one factor in their healthcare decision-making.
2. Patient deferment rates will continue to rise
Prior to the pandemic, healthcare deferral rates were
approaching a five-year low. But with consumer anxiety at an all-time high due
to the pandemic, those rates rose significantly in 2020, up from 22.4% at the
end of March to 30.4% by the end of June. Forty percent of patients who delayed
care in 2020 cited the coronavirus as the reason, while 17.2% said they prefer
to manage their care on their own for now.
Delaying care can have a number of repercussions, from
threatening hospital revenue streams in the near term to causing far more
serious outcomes for consumers in the long term. Patients 75 and older
accounted for nearly 68% of all care delays, revealing a huge challenge for
health systems as they try to recruit this generation back into regular care.
3. Future of care delivery looks
uncertain after rapid telehealth adoption
Lagging in widespread adoption for years, the pandemic fast
tracked virtual care delivery from optional luxury to operational necessity.
Fortunately, consumers have been receptive to the shift, with an overwhelming
92% reporting positive telehealth experiences during this time. However, only
27% of consumers say they will consider telehealth as a potential alternative
for future visits, underscoring what is still an uncertain future for virtual
health and overall care delivery beyond the pandemic. Prioritizing provider
time and attentiveness, as well as financial transparency, will be key as
healthcare organizations work to cultivate effective telehealth practices long
4. Patients and providers still disconnected over digital
may have brought healthcare into consumers’ homes, but it is by no means the
only avenue to reach customers outside of the healthcare facility. By and
large, consumers are enthusiastic about digital innovations that bring them
closer to their provider — even as these innovations are underutilized by
tech, for example, has become a huge part of the average consumer’s daily
life in regards to how they manage their health and wellness from home. Yet
only 50% of providers are asking about wearable tech data during appointments,
despite the fact that 57% of consumers believe this data would be useful in
conversations with their healthcare providers.
Social media is another under-used digital venue for patient
interaction. Even though 72% of Americans have some kind of social media
profile, many health systems have not yet found an optimal strategy for
engagement. And while currently, only 23% of Internet users are actively
seeking health information on social media, that number is likely to soon rise
as 70% percent of consumers expressed interest in getting healthcare
information via social channels. Another 62% said they trust the health information
they get on social media, so long as it comes directly from their provider.
This was especially true during the worst of the pandemic, when consumers
trusted news from local healthcare organizations more than any other sources.
– NeuroFlow raises $20M to expand its technology-enabled behavioral
health integration platform, led by Magellan Health.
– NeuroFlow’s suite of HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based tools
simplify remote patient monitoring, enable risk stratification, and facilitate
collaborative care. With NeuroFlow, health care organizations can finally
bridge the gap between mental and physical health in order to improve outcomes
and reduce the cost of care.
NeuroFlow, a Philadelphia-based digital health startup supporting technology-enabled behavioral health integration (tBHI), announces today the initial closing of a $20M Series B financing round led by Magellan Health, in addition to a syndicate including previous investors. Magellan is a leader in managing the fastest growing, most complex areas of health, including behavioral health, complete pharmacy benefits and other specialty areas of healthcare.
NeuroFlow for Digital Behavioral Health Integration
NeuroFlow works with leading health plans, provider systems,
as well as the U.S. military and government to enhance virtual health programs
by delivering a comprehensive approach to whole-person care through digital
behavioral health integration – an evidence-based model to identify and treat
consumers with depression, anxiety and other behavioral health conditions
across all care settings.
Key features of the behavioral health platform include:
– Interoperability: Seamless EHR and system integrations minimize administrative burden and optimize current IT investments.
– Measurement-based Care & Clinical Decision Support: NeuroFlow enables MBC at scale, keeps the patient in the center of care, and continuously monitors for a consistent connection to critical data and clinical decision support.
– Performance Management & Reporting: Recognize
the impact of your BHI program, monitoring the impact of clinical interventions
on quality and cost of care while recognizing outliers requiring program
– Consumer Engagement & Self-Care: personalized
experience that encourages, rewards and recognizes continuous engagement and
Maximize Efficiency, Revenue and Reimbursements
By integrating behavioral health into the primary care setting, increasing screening and self-care plans – NeuroFlow’s BHI solution can reduce ED utilization by 23% and inpatient visits by 10%. 80% of NeuroFlow users self-reported a reduction in depression or anxiety symptoms and 62% of users with severe depression score improve to moderate or better.
Telehealth Adoption Underscores Need for Behavioral
With record growth in telehealth adoption and historic spikes in depression and anxiety due to the ongoing pandemic, workflow augmentation solutions and the delivery of effective behavioral health care have been identified as top priorities in the industry. NeuroFlow’s technology increases access to personalized, collaborative care while empowering primary care providers, care managers, and other specialists to most effectively support patient populations by accounting for and addressing behavioral health.
“Behavioral health is not independent of our overall health — it affects our physical health and vice versa, yet most underlying behavioral health conditions go unidentified or are ineffectively treated. Most healthcare providers are overburdened, so introducing the concept to account for a person’s mental health in addition to their primary specialty can be overwhelming and lead to inconsistent and inadequate treatment,” said NeuroFlow CEO Chris Molaro. “Technology, when used strategically, can enhance and augment providers, making the concept of holistic and value-based care feasible at scale and easy to implement.”
Strategic Partnership with Magellan
Magellan Health’s network of more than 118,000 credentialed
providers and health professionals are now poised to join NeuroFlow customers
across the country by leveraging the best-in-class integrated data and
analytics platform to meet the rising demand for enhanced mental health
services and support. By partnering with and investing in NeuroFlow, Magellan
has the opportunity to drive further adoption of NeuroFlow’s behavioral health
integration tools and drive collaborative care initiatives with its customers
as well as its vast network of credentialed providers and health professionals
across the country.
NeuroFlow will use the Series B proceeds to scale its
operations and support its growth in data analytics, artificial intelligence,
and direct health record integrations. NeuroFlow’s contracted user base has
grown 10x to over 330,000 in support of almost 200 commercial health systems,
payers, accountable care organizations, independent medical groups, and federal
agencies to provide technology-enabled care solutions.
A century ago, X-rays transformed medicine forever. For the first time, doctors could see inside the human body, without invasive surgeries. The technology was so revolutionary that in the last 100 years, radiology departments have become a staple of modern hospitals, routinely used across medical disciplines.
Today, new technology is once again radically reshaping medicine: artificial intelligence (AI). Like the X-ray before it, AI gives clinicians the ability to see the unseen and has transformative applications across medical disciplines. As its impact grows clear, it’s time for health systems to establish departments dedicated to clinical AI, much as they did for radiology 100 years ago.
Radiology, in fact, was one of the earliest use cases for AI in medicine today. Machine learning algorithms trained on medical images can learn to detect tumors and other malignancies that are, in many cases, too subtle for even a trained radiologist to perceive. That’s not to suggest that AI will replace radiologists, but rather that it can be a powerful tool for aiding them in the detection of potential illness — much like an X-ray or a CT scan.
AI’s potential is not limited to radiology, however. Depending on the data it is trained on, AI can predict a wide range of medical outcomes, from sepsis and heart failure to depression and opioid abuse. As more of patients’ medical data is stored in the EHR, and as these EHR systems become more interconnected across health systems, AI will only become more sensitive and accurate at predicting a patient’s risk of deteriorating.
However, AI is even more powerful as a predictive tool when it looks beyond the clinical data in the EHR. In fact, research suggests that clinical care factors contribute to only 16% of health outcomes. The other 84% are determined by socioeconomic factors, health behaviors, and the physical environment. To account for these external factors, clinical AI needs external data.
Fortunately, data on social determinants of health (SDOH) is widely available. Government agencies including the Census Bureau, EPA, HUD, DOT and USDA keep detailed data on relevant risk factors at the level of individual US Census tracts. For example, this data can show which patients may have difficulty accessing transportation to their appointments, which patients live in a food desert, or which patients are exposed to high levels of air pollution.
These external risk factors can be connected to individual patients using only their address. With a more comprehensive picture of patient risk, Clinical AI can make more accurate predictions of patient outcomes. In fact, a recent study found that a machine learning model could accurately predict inpatient and emergency department utilization using only SDOH data.
Doctors rarely have insight on these external forces. More often than not, physicians are with patients for under 15 minutes at a time, and patients may not realize their external circumstances are relevant to their health. But, like medical imaging, AI has the power to make the invisible visible for doctors, surfacing external risk factors they would otherwise miss.
But AI can do more than predict risk. With a complete view of patient risk factors, prescriptive AI tools can recommend interventions that address these risk factors, tapping the latest clinical research. This sets AI apart from traditional predictive analytics, which leaves clinicians with the burden of determining how to reduce a patient’s risk. Ultimately, the doctor is still responsible for setting the care plan, but AI can suggest actions they may not otherwise have considered.
By reducing the cognitive load on clinicians, AI can address another major problem in healthcare: burnout. Among professions, physicians have one of the highest suicide rates, and by 2025, the U.S. The Department of Health and Human Services predicts that there will be a shortage of nearly 90,000 physicians across the nation, driven by burnout. The problem is real, and the pandemic has only worsened its impact.
Implementing clinical AI can play an essential role in reducing burnout within hospitals. Studies show burnout is largely attributed to bureaucratic tasks and EHRs combined, and that physicians spend twice as much time on EHRs and desk work than with patients. Clinical AI can ease the burden of these administrative tasks so physicians can spend more time face-to-face with their patients.
For all its promise, it’s important to recognize that AI is as complex a tool as any radiological instrument. Healthcare organizations can’t just install the software and expect results. There are several implementation considerations that, if poorly executed, can doom AI’s success. This is where clinical AI departments can and should play a role.
The first area where clinical AI departments should focus on is the data. AI is only as good as the data that goes into it. Ultimately, the data used to train machine learning models should be relevant and representative of the patient population it serves. Failing to do so can limit AI’s accuracy and usefulness, or worse, introduce bias. Any bias in the training data, including pre-existing disparities in health outcomes, will be reflected in the output of the AI.
Every hospital’s use of clinical AI will be different, and hospitals will need to deeply consider their patient population and make sure that they have the resources to tailor vendor solutions accordingly. Without the right resources and organizational strategies, clinical AI adoption will come with the same frustration and disillusionment that has come to be associated with EHRs.
Misconceptions about AI are a common hurdle that can foster resistance and misuse. No matter what science fiction tells us, AI will never replace a clinician’s judgment. Rather, AI should be seen as a clinical decision support tool, much like radiology or laboratory tests. For a successful AI implementation, it’s important to have internal champions who can build trust and train staff on proper use. Clinical AI departments can play an outsized role in leading this cultural shift.
Finally, coordination is the bedrock of quality care, and AI is no exception. Clinical AI departments can foster collaboration across departments to action AI insights and treat the whole patient. Doing so can promote a shift from reactive to preventive care, mobilizing ambulatory, and community health resources to prevent avoidable hospitalizations.
With the promise of new vaccines, the end of the pandemic is in sight. Hospitals will soon face a historic opportunity to reshape their practices to recover from the pandemic’s financial devastation and deliver better care in the future. Clinical AI will be a powerful tool through this transition, helping hospitals to get ahead of avoidable utilization, streamline workflows, and improve the quality of care.
A century ago, few would have guessed that X-rays would be the basis for an essential department within hospitals. Today, AI is leading a new revolution in medicine, and hospitals would be remiss to be left behind.
About John Frownfelter, MD, FACP
John is an internist and physician executive in Health Information Technology and is currently leading Jvion’s clinical strategy as their Chief Medical Information Officer. With 20 years’ leadership experience he has a broad range of expertise in systems management, care transformation and health information systems. Dr. Frownfelter has held a number of medical and medical informatics leadership positions over nearly two decades, highlighted by his role as Chief Medical Information Officer for Inpatient services at Henry Ford Health System and Chief Medical Information Officer for UnityPoint Health where he led clinical IT strategy and launched the analytics programs.
Since 2015, Dr. Frownfelter has been bringing his expertise to healthcare through health IT advising to both industry and health systems. His work with Jvion has enhanced their clinical offering and their implementation effectiveness. Dr. Frownfelter has also held professorships at St. George’s University and Wayne State schools of medicine, and the University of Detroit Mercy Physician Assistant School. Dr. Frownfelter received his MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine.
– Shields Health Solutions and Excelera announce a major
specialty pharmacy merger that will form a combined company that consults with
700+ hospitals in 43 states, including Mass General Brigham, Yale New Haven,
Intermountain Healthcare and Henry Ford.
– The network of hospitals is designed to improve patient
care through an infrastructure that helps with things like acquiring prior
authorization for specialty drugs and staying adherent to them. It can also
lower costs for patients by negotiating lower rates from manufacturers with the
leverage of insights from 1 million+ patients in those hospitals.
Shields Health Solutions (Shields), the leading health
system specialty pharmacy integrator, has joined
forces with ExceleraRx
Corp. (Excelera), a healthcare company that empowers integrated delivery
networks, health systems, and academic medical centers to provide personalized,
integrated care for patients with complex and chronic conditions focused on
improving patient care.
Merger Reflects Growing Need for On-Site, Integrated
Serving 60+ health systems and academic medical centers, the
combined organization addresses 700+ hospitals that account for the opportunity
of $30B in specialty pharmacy revenue. The use of specialty medications to
treat complex patients – those with multiple, chronic illnesses or rare, hard
to treat diseases that require close monitoring and support – is increasing an
average of 17 percent per year, and health systems across the U.S. have been
building on-site, integrated specialty pharmacies to provide comprehensive,
streamlined care for this growing population to improve outcomes. Since 2015,
the prevalence of health system-owned specialty pharmacies in large hospitals has doubled, with nearly 90 percent of large
hospitals operating a specialty pharmacy in 2019.
“On-site, integrated specialty pharmacy is the future
of complex patient care and we look forward to combining forces with Excelera
to make our impact even greater. As we have shown, this model materially
improves clinical outcomes for patients and reduces total medical expenses for
covered patients,” said Lee Cooper, CEO, Shields. “Together, our
network of more than 60 of the country’s top health systems, representing
nearly 30% of non-profit healthcare systems based on net patient service revenues,
creates an unparalleled industry-first that will enable unprecedented best
practice sharing and ultimately lead to improved outcomes for complex
Benefits of On-Site, Integrated Specialty Pharmacies for
Shields and Excelera offer programs for health systems to
build, operationalize and optimize integrated specialty pharmacies, as well as
help manufacturers and payors access critical patient and drug performance
insights. With a more personalized, high-touch approach to patient care,
Shields and Excelera have found that hospital-owned specialty pharmacies
dramatically simplify medication and care management for patients and can:
– Reduce medication co-payments from hundreds, sometimes
thousands of dollars, to an average co-pay of $10
– Streamline time-to-therapy, typically from several weeks
to an average of two days
– Decrease physician administrative paperwork by thousands
– Improve medication adherence rates to over 90 percent, on
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
– Central Logic acquires Acuity Link to power the company’s
Intelligent Transport capabilities, speeding time to care in the best setting.
– In addition, the company rolls out a new interoperable Bed Visibility capability that offers a real-time snapshot into available beds across the enterprise for improved access and enhanced revenue capture.
Logic, a St. Paul, MN-based healthcare access and orchestration company,
has acquired Acuity Link, a leading
provider of transportation communications and logistics management software.
Acuity Link’s technology powers Central Logic’s new Intelligent Transport capability, which was announced
today along with the company’s real-time Bed Visibility platform.
The addition of Intelligent Transport and Bed Visibility to
Central Logic’s industry-leading platform solidifies the company’s leadership
in healthcare access and orchestration, by providing best-in-class technology
tools focused on elevating health system operations that support greater
clinician effectiveness, better outcomes and increased revenue capture.
“This strategic acquisition—which follows our recent acquisition of Ensocare—further demonstrates that Central Logic delivers the most comprehensive access and orchestration solution and services in the industry, with a focus on enabling health systems to ‘operate as one’ by providing innovative technologies that bring disparate processes, information and locations together,” said Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic.
Acquisition Automates the Transport Request and Tracking Process
Transportation coordination related to patient transfers and
other transitions of care is still a highly manual, inefficient process at many
health systems. Health system access center agents, who manage patient
transfers, discharges and other transitions of care, often need to call multiple
transportation companies and must record key milestones manually.
Central Logic recognized this challenge facing its health
system clients and sought to address it by forming a strategic relationship
with Acuity Link in 2019 to co-develop the Intelligent Transport coordination
and communication tool.
“The acquisition of Acuity Link advances our focus on holistically addressing our clients’ strategic business goals around revenue capture, care delivery, and the infrastructure required to excel in both value-based care and fee-for-service environments,” Franks said. “This is one more validation of our commitment to meeting the full access and orchestration vision of the health systems with whom we partner.”
Intelligent Transport is a vendor-agnostic solution that
automatically considers all types of patient transportation modes, acuity
levels, healthcare settings and even the health system’s contracting
obligations. Intelligent Transport’s proprietary algorithms suggest the most
efficient, clinically appropriate and cost-effective means of transport—from
aircraft to ride-share—and arranges transportation in just seconds. In many
cases, patients are delivered to the care setting 75% faster than through
This faster end-to-end transport process decreases bed cycle
times and expedites bed availability with timely transport to, from and between
sites of care. Intelligent Transport’s algorithms ensure contract compliance,
with access center agents easily able to adhere to the health system’s policies
around vendor rights and obligations.
Intelligent Transport also offers real-time geo-tracking of
transport status so access centers always know where the patient is in their
journey and can work proactively with all pertinent information at their
Bed Visibility Offers Real-Time, Enterprise-Wide
Central Logic’s new Bed Visibility capability addresses
another critical component of successful patient transfers and transitions of
care: The ability to know quickly and easily where the right type of bed,
specialist care and other important resources are available within the health
system, so patients can receive the level of care they need more quickly.
Central Logic’s Bed Visibility solution retrieves
information seamlessly within the platform and displays all necessary data
points—including average wait times, emergency department pre-admits, and
availability by service line and facility—in a single, easy-to-understand view.
Without Bed Visibility, the health system’s EHR or bed
management tools require agents in access centers to open various applications
and click through multiple screens to view the information—wasting precious
time that can affect clinical outcomes. Further, the inefficiency and waiting
that often occur can be frustrating, and the failure to quickly identify an
appropriate bed is a leading cause of patient leakage to competitors.
With automated, real-time visibility into that information
via Bed Visibility, a hospital’s access center can increase satisfaction—and
future referrals—from referring providers, while also decreasing leakage and
“Bed Visibility, when supported by our full platform, can help health systems realize an improved patient census, especially within their specialty centers such as those focused on heart and vascular, neurology or orthopedics,” Franks said. “Every patient that is successfully referred, transferred and admitted brings an average of nearly $11,000 in revenue to the health system, which could result in millions of dollars annually to the bottom line with just 100 additional transfers per month, for a total of 1200 per year.”
– Net Health acquires post-acute market analytics platform PointRight to deepen the company’s analytics capabilities, post-acute presence, and support for SNF networks.
Health, a provider of cloud-based software for specialty medical providers
across the continuum of care, today announced that it has acquired PointRight Inc., a leading provider of
analytics and data-driven tools for the post-acute market. The acquisition adds
to Net Health’s expanding investments in analytics capabilities, which include
the recent acquisition of Tissue Analytics in April 2020 and the earlier
acquisition of Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO).
Unlock the Power of Advanced Analytics for Post-Acute
Founded in 1995, PointRight provides analytics that shows a 360⁰ view of long-term and post-acute (LTPAC) facility performance and clinical outcomes. Equipped with these insights, LTPAC Provider and Payers can lower rehospitalization rates, improve clinical outcomes, and build and manage high-performing networks. Today, close to 2,400 SNFs use PointRight’s advanced analytics and data-driven decision support tools to further their clinical, financial, and operational objectives.
SNFs use PointRight to improve the accuracy of their reimbursement and regulatory submissions and to enhance overall performance in readmissions, quality, and outcomes, including more accurate and compliant patient assessments, reduced rehospitalization rates, and optimized care transitions.
More recently, health systems, ACOs, payers, and real estate investment trusts (REIT) have relied on PointRight to provide insight into the health of their SNF networks and to identify areas for improvement.
Acquisition Expands Net Health’s
Market Share in Growing Post-Acute Market
acquisition of PointRight expands Net Health’s position and scale in the
growing post-acute market. Additionally, the acquisition will enable Net
Health’s broad roster of hospital clients to better manage their skilled
nursing facility (SNF) networks and support outcomes measurement and performance
improvement in Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid programs. As part of the
acquisition, Net Health
plans to fully integrate PointRight staff to accelerate the delivery of new
analytics solutions and expand the availability of PointRight to Net Health’s
customers and markets.
“Through PointRight, Net Health will significantly expand how we support SNFs and their health system, accountable care organization (ACO), payer and REIT partners,” said Josh Pickus, Net Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “It also strengthens our growing analytics capabilities by providing insights into post-acute performance, which enables providers and payers to align around value-based care initiatives.”
Financial details of the acquisition
were not disclosed.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems have pushed forward with innovative technology solutions with great expediency and proficiency. Healthcare organizations were quick to launch telehealth solutions and advance digital health to maintain critical patient relationships and ensure continuity of care. Behind the scenes, hospitals and health systems have been equally adept at advancing technology solutions to support and enhance clinical care delivery. This includes adopting clinical surveillance systems to better predict and prevent an escalation of the coronavirus.
Clinical surveillance systems use real-time and historical patient data to identify emerging clinical patterns, allowing clinicians to intervene in a timely, effective manner. Over time, these clinical surveillance systems have evolved to help healthcare organizations meet their data analytic, surveillance, and regulatory compliance needs. The adaptability of these systems is evidenced by their expanded use during the pandemic. Healthcare organizations quickly pivoted to incorporate COVID-19 updates into their clinical surveillance activities, providing a centralized, global view of COVID-19 cases.
To gain insight into the COVID-19 crisis, critical data points include patient age, where the disease was likely contracted, whether the patient was tested, and how long the patient was in the ICU, among other things. Surveillance is also able to factor in whether patients have pre-existing conditions or problems with blood clotting, for example. This data trail is helping providers create a constantly evolving coronavirus profile and provides key data points for healthcare providers to share with state and local governments and public health agencies. In the clinical setting, the data are being used to better predict respiratory and organ failure associated with the virus, as well as flag COVID-19 patients at risk for developing sepsis.
What’s driving these advancements? Clinical surveillance systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI). By refining the use of AI for clinical surveillance, we can proactively identify an expanding range of acute and chronic health conditions with greater speed and accuracy. This has tremendous implications in the clinical setting beyond the current pandemic. AI-powered clinical surveillance can save lives and reduce costs for conditions that have previously proven resistant to prevention.
Eliminating healthcare-associated infections
Despite ongoing prevention efforts, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continue to plague the US healthcare system, costing up to $45 billion a year.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 31 hospitalized patients will have at least one HAI on any given day. AI can analyze millions of data points to predict patients at-risk for HAIs, enabling clinicians to respond more quickly to treat patients before their infection progresses, as well as prevent spread among hospitalized patients.
Building trust in AI
While the benefits are clear, challenges remain to the widespread adoption and use of AI in the clinical setting. Key among them is a lack of trust among clinicians and patients around the efficacy of AI. Many clinicians remain concerned over the validity of the data, as well as uncertainty over the impact of the use of AI on their workflow. Patients, in turn, express concerns over AI’s ability to address their unique needs, while also maintaining patient privacy. Hospitals and health systems must build trust among clinicians and patients around the use of AI by demonstrating its ability to enhance outcomes, as well as the patient experience.
3 keys to building trust in AI
Building trust among clinicians and patients can be achieved through transparency, expanding data access, and fostering focused collaboration.
1. Support transparency
Transparency is essential to the successful adoption of AI in the clinical setting. In healthcare, just giving clinicians a black box that spits out answers isn’t helpful. Clinicians need “explainability,” a visual picture of how and why the AI-enabled tool reached its prediction, as well as evidence that the AI solution is effective. AI surveillance solutions are intended to support clinical decision making, not serve as a replacement.
2. Expand data access
Volume and variety of data are central to AI’s predictive power. The ability to optimize emerging tools depends on comprehensive data access throughout the healthcare ecosystem, no small task as large amounts of essential data remain siloed, unstructured, and proprietary.
3. Foster focused collaboration
Clinicians and data scientists must collaborate in developing AI tools. In isolation, data scientists don’t have the context for interpreting variables they should be considering or excluding in a solution. Conversely, doctors working alone may bias AI by telling it what patterns to look for. The whole point of AI is how great it is at finding patterns we may not even consider. While subject matter expertise should not bias algorithms,
it is critical in structuring the inputs, evaluating the outputs, and effectively incorporating those outputs in clinical workflows. More open collaboration will enable clinicians to make better diagnostic and treatment decisions by leveraging AI’s ability to comb through millions of data points, find patterns, and surface critically relevant information.
AI-enabled clinical surveillance has the potential to deliver next-generation decision-support tools that combine the powerful technology, the prevention focus of public health, and the diagnosis and treatment expertise of clinicians. Surveillance is poised to assume a major role in attaining the quality and cost outcomes our industry has long sought.
John Langton is director of applied data science at Wolters Kluwer, Health, where artificial intelligence is being used to fundamentally change approaches to healthcare. @wkhealth
HIT Consultant sat down with Mike McSherry, CEO, and co-founder of Seattle-based digital prescription platform Xealth to discuss digital health lessons learned in 2020 and what we can expect in 2021. As Xealth’s CEO, Mike also works with Duke Health, UPMC, Atrium Health, and The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network where he uses his background in digital health to connect patients and care teams outside of traditional care settings.
HITC: In 2021, How can digital health reduce race and minority disparities in healthcare?
McSherry: The U.S. has struggled with health disparities, which this pandemic has widened. Many of these disparities can be linked to access, which digital health can assist with – telehealth makes care virtual from any location, clinical decision support can reduce human errors, remote patient monitoring helps keep patients home while linked to care.
Digital health removes hurdles related to transportation, taking time off work, or finding childcare in order to travel in-person for an appointment. It brings care to the patient instead of the other way around, making access simpler. Care through these pathways is also more cost-efficient.
There are still hurdles to overcome. Broadband is widespread but not everywhere and inclusive design of these tools should be considered. How digital tools, including wearables, are built should address differences in gender and ethnicity, especially as these tools are used more frequently in clinical trials, so as not to inadvertently perpetuate disparities.
HITC: Why some hospitals are offering digital health tools to staff but not patients?
McSherry: There are a few factors at play when hospitals offer digital health tools to staff but not patients. One, most health systems are not currently deploying system-wide digital health initiatives, leaving the decisions to individual departments or providers. This can lead to inconsistent patient experiences and more data siloes as solutions are brought in as one-offs.
The second issue is reimbursement. A hospital acting as an employer offering digital health tools as part of its benefits package is different than a patient, who must rely on their health insurance, whether it is a public or private plan. The fact healthcare organizations see digital health tools as a perk shows their value. Now, it is time for CMS and commercial payers to consistently enable their use to help providers care for patients and incorporate digital health as clinicians see fit.
HITC: How hospitals can remain competitive in 2021, especially after tighter margins from COVID-19?
McSherry: Large tech companies, like Google and Amazon, and huge retailers, including Walmart and Best Buy, are looking to deliver the promise of health care that has so far eluded the industry. Venture capital money has been pouring in for funding innovation, with digital health funding hitting a new high in 2020.
These initiatives are all racing to control health care’s front door and if hospitals don’t innovate as well, they run a very real risk of having patients turn elsewhere for care. Payers are also building digital front doors and telling members to go there. People have long expressed their desire to have the same consumer experience in health care that they receive in other industries. The technology is there. It needs to be incorporated with the correct care pathways.
One silver lining during the COVID-19 pandemic is that it showed fast-moving innovation can happen in health care. We worked with hospitals to stand up workflows around telehealth in four days and remote patient monitoring in seven days – an amazing pace. The key is to keep this stride going once we are on the other side of this crisis.
Providers are becoming more digitally savvy to engage patients and deliver holistic care. Hospitals should support this.
HITC: What will be Biden’s impact on COVID-19, how hospital leaders should respond, and what it means that we have a divided congress?
McSherry: Under the current administration, telehealth rules have been relaxed, at least temporarily, along with cross-state licensure so providers are better able to build a front door strategy, helping organizations roll out remote patient monitoring and chronic care management apps. Biden has been a proponent of digitalization in health care and will have a broader engagement. This could lead toward more funding and more covered lives.
A divided Congress will not make much easy for the Biden administration, however, getting on the other side of this pandemic as quickly and as safely as possible is best for everyone. Biden has shown he will make fighting COVID-19 a top priority.
HITC: Will remote patient monitoring become financially viable for hospital leaders in 2021?
McSherry: Why does a diabetic patient need to have every check-in be in-person or a healthy, pregnancy met every few weeks with an in-person visit as opposed to remote monitoring for key values and a telehealth check-in in place of a couple of those visits? Moving forward, hospitals will see the benefit of remote monitoring in terms of lower overhead, along with better patient engagement, outcomes and retention.
To make this work, providers must share risk, and determine digital strategies around attracting patients and then manage them in a capitated way with more digital tools because of the cost efficiencies.
HITC: How do we foster tighter physician-patient relationships?
McSherry: Patients trust their doctors, period. The struggle is going to be more obvious as more people do not have a PCP and turn to health care with a bandage approach to take care of an immediate concern. That will lead to entire populations without that trusted bond who are sicker when they finally do seek care, due to the lack of continuity and engagement early on.
By connecting with people now, where they are comfortable, there is a tighter physician-patient relationship by making it more accessible and reciprocal.
– TigerConnect has announced an expansion in their suite
through the acquisition of Critical Alert, a leading provider of
enterprise-grade middleware for hospitals and health systems.
– For the hundreds of thousands of nurses that currently
use TigerConnect, these new capabilities will deliver real-time, contextual
information to their mobile device or desktop to allow them to work smarter,
prioritize responses, and efficiently coordinate care, all within the same
reliable TigerConnect platform they use every day for enterprise messaging.
a care team collaboration solution, today announced the acquisition
of Critical Alert, a Jacksonville,
FL-based leading provider of enterprise-grade middleware for hospitals and
health systems. Critical Alert’s product suite consists of a middleware suite
of products as well as traditional nurse call hardware servicing over 200
hospitals in North America. Financial details of the acquisition were not
Real-Time Care Team Collaboration for Hospitals
Founded in 1983, Cloud-native and mobile-first, Critical
Alert’s middleware solution enables any health system to combine nurse call,
alarm and event management, medical device interoperability, and clinical
workflow analytics. TigerConnect will integrate Critical
Alert’s middleware stack into its platform to power a wide range of alert types
and alarm management enhancements for TigerConnect’s customers. Critical
Alert’s Nurse Call hardware business will continue to operate under its
namesake as a standalone business unit.
When combined with Critical Alert’s middleware, TigerConnect dramatically
enhances the value proposition to nursing, IT leadership, and end-users. This ‘dream
suite’ of capabilities comes at a time when nurse burnout is at a record high
and chronic nurse shortages are severely challenging organizations’ ability to
deliver the best quality care.
“We see the Critical Alert acquisition as highly strategic and
a natural evolution of our already-robust collaboration
platform,” said Brad Brooks, CEO and co-founder of TigerConnect. “For the
hundreds of thousands of nurses that currently use TigerConnect, these new
capabilities will deliver real-time, contextual information to their mobile
device or desktop to allow them to work smarter, prioritize responses, and
efficiently coordinate care, all within the same reliable TigerConnect platform
they use every day for enterprise messaging.”
Joining TigerConnect is Critical Alert CEO John
Elms, who will assume the role as TigerConnect Chief Product Officer,
guiding the integration of the two companies’ technologies and leading the
development of all future product offerings. Wil Lukens, currently VP of Sales
for Critical Alert, will assume the role of General Manager of Critical Alert’s
traditional Nurse Call hardware unit.
“The timing of the deal and the fit of these two companies aligned perfectly,” said John Elms, CEO of Critical Alert. “Two best-in-class, highly complementary solutions coming together to solve some of the chronic challenges—alarm fatigue, response prioritization, resource optimization—that have driven nurse teams to the brink. Together, these unified technologies will make care professionals’ lives easier, not harder, and I couldn’t be more excited to lead the TigerConnect product organization into this next chapter.”
Critical Alert Integration with TigerConnect Plans
TigerConnect’s robust product suite, which includes care
team collaboration (TigerFlow®), on-call scheduling (TigerSchedule®), virtual
care/telemedicine (TigerTouch®), and now virtualized nurse call and
alerts/alarm management (Critical Alert middleware), will help transform
hospitals and healthcare organizations into the real-time health systems of the
Hardware-free Middleware Forms the Foundation
With a shared cloud-native approach, Critical Alert’s
advanced middleware seamlessly fuses TigerConnect’s care team
collaboration with alarm management and event notifications. Deep
enterprise-level integrations with hospital systems enable the centralization
of clinical workflow management and real-time analytics. Integrating these
systems will have a sizable impact on customer organizations’ productivity and
Next Generation Nurse Call
Critical Alert’s nurse call solution brings a modern, badly
needed upgrade to legacy systems, extending both their life and feature-set. A
single mobile- or desktop-enabled user-interface brings vital contextual
information about requests while allowing for centralized answering of nurse
call alerts and management of workflows and assignments. These streamlined
workflows reduce noise and clinical interruptions while improving
Physiological Monitoring – Less Noise, More Signal
The FDA-cleared offering intelligently routes context-rich
alarm notifications from clinical systems to TigerFlow+. An easy-to-use
workflow builder ensures alerts are prioritized accordingly and are routed to
the appropriate caregiver, suppressing unnecessary noise. The filtering,
mobilization, and escalation of alerts pairs with TigerConnect Teams,
allowing for prompt responses in critical situations.
Smart Bed Alarms for Enhanced Patient Safety
Integrations with popular smart bed systems provide remote
monitoring of bed status details, informing nurses whether they should walk or
run to a patient’s room. Staff can review and adjust bed compliance settings
from their mobile device and receive fall prevention notifications if safe-bed
configuration is compromised.
Real-time Location System (RTLS) Measures What Matters
The integration of RTLS with a deployed nurse call
application greatly enhances the data available to clinical leadership. The
combined TigerConnect/Critical Alert offering enables real-time tracking
of staff location (presence) and time spent on tasks, providing deeper insights
into resource planning, workflow effectiveness and ongoing process improvement
Advanced Analytics for Deeper Workflow Insights
A better understanding of patient behavior and workflows
helps reveal areas for optimization that can lead to improved patient care and
staff efficacy. The new combined platform capabilities centralize the
collection and tracking of patient event data and nurse task efficiency,
turning insights into action. Advanced analytics also allow for identifying,
documenting, and benchmarking responsiveness, compliance, resource allocation,
and patient throughput across the health system.
This new integrated functionality is expected to be
available to TigerConnect customers in Q1 of 2021.
But can the EMR alone support all the informatics capabilities required by an ever-evolving healthcare industry? The rapid growth of precision medicine, particularly the use of genetic and genomic information during clinical decision making, is a compelling example that functionality beyond the EMR is required. Not only does genomic data represent a category of information used differently than traditional clinical knowledge, but the volume of data generated through molecular testing alone also requires informatics and management of a higher magnitude than previously required.
The EMR is designed to reflect a snapshot (or collection of snapshots) in time: clinical summaries, annotated lab and test results, operation notes, etc. These are mostly stored as isolated documents, loosely coupled with the rest of the patient chart. They need to remain available for reference over time, in some instances, so providers can chart and contextualize ongoing trends and chronic conditions. However, these views are anchored in time and represent limited actionable value during clinical decision-making months, years, and decades later.
Genomic information, on the other hand, represents a patient’s life signature. DNA rarely changes over the course of an individual’s lifetime. This means the results from germline testing – a patient’s molecular profile – conducted early in life are relevant, meaningful, and actionable during clinical decision making far into the future. They can also deliver insights exposing heritable proclivities that may be life-changing or life-saving for family members as well.
This recognition in and of itself alerts healthcare leaders that they need to adopt an advanced, more sophisticated strategy for data governance, management, and sharing than the approach traditionally applied to other clinical information systems, such as EMRs.
To be successful, healthcare organizations need an accelerator external to the EMR that is built on a data model unique to the management of molecular knowledge so test results and genomic insights can be used and shared across clinical specialties and care settings, as well as overtime. In addition, the rise of precision medicine requires an agile informatics platform that enables the cross-pollination of genomic data with clinical insights and ever-advancing discoveries in genomic science.
Consider these examples of how EMRs fall short of expectations for optimal use of genomic intelligence:
1. Studies have found that, despite ubiquitous availability of molecular tests, providers consistently fail to identify patients most at risk for heritable diseases. The Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) recently released research showing that half the women meeting national guidelines for genetic screening are not getting the tests they need to determine their breast and ovarian cancer risk.
The reason? “The full story of a patient’s risk for heritable cancer within their record often does not exist in a single location,” says the JAMIA article. “It is fragmented across entries created by many authors, over many years, in many locations and formats, and commonly from many different institutions in which women have received care over their lifetimes.” In other words, no matter which EMRs they use, health systems routinely miss opportunities to improve care for patients they see. To achieve greater success, providers need tools that exceed EMR functionality and span multiple clinical systems.
2. Shortly after birth, Alexander develops a seizure disorder. The neonatologist orders a germline test to help her arrive at a precise diagnosis and begin targeted treatment. This approach is successful and Alexander thrives. In addition to genomic variants identifying the cause of his seizure disorder, the test results also contain information about other heritable risk factors, including cardiovascular disease.
Decades later, in the 70s, Alexander sees his primary care provider (PCP) with a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. After doing routine lab work, the PCP diagnoses congestive heart failure (CHF). If, however, the PCP had access to Alexander’s genomic test results – which remain as relevant and accurate as when he was an infant – the PCP would have noted a variation that indicated the CHF was due to dilated cardiomyopathy, requiring a different treatment regime.
It is vital that health leaders immediately begin to plan an informatics strategy that accommodates genetic and genomic data while empowering providers to leverage these insights at the point of care as they make routine, yet critical, clinical decisions. As they evaluate their approach, they would do well to ask the following questions:
– Which providers in my organization are already ordering genomic tests on their patients? How are test results being stored and managed – and can they be easily shared with and accessed by others in the health system?
– As the volume of genetic and genomic testing accelerates – and it will – how will we manage the volume of data generated? How will we apply consistent governance to the ordering process? How can we ensure results will be consumed as discrete data so our organization can optimize its value now and in the future?
– What steps do we need to take so our precision medicine strategy remains current with changing science? Which informatics tools deliver access to up-to-date knowledge bases and clinical guidelines to ensure optimal medical decisions are made?
The advent of precision medicine represents a new standard of care for healthcare providers from coast to coast. Genetic and genomic information supplies a new data set that can be used to arrive at more accurate diagnoses sooner and more effective treatment faster. This, in turn, supports better outcomes, higher patient (and provider) satisfaction, and competitive differentiation for the health system adopting precision medicine first in its market.
But to capture this value, healthcare leaders must look beyond their legacy EMRs, recognizing that they were not developed nor do they have the capacity to properly handle the upcoming data revolution. Instead, industry innovators are looking for platforms agnostic to individual EMRs and integrated with molecular labs to address the next-generation demands of precision medicine.
About Assaf Halevy
Assaf Halevy is the founder and CEO of 2bPrecise, LLC, leading an international team dedicated to bridging the final mile between the science of genomics and making that data useful at the point of care. He joined Allscripts as senior vice president of products and business development in 2013 when the company acquired Israel-based dbMotion. An initial inventor and co-founder of dbMotion, Halevy helped develop the leading clinical integration and population health management platforms in the industry today.
With 13 patents pending in the areas of actionable clinical integration, interoperability, and precision medicine, Halevy leverages his industry expertise by evaluating strategic alliances and partnerships for U.S. and international markets. Halevy was invited to participate in several U.S. government activities and contribute to an HHS privacy committee task force. In 2016, he was part of a small selective group of executives invited to the White House by Vice President Joe Biden to discuss the future of interoperability.
– Conversa Health’s COVID-19 programs now include patient monitoring pre- and post-vaccination, education on vaccines, and appointment reminders.
– Healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado are
receiving 24/7 monitoring of vital signs two days before and seven days after
receiving their vaccinations courtesy of Conversa Health.
Conversa Health, a Portland, OR-based automated virtual care and triage platform, has expanded its suite of COVID-19 programs with tools to help the vaccine effort. As part of its expansion, Conversa has partnered with BioIntelliSense to monitor healthcare workers at UCHealth in Colorado before and after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. UCHealth physicians, nurses, and other front-line staff members wear BioIntelliSense’s BioButton medical device two days before and seven days after vaccination. The BioButton continuously monitors temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest. Conversa collects information from the BioButton and integrates the vital signs data with insights from a daily interactive vaccination health survey developed by Conversa.
“Automated vaccine monitoring for our frontline healthcare workers is an important step toward scaling the program for the larger population, particularly vulnerable patient populations and seniors in long-term care environments,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth chief innovation officer and professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We are working closely with partners like Conversa and BioIntelliSense to navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape and transform the way patients receive care.”
Vaccine education, tracking and screening
Conversa also is assisting health systems across the country
with the challenge of vaccinating millions of patients. This effort begins with
educating patients on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Patients want to
know when they will be eligible to receive vaccines and what their experience
will be like, including potential side effects. And patients need an easy way
to set up vaccine appointments and get reminders to follow through on their
visits. Health systems also want to monitor potential side effects, both to
ensure patients get needed follow-up care and to report any side effects to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“With millions of people needing to be vaccinated, we cannot have a manual, paper process to track who received a vaccine and who experienced side effects,” said Dr. Nick Patel, chief digital officer at Prisma Health, an 18-hospital system serving South Carolina. “We have to automate this process to track information accurately and at scale. With Conversa, we will be able to do that for the 1.2 million patients that Prisma Health serves annually. Digital tracking also allows us to provide vaccinated individuals with a digital badge for entering an airplane, a public building or an entertainment venue. That will be a key to allowing life to return to something close to pre-COVID normal.”
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.
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.
Anish Sebastian, CEO of Babyscripts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The combination of Teladoc Health and Livongo creates a
global leader in consumer-centered virtual care. The combined company is
positioned to execute quantified opportunities to drive revenue synergies of
$100 million by the end of the second year following the close, reaching $500
million on a run-rate basis by 2025.
Price: $18.5B in value based on each share of Livongo
will be exchanged for 0.5920x shares of Teladoc Health plus cash consideration
of $11.33 for each Livongo share.
Siemens Healthineers Acquires Varian Medical
On August 2nd, Siemens Healthineers acquired
Varian Medical for $16.4B, with the deal expected to close in 2021. Varian is a
global specialist in the field of cancer care, providing solutions especially
in radiation oncology and related software, including technologies such as
artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis. In fiscal year 2019,
the company generated $3.2 billion in revenues with an adjusted operating
margin of about 17%. The company currently has about 10,000 employees
Price: $16.4 billion in an all-cash transaction.
Gainwell to Acquire HMS for $3.4B in Cash
Veritas Capital (“Veritas”)-backed Gainwell Technologies (“Gainwell”),
a leading provider of solutions that are vital to the administration and
operations of health and human services programs, today announced that they
have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Gainwell will acquire HMS, a technology, analytics and engagement
solutions provider helping organizations reduce costs and improve health
Price: $3.4 billion in cash.
Philips Acquires Remote Cardiac Monitoring BioTelemetry for $2.8B
Philips acquires BioTelemetry, a U.S. provider of remote
cardiac diagnostics and monitoring for $72.00 per share for an implied
enterprise value of $2.8 billion (approx. EUR 2.3 billion). With $439M in
revenue in 2019, BioTelemetry annually monitors over 1 million cardiac patients
remotely; its portfolio includes wearable heart monitors, AI-based data
analytics, and services.
Price: $2.8B ($72 per share), to be paid in cash upon
Hims & Hers Merges with Oaktree Acquisition Corp to Go Public on NYSE
Telehealth company Hims & Hers and Oaktree Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merge to go public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “HIMS.” The merger will enable further investment in growth and new product categories that will accelerate Hims & Hers’ plan to become the digital front door to the healthcare system
Price: The business combination values the combined
company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.6 billion and is expected to
deliver up to $280 million of cash to the combined company through the
contribution of up to $205 million of cash.
SPAC Merges with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public
Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal
Blank check acquisition company GigCapital2 agreed to merge with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical interpretation solutions provider, and UpHealth Holdings, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company.
Price: The merger deal is worth $1.35 billion, including
WellSky Acquires CarePort Health from Allscripts for
Price: $1.35 billion represents a multiple of greater
than 13 times CarePort’s revenue over the trailing 12 months, and approximately
21 times CarePort’s non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA over the trailing 12 months.
Waystar Acquires Medicare RCM Company eSolutions
On September 13th, revenue cycle management
provider Waystar acquires eSolutions, a provider of Medicare and Multi-Payer revenue
cycle management, workflow automation, and data analytics tools. The
acquisition creates the first unified healthcare payments platform with both
commercial and government payer connectivity, resulting in greater value for
Radiology Partners (RP), a radiology practice in the U.S., announced a definitive agreement to acquire MEDNAX Radiology Solutions, a division of MEDNAX, Inc. for an enterprise value of approximately $885 million. The acquisition is expected to add more than 800 radiologists to RP’s existing practice of 1,600 radiologists. MEDNAX Radiology Solutions consists of more than 300 onsite radiologists, who primarily serve patients in Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas, and more than 500 teleradiologists, who serve patients in all 50 states.
PointClickCare Acquires Collective Medical
PointClickCare Technologies, a leader in senior care technology with a network of more than 21,000 skilled nursing facilities, senior living communities, and home health agencies, today announced its intent to acquireCollective Medical, a Salt Lake City, a UT-based leading network-enabled platform for real-time cross-continuum care coordination for $650M. Together, PointClickCare and Collective Medical will provide diverse care teams across the continuum of acute, ambulatory, and post-acute care with point-of-care access to deep, real-time patient insights at any stage of a patient’s healthcare journey, enabling better decision making and improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost.
Teladoc Health Acquires Virtual Care Platform InTouch
Teladoc Health acquires InTouch Health, the leading provider of enterprise telehealth solutions for hospitals and health systems for $600M. The acquisition establishes Teladoc Health as the only virtual care provider covering the full range of acuity – from critical to chronic to everyday care – through a single solution across all sites of care including home, pharmacy, retail, physician office, ambulance, and more.
Price: $600M consisting of approximately $150 million
in cash and $450 million of Teladoc Health common stock.
AMN Healthcare Acquires VRI Provider Stratus Video
AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. acquires Stratus Video, a leading provider of video remote language interpretation services for the healthcare industry. The acquisition will help AMN Healthcare expand in the virtual workforce, patient care arena, and quality medical interpretation services delivered through a secure communications platform.
CarepathRx Acquires Pharmacy Operations of Chartwell from
CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M
landmark agreement, CarepathRx will acquire the
management services organization responsible for the operational and strategic
management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx.
Cerner to Acquire Health Division of Kantar for $375M in
Cerner announces it will acquire Kantar Health, a leading
data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy
serving the life science and health care industry.
This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning
Health Network client consortium and health systems with more opportunities to
directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies. The acquisition
is expected to close during the first half of 2021.
Cerner Sells Off Parts of Healthcare IT Business in
Germany and Spain
Cerner sells off parts of healthcare IT business in Germany and Spain to Germany company CompuGroup Medical, reflecting the company-wide transformation focused on improved operating efficiencies, enhanced client focus, a refined growth strategy, and a sharpened approach to portfolio management.
Price: EUR 225 million ($247.5M USD)
CompuGroup Medical Acquires eMDs for $240M
CompuGroup Medical (CGM) acquires eMDs, Inc. (eMDs), a
leading provider of healthcare IT with a focus on doctors’ practices in the US,
reaching an attractive size in the biggest healthcare market worldwide. With
this acquisition, the US subsidiary of CGM significantly broadens its position
and will become the top 4 providers in the market for Ambulatory Information
Systems in the US.
Price: $240M (equal to approx. EUR 203 million)
Change Healthcare Buys Back Pharmacy Network
back pharmacy unit eRx Network
(“eRx”), a leading provider of comprehensive, innovative, and secure
data-driven solutions for pharmacies. eRx generated approximately $67M in
annual revenue for the twelve-month period ended February 29, 2020. The
transaction supports Change Healthcare’s commitment to focus on and invest in
core aspects of the business to fuel long-term growth and advance innovation.
Walmart acquires CareZone, a San Francisco, CA-based smartphone
service for managing chronic health conditions for reportedly $200M. By
working with a network of pharmacy partners, CareZone’s concierge services
assist consumers in getting their prescription medications organized and
delivered to their doorstep, making pharmacies more accessible to individuals
and families who may be homebound or reside in rural locations.
Verisk, a data
analytics provider, announced today that it has acquiredFranco Signor, a Medicare Secondary Payer
(MSP) service provider to America’s largest insurance carriers and employers.
As part of the acquisition, Franco Signor will become part of Verisk’s Claims
Partners business, a leading provider of MSP compliance and other analytic
claim services. Claims Partners and Franco Signor will be combining forces to
provide the single best resource for Medicare compliance.
Rubicon Technology Partners Acquires Central Logic
Private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners acquires
Central Logic, a provider of patient orchestration and tools to accelerate
access to care for healthcare organizations. Rubicon will be aggressively driving Central Logic’s
growth with additional cash investments into the business, with a focus
on product innovation, sales expansion, delivery and customer support, and
the pursuit of acquisition opportunities.
As we close out the year, we asked several healthcare executives to share their predictions and trends for 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
– Service commerce platform EverCommerce acquires Dublin,
OH-based Updox, a healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual
– The acquisition
expands EverCommerce’s health services portfolio and enables the companies to
further their shared goal of simplifying the business of healthcare and
facilitating the growth of healthcare practices.
Today, EverCommerce, a leading service commerce platform, completed the acquisition of Updox, a Dublin, OH-based complete healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care. The company will join EverCommerce’s portfolio of health services companies, enabling it to provide customers with faster access to more products, a broader suite of solutions, and more resources.
The acquisition comes on the heels of a breakout year for
virtual care. Digital health is on track to hit over $12 billion in investments
by the end of 2020 – the largest funding year for the sector yet – and over 60
acquisitions through the end of Q3, including other telehealth breakouts like
Teladoc, which recently completed its acquisition of Livongo in a deal valued
at over $18B.
Deliver the Best in Virtual & In-Person Care
Updox provides next-generation virtual care, patient engagement, and office productivity solutions that enable practices to reduce costs and drive revenue. Based on increasing demand for solutions that seamlessly work together to improve practice efficiency and provide an engaging patient experience, Updox has continuously brought new functionality to market. Additional solutions are planned for 2021.
Updox serves more than 560,000 users across healthcare practices, health systems and pharmacies, and more than 210 million patients. Updox has experienced rapid growth and adoption this year, as healthcare providers sought to quickly implement telehealth and other patient engagement solutions that enabled them to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently, and engage their patients as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Updox facilitated over 3.5 million telehealth visits since March and continues to support more than 15,000 visits per day.
The EverCommerce health services portfolio includes a
diverse mix of solutions including cloud-based medical billing, specialty EHR,
practice management, RCM software, lead generation, marketing solutions and
retention services for healthcare practices. With this acquisition,
EverCommerce will advance its mission to provide end-to-end mission-critical
solutions that enable healthcare practices to accelerate growth, streamline
operations and increase patient retention.
“Now more than ever, healthcare providers need a one-stop-shop to acquire new patients, operate more efficiently and engage their patients. They also need one single place to communicate with patients where they are – on their mobile phones,” said Michael Morgan, president of Updox. “We’re thrilled to join the EverCommerce team, which shares our vision for advancing healthcare. We look forward to accelerating innovative solutions that enable healthcare practices to more effectively market to patients, simplify payments, and effectively interact with patients both in and outside the practice.”
As a result of rapid consolidation, the 10 biggest health systems controlled 24% of market share based on patient revenue by 2018. The trend is expected to continue through the next decade, with health systems facing growing financial pressures and an increase in demand for new types of care delivery.
– Kyruus is acquiring HealthSparq from Cambia Health
Solutions, a family of more than 20 companies working to make healthcare more
economically sustainable and efficient for people and their families.
– HealthSparq is a healthcare guidance and transparency
technology company serving the health plan market.
– With the acquisition, the combined entity now serves
more than 60 health systems and 100 health plan brands nationwide.
Kyruus, the leader in
provider search and scheduling solutions for health systems, today announced it
is acquiring HealthSparq from Cambia Health Solutions, a family of
more than 20 companies working to make healthcare more economically sustainable
and efficient for people and their families. HealthSparq is a trailblazing
healthcare guidance and transparency technology company serving health plans.
As part of Cambia, HealthSparq has grown to serve more than
80 million health plan members nationwide through its digital solutions. Cambia
will have an ownership stake and a seat on the Kyruus Board of Directors. HealthSparq
will become part of Kyruus, accelerating a groundbreaking platform to connect
payer and provider organizations and enabling people to find and schedule with
the right providers seamlessly across access channels.
Acquisition Will Transform Care Navigation Through Novel
Healthcare remains incredibly siloed, making it difficult
for people to find and schedule care that meets their unique clinical,
financial, and personal needs. Kyruus’ acquisition of HealthSparq expands the
company’s mission to make healthcare work better for everyone by connecting
people to the care they need, whether they search on a health system website or
health plan website. This will also accelerate payer-provider collaboration to
further streamline patient access and boost provider data accuracy.
Post-Acquisition Plans & Impact
Together, Kyruus and HealthSparq serve more than 60 health
systems and 100 health plan brands nationwide. The companies have already
started working together in select markets to enhance health plan directories
with provider-verified data and enable online scheduling from health plan websites.
Combining operations will accelerate the integration of their platforms,
enabling health plans to link personalized insurance benefit and cost
information with rich provider data, while allowing health systems to tap into
health plan websites as a new patient engagement source. Over time, the unified
platform will facilitate increasingly sophisticated patient routing and
matching across channels – all while giving people the convenience of online
scheduling wherever they look for care.
The HealthSparq team will transition to Kyruus and continue
to execute on HealthSparq’s full breadth of solutions for health plans. Mark
Menton, CEO of HealthSparq, will join the Kyruus executive team and serve as
General Manager of the health plan business unit.
The newly created organization, dubbed OneTen, aims to create 1 million jobs for Black people over the next decade. Its founders include some big names in healthcare, such as Cleveland Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare and Humana.
The EHR giant is planning to buy Kantar Health, which provides data, analytics and research to the life sciences industry. Through the acquisition, Cerner aims to provide its clients with more access to data analytics and research expertise and engagement with life sciences companies.
– Cerner announces it will acquire Kantar Health, a leading data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy serving the life science and health care industry.
– This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning
Health Network client consortium and health systems with more opportunities to
directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies. The acquisition
is expected to close during the first half of 2021.
Cerner today announced an agreement to acquire Kantar Health, a division of Kantar Group, a leading data, analytics, and real-world evidence and commercial research consultancy serving the life science industry for $375 million in cash, subject to adjustment.
Acquisition Will Create Leading Data Insights and Clinical
With this acquisition, Cerner plans to harness data to improve the safety, efficiency, and efficacy of clinical research across life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and health care at large. This acquisition is expected to allow Cerner’s Learning Health Network client consortium to more directly engage with life sciences for funded research studies.
The Cerner Learning Health Network offers health systems complimentary access to a network of bi-directional, de-identified data resources. This access helps advance research efforts and provides opportunities to generate revenue with funded research studies from life science companies. Kantar Health’s proprietary syndicated data products including CancerMPact, Claritis, National Health & Wellness Survey, and its broader oncology, rare disease, and multi-therapeutic expertise are used today by all of the top 20 life science companies to further their real-world evidence, commercial and clinical research efforts.
The combination of Cerner and Kantar Health is expected to
enable a two-sided collaboration between providers and the pharmaceutical
industry, where researchers can generate insights and use differentiated
real-world data assets and expertise to address the most complex clinical
“Cerner launched the Learning Health Network with our provider clients to advance a shared vision: treat global diseases more effectively through an acceleration of clinical research,” said Donald Trigg, president, Cerner. “Kantar Health has incredible health economics and medical affairs expertise, differentiated real-world data assets and strong relationships with the world’s leading life science companies. It offers us an amazing opportunity to drive cross-industry collaboration that can change health outcomes around the world.”
Acquisition Reflects Cerner’s Strategic Focus on Clinical
This is the second announcement in this month expanding upon
Cerner’s commitment to improving the safety and efficiency of clinical research
in life sciences and health care. Last week we announced a relationship with
Elligo which broadens the clinical trial resources available to rural and
community hospitals and physician practices. This is significant to help
broaden the diversity of individuals involved in clinical research, including
those in minority populations and rural communities.
The acquisition is anticipated to close in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approval, employee consultations, and other conditions, and is not expected to have a material impact on Cerner’s earnings in 2021.
As 170 research teams race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, some that are in late-stage approvals have seen recent progress, but it is still not yet clear when a vaccine will become widely available. Until then, healthcare organizations continue to rely heavily on data analytics to try to improve COVID-19 outcomes and public health.
Since the novel coronavirus became widespread in the U.S., healthcare data scientists have leveraged clinical and claims data to pinpoint which underlying conditions put patients at higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Health systems are mining clinical data to predict surges in COVID-19 cases and looking at key factors—including increases in hospital website traffic, such as searches for emergency department (ED) wait times and physician page clicks—to understand how COVID-19 is ramping up locally in real-time. Meanwhile, risk-based modeling has helped health plans address social determinants of health that could impede recovery.
Now, providers and health plans are refining their approach. The more they learn, the greater the benefit to public health and long-term outcomes. Three evolving use cases for using claims and clinical data to combat COVID-19 stand out.
Reduce disparities in care. Early in the pandemic, lack of complete information around patient demographics prevented the identification of members in communities that were most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The impact: severe differences in mortality rates. In Chicago, the rate of mortality among Black residents was alarmingly high—70% of COVID-19 deaths—even though these residents comprise just 29% of the city’s population. Meanwhile, Spanish-speaking residents account for 18.3% of the nation’s population, yet comprise 34.3% of coronavirus cases.
One of the reasons demographic data was often missing from COVID-19 lab tests is that laboratory and hospital staff were too overwhelmed with cases to have time to input all of a patient’s non-clinical information. Today, data scientists are working to fill in the gaps using clinical history and medical claims. With these analyses, healthcare organizations are closing gaps in care, such as by expanding access to COVID-19 testing for the nation’s most vulnerable populations and increasing access to professional interpreters to more effectively gather key patient details. They are also addressing social determinants of health that heighten risks, such as food insecurity and lack of access to prescription medications.
Alleviate reliance on spotty testing. Not everyone who contracts COVID-19 has a healthcare encounter. For instance, if one member of the household tests positive for the coronavirus, other members may decide not to undergo testing if their symptoms are mild. These are instances where analyses of clinical and claims information already in the system—both emerging and historical data—can help spot unconfirmed cases of COVID-19. Such analyses give public health officials the information they need to contact, test,s and quarantine individuals that have contracted the virus, helping to limit the spread of the disease.
On a wider scale, data analysis can also provide early warning surveillance of potential COVID-19 cases, strengthening the pandemic response. For example, by observing increases in medical claims for telemedicine, rapid flu tests, and chest X-rays, data scientists can detect patterns in claims that suggest a COVID-19 outbreak is likely to occur. From there, they can forecast demand for hospital care up to 10 days in advance, ensuring that facilities have sufficient staff, supplies, and beds available to meet their community’s needs. Similarly, disruptions to seasonal flu trends, which remain fairly consistent within a region year over year, could alert public health officials to a potential COVID-19 outbreak.
Avoid preventable deaths. Information regarding patients’ underlying medical conditions can be hard to come by during a public health crisis as overwhelming and widespread as the current pandemic. In fact, just 5.8% of medical records for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Q1 2020 had data available related to their underlying health conditions and other risk factors. Today, it is known that certain chronic conditions raise the patient’s risk for severe complications from COVID-19—and that list of conditions is growing. The insight gained from these analyses not only informs how healthcare providers treat an individual’s illness, but also gives those with chronic disease the ability to make informed decisions based on their risk level for infection.
Moreover, the availability of actionable, real-time intelligence to improve health can set the stage for increased care collaboration. During COVID-19, healthcare providers across geographies are sharing their knowledge, especially regarding treatment protocols. Such learnings include the value of using high-flow nasal oxygen in treating severe cases of COVID-19. Early results show that this technique has a positive impact on patients with mild to moderate respiratory failure. It also reduces intubation rates and improves clinical prognosis for patients with acute respiratory failure. By sharing data-driven insights, organizations can work together to improve COVID-19 outcomes and reduce avoidable deaths.
Improving Outcomes and Reducing Risk
Clinical and claims data analysis helps healthcare organizations respond proactively to COVID-19. With the race toward a COVID-19 vaccine well underway, these analyses will help identify which populations should receive the vaccine first, assess reactions to the vaccine by demographic group and spot trends that could affect vaccination protocols. They also give healthcare organizations up-to-date contact information to engage patients, which will be critical to clinical efficacy if a second dose of the vaccine must be administered. In 2020 and beyond, continued focus on clinical and claims data analysis will be key to facilitating a robust response that enhances outcomes and saves lives.
About Emad Rizk, M.D.
Emad Rizk, M.D., is President and CEO of Cotiviti and brings a 30-year, well-documented track record of delivering improved quality and financial performance to healthcare organizations through forward-thinking leadership, business acumen, and clinical expertise.
– Cerner Corporation today announced with Xealth new
centralized digital ordering and monitoring for health systems, starting with
Banner Health, to foster digital innovation.
– Health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet apps directly within the EHR to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep.
Cerner, today announced it’s building on the recent collaboration with Xealth to offer health systems new centralized digital ordering and monitoring for clients. These capabilities are designed to help health systems choose, manage, and deploy digital tools and applications while offering clinicians access to remote monitoring and more direct engagement with patients. Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital systems, is one of the first Cerner clients to use the new capabilities to benefit its clinicians and patients.
Prescribe Digital Therapeutics Via EHR
With the new capabilities, health systems can prescribe digital therapeutics, smartphones, and internet applications to address areas such as chronic disease management, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery prep. This access to a more holistic view of the organization’s digital health solutions supports the clinical decisions doctors make every day and provides real opportunities to improve medical outcomes and enhance efficiency, meet the increasing demand for telehealth and offer remote patient monitoring.
For example, the new capabilities can help simplify how
clinicians prescribe tools such as mobile mental health apps to monitor anxiety
triggers or a glucose device to help trace blood sugar levels for diabetes
Digital solutions will be available in a single location in
the electronic health record where health systems can use apps based on
clinical and financial metrics. A wide array of digital health tools is
integrated with Xealth’s offering today and the list is ever-growing. Early
examples of companies that have previously deployed in health systems using
Xealth include Babyscripts, Glooko, SilverCloud Health, Welldoc, as well as
Healthwise Inc., GetWellNetwork and ResMed that have existing relationships
“As digital tools are increasingly included in care plans, health systems seek a way to organize and oversee their use across the health system. We anticipate the emergence of digital and therapeutic committees to govern digital tool selection similar to how pharmacy and therapeutic committees have historically governed medication formularies,” said David Bradshaw, senior vice president, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner. “Digital health has extraordinary potential to reshape the way we care for patients and, working with Xealth, we are answering the need and helping providers create more engaging and effective patient experiences.”
Why It Matters
Digital health has great potential to make an immediate difference, especially as it relates to automating patient education, delivering virtual care, supporting telehealth, and offering remote patient monitoring. Health systems with a digital health program and strategy in place have the ability to respond faster and more efficiently.
“Now, more than ever, extending care teams to meet patients where they are is critical,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and co-founder, Xealth. “As digital health programs roll out, they should elevate both the patient and provider experience. Cerner building out a digital formulary, with Xealth at its core, is listening to its strong clinician base by delivering tools to enhance patient care, without adding additional steps for the care team.”
raises $130 million in Series D Funding to strengthen its machine learning platform
to continue helping hospitals achieve operational excellence during a time
where they are facing mounting financial pressures due to COVID-19.
– LeanTaaS provides software solutions that combine lean
principles, predictive analytics, and machine learning to transform hospital
and infusion center operations to improve operational efficiencies, increase
access, and reduce costs.
– LeanTaaS’ solutions have now been deployed in more than
300 hospitals across the U.S., including five of the 10 largest health networks
and 12 of the top 20 hospitals in the U.S.
LeanTaaS, Inc., a
Silicon Valley software innovator that increases patient access and transforms
operational performance for healthcare providers, today announced a $130
million Series D funding round led by
Insight Partners with participation from Goldman Sachs. With this
investment, LeanTaaS has raised more than $250 million in aggregate, including
more than $150 million from Insight Partners. As part of the transaction,
Insight Partners’ Jeff Horing and Jon Rosenbaum and Goldman Sachs’ Antoine
Munfa will join LeanTaaS’ Board of Directors.
Healthcare reform, an aging population, and a higher
incidence of chronic disease has caused the demand for healthcare services to
escalate quickly. At the same time, pressure from payers to eliminate waste
requires that healthcare providers do more with less to meet this skyrocketing
demand with the resources in which they have already invested. And this
situation is only going to get worse.
As more healthcare data gets digitized, the opportunity exists to leverage that data to help providers meet these challenges and more efficiently match supply and demand. Founded in 2010, LeanTaaS believes hospitals should use objective data and predictive analytics – not intuition and “tribal rules”– to better match resource supply with demand and to amplify the business impact of investments they have already made in EHR, BI, and Lean/Six Sigma.
Better Healthcare Through Math
LeanTaaS develops software that increases patient access to
medical care by optimizing how health systems use expensive, constrained
resources like infusion chairs, operating rooms, and inpatient beds. More than
100 health systems and 300 hospitals – including 5 of the 10 largest systems,
12 of US News and World Report’s top 20 hospitals. These hospitals use the iQueue
platform to optimize capacity utilization in infusion centers, operating rooms,
and inpatient beds. iQueue for
Infusion Centers is used by 7,500+ chairs across 300+ infusion centers
including 70 percent of the National
Comprehensive Cancer Network and more than 50 percent of National Cancer Institute hospitals. iQueue for
Operating Rooms is used by more than 1,750 ORs across 34 health systems to
perform more surgical cases during business hours, increase competitiveness in
the marketplace, and improve the patient experience.
“LeanTaaS is uniquely positioned to help hospitals and health systems across the country face the mounting operational and financial pressures exacerbated by the coronavirus. This funding will allow us to continue to grow and expand our impact while helping healthcare organizations deliver better care at a lower cost,” said Mohan Giridharadas, founder and CEO of LeanTaaS. “Our company momentum over the past several years – including greater than 50% revenue growth in 2020 and negative churn despite a difficult macro environment – reflects the increasing demand for scalable predictive analytics solutions that optimize how health systems increase operational utilization and efficiency. It also highlights how we’ve been able to develop and maintain deep partnerships with 100+ health systems and 300+ hospitals in order to keep them resilient and agile in the face of uncertain demand and supply conditions.”
Chief Marketing Officer Appointment
Concurrent with the funding, LeanTaaS announced that Niloy Sanyal, the former CMO at Omnicell and GE Digital, would be joining as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Also, Sanjeev Agrawal has been designated as LeanTaaS’ Chief Operating Officer in addition to his current role as the President. “We are excited to welcome Niloy to LeanTaaS. His breadth and depth of experience will help us accelerate our growth as the industry evolves to a more data-driven way of making decisions” said Agrawal.
Potential for productive and allocative efficiency. Health care systems could be helpful for determining which configuration of inputs is able to most efficiently produce a given quantity of high-quality output. In some countries–such as those with a single payer system–the government does this. In the US, with a very disjointed payer system, health systems may be able to coordinate inputs and leverage economies of scale to improve quality and reduce costs.
Leverage technology. Electronic health records system implementation have high fixed cost but much lower cost per physician added to the system or per patient treated. Large health systems have the potential to leverage these economies of scale to better incorporate technology into care pathways.
Institute best practices. Given their size, they may be able to roll out and train physicians on recent best practices compared to what is the case with smaller practices.
Patient-centered outcomes. Health system size may also facilitate the use of patient-centered outcomes for two reasons. The first is that their scale makes investments in data collection of patient-reported outcomes more economical. The second is that a health system will have more patient touchpoints than a single practice and thus patient-centered outcomes are more relevant. If you want to know about patient-centered quality of care, but you are a small specialty practice, your impact on the patient’s experience with the health care system may be marginal, compared to a health system which–in many cases–will be the main organization with whom the patient interacts.
Health systems do bring up a number of concerns however. These include:
Added bureaucracy. While the increased size may make investments in quality improvements and EHR more economical, they also risk increasing bureaucracy and increasing administrative cost. Government agencies may like health systems better ability to collect data, but these data collection costs are often non-trivial.
Reduced competition may lead to higher prices. Providers may like health systems, because the increase negotiating power with payers. More consolidation and less competition may lead to increased prices. Health systems could also lobby policymakers to make laws more favorable to health systems.
Erode professional autonomy. While policymakers may like integrated health systems, physicians themselves may or may not. They may like being salaried and outsourcing administrative tasks to others; on the other hand, they may not like that administrators are telling them how to practice medicine, ostensibly based on best practices.
Another question is: what are health systems? AHRQ’s Compendium of Health Systems is one attempt to classify and identify them. This 2016 snapshot shows that health systems made up 88.2% of beds and employed 44.6% of physicians. By 2018, however, more than half of physicians were employed at health systems.
Yet there is much left to learn. According to Dr. Kronick, there are at least 3 key questions that are still un-answered:
We do not yet have a report card on health system performance that would allow comparison of performance across systems; we do not yet have much empirical evidence about the characteristics of health systems that are associated with high performance, nor of the payment and other accountability mechanisms that lead to performance improvement; and we do not yet know much about what tools and resources systems would need to facilitate improvement.
The commentary, while brief, is an interesting and balanced take on US health systems and well worth a read.
– Virtual maternity care platform Babyscripts announced a
new round of investments from Banner Health, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, The
Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network, and WellSpan
– Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.
the leading virtual care
platform for managing obstetrics, today announced a new round of
investments through their Strategic Partners Program,
a unique investment bloc composed of health systems interested in
forwarding Babyscripts’ cutting-edge digital solutions for pregnant
populations. Partners include Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the largest
nonprofit health care systems in the country; the CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, located on
the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado; the Froedtert & the Medical College of
Wisconsin health network, an integrated health care system based in
Wisconsin; and WellSpan Health, an
integrated health system serving central Pennsylvania and northern
This investment round is structured to leverage the input
and support of clinical and health system partners, ensuring that Babyscripts’
product development and future roadmap aligns with customer needs.
Babyscripts has spent the last six years building a
clinically-validated, virtual care platform to allow OBGYNs to deliver a new
model of prenatal care. Using internet-connected devices for remote monitoring,
Babyscripts offers risk-specific experiences to allow providers to manage up to
90% of pregnancies virtually, allowing doctors to detect risk more quickly and
automate elements of care.
3-Tier Approach Virtual Maternity Care
Babyscripts’ three-tiered approach to virtual maternity care
allows providers to deliver risk-specific care to pregnant mothers at any time,
in any place, through a mobile app and internet-connected monitoring devices:
Maternal Digital Education: Virtually connect with expectant and new mothers between visits with a custom mobile app.
Maternal Health Monitoring: Virtual management of
pregnant patients through remote monitoring for blood pressure, weight, blood
sugar, social determinants of health (SDOH)
Maternal Population Health: Improve patient/member
care through a unique collaboration between the care team and the payer.
The solution is powered by a robust set of vetted user
experiences, integrations, workflows, and best practices.
“From the beginning, we’ve set ourselves apart from other tech companies by partnering with physicians to make sure that we’re developing solutions that will actually be useful and improve outcomes, not just look and feel ‘cutting-edge’,” said Juan Pablo Segura, co-founder and President of Babyscripts. “This investment is validation that health systems see the value of our solution — and they’re willing to put their money on it.
– Amazon today announced the launch of Amazon HealthLake,
a new HIPAA-eligible service enables healthcare organizations to store, tag,
index, standardize, query, and apply machine learning to analyze data at
petabyte scale in the cloud.
– Cerner, Ciox Health, Konica Minolta Precision Medicine,
and Orion Health among customers using Amazon HealthLake.
Today at AWS re:Invent, Amazon
Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company today announced Amazon HealthLake, a
HIPAA-eligible service for healthcare and life sciences organizations. Current
Amazon HealthLake customers include Cerner, Ciox Health, Konica Minolta
Precision Medicine, and Orion Health.
Health data is frequently incomplete and inconsistent, and is often unstructured, with the information contained in clinical notes, laboratory reports, insurance claims, medical images, recorded conversations, and time-series data (for example, heart ECG or brain EEG traces) across disparate formats and systems. Every healthcare provider, payer, and life sciences company is trying to solve the problem of structuring the data because if they do, they can make better patient support decisions, design better clinical trials, and operate more efficiently.
Store, transform, query, and analyze health data in
Amazon HealthLake aggregates an organization’s complete data across various silos and disparate formats into a centralized AWS data lake and automatically normalizes this information using machine learning. The service identifies each piece of clinical information, tags, and indexes events in a timeline view with standardized labels so it can be easily searched, and structures all of the data into the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) industry-standard format for a complete view of the health of individual patients and entire populations.
Benefits for Healthcare Organizations
As a result, Amazon HealthLake makes it easier for customers to query, perform analytics, and run machine learning to derive meaningful value from the newly normalized data. Organizations such as healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, clinical researchers, health insurers, and more can use Amazon HealthLake to help spot trends and anomalies in health data so they can make much more precise predictions about the progression of the disease, the efficacy of clinical trials, the accuracy of insurance premiums, and many other applications.
How It Works
Amazon HealthLake offers medical providers, health insurers,
and pharmaceutical companies a service that brings together and makes sense of
all their patient data, so healthcare organizations can make more precise
predictions about the health of patients and populations. The new
HIPAA-eligible service enables organizations to store, tag, index, standardize,
query, and apply machine learning to analyze data at petabyte scale in the
Amazon HealthLake allows organizations to easily copy health
data from on-premises systems to a secure data lake in the cloud and normalize
every patient record across disparate formats automatically. Upon ingestion,
Amazon HealthLake uses machine learning trained to understand medical
terminology to identify and tag each piece of clinical information, index
events into a timeline view, and enrich the data with standardized labels
(e.g., medications, conditions, diagnoses, procedures, etc.) so all this
information can be easily searched.
For example, organizations can quickly and accurately find
answers to their questions like, “How has the use of cholesterol-lowering
medications helped our patients with high blood pressure last year?” To do this,
customers can create a list of patients by selecting “High Cholesterol” from a
standard list of medical conditions, “Oral Drugs” from a menu of treatments,
and blood pressure values from the “Blood Pressure” structured field – and then
they can further refine the list by choosing attributes like time frame,
gender, and age. Because Amazon HealthLake also automatically structures all of
a healthcare organization’s data into the FHIR industry format, the information
can be easily and securely shared between health systems and with third-party
applications, enabling providers to collaborate more effectively and allowing
patients unfettered access to their medical information.
“There has been an explosion of digitized health data in recent years with the advent of electronic medical records, but organizations are telling us that unlocking the value from this information using technology like machine learning is still challenging and riddled with barriers,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of Amazon Machine Learning for AWS. “With Amazon HealthLake, healthcare organizations can reduce the time it takes to transform health data in the cloud from weeks to minutes so that it can be analyzed securely, even at petabyte scale. This completely reinvents what’s possible with healthcare and brings us that much closer to everyone’s goal of providing patients with more personalized and predictive treatment for individuals and across entire populations.”
– Cerner announced a strategic investment in Elligo
Health Research, a leading research organization that enables clinical trials
with nationwide community-based health care practices.
– Cerner plans to expand the data and tools available in
the Cerner Learning Health Network to offer additional clinical trial resources
to community and rural hospitals and physician practices.
– Financial terms of strategic investment were not disclosed.
Cerner Corporation today announced an undisclosed strategic investment in Elligo Health Research, a leading integrated research organization that enables clinical trials with nationwide community-based health care practices. As part of the strategic investment, Cerner will enter into a commercial agreement to expand the data and tools available in the Cerner Learning Health Network to offer additional clinical trial resources to community and rural hospitals and physician practices.
Single Platform to Accelerate Clinical Research
Founded by John Potthoff, Ph.D., and Chad Moore in 2016, Elligo
Health Research Since 2016, Elligo Health Research, founded by John Potthoff,
Ph.D., and Chad Moore, has accelerated the development of new pharmaceutical,
biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostic products using its novel clinical
technology and its Goes Direct® approach. As one of the largest health networks
for clinical research, Elligo works to bring research as a care option to as
many participants as possible by offering innovative, patient-centric solutions
within the practices of trusted physicians.
Collaboration Will Accelerate Clinical Research
Health systems face significant obstacles such as patient recruitment, costs, and access to clinical trial resources. Today, for example, the drug development process takes more than 17 years and costs approximately $2.5B. Cerner and Elligo will focus on helping reduce those obstacles health systems face to make clinical trials become more of a reality – no matter the size, location, or academic standing.
Additionally, most clinical trials are executed in large,
urban areas with homogenous trial populations, which offer insights that may
not be broadly applicable to all patients in need of the therapies. Clinical trial
resources can offer funded research opportunities for health care organizations
as well as access to trial therapies for patients who need it most, including
those in minority populations and rural communities. This could result in
outcomes that are more representative of diverse populations and a potential
increase in drug safety through post-market surveillance capabilities.
This collaboration is expected to help accelerate clinical
research timeframes, make clinical trials more broadly and easily accessible
and reduce the costs associated with bringing a therapy to market. In addition,
Cerner representatives will also join Elligo’s board of directors.
“At the beginning of the year, we launched a bold push with our provider clients to change the pace and cost of clinical trials. Today, 51 health systems are part of our Learning Health Network,” said Donald Trigg, president, Cerner. “Elligo shares our passion for making clinical trial opportunities accessible to every provider and patient. Our collaboration will accelerate that shared mission in the quarters ahead.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, key elements of hospital operations such as managing inpatient bed capacity, and access to ventilators and PPE have taken center stage. The general public got a crash course on what hospitals need in order to function successfully when disaster hits, and daily news and discussions were centered around ICU bed capacity as cases accelerated across the country.
The nightmarish predictions and reality led to the development of creative measures to help meet such catastrophic needs such as popup temporary screening and triage sites, non-medical and medical spaces being repurposed for COVID units, increased patient transfers to hospitals that had more space, and mathematical models to predict upcoming numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
With the latest surge of COVID-19 cases (see figure 1), some states have or will begin opening up field hospitals (Wisconsin, Texas) while others are considering transfers to other locations (both in and out-of-state), and even the concept of ‘rationing care’ has surfaced.
This public health crisis intensified what happens when hospitals and healthcare providers run out of the right space and resources. As alarming as it has been to watch this play out, the reality is that these capacity and resource challenges are not unique to the pandemic; they happen often in hospitals across the country, just on a different scale. Bed capacity is something hospital leaders manage every day – only 1 of 3 hospital beds are available on any given day in the U.S., per research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2. Of course, there’s further variation when looking at urban versus rural regions. Many systems are forced to go on ‘diversion’ (patients will literally be re-routed to other hospitals) when the reality is that they are bursting at the seams.
Clearly, the pandemic has been devastating, yet it has (finally) propelled healthcare toward innovation and adoption of technology that was much needed in order to improve access to and utilization of quality and cost-effective care. Although the waves continue, organizations are starting to answer the following questions: What newly applied practices do we keep from the pandemic moving forward as we head into additional COVID-19 waves and the flu season? Can we more vigorously apply lessons of the past and present to tackle our future needs? Are our incentives aligned such that the solutions we pursue can be sustained and still “keep the lights on”?
Delayed access to care and, even worse, lack of access to care, have been among the most devastating consequences of the capacity crises during the pandemic. Though many of our systems started to transition back to their usual state of affairs by July, other factors in addition to the current surge continued to highlight the ongoing need for creating and sustaining ‘good patient flow’.
Under “normal” circumstances, daily chaos is anticipated and actually expected, as hospitals experience the inability to move patients from the emergency room (ER) or operating room (OR) due to a “lack of beds” in the hospital. While this inevitably requires hospital leadership to ‘do something’ about it, it is a scenario that plays repeatedly throughout the day, every day.
The chaos that comes from the lack of visibility into available beds, let alone appropriately available levels of care, can have negative downstream impacts not only on the patients but also on the frontline staff. Patients are subject to suffering the consequences of inappropriate levels of care, poor clinical outcomes, and/or poor provider/patient experiences.3 Staff are subject to the stress of caring for patients for whom they are not necessarily appropriately trained to care for.
Despite the known implications, this lose:lose cycle continues. These “risks” plus the impact of significant revenue losses from the pandemic highlight the urgent need to address poor, inefficient patient throughput. We are at a critical point where healthcare systems must do what is necessary to improve existing practices when it comes to bed management.
Some examples of improvement include:
– Create machine learning models for all locations and patient movements within the hospital, and adjust space and schedules accordingly
– Place patients using sophisticated demand-supply model
– Make data-driven internal transfer decisions
– Right-Sized unit capacity
– Look hard at the degree of specialization to pool capacity where possible
– Smooth the patient flow from the OR
Take a magnifying glass to internal operational workflows – Identify practices that work, areas where support is needed, especially when it comes to discharge planning, and whether or not there are financial implications.
– Improve provider workflow
– Don’t let “a dime hold up a dollar”: take a hard look at staffing, hours of operations, and transportation
– Use predictive discharge planning to focus on case teams and social services
Identify clinical workup that can be prioritized according to disposition, treat outpatient setting
– Prioritize discharge patients in queues for labs/clinical procedures
– Transition some procedures to outpatient
With the recent surge of COVID-19 cases across the nation and the impending flu season, hospitalizations will continue to rise. Although health systems will be able to resurface earlier crafted emergency plans from previous surges, set up incident command centers more quickly, and have a more stable supply inventory, they will likely continue to manage their bed capacity through a very manual process. It is imperative that we start to do things differently to achieve better outcomes!
Implementing operational change and deploying new but proven technologies that incorporate both artificial intelligence and lean principles will increase patient access, improve provider, patient, and staff experience, and, of course, smooth inpatient capacity. As a result, terms such as chaos and crisis can, in time, become things of the past.
3. Mohr et al., Boarding of Critically Ill Patients in the Emergency Department. Critical Care Medicine 2020; 48(8): 1180–1187
4. Agrawal S., Giridharadas M., (2020) Better Healthcare Through Math: Bending the Access and Cost Curves. Forbes, Inc.
About Dr. Pallabi Sanyal-Dey
Dr. Pallabi Sanyal-Dey is the director of client services for ‘iQueue for Beds’ Product at LeanTaaS, a Silicon Valley software innovator that increases patient access and transforms operational performance for more than 300 hospitals across the U.S. Dr. Sanyal-Dey is also a visiting associate professor of medicine, providing career mentorship to trainees at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) where she attends on the internal medicine inpatient teaching service. Prior to joining LeanTaaS, Dr. Sanyal-Dey was at UCSF, as an assistant clinical professor and an academic hospitalist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where she directed clinical operations for the Division of Hospital Medicine, and oversaw the faculty inpatient services.
As if 2020 couldn’t be
any more challenging for healthcare providers, new federal rules on
interoperability and patient access, granting patients direct access to their healthcare
data, begin taking effect this November and continue into 2022. These rules,
while ultimately beneficial to patients, bring an additional level of
operational complexity to many revenue-stressed healthcare organizations.
If anything, the 2020 pandemic has illustrated the vast potential of interoperability. For example, consider the huge increase in 2020 in virtual care visits, projected to be more than 1 billion by year’s end, and with an estimated 90% related to Covid-19. Many of these new virtual health patients will move through different care networks, using different health plans, and seeking remote access to their health records. These are precisely the type of patients’ interoperability is meant to help.
What should healthcare providers be doing now to ensure they’re not only compliant with new interoperability rules, but also applying them as optimally as possible to benefit their patients and organizations? In this article, we review the upcoming rules and suggest five key steps providers can take to ensure their interoperability implementations proceed as smoothly as possible.
What’s Ahead with
After several years of discussion on interoperability standards, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Healthcare IT and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final rules on interoperability in the spring of 2020. The new rules, covering both health systems and health plans, are intended to ensure that patients can electronically access their healthcare information regardless of health system or type of electronic health records (EHR) and covering all CMS-regulated plan types, including Medicare Advantage, CHIP, and the Federally Facilitated Exchanges.
Starting Nov. 2, 2020, healthcare systems must begin complying with interoperability rules preventing information blocking, which means not interfering with patients’ access to or use of their electronic health information. Providers must also attest they are acting “in good faith” regarding preventing information blocking, with any non-compliance flagged on the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System. By May 1, 2021, hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and critical access hospitals with an EHR must send notification of their patients’ admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) events to providers.
Interoperability will replace the current fragmented and error-prone ways of exchanging vital healthcare information. Near-term benefits of interoperability include improved care coordination and patient experience, greater patient safety, and stronger patient privacy and security. Longer-term benefits include higher provider productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and more accurate public health data.
For providers, the good
news about interoperability is that they’ve had years to think about and
implement many of its fundamental tenets, based on their work meeting
meaningful use requirements. That’s borne out in a 2019 HIMSS survey of
healthcare organizations which found nearly 75% of respondents past the
“foundational” level of interoperability – “foundational” defined as allowing
data exchange from one IT
system to another, but without data interpretation.
Five Steps for
While healthcare systems
will achieve significant interoperability gains through technology investments,
they should not consider technology as the ultimate sole key to
interoperability success. If anything, financial and political considerations
may be far more important to your organization’s interoperability success. Here
are five critical non-technology factors to consider:
1. Determine your “master”
All pertinent stakeholders in your organization should be on the same page about your interoperability strategy, resources, and timing. Know up-front that those implementing interoperability may not have previously worked with patient-centric analytics, partners, or departments in your organization. Plan your resources and timing accordingly. Your strategy should focus on the value-add of interoperability internally, such as access to additional data points on your patients, and externally, such as how you describe the upcoming benefits of interoperability to your patients.
2. Convey your vision, expectations
and expected return
An interoperability implementation is
a massive change management initiative, which requires continuous, top-down
leadership and championship, and proper expectation-setting. Communicate where
your organization currently stands regarding its interoperability capabilities,
and where you wish to have it go. Convey how the organization plans to get to
its future desired state. And perhaps most importantly, share the likely return
on investment in this effort. Be as specific as possible. For example, if you
believe interoperability gains will ultimately enable a 5% decrease in your
hospital readmissions, state that.
3. Examine workflows and identify
specific use cases
Every type of ADT event in your
organization, and its corresponding workflows and system interactions, should
be under review. Consider all types of clinical use cases, the types of data to
be exchanged, and those involved in providing patient care. This will help
determine your optimal approach to data-sharing and how your organization can
strategically use the additional data you receive from other health
4. Rigorously prep your data
Standardized data collection and reporting
which produces quality data is the heart and soul of successful
interoperability. Be sure your organization’s data is clean and meaningful, and
will ultimately be understandable and useful to your patients.
5. Think big-picture differentiation
There’s nothing in the ONC and CMS
interoperability rules that says you need to stop at mere rules compliance.
Consider your pursuit of interoperability as a singular opportunity to be a
patient-centric leader in your market. Let everyone relevant know of the
success you’ve achieved.
offers a chance for healthcare systems to achieve multiple operational gains,
when handled well, it is ultimately a patient-centric endeavor. Always keep the
needs and interests of your patients at the core when facilitating access to
their personal health data. It’s the ultimate smart long-term interoperability
– CommonHealth has connected to 230
health systems in the United States, allowing patients to gather, manage and
share their health and test data, including COVID test and vaccination status. By
the end of this month, CommonHealth will connect to more than 340 health
– CommonHealth extends the health data
portability and interoperability model pioneered by Apple Health to the 55
percent of Americans with Android devices (85 percent globally)
The Commons Project, a nonprofit public trust established to build digital platforms and services for the public good, today announced that the CommonHealth app has now connected to 230 health systems in the United States, allowing patients using those health systems to gather, manage and share personal health information – including COVID test and vaccine status – on Android devices for free. CommonHealth enables broader and more equitable participation in remote consultations with doctors, telemedicine, innovative care models, next-generation health services, and research.
CommonHealth App Development Background
Developed in collaboration with UCSF, Cornell Tech, and Sage Bionetworks with a team of clinicians, public health experts, technologists, scientists and privacy advocates, CommonHealth is operated by The Commons Project. CommonHealth was first deployed at UCSF Health and underwent substantial testing and user experience research in multiple diverse populations in San Francisco. CommonHealth is the first and only platform designed to allow users of the Android operating system to collect and manage their health data on their mobile devices in a similar way that Apple Health Record operates on iOS.
Already integrated with LabCorp, which
operates one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the world,
CommonHealth allows individuals to store their COVID test results and vaccination
status, in addition to any health record. CommonHealth plans to integrate with
an additional 110 health systems in December, connecting to more than 340
health systems before the year ends.
Earlier this year, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) rolled out new patient health record sharing rules that will require hospitals and physician offices to send standardized medical information, such as lab test results, vaccination records, and imaging tests, directly to third-party apps, like CommonHealth, by July 2021.
Why It Matters
“The COVID pandemic has accelerated the need for the safe sharing of health data as medical consultations go online and individuals are required to demonstrate COVID test and vaccination status in order to travel, work, study and undertake other social activities,” said JP Pollak, co-founder and chief architect at The Commons Project. “CommonHealth extends the privacy-centered data portability and interoperability model pioneered by Apple Health to the 55 percent of Americans who have Android devices.”
– According to a new report from Accenture, 2 out of 3 patients are likely to switch to a new healthcare provider if their expectations for managing COVID-19 are not met, including sanitary and safety protocols, access to up-to-date information, and the availability of virtual care options.
– Accenture identified four ways to improve the patient experience, and therefore your path to recovery, during, and after the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals, providers, and payer networks to drastically overhaul and restructure their systems to accommodate virtual care models. As a result, health systems’ revenue and patient volume plummeted, made worse by the industry’s slow-to-adopt virtual care practices that deprioritized the importance of patient experiences.
Elevating the Patient Experience to Fuel Growth
According to a new report from Accenture, 2 out of 3 patients are likely to switch to a new healthcare provider if their expectations for managing COVID-19 are not met, including sanitary and safety protocols, access to up-to-date information, and the availability of virtual care options. Based on a survey of more than 4,600 U.S. respondents, the report, “Elevating the Patient Experience to Fuel Growth,” notes that patients are looking for a safer, more secure, and convenient healthcare experience — including strict sanitary and safety protocols as well as virtual care options. In addition, those who believe their healthcare providers handled COVID-19 poorly were three times more likely than satisfied patients to say they will either delay seeking services for at least a year or never return to that healthcare provider.
By prioritizing consumer experience and delivering new
virtual expectations, providers can maintain their patient base and
grow market share by capturing switchers ready to leave competitors –
potentially increasing their revenues by 5% to 10% pre-COVID levels within
12 months. For a $5 billion health system, this could be between $250
million and $500 million in additional annual revenues.
“Our research clearly shows that the patient experience matters now more than ever,” said Jean-Pierre Stephan, managing director, Accenture Health. “This should be interpreted as positive news because it means the future is in the hands of healthcare providers to embrace change and provide better healthcare experiences. We’re advising providers take this opportunity to offer a holistic, digital approach that centers on the patient’s access to quality care and post-care services; this will better position healthcare providers for long-term growth.”
In turn, Accenture recommends four actions that healthcare providers can
take to improve the patient experience.
1. Address patient concerns in a personalized manner
Communicate specific actions taken to protect patients —
such as offering separate entrances, allowing contactless payment and online
paperwork, or even describing the advanced level of protective gear used by
staff. When possible, physicians should deliver the message directly.
2. Meet people at the front door
Address unique patient needs and ease COVID-19 concerns before
a patient steps foot into the office or enters a virtual waiting room. Embed
new safety and wellness protocols and practices throughout every interaction,
from finding a doctor to scheduling an appointment or completing registration
in advance of a visit. In fact, the survey found that 74% of patients are now
likely to use online chat or texting to provide check-in information before
their appointment if such a service is available.
3. Enhance virtual care capabilities
Develop new models that use more virtual care, from bookings
to meetings, so that those who remain wary of in-person care have more options.
Patients have indicated a strong desire for this to happen. In a survey of 2,700 patients that Accenture conducted
in May, 60% said that based on their experience using virtual care and
devices during the pandemic, they want to use technology more for communicating
with healthcare providers and managing their conditions in the
4. Listen through social channels
Actively monitor local and national social channels to
gather real-time insight into patient perceptions and community sentiment. This
enables quick operational pivots to address consumer needs and measure progress
along the way.
“While many health systems have improved safety protocols in light of COVID-19, they must also make the patient experience a top priority, not just to convince people to return, but also to lead the way in re-imagining the future of healthcare,” Stephan said. “In this new future of care, health systems need to provide effective, trusted, reliable care—both in person and virtually—while instilling confidence and demonstrating safety and respect. Otherwise, patients are likely to switch to other providers who are reinventing how healthcare services are delivered.”
– On the heels of $225.5 million dollars in funding and a
$1.5B valuation this week, Olive today announced its acquisition of Verata
Health to create a combined AI prior authorization solution for providers and
payers under the Olive name.
– Prior authorization is a $31 billion dollar issue in
healthcare, and one of the top reasons patient care is delayed. Olive is now
able to reduce write-offs by over 40% and cut turnaround times for prior
authorizations by up to 80%, ultimately offering hospitals $3.5 million in
Olive today, announced
of Verata Health to solve prior
authorizations for providers and payers via artificial
intelligence as a combined solution under the Olive name. The acquisition
follows Olive’s recent $225.5 million financing round to bolster the company’s
R&D war chest and drive the growth of Olive’s AI workforce for providers
and payers. With Olive’s recent momentum, Verata’s suite of AI tools will
deepen Olive’s impact as it automates the $31 billion problem of prior authorizations
Leverage Powerful Prior Authorization AI
Verata is a leading healthcare AI company, enabling
Frictionless Prior Authorization® for providers and payers. Seamlessly
connected to the nation’s top electronic health record
(EHR) systems, Verata’s AI technology automatically initiates prior
authorizations, retrieves payer rules, and helps identify and submit clinical
documentation from the EHR.
When payers leverage its AI platform, Verata enables point-of-care
authorizations for providers and patients, dramatically accelerating access to
Solving the $31B Prior Authorization Burden
Prior authorizations were the most costly and time-consuming transactions for providers in 2019 and are among the top reasons patient care is delayed. As cash-strapped hospitals and health systems strive to meet patient, payer, and provider needs, the demand for AI technologies to increase efficiency and improve the patient experience has become critical. To help improve patient access to care and remedy the $31 billion prior authorization challenge, Olive and Verata’s combined prior authorization solution streamlines the process for providers, patients, and payers by reducing write-offs by over 40% and cutting turnaround time for prior authorizations by up to 80%.
Acquisition Will Provide End-to-End Prior Authorization
By integrating Verata’s solution, Olive is able to provide customers with a true end-to-end prior authorization solution. The solution starts with determining if an authorization is required, includes touchless submission of the prior authorization request, ends with automating denied claim appeals, and grants hospitals a 360-degree view of their authorization performance. This means patients not only get the care they need faster but also eliminates confusing bills patients receive post-service stating their claim has been denied by their insurance.
As part of the acquisition, more than 60 Verata employees
will join the Olive team following the acquisition, bringing Olive’s total
employee count to approximately 500. Olive’s senior executive team will
continue to grow as well:
– Lori Jones, Chief Revenue Officer, will retain her title
and will also take on the role of President, Provider Market
– Dr. Jeremy Friese, Chief Executive Officer at Verata, will
join Olive as President, Payer Market
– Dr. YiDing Yu, Chief Medical Officer at Verata, will
become Olive’s Chief Medical Officer
“A broken healthcare system is one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today and prior authorization issues, in particular, are costing our nation billions of dollars. After partnering with Verata earlier this year, we saw incredible potential for Verata’s technology to reduce the amount of time and money spent on prior authorizations, and to eliminate delays in patient care,” said Sean Lane, CEO of Olive. “This acquisition allows Olive to accelerate innovation in areas where we can drive the biggest impact, and further expands our solutions to providers and payers seeking to transform healthcare.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
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.
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.
– CarepathRx will
acquire the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s pharmacy operations in a
– The company fully
integrates pharmacy operations, expands healthcare services, improves
ambulatory access, minimizes clinical variation and creates new health system
– CarepathRx serves more than 15 health systems and 600
hospitals, with more than 1,500 employees nationwide, 400 payor contracts.
Already CarepathRx has treated more than 100,000 patients.
CarepathRx, a leader in pharmacy and medication management
solutions for vulnerable and chronically ill patients, announced today a
partnership with UPMC’s Chartwell subsidiary that will expand patient access to
innovative specialty pharmacy and home infusion services. Under the $400M landmark
agreement, CarepathRx will acquire
the management services organization responsible for the operational and
strategic management of Chartwell while UPMC becomes a strategic investor in CarepathRx.
This new partnership expands CarepathRx’s specialty and home infusion capabilities. “Our partnership with UPMC and Chartwell is an important step for CarepathRx. We set out to create a new approach to pharmacy care in the market—one that is centered on the patient and that works collaboratively with both the provider and the payor of health care,” said Figueroa, chief executive officer of CarepathRx. “We welcome the team at Chartwell to the CarepathRx family and are thrilled to partner with UPMC to help us achieve our mission.”
Optimize Your Hospital Pharmacy
Founded in 2019 by seasoned health care executive John Figueroa and middle-market private equity firm Nautic Partners LLC, CarepathRx has rapidly become a leader in delivering comprehensive pharmacy solutions to patients undergoing complicated medication therapies. By focusing on the most vulnerable patients, CarepathRx is seeking to break down the barriers of typical pharmacy care and medication management. Its suite of solutions caters to patients undergoing specialty and infusion therapies, often for a variety of chronic conditions. CarepathRx works closely with partners across the health care spectrum—including health systems, community physicians, home health agencies and payors. Today, CarepathRx delivers its services to more than 600 hospitals across the country.
The transaction is expected to close
within 30 days. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. served as financial advisor to
Chartwell in the formation of the management services organization and
partnership with CarepathRx.
Healthcare leaders attempting to regain some of the revenue lost during the COVID-19 shutdowns now face a formidable challenge. The American Hospital Association estimates that U.S. hospitals and health systems lost $202.6 billion in just the four months from March 1 through June 30—roughly $50.7 billion per month.
Many variables feed into the overall financial impact for individual healthcare organizations, of course—including geographic location, local ordinances, specialty designations, and speed of service resumption. Regardless, every health system has experienced revenue shortfalls caused by disruptions to their service pipeline. The question now is how to generate enough additional revenue to cover some of those losses without incurring additional operating expenses.
We may be able to take practical inspiration from an unlikely source: the hospitality industry. By solving for something one healthcare organization calls “the motel problem,” health systems can increase workflow efficiency, staff satisfaction, clinic volume, and revenue.
The Motel Problem
Accurately assigning exam rooms with enough flexibility to accommodate continuously changing provider and patient schedules remains a perennial challenge for health systems. In fact, during a recent Porter Research study of 100 executive leaders, roughly two-thirds indicated their health systems lack visibility into exam room utilization.
The leaders of one academic medical center’s 65-physician neurology clinic began referring to this capacity challenge as “the motel problem.” How do motels consistently keep their rooms full of paying customers?. In contrast, their own exam rooms often appeared full on the scheduling spreadsheet but actually sat empty. Staff afraid of accidentally double-booking the space would then let those rooms sit idle.
Despite increasing the administrative time devoted to room management, underutilization in the neurology clinic caused rising patient wait times, lowered physician satisfaction, and decreased revenue. If the Porter Research survey is any indication, this situation is not unique. Approximately 72 percent of the survey’s respondents felt their room utilization rates were significantly subpar. Most said their organizations ran at about 20 points below the 80-89 percent utilization level they deemed optimal.
As the neurology department leadership mused about “the motel problem,” they looked at the similarities between motel and healthcare room management needs. Motels must match each guest to a room with the right accommodations (e.g., two doubles versus one king-sized bed) on the right dates. Health systems must take that same workflow one step further by matching the right patient and the right provider to a properly equipped exam room at the right time. In both cases, empty rooms mean lost revenue. Utilization is key.
Consequently, they came to believe that they needed a system that optimized room capacity with much of the same visibility and flexibility as a hotel or motel reservation system. That would require bringing together data about room availability, room attributes, provider schedules and patient needs—and making the resulting intelligence accessible through real-time displays.
A meaningful solution
When it comes to capacity management within a health system, the real complexity lies with provider and patient schedules. The physical space is always there; it’s the “people” part of the equation that’s fluid. What happens when Dr. Johnson suddenly falls ill, for example? Or Dr. Smith needs to attend a last-minute meeting? Or when patient Mrs. Brown reschedules her appointment?
Clinics typically rely on relatively static spreadsheets or siloed software to track room utilization. But these tools aren’t designed to make such real-time adjustments, especially at the enterprise level—which means the exam rooms assigned to an absent Dr. Johnson or Dr. Smith likely remain empty even as patients wait to be seen by other providers.
On the other hand, an organization’s scheduling system is aware when a provider calls in sick, heads to a meeting, or arrives at the clinic early. With a cloud-based scheduling platform, organizations can achieve near real-time visibility into provider availability across the enterprise.
Consider, then, what can happen when room management software is layered on top of an enterprise scheduling platform. Providers’ movements are then connected to exam room status. The entire organization gains transparency into how providers’ availability affects room availability. That allows staff to quickly and easily move providers into unused rooms and call patients in for appointments faster. Plus, by “tagging” various room attributes—like whether it’s equipped with oxygen or an ENT chair, for instance—such platforms ensure that the proper clinical accommodations are available when providers and patients need them.
Such real-time visualization of room availability can have a substantial impact on health system revenue. One regional health system, for example, calculated that underutilization in its orthopedic clinic costs at least $2,000 per provider per day in lost revenue.
Another large health system quantified the effect from a different perspective. It contemplated how maximizing capacity would enable increased patient throughput without investing in additional space or staff. With that in mind, the organization determined that every one percent increase in utilization results in an annual operational savings of $140,000.
At the neurology clinic, solving “the motel problem” by implementing a solution to standardize capacity generated both revenue growth and increased provider satisfaction. The organization has captured revenue previously missed through underutilization and has recognized that revenue scales directly proportional to volume.
To that end, gaining visibility into capacity has helped the clinic achieve a 7.4 percent increase in patient visits and a 4.7 percent increase in-clinic session volume. As important, providers now trust that the right exam rooms will be ready for them when needed—just like a reservation at a high-end hotel.
About Rich Miller
Rich Miller is the Chief Strategy Officer of QGenda, a healthcare workforce management provider, enabling organizations to optimize capacity across the enterprise. Leading physician groups, hospitals, academic medical centers, and enterprise health systems use QGenda to optimize their workforce which allows them to provide the best possible patient care.
Rising COVID-19 rates are expected to exacerbate volume
declines as many local and state governments reinstate stricter social
distancing policies, causing many to delay non-urgent procedures and outpatient
care. The result threatens to further destabilize hospitals financially in the
– Eight months into the pandemic, the Kaufman Hall median
hospital Operating Margin Index was –1.6% for January through October, not
including federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security Act (CARES Act). With the funding, the median margin was 2.4%
– Operating Margin fell 69.4% year-to-date (6.0 percentage
points) compared to the same period last year, and 9.2% year-over-year (1.4
percentage points) without CARES Act funding. With the federal aid, Operating
Margin fell 18.7% year-to-date (1.7 percentage points) and 8.5% (1.2 percentage
points) below October 2019 levels.
– Declining volumes and rising expenses contributed to the
month’s low margins. Adjusted Discharges fell 11.2% year-to-date and 9.3%
year-over-year, while Adjusted Patient Days dropped 7.7% year-to-date and 2.9%
year-over-year. Operating Room Minutes fell 11.7% year-to-date and 5.6%
compared to October 2019, as many patients opted to delay non-urgent
– Emergency Department (ED) Visits remained the hardest hit,
falling 16% both year-to-date and year-over-year in October, but increased 1.9%
from September. The month-over-month increase was due in part to rising
COVID-19 infections, which also contributed to a 7.6% month-over-month increase
in Discharges, reflecting higher numbers of inpatients.
– Gross Operating Revenue (not including CARES Act funding)
fell 4.8% from January to October compared to the same period in 2019, but was
flat compared to October 2019. Fewer outpatient visits were a major
contributor, driving Outpatient Revenue down 6.6% year-to-date and 2.6%
year-over-year. Inpatient Revenue declined 2.4% year-to-date but rose 2.6%
– Expenses rose as hospitals continued to bring back
furloughed workers, and purchased drugs, personal protective equipment, and
other supplies needed to care for COVID-19 patients. Total Expense per Adjusted
Discharge rose 13.5% year-to-date and 12.2% year-over-year in October. Labor
Expense and Non-Labor Expense per Adjusted Discharge rose 15.2% and 13%
year-to-date, respectively. Such increases will put hospitals in a tenuous
situation if volumes continue to decline.
Why It Matters
“The next few months will be a grave period for our country, and for our nation’s hospitals and health systems,” said Jim Blake, a managing director at Kaufman Hall and publisher of the National Hospital Flash Report, which draws on data from more than 900 U.S. hospitals. “If unchecked, the virus is projected to continue its rapid spread through communities as families gather for the holidays, and as colder weather pushes more activities indoors. The potential public health implications and financial impacts for our hospitals could be dire.”
For more information, click here
to download the report.
– HealthStream acquires Change Healthcare’s staff
scheduling business for $67.5M in cash which includes the ANSOS™ Staff
Scheduling (“ANSOS”) platform and related products.
– The acquisition will help establish HealthStream as a
market leader in healthcare workforce scheduling business.
leading provider of workforce and provider solutions for the healthcare
industry has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Change Healthcare’s staff
scheduling business, which includes their market-leading ANSOS™
Staff Scheduling (“ANSOS”) application and related products. : The purchase
price payable upon the closing of the ANSOS acquisition will be approximately
$67.5 million in cash (subject to working capital and other customary purchase
price adjustments), which will be funded with cash on hand.
ANSOS Platform Background
ANSOS is an enterprise solution for healthcare providers
that want to anticipate workload requirements, manage labor costs, apply
complex work rules, and meet credential requirements for shifts—all for the
purpose of optimizing staff deployment. Today, the platform is used by over 300
hospitals and health systems and continues to be recognized as a market leader
in nurse and staff scheduling by KLAS™.
In addition to the ANSOS Staff Scheduling application, the
contemplated acquisition includes related products: Enterprise Visibility™, a
patient tracking system, and Capacity Planner™, a predictive analytics tool.
Importantly, all three products (i.e. ANSOS, Enterprise Visibility, and
Capacity Planner) work in concert with each other, creating a powerful solution
suite for aligning staff and scheduling based on patient acuity, predicting
patient demand, and adjusting resources for optimal outcomes.
Acquisition Expands HealthStream’s Portfolio of Staff
Scheduling & Workforce Solutions
The addition of Change Healthcare’s staff scheduling
business will expand HealthStream’s growing portfolio of solutions for staff
scheduling and workforce management, which began in early 2020 with the
acquisition of NurseGrid and grew further with the acquisition of ShiftWizard
last month. The complementary positioning of ANSOS, ShiftWizard, and NurseGrid
will enable future data integrations and advanced analytics that yield smarter
schedule development while enhancing engagement with staff.
“We are excited to add ANSOS to HealthStream’s growing nurse
and staff scheduling business for healthcare providers as we believe this is a
major win for everyone: customers, partners, employees, and shareholders,” said
Robert A. Frist, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, HealthStream. “The closing of
this transaction will establish HealthStream as an industry leader in nurse and
staff scheduling for healthcare providers. Considering our strong track record
of strengthening acquired products and solutions to deliver even greater value
to customers, I believe we are well positioned for continued growth and
innovation in workforce management.”
Following the acquisition, customer support for each of
these products will remain in place. Approximately 90 employees from Change
Healthcare will join HealthStream upon closing. Together, ANSOS, ShiftWizard,
and NurseGrid represent HealthStream’s portfolio of nurse and staff scheduling
solutions with executive oversight provided by Scott McQuigg, Senior Vice
President, HealthStream. These solutions will be included in HealthStream’s
Workforce Solutions business segment.
Revenues for the business to be acquired are primarily
associated with sales of perpetual software, maintenance, and professional
services. HealthStream expects incremental revenues in 2021 to range between
$16.5 and $19.5 million, taking into account an estimated reduction of between
$7.0 and $8.0 million related to deferred revenue write-downs. While the
business has historically sold perpetual software licenses, future product
development and sales efforts are anticipated to be directed towards a
HealthStream plan to make investments in the areas of sales,
marketing, product development, and operations to support this initiative. In
addition, we anticipate the amortization of acquired intangible assets to range
between $3.0 and $4.0 million during 2021. Considering the additional investments
intended during 2021, the deferred revenue write-downs, the amortization of
intangible assets, and transition services expenses, we expect the acquired
business to generate an operating loss in 2021.
Senior isolation is a health risk that affects at least a quarter of seniors over 65. It has become recognized over the past decade as a risk factor for poor aging outcomes including cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, impaired immune function, and even death.
Physical limitations, lack of transportation, and inadequate health literacy, among other social determinants of health (SDOH), further impair access to medical and mental health treatment and preventive care for older adults. These factors combine to increase the impact of chronic comorbidities and acute issues in our nation’s senior population.
COVID-19 exacerbates the negative impacts of social isolation. The consequent need for social distancing and reduced use of the healthcare system due to the risk of potential SARS-CoV-2 exposure are both important factors for seniors. Without timely medical attention, a minor illness or injury quickly deteriorates into a life-threatening situation. And without case management, chronic medical conditions worsen.
Among Medicare beneficiaries alone, social isolation is the source of $6.7 billion in additional healthcare costs annually. Preventing and addressing loneliness and social isolation are critically important goals for healthcare systems, communities, and national policy.
Organizations across the healthcare spectrum are taking a more holistic view of patients and the approaches used to connect the most vulnerable populations to the healthcare and community resources they need. To support that effort, technology is now available to facilitate analysis of the socioeconomic and environmental circumstances that adversely affect patient health and mitigate the negative impacts of social isolation.
Addressing Chronic Health Issues and SDOH
When we think about addressing chronic health issues and SDOH in older adults, it is usually after the fact, not focused on prevention. By the time a person has reached 65 years of age, they may already be suffering from the long-term effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. Access points to healthcare for older adults are often in the setting of post-acute care with limited attention to SDOH. The focus is almost wholly limited to the treatment and management of complications versus preventive measures.
Preventive outreach for older adults begins by focusing on health disparities and targeting patients at the highest risk. Attention must shift to care quality, utilization, and health outcomes through better care coordination and stronger data analytics. Population health management technology is the vehicle to drive this change.
Bimodal Outreach: Prevention and Follow-Up Interventions
Preventive care includes the identification of high-risk individuals. Once identified, essential steps of contact, outreach, assessment, determination, referral, and follow-up must occur. Actions are performed seamlessly within an organization’s workflows, with automated interventions and triggered alerts. And to establish a true community health record, available healthcare and community resources must be integrated to support these actions.
Social Support and Outreach through Technology
Though older adults are moving toward more digitally connected lives, many still face unique barriers to using and adopting new technologies. So how can we use technology to address the issues?
Provide education and trainingto improve health literacy and access, knowledge of care resources, and access points. Many hospitals and health systems offer day programs that teach seniors how to use a smartphone or tablet to access information and engage in preventive services. For example, connecting home monitoring devices such as digital blood pressure reading helps to keep people out of the ED.
Use population health and data analyticsto identify high-risk patients. Determining which patients are at higher risk requires stratification at specific levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 hospitalizations rise with age, from approximately 12 per 100,000 people among those 65 to 74 years old, to 17 per 100,000 for those over 85. And those who recover often have difficulty returning to the same level of physical and mental ability. Predictive analytics tools can target various risk factors including:
– Recent ED visits or hospitalizations
– Presence of multiple chronic conditions
– Food insecurity, housing instability, lack of transportation, and other SDOH
– Frailty indices such as fall risk
With the capability to identify the top 10% or the top 1% of patients at highest risk, care management becomes more efficient and effective using integrated care coordination platforms to assist staff in conducting outreach and assessments. Efforts to support care coordination workflows are essential, especially with staffing cutbacks, COVID restrictions, and related factors.
Optimal Use of Care Coordination Tools
Training and education of the healthcare workforce is necessary to maximize the utility of care coordination tools. Users must understand all the capabilities and how to make the most of them. Care coordination technology simplifies workflows, allowing care managers to:
– Risk-stratify patient populations, identify gaps in care, and develop customized care coordination strategies by taking a holistic view of patient care.
– Target high-cost, high-risk patients for intervention and ensure that each patient receives the right level of care, at the right time and in the right setting.
– Emphasize prevention, patient self-management, continuity of care and communication between primary care providers, specialists and patients.
This approach helps to identify the resources needed to create community connections that older adults require. Data alone is insufficient. The most effective solution requires a combination of data analytics to identify patients at highest risk, business intelligence to generate interventions and alerts, and care management workflows to support outreach and interventions.
About Dr. Jenifer Leaf Jaeger
Dr. Jenifer Leaf Jaeger serves as the Senior Medical Director for HealthEC, a Best in KLAS population health and data analytics company. Jenifer provides clinical oversight to HealthEC’s population health management programs, now with a major focus on COVID-19. She functions at the intersection of healthcare policy, clinical care, and data analytics, translating knowledge into actionable insights for healthcare organizations to improve patient care and health outcomes at a reduced cost.
Prior to HealthEC, Jenifer served as Director, Infectious Disease Bureau and Population Health for the Boston Public Health Commission. She has previously held executive-level and advisory positions at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as academic positions at Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine, and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
– GigCapital2 Inc has agreed to merge with UpHealth Holdings Inc and Cloudbreak Health LLC to create a public digital healthcare company valued at $1.35 billion, including debt, the blankcheck acquisition company said on Monday.
– The combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and
will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol “UPH”.
Blank check acquisition
company GigCapital2 agreed to merge
with Cloudbreak Health, LLC, a unified telemedicine and video medical
interpretation solutions provider and UpHealth
Holdings, Inc., one of the largest national and international digital
healthcare providers to form a combined digital health company. The deal is valued
at $1.35 billion, including debt. the combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and will continue to be
listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol “UPH”.
Following the merger, UpHealth will be a leading global
digital healthcare company serving an entire spectrum of healthcare needs and
will be established in fast growing sectors of the digital health industry.
With its combinations, UpHealth is positioned to reshape healthcare across the
continuum of care by providing a single, integrated platform of best-in-class
technologies and tech-enabled services essential to personalized, affordable,
and effective care. UpHealth’s multifaceted and integrated platform provides
health systems, payors, and patients with a frictionless digital front door
that connects evidence-based care, workflows, and services.
“We are excited to partner with UpHealth and Cloudbreak through our Private-to-Public Equity (PPE)™ platform. The combined UpHealth has all the hallmarks we look for in a successful partnership, including a world-class executive team and an exceptional business model with scale, strong growth, and profitability margins in the digital healthcare industry. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to provide our Mentor-Investor™ discipline in partnership with an exceptional global leadership team, as well as participate in a high-tech integrated platform that comprises a variety of cutting edge disciplines, such as the Artificial Intelligence platform being developed by Global Telehealth in conjunction with the tech-enabled Behavioral Health divisions. We are confident UpHealth is at the inflection point and positioned for accelerated growth.” – Dr. Avi Katz – Founder and Executive Chairman of GigCapital2
Combined Company Offerings
Upon closing the pending mergers and the combination with Cloudbreak, UpHealth will be organized across four capabilities at the intersection of population health management and telehealth:
1. Integrated Care Management: Thrasys Inc. (“Thrasys”) has reinvested $100M of customer revenue to
develop its innovative SyntraNet Integrated Care technology platform. The
platform integrates and organizes information, provides advanced
population-based analytics and predictive models, and automates workflows
across health plans, health systems, government agencies, and community
organizations. The platform plans to add at least 40 million lives to UpHealth
in the next 3 years to support global initiatives to transform healthcare.
2. Global Telehealth: will consist of a U.S. division and an international division
that, together, are anticipated to grow revenues by an additional $47 million
The U.S. division of
Global Telehealth following the combination, Cloudbreak, is a leading unified
telemedicine platform performing more than 100,000 encounters per month on over
14,000 video endpoints at over 1,800 healthcare venues nationwide. The
Cloudbreak Platform offers telepsychiatry, telestroke, tele-urology, and other
specialties, all with integrated language services for Limited English Proficient
and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing patients. Cloudbreak’s innovative, secure platform
removes both distance and language barriers to improve patient care,
satisfaction, and outcomes.
division of Global Telehealth following the combination, Glocal Healthcare
Systems Pvt. Ltd (“Glocal”), is a global provider of virtual consultations and
local care spanning the care continuum. It has designed proven, affordable and
accessible solutions for the delivery of healthcare services globally. The
platform provides a full suite of primary and acute care services, including an
app-based telemedicine suite, digital dispensaries, and hospital centers. The
platform has signed several country-wide contracts with government ministries
across India, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
3. Digital Pharmacy: MedQuest Pharmacy (“MedQuest”) is a leading full-service manufactured and compounded pharmacy licensed in all 50 states that pre-packages and ships medications direct to patients. The company also offers lab services and testing, nutraceuticals, nutritional supplements, education for medical practitioners, and training for organizations, associations, and groups. MedQuest serves an established network of 13,000 providers. The MedQuest platform is poised for strong growth via targeted product expansion and expansive eCommerce capabilities for the entire provider network. UpHealth and MedQuest have mutually executed a merger agreement, the closing of which is awaiting regulatory approval for the transfer of licenses expected by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
4. Tech-enabled Behavioral Health: TTC Healthcare, Inc. (“TTC Healthcare”) and
Behavioral Health Services LLC (“BHS”) offer comprehensive services
specializing in acute and chronic outpatient behavioral health, rehabilitation
and substance abuse, both onsite and via telehealth. UpHealth’s Behavioral
Health capabilities have dramatically expanded use of telehealth for medical
and clinical services and are leveraging UpHealth’s platform to increase
volumes across its services. UpHealth and TTC Healthcare have mutually executed
a merger agreement, the closing of which is awaiting regulatory approval for
the transfer of licenses expected prior to the end of 2020.
Global Financial Impact and Reach
UpHealth will have agreements
to deliver digital healthcare in more than 10 countries globally. These various
companies are expected to generate approximately $115 million in revenue and
over $13 million of EBITDA in 2020 and following the combination, UpHealth
expects to generate over $190 million in revenue and $24 million in EBITDA in
Razor-thin operational margins coupled with substantial and ongoing losses related to COVID-19 are culminating in a perfect storm of bottom-line issues for U.S. hospitals and health systems. A study commissioned by the American Hospital Association (AHA) found that the median hospital margin overall was just 3.5% pre-pandemic, and projected margins will stay in the red for at least half of the nation’s hospitals for the remainder of 2020.
The reality is that an increase in COVID-19 cases will not overcome the pandemic’s devasting financial impact. An internal analysis found that, in the first half of 2020, client organizations documented more than 1.2 million COVID-19 related cases. At least one study suggests that $2,500 will be lost per case–despite a 20% Medicare payment increase. And notably, a positive test result is now required for the increased inpatient payment.
The healthcare industry must face its own “new normal” as the current path is unsustainable, and the future stability of hospitals in communities across the nations is uncertain. If financial leaders do not act now to implement systems and embrace sound revenue integrity practices, they will face unavoidable revenue cycle bottlenecks and limit their ability to capitalize on all appropriate reimbursement opportunities.
The COVID-19 Effect: A Bird’s Eye View
The financial impact of COVID-19 is far-reaching, impacting multiple angles of operations from supply chain costs to lost billing opportunities and compliance issues. Findings from a Physician’s Foundation report released in August suggest that U.S. healthcare spending dropped by 18% during the first quarter of 2020, the steepest decline since 1959.
Already vulnerable 2020 Q1 budgets were met with substantial losses when elective procedures—a sizeable part of income for most health systems—were halted for more than a month in many cases. Many hospitals continue to lose notable revenue associated with emergency care and ancillary testing as patients choose to avoid public settings amid ongoing public safety efforts.
Outpatient visits also dropped a whopping 60% in the wake of the pandemic. While a recent Harvard report suggests that numbers are back on track, the reality is that a resurgence of cases could make consumers wary of both doctor visits and elective procedures again.
In addition, the supply chain quickly became a cost risk for health systems by Q2 2020 as the ability to acquire drugs and medical supplies came at a premium. Meeting cost-containment goals flew out the window as did the ability to create value in purchasing power.
Further exacerbating the situation is an expected increase in denials as healthcare organizations navigate a fluid regulatory environment and learn how to interpret new guidance around coding and billing for COVID-19 related care. For example, while telehealth has proved a game-changer for care continuity across the U.S., reimbursement for these visits remains largely untested. History confirms that in times of rapid change, billing errors increase—and so do claims denials.
While there is little that can be done to minimize the impact of revenue losses and supply chain challenges, healthcare organizations can take proactive steps to identify all revenue opportunities and minimize compliance issues that will undoubtedly surface when auditors come knocking to ensure the appropriate use of COVID-19 stimulus dollars.
Holistically Addressing Revenue
Getting ahead of the current and evolving revenue storm will require healthcare organizations to elevate revenue integrity strategies. Hospitals and health systems should take four steps to get their billing and compliance house in order by addressing:
1. People: Build a cross-functional steering committee that will drive revenue integrity goals through better collaboration between billing and compliance teams.
2. Processes: Strategies that combine the strengths of both retrospective and prospective auditing will identify the root cause of errors and educate stakeholders to ensure clean, timely filed claims from the start.
3. Metrics: Best practice key performance indexes are available and should be used. Clean claim submission, denial rate, bad debt reduction and days in AR are a few to consider.
4. Technology: The role of emerging technologies that use artificial intelligence cannot be understated. Their ability to speed identification of risks, perform targeted audits, identify and address root causes and most importantly, monitor the impact of process improvements is changing current dynamics. For one large pediatric health system in the Southwest, technology-enabled coding and compliance processes resulted in $230 million in reduced COVID-related denials and a financial impact of $2.3 million.
Current manual processes used by many healthcare organizations to assess denials and manage revenue cycle will not provide the transparency needed to both get ahead of problems and identify areas for process improvement and corrective action in today’s complex environment.
About Vasilios Nassiopoulos
Vasilios Nassiopoulosis the Vice President of Platform Strategy and Innovation at Hayes, a healthcare technology provider that partners with the nation’s premier healthcare organizations to improve revenue, mitigate risk and streamline operations to succeed in an evolving healthcare landscape. Vasilios has over 25 years of healthcare experience with extensive knowledge of EHR systems and PMS software from Epic, Cerner, GE Centricity and Meditech. Prior to joining Hayes, Vasilios served Associate Principal at The Chartis Group.
– Medsphere acquires Micro-Office Systems (MOS),
developer of systems integration and communication tools. MOS will retain its
name and will serve as a division of Medsphere moving forward.
Corporation today announced the acquisition
of Micro-Office Systems (MOS)
in a move that will even further enhance the value and usability of Medsphere’s
affordable healthcare IT solutions and services. With over 30 years of healthcare IT
experience, MOS focuses on creating the in-between technology that streamlines
the functionality of various platforms and applications to the benefit of
administrators, clinicians, and patients. The acquisition enhances Medsphere’s
platform with the integration of custom medical practice and healthcare IT solutions.
MOS Product Portfolio
The MOS product portfolio includes numerous interfaces to
improve communication and integration among solutions; system migration tools
and strategies to smooth and hasten the transition from one system to another;
and the Patient Communications Gateway, a comprehensive, modular system that
empowers healthcare organizations to effectively communicate with patients.
“The entire healthcare IT industry, with as many products as there are, has evolved to the point where the connective tissue is just about as important as the muscle and bone,” said Medsphere President and CEO Irv Lichtenwald. “Even when healthcare IT was in its relative infancy, Micro-Office Systems was improving communication among platforms and making localized systems work better for all users. This is a tremendous addition to Medsphere’s solution suite and we have every confidence that our clients will recognize and appreciate the enhanced performance MOS enables.”
Recent M&A Activity
of MOS is only Medsphere’s most recent move to expand company offerings. In
recent years Medsphere has added ambulatory healthcare IT solutions provider ChartLogic; healthcare IT consulting and
outsourcing provider Phoenix
Health Systems; robust revenue cycle management systems developer Stockell
Healthcare, which now operates under the Medsphere banner; and the top-rated
Wellsoft emergency department information system.
As part of the acquisition, MOS will retain the Micro-Office
Systems name with the added modifier, “A Division of Medsphere.”
– Central Logic has acquired Omaha-based Ensocare, which
automates the referral process for patients from hospital to post-acute care
(PAC) when they are being discharged.
– This acquisition means that Central Logic’s technology
solution will now expand its reach across the care continuum, from acute to
post-acute care—into, through and out of the health system. This combined
capability is key to increasing patient satisfaction while also increasing
patient census by ensuring beds are available when they are needed by new
the leading healthcare access and orchestration company, announced today that
it has acquired
Omaha-based Ensocare, which automates
the inpatient referral process to post-acute care (PAC). Central Logic’s health
system technology solution currently focuses on referrals and transfers into a
health system by uniting all available provider, facility and transportation
resources. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Making Care Transition More Efficient
About 40% of Medicare beneficiaries are discharged from the hospital to post-acute facilities. With a
large aging population, U.S. health systems face growing pressures to improve
care access and streamline transitions of care to optimize patient outcomes,
increase operating margins, and control costs.
Founded in 1999, Ensocare provides hospitals and post-acute care
providers software and proactive support to manage patient transitions of care,
improve efficiency in the referral management process and streamline
communication between healthcare organizations. Backed by live, 24/7 customer
support and tapping into the nation’s largest no-cost post-acute care network,
we’ll help you lower costs, enhance patient satisfaction and increase
profitability by automating workflows and eliminating inefficient systems.
Acquisition Expands Central Logic’s Solutions to Post-Acute
The acquisition of Ensocare expands Central Logic’s solution
to include successful transitions out of hospitals to post-acute care
settings—including skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, long-term
acute care centers, and even the home—by tapping into Ensocare’s active,
curated network of more than 50,000 PAC providers nationwide. Placement
confirmations are secured on average within 30 minutes.
In light of the Ensocare
acquisition, Central Logic becomes the only solution in the market that
provides region-wide acute care transfer, transport and post-acute care
transfer capabilities in one platform, enabling health systems to more
cohesively operate as one.
Private Equity firm Rubicon Technology partners, a leading
private equity firm based in Boulder, Colo., made a strategic majority investment in Central Logic in June,
with a commitment to accelerating growth. Two weeks before Rubicon’s majority
investment in Central Logic, the PE firm announced a new $1.25 billion fund that exceeded the fund target
of $850 million in less than 6 months. The Ensocare acquisition marks the first
major milestone in Central Logic’s growth trajectory that Rubicon committed to
when making its strategic majority investment in the company earlier this year.
Central Logic’s technology will now span 800 hospitals and
health systems, covering 150,000 providers and more than 5 million
patients—representing 14% of U.S. annual inpatient visits. he company now
employs 125 team members and will continue to operate Ensocare’s Omaha, Neb.,
location, as well as existing Central Logic offices in St. Paul, Minn., and
“This strategic acquisition means that our solutions will now span the care continuum from acute to post-acute care, which will improve transitions into, through and out of the health system, creating true ‘systemness’ for our clients,” said Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic. “By operating as one, health systems can offer a more seamless experience for their patients across all acuity levels while enabling providers to stay connected and strengthening the relationships with PAC providers in their communities.”
Our fully integrated solution will provide visibility and access to data that ensures hospital beds are freed in a timely manner when inpatient care is no longer necessary. This decreases length of stay and increases throughput,” Franks said. “Further, this kind of efficient orchestration and navigation creates bed availability and access for incoming patients, creates more time for clinicians to operate at the top of their license and elevates revenue capture and reduction of system leakage.”
Central Logic’s existing solutions already deliver 10x ROI to health system clients in the first year, and Franks says that clients that expand their engagement to include the acute to post-acute orchestration and access solution will see even greater results. “This is more important now than ever as health systems across the country implement the necessary controls and programs to rebuild operating margin deficits due to COVID-19,” Franks added.
Blockchain technology has somewhat infamously been described as “a solution in search of a problem,” but as the healthcare industry responds to the demands of the pandemic, several valuable use cases have surfaced that could benefit from employing the emerging technology.
Due in large part due to its ability to promote trust, transparency, and privacy, blockchain has emerged as today’s best technology-based option for accomplishing the important objective of delivering real-time access to critical information that is presented in a consistent format from trusted sources.
False positives, duplicate records, and privacy issues make it very difficult to derive actionable intelligence with confidence from the current data-sharing infrastructure that exists in the healthcare industry. Further, lack of trust represents another challenge that hinders the formation of greater transparency, as much of the healthcare industry remains reluctant to pervasively share data due to privacy and competitive barriers.
By design, blockchain allows for competing organizations to come together to share data about their patients in a completely auditable way, while maintaining their competitive independence and privacy concerns. It is these fundamental qualities that have helped blockchain emerge as a viable solution for a number of critical healthcare functions whose importance has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as contact tracing, provider credentialing, and patient records-sharing.
Blockchain: The basics Before delving into the specifics of what blockchain can do for healthcare during the pandemic, it is important to establish a general understanding of blockchain’s basics. By no means is it necessary for most healthcare executives to develop a deep knowledge of the technology, but familiarity with its essential elements will enable business leaders to speak roughly the same language as healthcare technology experts as blockchain continues to gain prominence.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables users to share trusted and verified information in a decentralized manner. Combined with security and cryptography technology, blockchain can protect the privacy of users who contribute data while also sharing the provenance of the data, enhancing trust.
Blockchain technology provides a safe, effective way to accurately document, maintain, store, and move data – from health records to financial transactions. With blockchain, people can directly engage with others to receive services, transfer money, and perform other common daily tasks we do in business today.
Blockchain use cases The biggest benefits offered by blockchain are associated with greater trust and privacy due to the technology’s ability to enable better data accuracy and verification. At its most basic level, blockchain changes ownership and control of data from one centralized source to multiple sources that contribute data. Following are three COVID-19-related use cases for blockchain in healthcare.
Contact tracing: To follow the potential transmission of the novel coronavirus, many governments have embarked upon contact tracing, in which infected individuals are asked to list all other people they’ve come into contact with over a certain period of time. Decentralization of data helps facilitate critical healthcare operations such as contact tracing because the process is reliant on using granular, sensitive data to inform public health officials of who may be at risk of exposure based on their movements and contacts. In contract tracing, maintaining individuals’ privacy is critical. Earlier this year, blockchain platform Nodle launched a contact-tracing app called “Coalition,” which emphasized user privacy.
Patient-record sharing: Another valuable use case for blockchain as it relates to COVID-19 is the aggregation of patient records during a crisis or disaster to create a “light” electronic health records system, which disparate groups of providers can use to share patient records while treating unfamiliar patients during the pandemic or other crises and natural disasters. Such a platform will allow providers to work with patients who may not have access to their usual provider, but still receive the full range of needed services and prescriptions. The main concept of the solution is that patients’ electronic health records follow them wherever they go. In other words, regardless of where the patient stays during a disaster, there is always access to their personal medical information and they are able to receive required medical services. This patient data can be delivered through a blockchain digital wallet, providing access, security, and integrity of data.
Provider credentialing: Provider credentialing — which is the process of verifying providers’ skills, training and education — is an often-tedious, time-consuming process for both providers and payers that can lead to delays in care that contribute to poor health outcomes. By using blockchain for the process, providers can maintain control of their own data and give health systems, payers and other authorities access to their credentials as they like. Earlier this year, five organizations announced plans to use a new blockchain credentialing system from ProCredEx with the aim of using distributed ledger technology to reduce time and costs associated with the traditional approach to credentialing.
The right technology at the right time It is important to note that blockchain technology requires a cultural and paradigm shift toward broader collaboration across traditionally disparate and potentially competitive entities. The technology facilitates a framework that allows organizations to contribute to joint efforts without risking their intellectual property or proprietary information. However, it will still require an intentional change in behavior to successfully work across different business interests toward a common goal. Nonetheless, to surmount the challenges posed by healthcare’s manual, time-consuming processes for contact tracing, patient record-sharing, and provider credentialing, blockchain represents the right technology at the right time.
About Brett Furst
A senior executive with nearly three decades of experience in selling and managing technology solutions within the manufacturing, CPG, and healthcare industries, Brett Furst serves as president of HHS Technology Group, a software and solutions company serving the needs of commercial enterprises and government agencies.
– Change Healthcare launches national data resource on
social determinants of health (SDoH) for doctors, insurers and life sciences
organizations to better understand the connection between where a person lives
and how they live their life to the care a patient receives and their health
– 80% of U.S. health outcomes are tied to a patient’s
social and economic situation, ranging from food, housing, and transportation
insecurity to ethnicity.
Change Healthcare, today announced the launch of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Analytics solution that will serve as an innovative national data resource that connects the circumstances of people’s lives to the care they receive. The SDoH Analytics solution is designed for health systems, insurers, and life sciences organizations to explore how geodemographic factors affect patient outcomes.
Understanding Social Determinants of Health
SDoH includes factors such as socioeconomic status, education, demographics, employment, health behaviors, social support networks, and access to healthcare. Individuals who experience challenges in any of these areas can face significant risks to their overall health.
“All the work I do—for Mayo Clinic, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, and The Fight Is In Us— is predicated on equity,” said John Halamka, president, Mayo Clinic Platform. “The only way we can eliminate racism and disparities in care is to better understand the challenges. Creating a national data resource on the social determinants of health is an impactful first step.”
The SDoH Portrait Analysis includes financial attributes, education
attributes, housing attributes, ethnicity, and health behavior attributes.
3 Ways Healthcare Organizations Can Leverage SDoH
Healthcare organizations can now use SDoH Analytics to
assess, select, and implement effective programs to help reduce costs and
improve patient outcomes. Organizations can choose one of three ways to use
1. Receive customized reports identifying SDoH factors that
impact emergency room, inpatient, and outpatient visits across diverse
population health segments.
2. Append existing systems with SDoH data to close
information gaps and help optimize both patient engagement and outcomes.
3. Leverage a secure, hosted environment with ongoing
compliance monitoring for the development of unique data analytics, models, or
Why It Matters
Scientific research has shown that 80% of health outcomes
are SDoH-related. Barriers such as food and housing availability,
transportation insecurity, and education inequity must be addressed to reduce
health disparities and improve outcomes. Change Healthcare’s SDoH Analytics
links deidentified claims with factors such as financial stability, education
level, ethnicity, housing status, and household characteristics to reveal the
correlations between SDoH, clinical care, and patient outcomes. The resulting
dataset is de-identified in accordance with HIPAA privacy regulations.
“Health systems, insurers, and scientists can now use SDoH Analytics to make a direct connection between life’s circumstances and health outcomes,” said Tim Suther, senior vice president of Data Solutions at Change Healthcare. “This helps optimize healthcare utilization, member engagement, and employer wellness programs. Medical affairs and research are transformed. And most importantly, patient outcomes improve. SDoH Analytics makes these data-driven insights affordable and actionable.”
– Omada’s diabetes prevention program will be available
to Intermountain’s at-risk patient population as part of a limited engagement
in 2020 and 2021.
– Omada’s diabetes prevention program is personalized to
meet each participant’s unique needs as they evolve, ranging from diabetes
prevention, type 2 diabetes management, hypertension, behavioral health, and
Deepening a collaboration that began in 2016, Omada Health
Healthcare announced the availability of Omada’s Prevention Program as a covered
benefit to patients with prediabetes seen by Intermountain Medical Group
providers at Intermountain primary care facilities. As in-person healthcare
systems seek to integrate proven digital care and coaching for at-risk
patients, this new offering creates a roadmap for large health systems across
the country. Omada’s prevention program will be available to Intermountain’s
at-risk patient population as part of a limited engagement in 2020 and 2021
that launched at the end of August.
Omada’s diabetes prevention program is personalized to meet
each participant’s unique needs as they evolve, ranging from diabetes
prevention, type 2 diabetes management, hypertension, behavioral health, and
musculoskeletal issues. Omada combines professional health coaching, connected
health devices, real-time data and personalized feedback to deliver clinically
Expansion Builds on Previous Successful Collaborations
This announcement builds on a series of milestones between
Intermountain Healthcare and Omada. In 2016, the two companies launched an
innovative partnership in conjunction with the American Medical Association to
deliver digital diabetes prevention services via physician referral. In 2019,
the Omada Program became a covered benefit for Intermountain employees and
their adult dependents, followed by an investment from
Intermountain Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Intermountain
“Intermountain is focused on ensuring all patients receive the care and information they need – where, when, and how they want it – with seamless coordination across the system,” said Elizabeth Joy, M.D., M.P.H., Intermountain’s Medical Director for the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness under Community Based Care and Nutrition Services. “We’ve enrolled nearly 2,000 participants to date from our caregiver population, and we anticipate that access to the Omada program will enhance patient engagement and improve health outcomes in a time when patients are seeking deeply human digital care.”
Why It Matters
“By expanding the Omada diabetes prevention program to our at-risk patients, digital coaches will help encourage and teach patients to proactively manage and improve their overall health and prevent a potentially deadly disease. This is one of the many ways Intermountain Healthcare is moving toward value-based care, which aims to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, not just for patients, but entire communities,” said Rajesh Shrestha, VP and COO, community-based care at Intermountain and president and CEO of Castell, an Intermountain company focused on elevating value-based care capabilities.
– Nuance Communications, Inc. and one of the country’s
largest health systems, Providence, announced a strategic collaboration,
supported by Microsoft, dedicated to creating better patient experiences and ease
– The collaboration centers around Providence harnessing
Nuance’s AI-powered solutions to securely and automatically capture
– As part of the expanded partnership, Nuance and
Providence will jointly innovate to create technologies that improve health
system efficiency by reducing digital friction.
Nuance® Communications, Inc. and Providence, one of the largest health systems in the
country, today announced a strategic collaboration to improve both the patient
and caregiver experience. As part of this collaboration, Providence will
build on the long-term relationship with Nuance to deploy Nuance’s cloud
solutions across its 51-hospital, seven-state system. Together, Providence and
Nuance will also develop integrated clinical intelligence and enhanced revenue cycle
Enhancing the Clinician-Patient Experience
In partnership with Nuance, Providence will focus on the clinician-patient experience by harnessing a comprehensive voice-enabled platform that through patient consent uses ambient sensing technology to securely and privately listen to clinician-patient conversations while offering workflow and knowledge automation to complement the electronic health record (EHR). This technology is key to enabling physicians to focus on patient care and spend less time on the increasing administrative tasks that contribute to physician dissatisfaction and burnout.
“Our partnership with Nuance is helping Providence make it easier for our doctors and nurses to do the hard work of documenting the cutting-edge care they provide day in and day out,” said Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D., executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Providence. “The tools we’re developing let our caregivers focus on their patients instead of their keyboards, and that will go a long way in bringing joy back to practicing medicine.”
Providence to Expand Deployment of Nuance Dragon Medical
To further improve healthcare experiences for both providers
and patients, Providence will build on its deployment of Nuance Dragon
Medical One with the Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX). Innovated by Nuance and
Microsoft, Nuance DAX combines Nuance’s conversational AI technology with
Microsoft Azure to securely capture and contextualize every word of the patient
encounter – automatically documenting patient care without taking the
physician’s attention off the patient.
Providence and Nuance to Jointly Create Digital Health
As part of the expanded partnership, Nuance and Providence
will jointly innovate to create technologies that improve health system
efficiency by reducing digital friction. This journey will begin with the
deployment of CDE One for Clinical Documentation Integrity workflow management,
Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation (CAPD), and Surgical CAPD, which
focus on accurate clinician documentation of patient care. Providence will also
adopt Nuance’s cloud-based PowerScribe One radiology reporting solution to
achieve new levels of efficiency, accuracy, quality, and performance.
Why It Matters
By removing manual note-taking, Providence enables deeper
patient engagement and reduces burdensome paperwork for its clinicians. In
addition to better patient outcomes and provider experiences, this
collaboration also serves as a model for the deep partnerships needed to
– Amwell just announced some new offerings Amwell Now, Touchpoint
Tablet software, and C500 to help increase doctor-to-patient virtual
connections as patient and doctor preferences change in light of the pandemic.
– The new solutions (a quick-to-deploy video visit offering, new tablet software, and a telemedicine cart) are designed to be easy-to-use but fully integrated in the provider’s systems and secure.
leader, today announced new connectivity, device and cart offerings, all
tailored to meet the evolving needs of care teams and patients. Spurred by the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amwell is introducing Amwell Now,
Tablet software, and the C500
telemedicine cart to help health systems and other healthcare organizations
easily leverage telehealth as a safe, quality care option.
and Amwell’s latest Carepoint tablets and carts are designed to make it easier
for providers to quickly onboard patients and use virtual care. These tools can
be integrated within and scaled across organizations’ current systems and
devices, making it simple to embed and launch telehealth across various
specialties and serve an entire care organization. New offerings include:
enables a simple connectivity experience for patients and providers,
streamlining entry to the Amwell platform, which is purposefully designed for
healthcare interactions. Amwell Now addresses physicians’ needs for easy, fast
video visits, all on Amwell’s HIPAA compliant, clinically tailored platform. It
delivers simple reporting functionality and the ability for organizations to
put forward their own brand versus that of Amwell. Providers can deploy Amwell
Now with only a few clicks, invite patients by text or email, launch an instant
video connection, and experience an adaptable video visit workflow that is easy
for both themselves and their patients.
Touchpoint Tablet Software
Amwell’s Touchpoint Tablet software offers a new and simple
way to connect remote providers to on-site patients and providers. With it,
health systems can use (existing or new) iPads to facilitate bedside video
connectivity and collaboration in a secure, reliable, HIPAA-compliant way. The
Touchpoint Tablet software is integrated with Amwell Fleet Monitoring, enabling
health systems to track their tablets as part of their Carepoint fleet.
C500: Lightweight Telemedicine Cart
is Amwell’s latest-generation, lightweight telemedicine cart that empowers providers
to conduct efficient, high-quality remote exams across a variety of
specialties. Featuring an embedded 4K camera that responds immediately to user
commands and smart sensors that make the cart environment-aware, the C500
provides a seamless care experience that is fully integrated with the Amwell
Why It Matters
“Amid COVID-19, healthcare organizations’ needs for and expectations surrounding telehealth have fundamentally changed,” said Ido Schoenberg, Chairman and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Increasingly, virtual care is being used as core to all types of care delivery, whether it’s to safeguard care teams, limit unnecessary exposure for patients, or to prioritize the home as a go-to care setting. Our latest offerings are responsive to industry calls for simplicity, integration, and quality, and in service to the evolving landscape of healthcare and our lives overall.”
the leader in technology-enabled behavioral health integration, is now
available to healthcare providers through Epic’s App
Orchard marketplace. NeuroFlow combines provider workflow augmentation
solutions, clinical care dashboards, and a patient-facing application to create
a clinical feedback loop centered around behavioral health.
– Patient generated data including validated assessment
scores, mood and sleep ratings, and journal responses are fed into NeuroFlow’s
provider-facing web platform, which leverages a combination of machine learning
and natural language processing (NLP) from patient journal entries to risk
stratify patients and enhance care coordination efforts.
– The NeuroFlow integration with Epic will
help organizations accelerate their efforts toward integrated care by
facilitating reimbursement for collaborative care codes and optimizing value-based contracts.
– The launch is an encouraging development for health
systems seeking to practice any of a range of collaborative care models, a
clinical approach integrating both the physical and mental health of
patients. Hospitals and health systems using Epic can deploy NeuroFlow to
streamline clinical workflows and scale existing initiatives for measuring and
treating patients’ mental health symptoms.
– Cerner is striking a deal with patient communication
hub company WELL Health to change its patient communication technology for its
– Through Cerner’s HealtheLife, the new capabilities will
pull from a myriad of systems and apps to help improve communication and reduce
administrative time for clinicians and staff.
Cerner Corporation, a global health care technology company, today announced new capabilities designed to take the interaction between clinicians and patients beyond email to text message conversations, helping solve for a gap in communication in health care. The new features, in collaboration with WELL Health Inc. and to be integrated into Cerner’s patient portal, are designed to help improve patients’ engagement with clinicians through intelligent and automated communication.
New capabilities will unify and automate previously
disjointed communications, enhance patient engagement, and save clinicians time
Through Cerner’s HealtheLife, the new capabilities will
pull from a myriad of systems and apps to help improve communication and reduce
administrative time for clinicians and staff. Organizations can use the new
automation features to deliver critical health information, send flu shot
reminders, reschedule appointments, schedule virtual visits and prompt patients
to set up needed medical transportation. Additional benefits are expected to:
– Improve patient satisfaction, retention and acquisition
through timely communication and reduced hold queues, missed calls and email
– Save time spent scheduling and communicating with patients
by using automated workflows that reply and route based on patient responses.
– Reduce time spent on billing and payment collections by
auto-notifying patients when new bills are ready for payment.
“WELL Health is focused on what patients expect today – near real-time, personalized communication on their terms. We aim to move beyond the days of playing phone tag, leaving voicemails and expecting patients to continue showing up,” said Guillaume de Zwirek, CEO and founder, WELL Health. “WELL Health supports patients to text their health care provider like they would text a friend. For a provider’s staff, WELL Health is designed to unify and automate disjointed communications across the organization, helping to reduce unnecessary stress and limiting potential errors.”
Why It Matters
More than 5 billion people spend nearly
a quarter of their day on their mobile phones. In fact, in the last few years,
the number of active
cellphone subscriptions exceeded the number of people on Earth. Giving
patients the same person-centric digital experience in health care as they
receive from other industries has become increasingly important. Teaming with
WELL Health, Cerner will make technology more useable for health systems and
patients by meeting consumers where they are spending their time.
“Cerner is committed to making it easier for providers to create the engaging, comprehensive health care experiences that patients expect and deserve,” said David Bradshaw, senior vice president, consumer and employer solutions, Cerner. “By bringing patient data from different systems and streamlining in one unified view, we are strengthening our clients’ ability to build meaningful relationships with patients through a convenient, digital experience that has become a part of everyday life.”
– Cleveland Clinic develops the COVID-19 risk prediction model through Epic MyChart that is now available to health systems around the world.
– Healthcare organizations can present the clinically
validated model to patients in MyChart to assess their risk of having COVID-19.
Cleveland Clinic researchers have developed a COVID-19 risk prediction model that uses information from the patient’s comprehensive health records combined with patient-centered information in Epic’s patient-facing app, MyChart, to show an individual’s likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19. The COVID-19 risk prediction model is now available to health systems around the world through Epic.
Predicting positive COVID-19 tests could help direct limited healthcare resources, encourage those who are likely to have the virus to get tested, and tailor decision-making about care. Cleveland Clinic’s model was developed and validated using retrospective patient data from more than 11k patients tested for COVID-19 at Cleveland Clinic locations in Northeast Ohio and Florida. Data scientists used statistical algorithms to transform data from patients’ electronic medical records into the first-of-its-kind risk-prediction model. All data collected was housed in a secure database.
How It Works
Patients complete a short self-assessment in MyChart,
documenting information like symptoms they are experiencing and potential
exposure to COVID-19. The model uses that information, as well as clinical and
demographic data already in their electronic chart, to calculate their score.
Patients with high risk for having COVID-19 are advised to receive a test, and
their care team members can be automatically notified of a high-risk score.
Other healthcare providers around the country also have
developed risk prediction models, which they can integrate with Epic. For
organizations that want to use an existing model rather than developing their
own, they can quickly turn on the model designed, developed, and tested–and now
being shared–by Cleveland Clinic researchers.
“We have developed the first validated prediction model that can forecast an individual’s risk for testing positive with COVID-19 and then simplified this tool while retaining exceptional accuracy for easy adoption,” said Lara Jehi, M.D., Chief Research Information Officer at Cleveland Clinic. “We are excited to make this tool available to the 250 million patients around the world who have a record in Epic. The ability to accurately predict which patients are likely to test positive will be paramount in effectively managing a patient’s care as well as allocating our resources.”
COVID-19 terms such as quarantine, flatten the curve, social distance, and personal protective equipment (PPE) have dominated headlines in recent months, but what hasn’t been discussed in length are the hidden costs of COVID-19 as it relates to patient adherence.
The coronavirus pandemic has amplified this long-standing issue in healthcare as patients are delaying routine preventative and ongoing care for ailments such as mental health and chronic disease. Emergency care is also suffering at alarming rates. Studies show a 42 percent decline in emergency department visits, measuring the volume of 2.1 million visits per week between March and April 2019 to 1.2 million visits per week between March and April 2020. Patients are not seeking the treatment they need – and at what cost?
When the SARS outbreak occurred in 2002, particularly in Taiwan, there was a marked reduction in inpatient care and utilization as well as ambulatory care. Chronic-care hospitalizations for long-term conditions like diabetes plummeted during the SARS crisis but skyrocketed afterward. Similar to the 2002 epidemic, people are currently not venturing en masse to emergency rooms or hospitals, but if history repeats itself, hospital and ER visits will happen at an influx and create a new strain on the healthcare system.
So, if patients aren’t going to the ER or visiting their doctors regularly, where have they gone? They are staying at home. According to reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 28 percent of Americans polled said they or a family member delayed medical care due to the pandemic, and 11 percent indicated that their condition worsened as a result of the delayed care. Of note, 70 percent of consumers are concerned or very concerned about contracting COVID-19 when visiting healthcare facilities to receive care unrelated to the virus. There is a growing concern that patients will either see a relapse in their illness or will experience new complications when the pandemic subsides.
Rather than brace for a tidal wave of patients, healthcare systems should proactively take steps (or act now) to drive patient access, action, and adherence.
1. Identify Who Needs to Care The Most
Healthcare providers should consider risk stratifying patients. High-risk people, such as an 80-year-old male with comorbidities and recent cardiac bypass surgery, may require a hands-on and frequent outreach effort. A 20-year-old female, however, who comes in annually for her physical but is healthy, may not require that level of engagement. Understanding which patients are at risk for the potential for chronic conditions to become acute or patients who have a hard time staying on their care plan may need prioritized attention and a more thorough engagement effort.
For example, patients with a history of mental health issues may lack motivation or momentum to seek care. Their disposition to be disengaged may require greater input to push past their disengagement.
Especially important is the ability to educate and guide patients to the appropriate venue of care (ER, telehealth visit, in-person primary care visit, or urgent care) based on their self-reported symptoms. Allowing patients to self-triage while scheduling appointments helps them make more informed decisions about their care while reducing the burden on over-utilized emergency departments.
2. Capture The Attention of The Intended Audience and Induce Action
Once you’ve identified who needs care the most, how do you break through the “information clutter” to ensure healthcare messages resonate with the intended audience? The more data points, the better. It is important to understand the age of the patient, their preferred communication channel, and the intended message for the recipient, but effective communication exceeds those three data points. Consider factors like the presence of mental health conditions, comorbidities, or health literacies. Then, think beyond the patient’s channel of choice and select the appropriate channel of communication (text, phone call, email, paid social media advertisement, etc.), that will most likely induce action. As an organization, also consider running A/B tests to detect and analyze behavior. As you collect more data, determine what exactly is inducing patient action.
Of note, don’t underestimate the power of repetition. Patients may need to be reminded of the intended action a few times in a few different ways before moving forward with seeking the care they need. Repetition is also shown to decrease no-show rates, a critical metric. Proactive, prescriptive, and tailored communication will help increase engagement. Moving past the channel of choice and toward the channel of action is key.
3. Engage Patients Through Personalized and Tailored Communication
In addition to identifying the right communication channel, it’s also important to ensure you deliver an effective message. Communication with patients should be relevant to their particular medical needs while paying close attention to where each person is in their healthcare journey. Connecting with patients on both an emotional and rational level is also important. For example, sending a positive communication via phone, email, or text to lay the foundation for the interaction shows interest in the patient’s wellbeing.
A “Hey, here’s why you need to come in” note makes a connection in a direct and personalized way. At the same time, and in a very pointed manner, sharing ways providers and health systems are keeping patients safe (e.g., telehealth, virtual waiting rooms, separate entrances, and mandating masks), also provides comfort to skittish patients. Additionally, consider all demographic information when tailoring communications. And don’t forget to analyze if changes in content impact no-show rates. Low overall literacy may impact health literacy and may require simpler and more positive words to positively impact adherence.
It may sound daunting, especially for individual health systems, to personalize patient communication efforts, but the use of today’s data tools and technological advancements can relieve the burden and streamline efforts for an effective communication approach.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage (With Caution)
Once you have developed your communication strategy, don’t stop there. Consider all aspects of the patient journey to drive action. A virtual waiting room strategy, for example, can help ease patient concerns and encourage them to resume their care. Health systems can help patients make reservations, space out their arrival times, and safeguard social distancing measures—all while alleviating patient fears. Ideally, the patient would be able to seamlessly book an appointment and receive a specific arrival time, allowing ER staff to prepare for the patient’s arrival while minimizing onsite wait time.
When implemented properly, telehealth visits can also improve continuity of care, enhance provider efficiency, attract and retain patients who are seeking convenience, as well as appeal to those who would prefer not to travel to their healthcare facility for their visit. Providers need to determine which appointments can successfully be resolved virtually. Additionally, some patients might not have the means for a successful telehealth visit due to a lack of internet access, a language barrier, or a safe space to talk freely.
To ensure all patients receive quality care, health systems should make plans to serve patients who lack the technology or bandwidth to participate in video visits in an alternative manner. For example, monitor patients remotely by asking them to self-report basic information such as blood sugar levels, weight, and medication compliance via short message service (SMS). This gives providers the ability to continuously monitor their patients while enhancing patient safety, increasing positive outcomes, and enabling real-time escalation whenever clinical intervention is needed.
It is important we ensure all patients stay on track with their health, despite uncertain and fearful times. Health systems can enhance patient adherence and induce action through the implementation of tools that increase patient engagement and alleviate the impending strain on the healthcare system.
About Matt Dickson
Matt Dickson is Vice President of Product, Strategy, and General Manager of Stericycle Communication Solutions, a patient engagement platform that seamlessly combines both voice and digital channels to provide the modern experience healthcare consumers want while solving complex challenges to patient access, action, and adherence. . He is a versatile leader with strong operational management experience and expertise providing IT, product, and process solutions in the healthcare industry for nearly 25 years. Find him on LinkedIn.
If you work in healthcare, chances are that the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to quickly scale up or move staff around to manage the onslaught of patients. The demand for clinicians and support staff grew alongside the spread of the virus, making organizations add clinicians or reassign employees with new or modified roles: Ambulatory nurses went down in the Emergency Department or Isolation Ward, revenue cycle folks started doing transport, and so on. In some cases, former staff or retired workers were called back to help with the surge. In the midst of these time-compressed changes, organizations remained rightly focused on their number one priority: patient care delivery. In the background, IT professionals were struggling to manage the slew of new digital identities while ensuring fast-access to new applications, workflows, and devices to accommodate remote work. Giving clinicians this access meant having to quickly provision and deprovision access during the staff ramp-up. Inevitably, access became a problem – whether to the systems or applications needed to do their jobs. In worst-case scenarios, organizations had to balance security and compliance with the delivery of healthcare services to patients. Security protocols were also compromised – a trade-off that should never have to happen.
Pandemic Spotlights Needs for IGA In response to the identity management challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare IT organizations that had and Identity Governance Administration (IGA) systems came to the rescue. Those that didn’t, well….. IGA systems provide a fast, reliable way to manage digital identities through provisioning, governance, risk and compliance, and de-provisioning for healthcare workers who need access to workstations and applications. This is even more so the case in a crisis environment. A recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that an automated system helps organizations manage, streamline, and secure transactions across hypercomplex ecosystems of healthcare users, locations, devices, and locations. What’s more, according to Forrester, automation also saves time and money and results in a higher quality patient experience.
Fact is, even in the normal times, healthcare organizations rarely excel at tracking personnel moves, especially the adds and changes due to the time and system constraints often involved. That leads to what I call a “stacked shares” situation. These typically involve a person with decades of experience in your organization who has worked in multiple administrative or clinical areas within the organization and has access to about 80 percent of your network shares because she/he was never deprovisioned from ANY shares. In these instances, the network shares just kept getting “stacked,” one on top of the other. That’s probably exactly what happens during the COVID-19 pandemic as people move around to adapt to the ongoing crisis.
Another unexpected challenge created by the pandemic relates to furloughs. What is your healthcare organization doing with them? Are you disabling and then re-enabling accounts? Re-provisioning when/if they come back? What if they’ve come back but in a new role? Again, the “stacked shares” situation arises. You will likely regret it if your organization doesn’t have an automated IGA system to help you keep track of these movements through an integrated GRC system.
Moving to a Remote Workforce COVID-19 forced many healthcare organizations to rapidly accommodate a remote workforce. Only a few departments worked remotely before the pandemic, so routers, network, architecting, and bandwidth all had to be upgraded. Most health systems also required additional licensing to successfully ramp up services. Above all, the priority was to prevent any serious disruptions for clinicians.
Here again, health systems faced the challenge of balancing usability with security concerns. Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams proved useful, but they created additional risks including diminished safety of our healthcare workers, cybersecurity intrusions, and hacks – like theft of PHI, ransomware, and more. IT staff had to ensure the security of both the devices and the platforms being used, which is also easily managed by solid IGA systems.
In these cases, IGA systems analyze login data in real-time via Login Activity reports. They weave digital identity and access management, single-sign-on capabilities, and governance into workflows to strengthen security without compromising care delivery. This includes remote identity proofing to enable electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), as well as ensure compliance with DEA regulations while avoiding in-person interactions.
We will no doubt be living in a world of both in-person and remote healthcare for some time given the COVID-19 crisis. One lesson we already learned from the big experiment we just completed is that healthcare organizations benefit from having an IGA system in place to help balance their healthcare delivery, efficiency, and safety, as well as security and compliance. Implementing an IGA strategy no doubt makes it easy for clinicians to securely and seamlessly transition between workstations and applications and have their identity follow them.
About Wes Wright
Wes Wright is the Chief Technology Officer at Imprivata and has more than 20 years of experience with healthcare providers, IT leadership, and security. Prior to joining Imprivata, Wes was the CTO at Sutter Health, where he was responsible for technical services strategies and operational activities for the 26-hospital system. Wes has been the CIO at Seattle Children’s Hospital and has served as the Chief of Staff for a three-star general in the US Air Force.
– Epic Systems announces that more than 90 health systems across nine counties are expected to go-live on Epic, marking this fall as the busiest install season in Epic’s 41+ year history.
– Healthcare organizations in Australia, Belgium, Canada,
Finland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the
United States are transitioning more than 123,000 doctors, nurses, and support
staff to Epic’s EHR between September and the end of the year.
– Many healthcare organizations in the states are slated to go live before the second wave of COVID-19 is expected over the winter.
– During the first wave of the pandemic, many health systems
reported that Epic’s integrated, longitudinal electronic health records were
essential in driving effective care transformation.
– Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health sign a letter of intent to merge that will created a combined health system employing more than 89k people at 70 hospitals and 435 clinics across seven states.
Intermountain Healthcare and Sanford Health, one of the nation’s leading systems in rural health care delivery and clinical research, have signed a letter of intent to develop a strategic partnership. The boards of both not-for-profit organizations approved a resolution to support moving forward with the due diligence process. The organizations will enter this activity with the goal to sign a merger agreement that will bring both health systems together as a model for improving access to high-value healthcare across the U.S. The merger is expected to close in 2021 pending federal and state approvals.
The combined organization will employ more than 89,000
people, and operate 70 hospitals, many in rural communities. It will operate
435 clinics across seven states, provide senior care and services in 366
locations in 24 states, and insure 1.1 million people. The organization will
have headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and corporate offices in Sioux
Falls, South Dakota.
“Intermountain and Sanford have a shared vision of the future of health care and have the aligned values needed to better serve more communities across the nation,” says Marc Harrison, M.D., president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. “This merger enables our organizations to move more quickly to further implement value-based strategies and realize economies of scale. Through coordinated care, increased use of telehealth and digital health services, we will make health care more affordable for our communities.”
– Healthcare innovators NCH Health Systems and eVideon, have partnered to transform the health systems’ patient rooms into an immersive digital experience.
– eVideon’s Smart Room solution includes smart TVs, tablets, digital whiteboards, and more to be implemented across NCH hospitals to improve patient engagement, education, and entertainment.
– The technology will also benefit the NCH Health
System’s clinical staff by improving workflows and automating administrative
a leader in interactive patient
engagement and digital workflow solutions, today announced that NCH Healthcare System, one of the largest
healthcare systems in Southwest Florida, will be implementing the company’s
full suite of solutions in 576 patient rooms across its two hospitals. This
implementation will provide a fully immersive patient experience with smart
TVs, touchscreen tablets, digital patient door displays, digital whiteboards,
and the HELLO video
visitor solution for a complete Patient Smart
Room. The partnership marks eVideon’s official entry into the Florida
market for the patient engagement technology provider.
Fully Immersive Patient Experience Platform and Virtual
Visit Solution Across Hospitals
The NCH Healthcare System will be equipping its hospitals
with eVideon’s entire patient engagement and workflow offerings for a fully
immersive patient experience. All hospital rooms will be transformed into
Patient Smart Rooms featuring smart TVs paired with a companion tablet
experience, digital patient door displays, digital whiteboards, and a virtual
visit solution designed just for healthcare. Patients will be able to
communicate with clinical staff, order their meals, fill out surveys, and
conduct virtual visits with loved ones, while also enjoying the benefits of
entertainment, education, and relaxation content.
Additionally, by transitioning processes that were once manual to a digitally integrated platform, clinical staff will have the advantage of real-time updates on patient goals and conditions via the digital displays in and around the patient room. They will also have the flexibility to share hospital announcements and policies and help patients make direct requests to a department, such as Pastoral Care, without having to rely on the nurse to do that for them.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with eVideon as we make plans for the implementation of the company’s full patient engagement offerings,” said Andrew Cooper, Executive Director, Information Technology for NCH. “After careful consideration, and drawing from the insights provided by KLAS Research’s findings for the top patient engagement service providers, eVideon was the clear choice. We could not be more thrilled with our decision to work with them as they have been a true partner from the very beginning, and we are looking forward to hitting the ground running with the full solution suite by year end.”
– Unite Us, the tech company building coordinated care
networks nationwide announced a significant expansion to its partnership with
Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NEHII), a health information exchange,
to six additional states.
– This growing partnership aims to break down existing obstacles between
clinical and social service providers to allow for improved SDoH workflows, comprehensive,
whole-person care with trackable outcomes and data, and the creation of
sustainable long-term models for care.
Unite Us, the technology
company building coordinated care networks nationwide, announced today that it
is expanding its partnership with Nebraska Health
Information Initiative (NEHII), a Health Information Exchange (HIE), to six
additional states including Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas,
and Minnesota. This growing partnership aims to break down existing obstacles
between clinical and social service providers to allow for comprehensive,
whole-person care with trackable outcomes and data.
This expansion between Unite Us and NEHII comes on the heels
of Unite Nebraska, the pair’s first joint statewide network that was announced
in June 2020 and launched last month, and will allow more people in need across
the country to get the services they need. Unite Us and NEHII have begun
rolling out the partnership into the additional states, and all networks will
be live by August 2022.
Why It Matters
Beyond the clinical care a person receives, 80% of an
individual’s health and quality of life is affected by their social
determinants of health (SDoH), conditions in the environment where people
are born, live, work, play, and worship.* It is critical that health care
providers have access to this full picture of their patients’ lives beyond the
clinic and hospital walls, in order to identify and help eliminate potential
barriers to their health and well-being.
NEHII is committed to helping organizations addressing SDoH
improve their workflows, track results and metrics, avoid wasteful and repeated
care, and create sustainable long-term models for care. NEHII will utilize
Unite Us’ person-centric platform to provide transparency, accountability, and
outcomes data to providers, and to incorporate community-based social care into
state ecosystems, particularly in rural areas with geographic variations in
access to critical services. This expansion and continued partnership paves the
way for additional collaborations with other HIEs, multiple health systems and
state Medicaid departments as they collectively move towards systems change.
“NEHII is thrilled to be expanding our partnership with Unite Us into six new states, to enable better support and health outcomes for all Americans,” says Jaime Bland, President and CEO of NEHII. “We know patients don’t seek care in a single institution, let alone a single state, especially along our borders. Statewide infrastructures for health and social care are more crucial than ever as COVID-19 continues to devastate the nation. We’re eager to help additional states combine their clinical and social care data in one secure location to provide patients and providers a more comprehensive view of their longitudinal health record.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed patient expectations for healthcare delivery, including offered services and health office operations. Although health systems have remained dynamic in adopting telehealth capabilities, their long-term capital, like real estate and supply chain management (SCM) protocols, have not adapted to match these expectations. Health systems must be aware of current trends in both areas to inform their future decisions.
Divesting in healthcare real estate is also key to reducing unnecessary costs to a health system, especially if optimal use of these spaces is already lacking. The overwhelming costs of ownership and management lock money away in underutilized and obsolete real estate spaces. Divesting provides more capital liquidity, and frees capital to go towards investment in telehealth, diagnostic technology, and emerging specialties, assets that go towards increasing patient and workforce engagement and satisfaction. In addition, eliminating unused real estate assets allows freedom from liabilities and human capital investments, like facility maintenance and upkeep, not to mention the increased frequency of deep cleaning necessary in the post-COVID-19 bi-lateral operations era.
Further, years of mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry have left many health systems with the unwanted result of increases in real estate assets. This has led to increased consolidation of these assets, a trend that has been exacerbated by the pandemic pressure on health system funds. Future consolidation and reevaluation of assets should be informed by trends in patient expectations as well as trends in the market.
Here are five emerging trends driving the future of healthcare real estate and assets. Each encourages divestment out of health system real estate ventures or restructuring of existing spaces in order to better cater to forever changed patient expectations.
1. Rise of Telehealth
According to the Department of Health & Human Services, telehealth use is up around 50% in primary care settings since the beginning of the public health emergency and is projected to remain high in the time following. Most recently, in-person visits have increased and as a result, telehealth visits have declined due to the state’s reopening, and thereby some critics posit that this trend may not continue. However, that could not be further from the truth.
Moving forward, despite health system fear regarding long-term reimbursement may be lacking from federal, state, and commercial health plan payers for virtual care delivery, leveraging telehealth to augment traditional healthcare delivery will become a necessity because consumers will demand it and physicians in some studies have shown satisfaction with their video visit platforms. This will no doubt have an impact on office layout and services.
2. Convenience of Outpatient Services
Motivated in part by telehealth utilization, patients seek convenience and accessibility in their healthcare now more than ever. Health system expansion may therefore mean satellite offices in high traffic areas to cater to the patient’s need for accessibility, marking a movement away from the traditional, centralized hospital campuses.
3. Value-Based Care Transitions
As legislation and CMS regulation moves more towards a value-based care system, trends show a natural move towards lower-cost facilities that provide preventive care. These could also contribute to continued trends to more off-campus real estate and planning for alternative care delivery options, for example, mobile vans reaching more vulnerable, at-risk populations for care such as life-saving vaccinations.
4. Pandemic Precautions
Bilateral operations are likely to be maintained for some time even after more normal operations return, and healthcare real estate, especially with consolidation, will need to accommodate this precaution, and others like it in all locations.
New diagnostic and testing tools are constantly being released, forcing health systems to reevaluate their current assets and make room for new ones which contributes to wasted space. Furthermore, remote monitoring apps will continue to proliferate in the market and become more affordable and accessible to consumers while advancing interoperability standards and federal information blocking requirements will allow information to flow more freely.
Strategies to Optimize Healthcare Real Estate & Strategy
In order to unlock money trapped in assets, health systems should look to make their assets work better in response to current trends and patient expectations. To accommodate patient demands and changes to health industry regulation and reimbursement, it makes sense to ensure efficient use of all facilities and optimize real estate and assets using the following strategies:
– Divest underutilized assets of any kind: Begin with real estate and move smaller to reduce unneeded capital investment.
– Remove or reduce administrative spaces: Transition non-clinical workforces to partial or complete work from home status, including finance, legal, marketing, revenue cycle, and other back-office functions. Shared space or “hotel” workspaces are popular.
– Reconfigure medical office or temporary care buildings: As these are often empty several days a week, they must be consolidated.
– Get out of expensive leases for care that can be given remotely or in lower-cost options or by strategic partners: Take full advantage of telehealth capabilities and eliminate offices that have become obsolete.
– Integrate telehealth into real estate only where it makes sense: Telehealth is more applicable to some services and care modalities than others. Offices should reconfigure to meet these novel needs where necessary, even if it means forgoing leases for the near term.
– Assess other expensive assets: Appraise assets like storage and diagnostic tools. Those not supportive of the new post-COVID-19 care model or prioritized service lines and are otherwise not producing revenues should be sold or outsourced to strategic partners.
– Diversify with off-campus offices: Provide convenient access to outpatient care and new outpatient procedures by investing in outpatient medical offices in high foot traffic locations.
– Create space for services in high demand: Services like preventive care and behavioral health should be given physical or virtual space in the system to cater to patient needs.
About Moha Desai
Moha Desai is a Principal of Healthcare Strategy and Transformation where she focuses on driving forward strategic, planning, financial, revenue cycle, operational improvement, and patient engagement healthcare projects for providers, federal government health agencies, and various firms requiring growth, business development, and project implementation and management. She has previously served in leadership roles at Partners HealthCare, Deloitte Consulting, Bearing Point, etc. Moha received her B.A. in Economics and her M.B.A. at Yale University.
– RLDatix acquires Verge Health, creating
the largest safety-led compliance and credentialing software platform specifically
designed for healthcare.
– The acquisition will accelerate the adoption of RLDatix’s applied safety intelligence framework and create an industry-standard for proactive risk mitigation.
RLDatix, the leading global provider of intelligent patient safety solutions, announced today that it has acquiredVerge Health, the recognized best-in-class credentialing software provider. This acquisition joins two leaders in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (“GRC”) healthcare software market and will dramatically accelerate an essential shift from a reactive approach to risk management to one rooted in safety and prevention. The acquisition is effective immediately.
remain the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and the World Health Organization
estimates that adverse events due to unsafe care rank as one of the top 10 causes of death and disability around the world. These adverse, yet
preventable, events are incredibly costly and account for an estimated 15
percent of all hospital expenditures across OECD countries.
Creating Industry Standard for Proactive Risk Mitigation in Healthcare
RLDatix is the only
provider that partners with healthcare delivery organizations globally to provide a comprehensive
view of enterprise risk through a safety-first lens. With this acquisition, RLDatix unifies the four
key pillars of GRC under one roof: Safety, Compliance, Provider Management,
and Strategic Advisory Services. By elevating conversations about compliance,
credentialing, safety, and risk to the enterprise level, RLDatix helps leaders make
the systemic changes necessary to achieve true harm reduction in a way that
will transform the delivery of care.
“Healthcare’s traditionally siloed approach to risk management, patient safety, provider management, and compliance has limited the ability for organizations to mitigate avoidable harm,” said Jeff Surges, CEO of RLDatix. “With Verge Health, we are unifying at an enterprise level all of the tools necessary to recognize flawed practices and prevent adverse events. This acquisition represents an enormous acceleration of Applied Safety Intelligence and solidifies our position as the global leader in patient safety software at a time when accreditation organizations like The Joint Commission are expected to take more active steps to reduce adverse events.”
Why It Matters
The timing of the acquisition is important. Hospital safety has been under a microscope
all year as millions of Americans have avoided non-emergency medical care for fear of contracting COVID-19, impacting public health and costing
providers billions in lost revenue. Health systems that want
to make their facilities and procedures safer need a partner who can show them
how to minimize risk through an enterprise-wide approach that addresses all of the potential pitfalls. This a model that has been widely
accepted outside health care but scarcely so within medicine—until now.
With the added
provider management, compliance, and analytics solutions of Verge, RLDatix offers healthcare delivery and insurance companies a clear path forward to
strengthen trust, capture revenues and to prevent the occurrence of adverse safety events.
“We’re excited to adopt RLDatix’s Applied Safety Intelligence framework and bring together several of our disparate processes,” said Sherri Hess, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer of Banner Health. “The opportunity to have two key vendors join forces so that our safety and provider data, CANDOR training, and oneSOURCE documentation can be united to drive our high reliability efforts is paramount in ensuring we continue to drive safe, efficient healthcare.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
– Nearly three-quarters of hospital leaders are either
moderately (52%) or extremely (22%) concerned about the financial viability of
their organizations without an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19,
according to a new report from Kaufman Hall entitled, “2020 State of Healthcare
Performance Improvement Report: The Impact of COVID-19”
– One-third of respondents saw operating margin declines
in excess of 100% in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the same period
– This year’s report findings were based on 64 responses
to a survey that Kaufman Hall fielded in August 2020.
of hospital leaders are either moderately (52%) or extremely (22%) concerned
about the financial viability of their organizations without an effective
treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, according to a new report from Kaufman Hall. One-third of respondents
(33%) saw operating margin declines in excess of 100% in the second quarter of
2020 compared with the same period of 2019.
“The challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have
affected nearly every aspect of hospital financial and clinical
operations,” said Lance Robinson, managing director, Kaufman Hall. “Organizations have
responded to the challenge by adjusting their operations and strengthening
important community relationships.”
Key findings from this
year’s report include the following:
Financial viability. Approximately three fourths of survey respondents are either extremely (22%) or moderately (52%) concerned about the financial viability of their organization in the absence of an effective vaccine or treatment.
Operating margins. One-third of our respondents saw year-over-year operating margin declines in excess of 100% from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020.
Volumes. Volumes in most service areas are recovering slowly. In only one area—oncology—have a majority of our respondents seen volumes return to more than 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
Expenses. A majority of survey respondents have seen their greatest percentage expense increase in the costs of supplying personal protective equipment. Nursing staff labor is in second place, cited by 34% of respondents as their most significant area of expense increase.
Healthcare workforce. Three-fourths of survey respondents have increased monitoring and resources to address staff burnout and mental health concerns.
Telehealth. More than half of our respondents have seen the number of telehealth visits at their organization increase by more than 100% since the pandemic began. Payment disparities between telehealth and in-person visits are seen as the greatest obstacle to more widespread adoption of telehealth.
Competition. Approximately one-third of survey respondents believe the pandemic has affected competitive dynamics in their market by making consumers more likely to seek care at retail-based clinics.
To download a copy of the report, click on the download
now button below
Cerner announces an open call for additional health systems to sign on as testing partners of their EHR-integrated Voice Assist technology. Voice Assist will allow clinicians to interact with the EHR by just using their voice. Clinicians will be able to issue voice commands to complete a range of tasks that can save significant time and reduce the administrative burden on care teams by replacing manual data documentation.
How Voice Assist Technology Works
Using the phrase ‘Hey
Cerner,’ clinicians will be able to search for and retrieve information from
patient records, place medication orders and set up reminders. Clinicians will
be able to seamlessly switch between dictating the clinical note and navigating
the patient’s chart, improving efficiency and enhancing the health care
Examples of Voice Assist’s current functionality
“What is the latest white blood cell
“Remind me to call the patient in 6 months
about their high cholesterol”
“St. Joseph’s Health is excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist technology, which will enable our clinicians to complete several tasks in the EHR via voice commands. We envision that this technology will be conducive to more meaningful clinician patient interaction since the clinicians will spend less time manually documenting. We hope to see improved efficiency, clinician and patient satisfaction throughout this trial period.” – Lisa Green, Director Clinical Information Systems, St. Joseph’s Health.
“At IU Health, we’re creating designated innovations centers where we trial the latest new technologies in real clinical workflows. This allows us to move new tools into our system rapidly and iteratively. We’re excited to pilot Cerner’s Voice Assist, which will allow our clinician’s to handle several tasks in the EHR with their voice. This technology will help our clinicians to focus their attention on their patients. We believe voice has the potential to increase clinician efficiency and hopefully, result in higher patient and clinician satisfaction.” – Cliff J. Hohban, Vice President, IS, Applications & PMO, IU Health
Voice Assist is supported with Nuance’s virtual assistant
capability and is expected to be widely available in 2021.
Without a doubt 2020 has been a devastating year for many; the impact of COVID-19 on both personal lives and businesses has had long-term consequences. At the end of September, the number of COVID-19 cases fell just short of 350 million, with just over 1 million deaths reported. The expectation of a second peak in many countries exposed to the deadly illness is being handled with care, with many governments attempting to minimize the impact of an extreme rise in cases.
COVID-19 the aftermath will be the new normal?
Despite the chaotic attempts to dampen the impact of a second peak, it is inevitable that healthcare facilities will be stretched once again. However, there are key learnings to be had from the first few months of the pandemic, with several healthcare providers opting to be armed with as much information to tackle the likely imminent surge of patients with COVID-19 head-on. The interest in solutions that offer support to clinicians through data analysis is starting to emerge with several COVID-19 specific Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms filtering through the medical imaging space.
Stepping into the ICU, the use of analytics and AI-based clinical applications is drawing more attention. Solutions that collect relevant patient information, dissect the information, and offer clinical decision support are paving the way to a more informed clinical environment. Already, early-warning scoring, sepsis detection, and predictive analytics were becoming a focus. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has also driven further interest in COVID-19 specific applications, and tele-ICU solutions, that offer an alternative way to ensure high-risk patients are monitored appropriately in the ICU.
What does the future hold?
Signify Research is currently in the process of assessing the uptake of clinical decision support and AI-based applications in the high acuity and perinatal care settings. An initial assessment has highlighted various solutions that help improve not only the efficiency of care but also improve its quality. Some of the core areas of focus include:
Clinical Decision Support & Predictive Analytics
Due to the abundance of patient data and information required to be regularly assessed and monitored, the high-acuity and perinatal care settings benefit from solutions offering clinical decision support.
The ICU specifically has been a focus of many AI solution providers, with real-time analysis and support of data to provide actionable clinical decision support in time-critical situations. Clinical decision support solutions can collate data and identify missing pieces of information to provide a complete picture of the patient’s status and to support the treatment pathway. Some of the key vendors pathing the way for AI in clinical decision support in the ICU include AiiNTENSE; Ambient Clinical Analytics; Etiometry; BetterCare; AlertWatch; and Vigilanz Corp.
Early-warning protocols are commonly used in hospitals to flag patient deterioration. However, in many hospitals this is often a manual process, utilizing color coding of patient status on a whiteboard in the nurse’s station. Interest in automated early-warning systems that flag patient deterioration using vital signs information is increasing with the mounting pressure on stretched hospital staff.
Examples of early-warning software solutions include the Philips IntelliVue Guardian Solution and the Capsule Early Warning Scoring System (EWSS). Perigen’s PeriWatch Vigilance is the only AI-based early-warning scoring system that is developed to enhance clinical efficiency, timely intervention, and standardization of perinatal care.
The need for solutions that support resource-restricted hospitals has been further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many existing early-warning vendors have updated their surveillance systems to enable more specific capabilities for COVID-19 patients, specifically for ventilated patients. Companies such as Vigilanz Corp’s COVID Quick Start and Capsule Tech’s Clinical Surveillance module for ventilated patients enables healthcare professionals to respond to COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses with customizable rules, reports, and real-time alerts.
Sepsis is the primary cause of death from infection, accounting for 20% of global deaths worldwide. Sepsis frequently occurs from infections acquired in health care settings, which are one of the most frequent adverse events during care delivery and affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide every year. As death from Sepsis can be prevented, there is a significant focus around monitoring at-risk patients.
Several health systems employ their own early-warning scoring protocol utilizing in-house AI models to help to target sepsis. HCA Healthcare, an American for-profit operator of health care facilities, claims that its own Sepsis AI algorithm (SPOT) can detect sepsis 18-hours before even the best clinician. Commercial AI developers are also focusing their efforts to provide supporting solutions.
The Sepsis DART™ solution from Ambient Clinical Analytics uses AI to automate early detection of potential sepsis conditions and provides smart notifications to improve critical timeliness of care and elimination of errors. Philips ProtocolWatch, installed on Philips IntelliVue bedside patient monitors, simplifies the implementation of evidence-based sepsis care protocols to enable surveillance of post-ICU patients.
The influx of patients into the ICU during the early part of 2020 because of COVID-19 placed not only great strain on the number of ICU beds but also the number of healthcare physicians to support them. Due to the nature of the illness, the number of patients that were monitored through tele-ICU technology increased, although the complex nature of implementing a new tele-ICU solution has meant the increase has not been as pronounced as that of telehealth in primary care settings.
However, its use has enabled physicians to visit and monitor ICU patients virtually, decreasing the frequency and need for them to physically enter an isolation room. As the provision of healthcare is reviewed following the pandemic, it is likely that tele-ICU models will increase in popularity, to protect both the patient and the hospital staff providing direct patient care. Philips provides one of the largest national programs across the US with its eICU program.
Most recently, GE Healthcare has worked with Decisio Health to incorporate its DECISIOInsight® into GE Healthcare’s Mural virtual care solution, to prioritize and optimize ventilator case management. Other vendors active within the tele-ICU space include Ambient Clinical Analytics, Capsule Health, CLEW Med, and iMDsoft.
Figure 1 Signify Research projects the global tele-ICU market to reach just under $1 billion by 2024.
More and more solutions are targeted toward improving the quality of patient care and reducing the cost of care provision. With this, the requirement for devices and software to be interoperable is becoming more apparent. Vendors are looking to work collaboratively to find solutions to common problems within the hospital. HIMMS 2020 showcased several collaborations between core vendors within the high acuity market. Of note, two separate groups demonstrated their capabilities to work together to manage and distribute alarms within a critical care environment, resulting in a quieter experience to aid patient recovery. These included:
– Trauma Recovery in the Quiet ICU – Ascom, B Braun, Epic, Getinge, GuardRFID, Philips
About Kelly Patrick, Principal Analyst at Signify Research
Kelly Patrick is the Principal Analyst at Signify Research, a UK-based market research firm focusing on health IT, digital health, and medical imaging. She joined Signify Research in 2020 and brings with her 12 years’ experience covering a range of healthcare technology research at IHS Markit/Omdia. Kelly’s core focus has been on the clinical care space, including patient monitoring, respiratory care and infusion.
– “The Patient Keepage & Leakage Report” offers an in-depth, state of the industry look at health system executives’ views on the challenge of patient leakage, in which patients seek care beyond their networks. Although 96% of health system execs surveyed said that addressing patient leakage is a top priority, very little research had been done on this topic—until now.
– The report, conducted by an independent market research firm, includes responses from a random sample of 138 senior health system and hospital executives (80% C-suite) responsible for patient care, hospital administration, finance, or operations.
Nearly all (96%) of healthcare executives say patient
leakage is a priority this year, but only 31% of leaders who have a plan to
keep patients within their health system networks believe they have the right
tools to accomplish their goals, according to survey results released today
from Central Logic, the
industry innovator in enterprise visibility and tools to accelerate access to
commissioned an independent market research firm to conduct a survey about
patient leakage and care access, with respondents consisting of a random sample
of 138 double-verified senior health system and hospital executives responsible
for patient care, hospital administration, finance or operations. The challenge
of patient leakage—in which patients seek care beyond their network—has taken
on greater importance during COVID-19, as
hospitals’ and health systems’ operating margins have dropped
precipitously. While CARES Act funding has offered some financial relief, these
organizations are expected to lose more than $323 billion in 2020 due
in large part to restrictions on elective procedures and patients canceling or
Patient Keepage & Leakage Report, based on the results of our
survey, highlights a crisis of confidence among healthcare executives that
started even before COVID-19,” said Angie Franks, CEO of Central
Logic. “The pandemic has exacerbated this crisis, but attracting,
retaining and repatriating patients back into health system networks is now an
incredibly important financial priority for health system leaders, given the
massive financial losses they have suffered.”
In the Patient Leakage & Keepage Report, 80% of
executives said value-based care models have made addressing patient leakage more
important, but more than 38% either were unconfident or didn’t know if their
organization had visibility into leakage.
Of the survey respondents, 80% were C-level executives, and
two-thirds represented hospital networks with 251 or more beds—of those, more
than 20% represented networks of 1,500 beds or more.
Other highlights of the Patient Leakage & Keepage Report
– 75% said patient leakage is a significant obstacle to
their financial goals
– Only 31% of the healthcare systems who definitely have a
strategy to reduce patient leakage said they have the right tools to get it
– Organizations that don’t use technology to quantify
patient leakage were less likely to know which service lines were most affected
by loss of patients
For more information, click the download now button below:
Helping Physicians Document Care During Virtual Visits
The cloud-based technology allows VA physicians to use their voices to capture and document patient stories securely, accurately, and more efficiently during virtual visits conducted by phone and the widely deployed VA Video Connect platform. Nuance Dragon Medical One is the leading medical speech recognition solution today used by over 550,000 physicians. Compatible with the VA CPRS and Cerner Millennium, it is a key productivity component in EHR solutions throughout the Federal Government, including Veterans Affairs and the Military Health System. Because the VA first standardized on Nuance cloud-based Dragon Medical solutions system-wide in 2014, physicians could readily adopt the added capabilities and mobile flexibility of Dragon Medical One for telehealth services.
“Helping frontline clinicians at the VA and other major health systems has been our highest priority since the pandemic began,” said Diana Nole, executive vice president and general manager of healthcare, Nuance. “The combination of our cloud-based platforms, organizational agility and deep experience working with the VA health system made it possible for us to act quickly and deliver the technology solutions needed to protect and assist physicians treating patients remotely. While our strong sense of mission and purpose in serving critical healthcare organizations and businesses already is very clear, it becomes amplified knowing that our technology solutions are playing a role in caring for our nation’s Veterans.”
– AI-driven virtual care company, GYANT, has announced its first-to-market COVID-19 vaccine care navigation tool to help health systems anticipate novel patient needs.
– GYANT Vaccine deploys as a white-labeled virtual
assistant on provider websites, mobile apps, and patient portals, managing the
patient journey from initial inquiry to post-visit follow up.
GYANT, the AI-powered
virtual assistant company, today announced its first-to-market vaccine care
navigation tool, GYANT Vaccine,
anticipating impending health system strain following emergency use
authorization of a COVID-19
vaccine. The solution offers support for each step of the patient journey, from
initial inquiry to post-vaccination follow-up.
GYANT Vaccine builds on the company’s successful COVID-19
SERA technology, which rapidly helped 25 payer and health system customers and
half a million patients screen and triage symptoms to access testing and care.
With the addition of Vaccine, GYANT’s AI-powered virtual assistant platform now
even more effectively connects the dots across patients’ digital journeys with
the existing Front Door (care navigation and triage), Engage (patient outreach)
and Clipboard (automated chart population) modules.
Is Your Health System Prepared for the Vaccine?
Anticipating the tsunami of inbound patient inquiries,
overwhelmed call centers, appointment scheduling demands, and eligibility
screening requests as the vaccine becomes available, GYANT Vaccine will
virtually guide patients through the entire pre- and post-vaccination process
GYANT Vaccine deploys as a white-labeled virtual assistant
on provider websites, mobile apps, and patient portals, managing the patient
journey from initial inquiry to post-visit follow up. GYANT Vaccine is
available 24/7, to relieve the burden of administrative staff, simplify the
research and appointment scheduling for consumers, and keep patients safe.
By empowering patients to learn about processes and options,
screen and assess prioritization, book appointments, and stay in touch with
their providers to schedule additional doses and monitor for side effects,
GYANT Vaccine adapts to each provider’s changing requirements over the course
of the vaccine roll-out.
“Navigating the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine will be the single biggest challenge healthcare systems face in 2021,” said Stefan Behrens, co-founder and chief executive officer, GYANT. “With our help, customers are poised to effectively anticipate and manage the vaccine’s deployment whenever it is approved, and play a role in controlled widespread adoption as we seek to overcome this crisis.”
GYANT Vaccine has already generated overwhelming interest in
the market with five health systems signed on to deploy the tool following
emergency use authorization of a vaccine.
– Press Ganey advances the healthcare consumerism movement with acquisitions of Doctor.com and a majority stake in Binary Fountain.
– Expanded technology platform enables industry-leading
management of providers’ online brand and seamless Web-wide patient acquisition
and loyalty strategies.
Press Ganey today
announced the expansion of its market-leading health care consumerism platform
with the acquisitions
of Doctor.com and a majority equity stake
in Binary Fountain. These acquisitions create the largest health care
consumerism platform in the industry that offers an unmatched opportunity for
health systems and providers to drive digital patient acquisition, retention,
and reputation management strategies that will deliver new levels of growth and
Set Up Your Virtual Practice in 5 Minutes or Less with
Doctor.com’s Turnkey Solution
Founded in 2013, Doctor.com provides the critical
infrastructure and integrations necessary to enable modern digital experiences
for patients. Doctor.com clients benefit from best-in-class provider data,
robust physician and patient engagement tools, and seamless integrations with
the most prominent health care directories, search engines, social media
platforms, and EHR/PM systems. As a result, thousands of clients, including
200+ leading hospitals and health systems, 30,000+ private practices, and
leading brands in the life sciences industry, have been empowered by Doctor.com
to enhance their digital presence and credibility, increase patient trust, and
grow their business.
Why It Matters
The COVID-19 crisis radically disrupted the health care
industry and altered consumer behavior. The result was massive growth in
telehealth services, with Press Ganey administering more than 15 million
telemedicine surveys year to date. Coupled with more than 71% of patients
seeking physician reviews online and 70,000 health-related Google searches each
minute, these fundamental shifts have escalated the need for health care
providers to enhance and streamline the online healthcare customer experience.
“This acquisition is game-changing for the industry. By pairing data and insights from Press Ganey’s 472 million consumer surveys a year with next-generation technology, health care organizations can finally unite their patient experience and patient acquisition efforts within one powerful platform. This unified solution drives performance improvement, accelerates transparency initiatives, and improves the patient experience,” said Andrei Zimiles, co-founder and CEO, Doctor.com. “As patients continue to ‘shop’ for care in increasingly competitive digital channels, this groundbreaking new platform from three pioneers in the consumerism space gives health care organizations the edge they’ve been looking for.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The agreed sale price of $1.35 billion represents a multiple
of greater than 13 times CarePort’s revenue over the trailing 12 months, and
approximately 21 times CarePort’s non-GAAP Adjusted EBITDA over the trailing 12
months. CarePort is included in Allscripts Data, Analytics and Care Coordination
reporting segment and represents approximately 6% of Allscripts consolidated
revenues. Reference should be made to the Allscripts quarterly earnings reports
and supplemental financial data for a reconciliation of non-GAAP Adjusted
EBITDA. William Blair and J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC acted as financial
advisors to Allscripts in connection with the sale of CarePort.
Acquisition Enhances Care Coordination Across Acute,
As part of the acquisition, WellSky and CarePort will facilitate effective patient care transitions across the continuum — driving better outcomes for patients, providers, and payers. With the addition of CarePort, WellSky is uniquely positioned to manage the acute care discharge process, track patients across post-acute care settings, apply patient and population-level analytics, and support EMR-based care protocols.
CarePort’s EHR-agnostic suite of solutions connects the
discharge process with post-discharge care coordination — allowing providers
and payers to track and manage patients throughout their care journey. By
providing end-to-end visibility across the continuum, WellSky and CarePort can
improve outcomes, lower costs, and increase patient satisfaction.
“As part of the WellSky team, we will be able to accelerate our mission to connect providers across the continuum. Both of our organizations are aligned in our dedication to proactively bridging gaps in care. Together, we have the technology, analytics, and network to ensure that patients receive seamless care,” said Dr. Lissy Hu, CEO of CarePort. “Joining WellSky means that we can increase vital connections between acute, post-acute, and community care providers to make a meaningful difference in the lives of more patients in more places.”
With WellSky’s deep experience in post-acute care and
CarePort’s suite of care coordination solutions, this combination is a natural
fit. CarePort clients will gain access to a broader network of post-acute
providers and can leverage WellSky’s powerful predictive analytics suite, and
leading value-based care technologies. This combination of capabilities will
enable health systems, payers, and post-acute providers to more effectively
collaborate in a data-driven way and enhance patient outcomes.
“Together with CarePort, WellSky will establish new, meaningful connections between historically disparate settings of care. We have the exciting opportunity to bring care coordination to more providers in service of delivering more informed, personalized care,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky. “Through this agreement, we’re ensuring our clients have the intelligent technology they need to do right by their patients, collaborate with payers, and succeed in value-based care models. It’s WellSky’s mission to realize care’s potential, and this moves us that much closer to achieving it.”
– 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
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.
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.
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.”
– Lyft is continuing to expand rideshare for
non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) through a first of market direct
integration with Epic, the largest electronic health record (EHR) in the U.S.
– This will have an immediate impact on hospital operations and patients, with currently committed customers including Tampa General and Ochsner Health.
Today, ridesharing leader Lyft announced an integration with EHR provider Epic to enable
health system staff to schedule a Lyft ride for a patient directly from that
patient’s record. Lyft worked directly with Epic to create the Lyft for Epic integration
with Lyft Concierge directly into Epic that will make it
easier for healthcare staff to order a Lyft ride on behalf of a patient.
How Lyft for Epic Works
Staff can send reliable rides directly from a patient’s
profile in the EHR —
simplifying their day-to-day tasks, saving time, and allowing them to focus on
what matters most: the patients. And patients can easily get to their
appointments and back home after the visit without needing an app.
– Simplify sending rides: Nurses, case managers, and
other healthcare workers are already familiar with Epic — adding notes to
patient files, scheduling appointments, and discharging patients. By accessing
Lyft directly from the EHR, staff can schedule rides by directly accessing Lyft
from a patient’s record, rather than needing to sign into a separate tool.
Patient and appointment information will also pre-populate in the ride request
form, reducing friction in the booking process.
– Improve appointment adherence: Arranging a Lyft ride when booking appointment results in fewer missed appointments. Our data shows that Lyft can help providers reduce no-show rates by up to 27 percent.
– Increase operational efficiency: Arranging a Lyft
ride at the time of patient discharge can lead to shorter waiting times, less
crowded waiting rooms, and improved patient throughput.
– Measure patient outcomes: Most health systems have
not collected data on the impact of their transportation programs. With Lyft
for Epic, we’re also working towards giving health systems the ability to generate
reports that make it easier to measure the impact of rideshare on health system
spend and population health outcomes — potentially even tracking patient
segments to proactively identify patients that would benefit from a Lyft ride.
Lyft Continues Significant Investment in Healthcare
Today, Lyft partners with 9 out of the top 10 health systems
in the U.S, representing thousands of hospitals and clinics across the country.
The Lyft for Epic integration will give these organizations even more resources
to ensure transportation is never a barrier to care. Many health systems in the
U.S. use Epic, nearly 30 percent of which already partner with Lyft for their
non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) programs. Several of our existing
health system partners — including Ochsner Health and Tampa General —
have already committed to using the integration.
“Access to reliable transportation is a common barrier to seeking healthcare, especially for our most vulnerable patients,” said David Carmouche, MD, Senior Vice President, Community Care at Ochsner Health. “By teaming up to integrate Lyft into Epic – our established health record system – Ochsner is providing a solution that makes it easier for patients to seek out high quality care when they need it and without unnecessary delays due to a lack of transportation.”
– Augmedix closes $25 million in private placement
funding and completion of a reverse merger transaction with Malo Holdings Corp.
– Following the transaction, the merged entity will be
named “Augmedix, Inc.”, and will continue the historic and innovative
business of Augmedix.
Augmedix, a company
specializing in providing remote medical documentation and live clinical
support services, today announced the closing of a $25 million private
placement financing and completion of a reverse merger with Malo Holdings Corp.
In connection with the financing, current investors Redmile Group, DCM, and
McKesson Ventures invested alongside new investors. Financial advisory firms, Stifel, Nicolaus
& Company, Incorporated, B. Riley Securities, Inc., and GP Nurmenkari, Inc.
(as consulted by Intuitive Venture Partners) acted as placement agents for the
private placement. Montrose Capital
Partners was the sponsor for this transaction.
Reverse Merger Details
Augmedix further announced the completion of a reverse
merger transaction with Malo Holdings Corp., an SEC-reporting public Delaware
corporation. Following the transaction, the merged entity will be named
“Augmedix, Inc.”, and will continue the historic and innovative
business of Augmedix. In connection with
the financing and merger, Augmedix agreed to cause its common stock to be
quoted on the OTC Markets QB tier, subject to certain terms and conditions.
Remote Medical Documentation & Live Clinical Support
Founded in 2012, Augmedix converts natural clinician-patient
conversation into medical documentation and provides live support, including
referrals, orders, and reminders, so clinicians can focus on what matters most:
patient care. The Augmedix platform is powered by a combination of proprietary
automation modules and human-expert assistants operating in HIPAA-secure
locations to generate accurate, comprehensive, and timely-delivered medical
Augmedix services are compatible with over 35 specialties
and are trusted by over one dozen American health systems supporting
telemedicine, medical offices, clinics, and hospitals. We estimate that our solution saves
clinicians 2–3 hours per day, increases productivity by as much as 20%, and
increases certain clinicians’ satisfaction with work-life balance by 49%
Manny Krakaris, Augmedix Chief Executive Officer, said, “We’re thrilled to complete this financing, which we believe puts Augmedix on the path of accelerated expansion, and will enable us to broaden our operational capabilities, accelerate our technology research and product development, and strengthen our marketing and sales.” Krakaris noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of telemedicine and enabled Augmedix to showcase its competitive advantages in the medical documentation market. “Because the Augmedix service is accessed through mobile devices and is telemedicine application-agnostic, our innovative technology allows clinicians access to medical note documentation, regardless of their location,” Krakaris said.
Living through a pandemic is stressful and anxiety-inducing. Stay-at-home measures are compounding this stress, resulting in social isolation and unprecedented economic hardship, including mass layoffs and loss of health coverage. Fully understanding the impact of these pernicious trends on overall mental health will take time. However, precedents like the Great Recession suggest that these trends are likely to worsen the conditions driving suicide and substance-related deaths, the “deaths of despair” that claimed 158,000 lives in 2017 and contributed to a three-year decline in US life expectancy among adults of all racial groups.
Even before the emergence and spread of COVID-19, the US was experiencing a behavioral health treatment crisis: 2018 data showed that only 43% of adults with mental health needs, 10% of individuals with SUD, and 7% of individuals with co-occurring conditions were able to receive services for all necessary conditions.
The treatment gap is staggering, and COVID-19 is exacerbating it: an estimated 45% of adults report the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, to say nothing of the disruption of essential in-person care and services. In a similar vein, a recent CDC report has highlighted the staggering and “disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, [including] increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation” experienced by “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers.”
Consistent with the CDC report’s findings, the crisis can be felt most acutely by the very workforce that must deal with COVID-19 itself. Hospitals, health systems, and clinical practices – together with other first responders – comprise the essential front line. They bear the burden of their employees’ stress and illness, and must also cope with the many patients who present with a range of mental illnesses and substance use disorder (SUD).
But providers don’t have to face this burden alone: numerous behavioral health-focused digital solutions can support providers in meeting their most urgent needs in the era of COVID-19. Many of these solutions have made select services available for free or at a discount to healthcare providers in recognition of the immense need and challenging financial circumstances. Some solutions also help systems take advantage of favorable, albeit time-sensitive, conditions, enabling them to lay the foundation for broader behavioral health initiatives in the long term. Several of these solutions are described below, in the context of three key focus areas for health systems.
Focus Area 1: Supporting the Frontline Workforce
Health system leaders need to keep their workforces healthy, focused, and productive during this period of extreme stress, anxiety, and trauma. Providing easily accessible behavioral health resources for the healthcare workforce is therefore of paramount importance.
Health systems should consider providing immediate, free access to behavioral health services to employees and their families and consider further extending that access to first responders, other healthcare workers, and other essential services workers in the community.
Many digital product companies are granting temporary access to their services and are expanding their offerings to include new, COVID-19-specific modules, resources, and/or guidance at no cost.
Fortunately, the market is rife with solutions that have demonstrated effectiveness and an ability to scale. However, many of these rapidly-scalable solutions are oriented toward low-acuity behavioral health conditions, so it is important that health systems consider the unique needs of their populations in determining which solution(s) to adopt.
The following are several solutions to consider:
Online CBT solutions. These tools are being used to expand access to lower-acuity behavioral health services, targeting both frontline workers and the general population. MyStrength, SilverCloud and others have deployed COVID-19-specific programming.
Text-based peer support groups. Organizations are using Marigold Health to address loneliness and social isolation in group-based chat settings, one-on-one interactions between individuals and peer staff, and broader community applications.
Focus Area 2: Maintaining Continuity of Care
As the pandemic continues to ripple across the country, parts of the delivery system remain overwhelmingly focused on containing and treating COVID-19. This can and has led to the disruption of care and services, of particular significance to individuals with chronic conditions (e.g., serious mental illness (SMI) and SUD), who require longitudinal care and support. Standing up interventions — digital and otherwise — to ensure continuity of care will be critical to preventing exacerbations in patients’ conditions that could drive increased rates of ED visits and admissions at a time when hospital capacity can be in short supply.
In the absence of in-person care, many digital solutions are hosting virtual recovery meetings and providing access to virtual peer support groups. Additionally, shifts in federal and state policies are easing restrictions around critical services, including medication-assisted treatment (e.g., buprenorphine can now be prescribed via telephone), that can mitigate risky behavior and ensure ongoing access to treatment.
The use of paraprofessionals has also emerged as a promising extension of the historically undersupplied behavioral health treatment infrastructure. Capitalizing on the rapid expansion of virtual care, providers should consider leveraging digital solutions to scale programs that use peers, community health workers (CHWs), care managers, health coaches, and other paraprofessionals, to reduce inappropriate hospital utilization and ensure patients are navigated to the appropriate services.
The following are several solutions to consider:
Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) via telemedicine. These solutions provide access to professionals who can prescribe and administer MAT medications, provide addiction counseling, and conduct behavioral therapy (e.g., CBT, motivational interviewing) digitally. Solution companies providing these critical services include Eleanor Health, PursueCare, and Workit Health.
Behavioral health integration. Providing screening, therapy, and psychiatric consultations in a variety of care settings — especially primary care — will help address the increased demand. Historically, providers have had difficulty scaling such solutions due to challenging reimbursement, administrative burden, and stigma, among other concerns. Solutions like Valera Health and Concert Health were created to address these challenges and have seen success in scaling collaborative care programs.
Recovery management tools for individuals with SUD. WEConnect Health and DynamiCare Health are both offering free daily online recovery support groups.
Focus Area 3: Leveraging New Opportunities to Close the Treatment Gap
As has been widely documented, the pandemic has spurred unprecedented adoption of telehealth services, aided by new funding opportunities (offered through the CARES Act and similar channels) and the widespread easing of telehealth requirements, including the allowance of reimbursement for audio-only services and temporarily eased provider licensure requirements.
Tele-behavioral health services are no exception; the aforesaid trends ensure that what was one of the few high-growth areas in digital behavioral health before the pandemic will remain so for the foreseeable future. This is unquestionably a positive development, but there is still much work to be done to close the treatment gap. Critically, a meaningful portion of this work is beyond the reach of the virtual infrastructure that has been established to date. For example, there remains a dearth of solutions that have successfully scaled treatment models for individuals with acute illnesses, like SMI or dual BH-SUD diagnoses.
Health system leaders should continue to keep their ears to the ground for new opportunities to expand their virtual treatment infrastructure, paying particular attention to synergistic opportunities to build on investments in newly-developed assets (like workforce-focused solutions) to round out the continuum of behavioral health services.
COVID-19 has all but guaranteed that behavioral health will remain a major focus of efforts to improve healthcare delivery. Therefore, health systems that approach today’s necessary investments in behavioral health with a long-term focus will emerge from the pandemic response well ahead of their peers, having built healthier communities along the way.
About Victor Siclovan
Victor Siclovan is a Director on the Medicaid Transformation Project at AVIA where he leads work in behavioral health, chronic care, substance use disorder, and Medicaid population health strategy. Prior to AVIA, Victor spent nearly 10 years at Oliver Wyman helping large healthcare organizations navigate the transition to value-based care. He holds a BA in Economics from Northwestern.
CorroHealth—driven by helping clients navigate regulatory and
compliance complexities, ease physician burdens and improve financial
outcomes—emerges at a time when financial health is particularly important for
health systems and payers. CorroHealth combines the industry-leading domestic
middle revenue cycle group of TrustHCS, with the full-service global delivery
model of Visionary RCM, the emergency documentation technology solutions of
T-System, and the advanced coding solutions of RevCycle+.
“We knew health systems and plans would have a growing need for our solutions, so we worked hard and found a way to bring all 4,000 employees together as one company, united by our core. It’s been pretty amazing to see this joint venture come together at such a time as this,” said CorroHealth CEO Patrick Leonard.
The four legacy company names will remain through the end of
2020 with a final move to the CorroHealth name across all companies beginning
January 1, 2021.
Global investment firm The
Carlyle Group owns a majority stake in CorroHealth, with Cannae Holdings,
Inc. (NYSE: CNNE), Sanaka Group, and affiliates of TripleTree Holdings also
serving as investors.
Care and Amwell® announced an expanded partnership, allowing
the companies to develop new integrations to enhance virtual care offerings for
– By pairing Tyto Care’s TytoHome device and platform
with Amwell’s platform, the two companies will together provide patients
and providers with augmented virtual care experiences and
broadly enrich the capabilities and satisfaction with healthcare organizations’
virtual care applications.
provider Amwell, today
announced it is expanding its partnership with Tyto Care, the
healthcare industry’s first all-in-one modular device and examination platform
for AI-powered, on-demand, remote medical exams. Together the companies will
introduce exclusive integrations and newly designed workflows and tools to
enhance the ability for providers using the Amwell platform to examine and
diagnose patients virtually. Additionally, Amwell will become a reseller of Tyto Care’s
Tyto Care Background
Tyto Care seamlessly connects people to clinicians to provide
the best virtual home examination and diagnosis solutions. Its solutions are
designed to enable a comprehensive medical exam from any location and include a
hand-held, all-in-one tool for examining the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat,
abdomen, and body temperature; a complete telehealth platform for sharing exam
data, conducting live video exams, and scheduling visits; a cloud-based data
repository with analytics; and built-in guidance technology and machine
learning algorithms to ensure accuracy and ease of use for patients and
insights for healthcare providers.
Conduct Exams and Diagnoses
By pairing the TytoHome handheld examination
device – which enables on-demand examinations of the heart, lungs, abdomen,
skin, throat, ears, heart rate, and body temperature – with Amwell’s telehealth
platform, providers can guide patients through
virtual health examinations and together gain real-time insight into a
patient’s health data and status directly in the visit. For patients and
providers, this will augment the virtual care experience and more broadly
enrich the capabilities and overall satisfaction associated with healthcare
organizations’ virtual care applications. This enriched workflow will be available to
thousands of Amwell hospitals, health systems, health plans
and employer clients who collectively serve millions of patients.
“As COVID-19 wages on and more patients and providers adopt telehealth, it’s critical that we accelerate the depth of care that can be provided in the home – to keep patients and providers safe,” said Roy Schoenberg, President and Co-CEO, Amwell. “Our latest integration with Tyto Care will allow providers to clinically come closer than ever before to patients during telehealth encounters, allowing them to see, interact, examine and deliver care in ways that growingly resemble in-person care.”
Offering More Holistic Care for Patients
“Our longstanding partnership with Amwell exemplifies our shared goal of providing deeply integrated telehealth solutions that put health in the hands of consumers, creating a more impactful and seamless healthcare experience for both patients and providers,” said Dedi Gilad, CEO and Co-Founder, Tyto Care. “The integration with TytoHome will enable Amwell to offer more holistic care for patients, especially for urgent and primary care needs, as well as help to enable better adherence to treatment plans. We look forward to continuing our work together as we realize the full potential of clinic-quality, at-home care in this new era of telehealth.”
With the rise of healthcare consumerism, people are looking to hospitals, health systems, and physician practices to deliver the same user-friendly, digital experiences they receive from other industries. A recent survey found that more than 80% of consumers surveyed believe “shopping for healthcare should be as easy as shopping for other common services.” Specifically, they want streamlined access points online where they can shop for and purchase healthcare, easily make appointments, understand what they need to pay, make payments, and set up payment plans – or even obtain financing for care if the estimated costs exceed their budgets.
These types of digital experiences help providers recruit new patients and keep them engaged, which leads to better outcomes for both the health of the patient and the financial health of the practice. Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations aren’t ready to provide this level of convenience. In part, this is because they have relied on patient portals as their main digital engagement tool to date.
The problem with portals
There are a few reasons why patient portals underdeliver. First, portals are only for patients that have an existing relationship with a provider. However, the patient experience begins when consumers start shopping for care. Relying on a portal alone is a missed opportunity to generate new patient business.
Second, portals don’t mirror what consumers expect from digital solutions. The interfaces are clunky, the functionality is limited, and the technology only supports a pull strategy, meaning that it waits for the patient to come to it rather than periodically reaching out and prompting the individual to take action.
Third, a patient must be logged into a portal before they can do anything with it. This makes it harder to schedule appointments with new physicians because there is not an established connection. In these cases, the patient must pick up the phone, wait on hold, set up an account, possibly wade through insurance approval and pre-authorization, and then make the appointment.
Finally, portals aren’t ideal for communicating costs. While some allow the patient to pay co-pays, they aren’t designed to give realistic cost estimates, offer payment plans, suggest alternative funding sources, and so on.
Taken together, these challenges result in low, inconsistent portal use. Even if a hospital indicates that 50% of its patients access the portal, one-time or limited use should not be viewed as patient engagement. Instead, to realize true engagement, organizations should be thinking about ways to foster two-way conversations to keep new and existing patients focused on their health and how the hospital, health system, or physician practice can meet their needs. This improves patients’ experience and builds loyalty, while also reducing leakage and growing revenue.
What are the risks of poor digital engagement?
Without a well-considered plan for providing a retail-like shopping experience that includes transparent cost information, healthcare organizations run the risk of losing patients. This is especially important as the marketplace becomes more competitive and focused on patient experience, and retail clinics continue to pop-up around the country.
In addition to market changes, regulatory pressures are also making patient-centric financial communications a necessity. Several states are implementing price transparency regulations, and a federal requirement is right around the corner. To meet these standards, organizations will need effective tools that reliably determine and share prices with patients in advance of their appointments.
So where do organizations go from here?
It’s clear that patient portals are not the answer. But how can organizations do a better job of giving patients the convenience they seek? Here are four best practices to consider.
1. Evaluate your organization’s digital tools.
The first step is to take a hard look at the digital solutions you currently provide and compare them to those available from other industries, such as travel, retail, and financial services. Consumers want a digital, retail-like shopping experience where they can search local providers, compare reviews and costs, schedule their treatment, and even pay – all in one intuitive place.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that only younger people want these tools. Research shows that more and more older adults are embracing mobile activities like online banking. In fact, The Harris Poll found that 80% of Baby Boomers (individuals between 56-76 years old) “wish there was a single place to shop for and purchase care.”
Digital tools designed to improve access and transparency while making it easier to pay create more engaged consumers and provide a better patient experience. Achieving this dual dynamic requires digital tools are part of a comprehensive end-to-end solution.
2. Streamline access to shoppable services
These are elective procedures and screening tests that an individual can schedule in advance and include things like planned joint replacements, colonoscopies, and mammograms. Healthcare organizations offer standardized pricing for these services, allowing patients to shop around for the best price, location, and experience.
When patients are able to use a digital tool to research a service, set an appointment, and make a payment, it can drive patient satisfaction and increase the chances the individual will choose to have the procedure with the organization supplying the tool. With 67% of consumers stating they would “shop for healthcare entirely online, like any other products and services,” streamlining access to shoppable services will drive engagement and revenue.
3. Adopt tools that help people understand their care costs.
More than half of consumers surveyed for The Harris Poll said they have “avoided seeking care because they weren’t sure what the price would be.” The biggest hurdle to accessing care is price transparency, resulting in patients not getting the treatment they need and in poor revenue management for a practice.
Patients are more likely to pay their portion up front when they understand what they owe and feel confident that the cost information provided has taken into consideration their current insurance, deductibles, and co-pays. A key to accurate estimates is an automated solution that checks the patient’s insurance digitally, determines the benefits, reviews the amount of any deductible, and verifies whether the individual has already met their deductible. When a patient financial tool also offers the ability to make payments or set up a payment plan, it can increase patients’ propensity to pay, boost the amount of self-pay funds the organization collects, and substantially reduce the cost-to-collect.
4. Enable digital appointment scheduling
Consumers view scheduling and rescheduling appointments as a very difficult task. Digital solutions can address this pain point. Mobile tools and apps that patients can use to schedule appointments monitor wait times, digitally complete forms, and check-in for appointments are essential to breaking down some of the barriers to patient access.
Before onboarding a tool like this, organizations must think through the change management challenges in getting all stakeholders on board. Historically, physicians have been hesitant to open up their calendars to permit digital scheduling. However, transparency and standardization are becoming increasingly important to meet patient demand and are necessary to make these types of tools work smoothly.
Although digital tools are gaining popularity among all generations, there are still people who prefer to pick up the phone to price, schedule, and pay for care. In addition to digital solutions, organizations should have service-oriented call centers to work with these patients. Such centers should have well-trained professionals who are available during and outside of traditional business hours so patients can access the information they need when they need it.
Relying on the status quo is not wise
Healthcare is only going to become more consumer-driven as high-deductible health plans continue to disrupt the industry. Hospitals, health systems, and physician practices cannot afford to rely on outdated technologies that don’t facilitate two-way conversations or the digital experience patients expect. To compete today and in the future, organizations need a comprehensive, retail-like solution that offers a seamless user experience and spans the entire patient journey. Tools and technologies used in combination with putting the patient first will build loyalty while also improving an organization’s clinical and financial outcomes.
About Bill Krause
Bill Krause is the Vice President of Experience Solutions at Change Healthcare. Serving the healthcare industry for over 12 years, Bill leads innovation and solution development for patient experience management at Change Healthcare. In this role, he is responsible for the development and execution of strategies that enable healthcare organizations to realize value through leading-edge consumer engagement capabilities.
Previously, Bill provided insights and direction into new product and service strategies for McKesson and Change Healthcare. He also managed business development planning, partnerships, and corporate development across a variety of healthcare services and technology lines of business for those companies.
Prior to McKesson, Bill worked at McKinsey & Company as a strategy consultant, serving a variety of clients in healthcare and other industries. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. He also served as a lieutenant in the United States Navy.
– Innovaccer launches a perioperative
optimization solution for surgeons to realize clinical and financial goals with
– The solution redefines surgical planning and
post-surgical recovery with machine learning-based patient stratification for
optimized surgery experience and personalized patient care management.
Innovaccer, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, recently launched its perioperative optimization solution for health systems. The solution optimizes surgeries and ramps up volumes by identifying high-risk patients for pre-surgical intervention while reducing the length of stay, readmissions, and cost. The solution uses advanced analytics and machine learning-based algorithms to proactively identify patients at greater risk for post-surgical complications. Patients are then referred to the pre-surgical optimization clinic for pre-surgical strategies which are personalized for individual patients and specifically designed to minimize post-surgical complications.
Impact of COVID-19 on Elective Surgeries, Non-Essential
has challenged traditional healthcare delivery systems and caused the
postponement of elective surgeries and other non-essential medical care. As
patients wait for their surgeries, it is likely their conditions could
deteriorate and/or patients would return to clinics during a pandemic surge.
Health systems will need to be prepared to address the potential for more
complicated patient health conditions with careful risk assessment.
Pre-Surgical Optimization Platform Features
Innovaccer’s “Pre-Surgical Optimization” solution guides patient prioritization based on an algorithm that factors medical history, patient demographics, allergies, chronic conditions, history, and social determinants of health. Based on the previous data on these patients from the electronic medical record, claims, and the individual’s risk factors, the algorithm estimates the future cost of care for the patient. The algorithm also assigns patients to appropriate case managers using a smart rule engine that assesses a variety of factors including the number of appointments, and the surgeon’s expertise to map the patient to the provider. This approach helps hospitals identify high-risk patients and focus on the patients that will benefit most from pre-surgical interventions.
Return on Investment Model for Healthcare Organizations
Innovaccer has also incorporated a refined return on
investment model designed to make the optimization process revenue positive for
healthcare organizations. The three key pillars of the exclusive model are
sensitivity analysis tools, deep data insights, and performance analytics.
Using this solution, hospitals can track their return on investment in
real-time on a customizable dashboard with metrics including reduced
readmissions, reduced length of stay, and emergency department visits with
their associated costs.
“With about 28 million surgeries canceled worldwide, non-COVID medical care has suffered tremendously. Canceled elective surgeries have impacted patient health conditions and the economic sustainability of health systems,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO and Co-founder of Innovaccer. “As health systems plan to resume surgical procedures, care managers will need to engage the patient remotely for pre-surgical interventions. Our solution is created to redefine the entire process of optimizing surgery planning and to become more patient-centered and adaptable to the changing care environment. We want to ensure exemplary pre-optimization and post-discharge engagement to reduce readmissions and improve the hospital’s financial impact using the pre-surgical optimization process.”
– CancerIQ raises $5M in Series A funding led by HealthXVentures to accelerate the growth of its genetic cancer risk assessment platform to identify and manage patients at high risk of cancer.
– CancerIQ’s technology enables hospitals to use genomics
to personalize the prevention and early detection of cancer.
– Two new hires recently joined CancerIQ’s newly formed
Integrated Products team from Epic, with the goal of advancing CancerIQ’s
integration with leading EMRs.
enterprise precision health platform for cancer, today announced it has raised
$4.8M in Series A funding led by HealthX
Ventures, a digital
health-focused venture capital firm led by Mark Bakken, the founder and
former CEO of Nordic Consulting, the
largest Epic consulting firm. CancerIQ will use the funding to accelerate the
growth of its current offering and deepen integrations with EHRs and genetic
testing partners. Other institutional investors including Impact Engine and
Lightbank, co-founded by Eric Lefkofsky (founder of Tempus and co-founder of
Groupon) and Brad Keywell (co-founder of Groupon), also participated in the
Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment Platform to Manage
Patients at High Risk of Cancer
Founded in 2013, CancerIQ helps healthcare providers use genetic information to predict, preempt, and prevent cancer across populations in both urban and rural settings. By analyzing family history, running predictive risk models, and automating NCCN guidelines, CancerIQ empowers providers with the genetic expertise to prevent cancer or catch it early.
CancerIQ’s workflows enable health systems to execute
precision health strategies for patients predisposed to cancer, by:
• Identifying the 25 percent of the patient population that
qualifies for genetic testing
• Streamlining the genetic testing and counseling process,
via telehealth if required
• Managing high-risk patients over time
• Tracking outcomes at the individual and population levels
In addition, the platform allows hospitals to convert their
cancer risk assessment and management programs to virtual visits with its
complete telehealth cancer risk platform. CancerIQ has been rapidly adopted by
some of the top health systems in the country and fully integrates with
genetics laboratories, EHRs, and specialty software vendors to streamline
workflow, guide clinician decision making, achieve cost savings, and — most
importantly — improve patient outcomes.
CancerIQ will use the funding to accelerate the growth of
its current offering and deepen integrations with EHRs and genetic testing
partners. The company is experiencing a rapid growth year despite the COVID-19
crisis. Precision health has become an even more important technique for early
detection and prevention of disease. Over 80,000 patients have missed their
cancer screening appointments, but health systems are rapidly adopting CancerIQ
to triage and prioritize those in need of most urgent care.
“Partnering with HealthX allows us to build on the solid foundation we have serving over 70 institutions, and enable system-wide precision health,” said Feyi Ayodele, CEO, CancerIQ.
Addition of Strategic Hires to Epic Integration Team
Two new hires recently joined CancerIQ’s newly formed
Integrated Products team from Epic, with the goal of advancing CancerIQ’s
integration with leading EMRs:
Lisa Glaspie, Director of Integrated Products
– Glaspie spent 16 years at Epic, where she was directly involved in many integrations, data management, and conversion projects spanning a wide array of clinical and specialty system vendors, as well as custom in-house products. She will inform how CancerIQ can be deeply integrated across more clinical specialties.
Ashar Wasi, Integrated Product Specialist
– Wasi spent the last 11 years at Epic on the implementation
team for Epic’s radiology and cardiology modules. At CancerIQ, he will help
client teams understand different integration methods and provide context on
the scalability of CancerIQ’s FHIR-based approach.
“To engage primary care, radiology, and cardiology in precision health — we need our content to be deeply embedded in the EHR systems they already use. We’re excited to bring Lisa and Ashar on board for their domain expertise with Epic, so fewer high risk patients fall through the cracks,” added Ayodele.
– Cerner launches a new Command Center dashboard to help organizations visualize and optimize operations in a centralized location by leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics to provide situational awareness and decision support during COVID-19.
– Powered by AI and predictive models, helps organizations align patient needs, staffing, and resources to improve care and operational efficiency.
Healthcare IT leader Cerner recently launched a new tool to help organizations visualize and optimize operations in a centralized location by leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics to provide situational awareness and decision support. The Cerner Command Center dashboard, powered by AI and predictive models, helps organizations align patient needs, staffing, and resources to improve care and operational efficiency.
Helping Provider Manage Operational Efficiency During COVID-19
The need for healthcare systems to have situational awareness has never been greater. To help organizations manage operational efficiency during COVID-19, Cerner offered and is offering rapid deployment of the Cerner Command Center dashboard. The Cerner Command Center culminates people, processes, and technology into a single physical space to execute collaborative decision-making and workflows supporting the improvement of patient throughput. This approach focuses on patients — aligning the patient with the appropriate caregiver, in the right place, at the right time. The Cerner Command Center centralizes operational solutions that provide situational awareness and trigger the team to take immediate action when needed.
features of the Cerner Command Center include:
data and predictive analytics to provide health systems clear line of sight
into critical resources such as available beds or equipment in order to respond
to patient needs and plan for the next.
– visualize key clinical and operational metrics in a centralized location, aligning throughput, staffing, and resources to optimize operations and drive action.
– standardized and near real-time dashboard that is accessible to the right staff at the right time can be used for making important operational decisions that can help facilitate the delivery of quality care to patients, support transformational change, and predictable operational excellence.
Deployment at Northern Light Health
Northern Light Health in Maine was the first health
system to deploy the Cerner Command Center dashboard, as
part of its COVID-19 response. The ability to capture and display real-time
data and analytics has been vital for Northern Light Health to effectively
address managing bed capacity and care activities during this health
crisis. With a cloud-based machine learning ecosystem, Cerner used
3 years of historical data from Northern Light Health to go beyond the current
and predict operational needs in the near future.
– Philips today announced the launch of its Rapid
Equipment Deployment Kits, which provide doctors with critical care patient
monitoring solutions they can quickly implement in the ICU. The Rapid Equipment
Deployment Kits use advanced patient monitoring technology to enable care teams
to swiftly scale up critical care capabilities within just a few hours, and
help hospitals meet on-demand access during these pressing times of COVID-19.
– Arriving at hospitals fully configured and
ready-to-deploy, the kits are pre-built and pre-packed into sturdy cases and
can be transferred from hospital to hospital as needed. After a crisis/surge
has passed, the kits are disinfected and stored to have available in
preparation for future emergencies.
Royal Philips, today introduced its Rapid Equipment Deployment Kit for ICU ramp-ups, allowing doctors, nurses, technicians, and hospital staff to quickly support critical care patient monitoring capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently successfully in use in the first health systems across the US, the Rapid Equipment Deployment Kit combines Philips advanced patient monitoring technology with predictive patient-centric algorithms enabling care teams to quickly scale up critical care patient monitoring capabilities within a few hours. As health systems in the U.S. continue to experience surges in critical care and emergency care demand related to the COVID-19 crisis, the kit provides hospitals a way to quickly and easily expand their critical care capacity.
The Rapid Equipment Deployment Initiative for COVID-19
The Philips Rapid Equipment Deployment Kit is a fully configured and ready-to-deploy ICU patient monitoring solution, which includes 20 ICU monitors, 20 measurement servers and one central management monitoring station. The kits are pre-built, pre-configured and pre-packed into sturdy cases that can elevate a hospital’s general care area to a critical care level in a matter of hours. Kits are complete with step-by-step instructions allowing the pre-configured system to be deployed by hospital staff, with remote technical and clinical support from Philips. Kits can be transferred from hospital to hospital as needed. Once a crisis/surge passes, the kits are disinfected, packed up and stored to have available in preparation for future emergencies.
Why It Matters
“The current health crisis has demonstrated a clear need for
us to deliver innovative solutions to our customers that provide a complete
critical care monitoring solution with all of the equipment they require on
demand. This eliminates the need to source and configure individual pieces of
high-demand equipment during a crisis,” said Peter Ziese, General Manager of
Monitoring Analytics at Philips. “To help ensure economical and more
efficient use of hospital resources, the Rapid Equipment Deployment Kits
provide the speed, flexibility and ease of implementation for advanced critical
care patient monitoring that many of our customers must have during this most
In June, Philips announced it had received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for Philips’
IntelliVue Patient Monitors MX750/MX850 and its IntelliVue Active
Displays AD75/AD85, for use in the US during the COVID-19 health emergency.
These patient monitoring solutions support infection-control protocols and
remotely provide critical patient information when caring for hospitalized
COVID-19 patients. The MX750 and MX850 monitors are the latest additions
to Philips’ portfolio of integrated patient monitoring solutions to help
support improved clinical and operational workflows. Updated features, include
enhancements to monitor and assess clinical and network device performance, and
additional functionalities to strengthen cybersecurity.
If you’ve been to a big-brand grocery or department store recently, you probably noticed some form of healthcare outlet – or maybe you didn’t. These in-store pharmacies and clinics have become so omnipresent, right there next to the diapers, dog food, and green beans, that unless you use them, you may not notice them at all.
This convergence of healthcare and retail has been happening for a few years and represents one of the fastest-growing corners of the healthcare market. In fact, retail health is growing at 10% each year – twice as fast as conventional healthcare.
The shared spaces are the latest and most obvious ways healthcare providers have emulated their retail counterparts. Just as retailers moved on from the 1980s mall archetype toward a more individualized, customer-friendly model, so too are healthcare providers – perhaps grudgingly. A large, decentralized healthcare system is more complicated than similar retail models, but patient expectations and other drivers are pushing the change. As a result, today’s hospitals increasingly are foregoing the traditional, centralized architecture in favor of distributed points of care – separate or offsite surgical, imaging and testing facilities are the norm for the modern health system.
The goal is the same whether it’s a hospital or a hardware store – improve and enhance the customer experience. Today’s hospitals are changing their models to make using their services easier, faster and, if not more enjoyable, certainly less irritating. Healthcare customers may not have the universe of options available to retail customers, but they do have options, including the easiest option of all – staying home.
Of course, this shift is about more than convenience. Because of the wave of healthcare consolidations across the country, rural America is increasingly underserved when it comes to healthcare. In those areas, these clinics offer an opportunity to receive expert care from medical professionals in other parts of the country through advanced applications and technologies. We also can’t ignore the affordability angle for patients. To some extent, productizing care and being able to access existing infrastructure in other, larger facilities, drives down cost in the overall system.
The Technology of Customer Experience
Of course, there is more to customer experience than physical accessibility. Retailers are leading the way in implementing technology to improve their customer interactions, and it’s about more than just e-commerce. You see it in everything from streamlined checkout and smart shelves to mobile coupons tailored to customer history.
The deployment of 5G networks will enable even more advanced, customer-friendly applications, something retailers and healthcare providers understand well. For that reason, they are exploring creative ways not just to leverage 5G services, but to partner with telecommunications providers to reach their shared customers.
The thinking is simple and sound: The ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G will enable innovations in all sorts of areas, including for the purposes of this conversation, intelligent retail and healthcare and telemedicine. In order for centrally located medical experts to access, read, and diagnose patients in remote clinic settings, often exchanging high-resolution medical imaging and other diagnostic information, low latency and high bandwidth are required. That’s where 5G comes in.
However, these networks require much denser networks with powerful computing that doesn’t yet exist across today’s networks. For users to take advantage of 5G’s many anticipated benefits, the network must be pervasive, and existing 4G LTE networks aren’t there yet.
That doesn’t mean providers aren’t trying. In fact, they clearly see an opportunity. Before COVID-19, Verizon estimated half the country would have access to 5G by the end of 2020, and in March the company announced an additional $500 million investment in its own 5G network. Our own industry survey conducted with 451 Research found that 86% of operators expect to be delivering 5G services by 2021. The projections are aggressive for good reason: IHS Markit expects 5G to generate some $12.3 trillion in annual revenue by 2035.
Meeting those timelines requires upgrades at existing cell sites but also fast, widespread deployment of new sites. Finding available real estate for that many new deployments – especially in the densely populated areas at the front of the line for 5G service – isn’t easy.
Enter the retail industry. Large retailers are in the business of reaching as much of the population as they can, and many of them already have a footprint that is the envy of cellular providers. The nation’s largest retail chain has 4,500 stores, and about 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of one of them. We look at that and see fast, easy, one-stop shopping. Telco providers see rooftops crying out for 5G equipment, with the potential to accelerate network densification and gain instant access to the vast majority of the U.S. population.
There is an opportunity emerging here for a symbiotic relationship between retailers, healthcare providers, and telecom operators to form a high-tech, customer-friendly hub for shopping and healthcare services. Let’s look at the possibilities from the perspectives of each party.
Telcos: It’s All About the Footprint
As always with network deployments, activity around 5G will follow demand, and demand follows the population. That means urban environments are likely to be first in the queue, and real estate in most cities is at a premium. Every rooftop and light pole are potential homes for 5G towers or equipment, a reality that has been the subject of considerable discussion – only recently moving toward a clear resolution.
Retailers already know the math, and most stores are placed strategically in proximity to as many consumers as possible. This is fertile ground for telcos, simplifying right-of-way negotiations and deployment times and ensuring significant network penetration. They also have ready-made customers in the retailers and healthcare providers occupying the buildings that support their towers.
Retail: Powering the Customer Experience
Customer experience has become a great differentiator in the retail space, as retailers evolve to meet the expectations of the Amazon generation. The last two years have been marked by growth in distribution centers and in the allocation of data center space supporting online retail and distribution.
Enabling the online shopping experience and bringing all the simplicity of online shopping to in-store customers are the threads that connect today’s most successful retail organizations. The tools and tactics making the in-store part of that possible include sensor and customer tracking, demand analytics, 360o customer learning, and artificial intelligence deployed in interactive customer environments that leverage the Internet of Things in new and creative ways.
These applications are only as effective as the networks upon which they exist and operate and 5G is simply far superior to our current 4G networks. The increase in bandwidth will enable speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, eliminating the slow or dropped service common in highly populated environments – such as crowded department stores.
A retailer with a 5G antenna on the roof providing pristine service for all of its in-store technologies and large swaths of customers faces few limits in its deployment and adoption of advanced technologies.
Healthcare: Expanding With Confidence
The goal of retail healthcare is to make many common health services more accessible, and it’s working. There are more than 2,700 Convenient Care clinics (CCCs) in the U.S., and those clinics have received more than 40 million patient visits. Today’s consumers can buy a gallon of milk, pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, and get a flu shot in a single stop.
While these retailers and healthcare providers increasingly are sharing physical space and many of the same motivations – improving customer experience chief among them – there are some important differences. Protecting customer data certainly is a priority for retail stores – and a challenge, considering estimates that 80-90% of those who log in to a retailer’s e-commerce site are hackers using stolen data – but patient privacy may in fact be even more sensitive.
With that in mind, the security enhancements offered with 5G can harden existing retail healthcare networks and potentially open the door to even more patient services in those CCC settings. 5G has anti-tracking and spoofing features, including more encrypted data, to reduce the amount of raw data being transmitted and help protect against hackers. 5G relies more on software and cloud support than 4G, which enables better monitoring, and 5G networks can be sliced into smaller, virtual networks with security tailored for various devices and applications.
Those kinds of advanced security features may eliminate some lingering reservations among healthcare providers reluctant to dive fully into retail healthcare and embolden the more aggressive to expand their offerings. The increased bandwidth of 5G makes it easier to share and access not only sensitive files but also larger patient records, such as high-definition images and even videos from patient procedures. With no technological or security restrictions, it’s not a stretch to envision a world where anything short of surgery could happen in a CCC.
The Opportunity of Integration
There are plenty of arguments for this three-way marriage of convenience, but the full potential of this telco-retail-healthcare convergence will only be realized if the parties collaborate. There may be benefits for all parties in spite of siloed planning, but they’re also will be opportunities lost.
Retailers and healthcare providers who work closely with telcos can build offerings that take advantage of the on-site 5G capabilities, and telcos can gain not just rooftop real estate, but enthusiastic customers itching to stretch their data plans.
Of course, maximizing the partnership may mean new investments in IT systems and infrastructure. For example, you wouldn’t want to build the industry’s most robust customer experience program and then cross your fingers every time a storm threatened utility power. When you lean heavily into IT-enabled smart retail, power protection becomes paramount.
Similarly, retail healthcare centers, or CCCs, may seize the opportunity to expand their offerings and collect and/or transmit more sensitive patient data, but the enhanced security capabilities of 5G networks only go so far. Employees switching between external networks – to find an address for an insurance provider, for example – and more sensitive internal networks with private patient information will want to protect that sensitive information with secure KVM switches.
These types of investments can be managed separately or more efficiently as a single, integrated system. Mobile edge computing (MEC) is an increasingly common model for 5G-enabled computing hubs, and it brings the power and planning of an integrated, modular data center to these types of network edge locations.
MEC deployments can be housed inside or out, preserving valuable space in the store. They can be configured to support AC power-reliant IT systems as well as the DC power plants and equipment common to 5G sites. As with all modular solutions, they can be configured to meet the needs of a specific site and deployed in a matter of days. MEC systems also provide low-latency local computing when even 5G isn’t fast or secure enough for the user; most commercial transactions in these types of settings would be handled with local computing.
The key to optimizing these retail-healthcare-telco hubs is early communication between all parties and proactive planning to ensure the 5G capabilities are fully realized. A failure to communicate will result in squandered opportunities for everyone.
The Final Word
Eventually, all of this will happen with or without coordination between the interested parties. Retailers are going to continue to test the limits of technology to better serve their customers and give them more enjoyable experiences in their stores. Health systems are going to continue to decentralize their facilities and find ways to be closer to their patients and provide better interactions and outcomes. And telcos are going to find homes for their 5G antennas and expand their networks to deliver 5G services to both their subscribers and enterprises. There is an opportunity now, however, while all of these things are happening simultaneously, to do it all better, faster, and more efficiently while meeting the needs of all parties and their customers.
About Mitzi Amon, Director of Healthcare Marketing at Vertiv
Amon is the Director of Healthcare Marketing at Vertiv, where she has more than 20 years of experience in helping customers in healthcare, industrial and commercial environments optimize their operations. From researching the latest trends in the market to understanding the challenges faced by leading healthcare providers, payers, and vendors, Amon’s goal is to inspire conversations and build a collaborative environment where ideas are shared and solutions are created to help the industry stay ahead of what’s next.
– Lumeon, the leader in care pathway orchestration
announced it has raised $30M in Series D funding to extend the reach of its
Care Pathway Management (CPM) platform.
– The platform empowers providers to improve care
quality, deliver better outcomes, reduce costs, and ultimately develop and
scale new models of care delivery – particularly important right now as
COVID-19 accelerates the technology-driven transformation of healthcare.
Lumeon, a Boston, MA-based provider of care pathway orchestration, today
announced that it has closed $30M in Series D funding led by new investors
Optum Ventures and Endeavour Vision, with participation from current investors
LSP, MTIP, IPF Partners, Gilde and Amadeus Capital Partners. The investment
will enable the company to extend the reach of its Care Pathway Management
(CPM) platform, which helps healthcare providers automate their patient care coordination
to improve care quality, deliver better outcomes and reduce costs.
Why Care Pathways?
With proven ability to reduce unwarranted
variation and lower the overall cost of care delivery, care pathways are
an increasingly attractive proposition for healthcare providers.
The challenge, however, has always been to take paper-based pathways off the
page and into operational reality. This means being able to direct tasks and
coordinate care across clinicians, ward managers, nurses, patient educators –
the entire team responsible for successful care delivery – even the patient
Deliver Engaging Virtual Care Journeys
Founded in 2005, Lumeon’s platform connects
the care journey across the care continuum, operationalizing care plans beyond
the four walls of your hospital. Lumeon’s CPM platform
uses real-time data to dynamically guide patients and care teams along their
care journeys. By automating, orchestrating and virtualizing care delivery
across care settings, Lumeon’s solutions allow health systems to operate with
predictability and efficiency, delivering optimal care to each patient while
substantially lowering costs for healthcare providers.
Lumeon’s CPM platform
integrates with all electronic health record (EHR) systems in addition to
incorporating required clinical and administrative data from point solutions
and devices, addressing the fragmented nature of healthcare technology and the
challenge of interoperability. By extending beyond the confines of a healthcare
provider’s EHR, Lumeon’s configurable solutions maximize current investments as
organizations evolve their care delivery models.
“While the markets for data analytics, clinical decision support and patient engagement are well established, what is missing today is the ability to effectively connect them to solve the problem of personalizing care delivery in a scalable way,” said Lumeon Founder and CEO Robbie Hughes. “The ‘last mile’ that turns the insight into action is the hardest part for health systems, and is the core of the Lumeon proposition.”
The FDA and Syapse announce research collaboration expansion
to address urgent public health challenges including supporting FDA’s goal of
rapid understanding of COVID-19.
As part of the research, Syapse is partnering with FDA’s
Oncology Center of Excellence to investigate methods to derive RWD from
multiple sources including electronic health records, registries and molecular