mPulse Mobile Acquires Digital Health Engagement Company The Big Know

mPulse Mobile Acquires Digital Health Engagement Company Big Know

What You Should Know:

mPulse
Mobile
, the leader in conversational AI solutions for the healthcare
industry, will acquire The Big Know, a
prominent digital
health
company transforming how healthcare educates consumers.

– A deeper entrenchment in the streaming age and shifting
consumer expectations demand a shift in the healthcare industry’s approach to
care delivery and experiences. Quality patient engagement must be acknowledged
as a vital and unavoidable part of the healthcare journey.

– The partnership will establish a holistic approach to
digital health engagement with integrated conversational AI and rich
content streaming. It is a major development for the industry that sets a new
standard for quality patient engagement and helps address gaps in how
healthcare organizations educate and activate their members.

– mPulse Mobile solutions excel at reaching and engaging
diverse member and patient populations on their healthcare journey, helping
customers to measurably improve outcomes. The Big Know adds a superior ability
to captivate, educate and activate individuals through award-winning cinematic
content that is proven to sustain deeper relationships. Together, the companies
are on track to power over half a billion digital interactions in 2021.

– “We have a mission to improve health equity and health
outcomes for the populations that we serve. Building on a foundation of
knowledge through demographically appropriate learning strategies will help our
clients and us achieve these goals and reduce health disparities,”
Nicholson continued. “Our combination with The Big Know is a perfect
synergy. Our legacy of engaging with hard-to-reach patient populations combines
with their dedication to health literacy and formative learning experiences to
ensure more educational engagements and greater outcomes.”

IoMT Is Improving Patient Access: We Must Avoid Creating New Barriers

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is changing the face of healthcare and has the potential to significantly improve patient access as well as system efficiencies. The adoption of telemedicine, for example, spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic, has spread rapidly.  Forrester revised its forecasts to predict that virtual care visits in the United States will soar to more than one billion this year—including 900 million visits related to Covid-19 specifically. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, 40% of doctor’s appointments now consist of phone or video calls.

Even before the pandemic, the adoption of IoMT was already growing rapidly, with the market valued at US$44.5 billion in 2018 and predicted to reach US$254 billion in 2026. There are more than 500,000 medical devices on the market, helping to diagnose, monitor, and treat patients – and more and more of these can, and are, becoming connected – not to mention innovations yet to enter the market. The connected medical devices segment specifically is expected to exceed $52 billion by 2022.

The COVID-19 Effect

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape more than any other single event in recent memory. The urgent and widespread need for care, coupled with the challenge of physical distancing, has accelerated the creation and adoption of new digital technologies as well as new processes to support their adoption and implementation across healthcare. The MedTech industry is emerging as a key apparatus to combat the virus and provide urgent support.

A simple example demonstrating the potential benefits of IoMT can be seen even within a hospital setting, where monitoring COVID-19 patients is costly in terms of time and PPE (personal protective equipment) consumption, since simply walking into a patient’s room becomes a complex process. IoMT technologies enable medical devices to send data to medical practitioners who can monitor a patient’s condition without having to take readings at the bedside. The same technologies can enable patients who do not require hospitalization to be safely monitored while remaining at home or in a community setting. 

From the patients’ perspective, many are embracing virtual healthcare as an alternative to long waits or having to go to a clinic or hospital altogether. And given the growing number and scope of connected medical devices and services, such as remote patient monitoring, therapy, or even diagnosis, there will be even more options in the future.  

Catalyzed by the pandemic, the IoMT genie is fully out of the bottle, and it is unlikely to go back. 

Increasing Access

This is good news for healthcare and good news for patients and families. Patient access is improving as telehealth, supported by connected devices to enable the collection of health-related data remotely, is helping to lift barriers. This increase in accessibility has the potential to improve the convenience, timeliness, and even safety of access to healthcare services for more people in more places. 

IoMT is lifting geographic barriers that have impeded access to healthcare since its very inception. Individuals with transportation or mobility challenges will no longer need to travel to receive routine care if they can be safely monitored while at home. Historically underserved rural or remote communities can gain access to medical specialists without needing to fly or drive great distances, while services can be delivered more cost-effectively. 

Furthermore, with fewer clinic or hospital-based appointments required for routine monitoring of patients who are otherwise doing well, doctors would be able to concentrate their in-person time and clinic resources on those most in need of care. 

The capacity for specialized medicine enabled by IoMT could also have a dramatic impact. The vast quantities of health data becoming available (with the requisite permissions in place), can enable sophisticated AI-driven health applications that can, for example, predict complications before they occur, better understand the health needs of specific populations, or enable stronger patient engagement and self-care. These models can also equip healthcare practitioners with better sources of information, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

Navigating Barriers

That said, while technology capabilities expand, innovation must take into consideration the needs of all the stakeholders within healthcare – from patients and caregivers to healthcare practitioners to administrators and payors/funders. Internet access, infrastructure, and comfort with technology, for example, can pose significant barriers for patients and health practitioners alike. 

One approach is to minimize the technological burden facing end-users. Devices should be user friendly and “ready to go” right out of the box, taking into consideration the circumstances and abilities of the potential range of users (patients and practitioners alike). Relying on the patient’s home Wi-Fi to provide connectivity is not ideal from either a usability or security perspective – not to mention availability and affordability. It is better for medical devices to have a cellular connection that can be immediately and securely connected to the network from any location, while also being remotely manageable to avoid burdening the user with network and setup requirements, or apps to download. 

Another barrier is the concern that both patients and healthcare providers have about security and data privacy risks. According to the 2016 edition of Philips’ Future Health Index, privacy/data security is second only to cost in the list of top barriers to the adoption of connected technology in healthcare across the countries surveyed.  

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, FBI, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have warned of cybercrime threats against hospitals and healthcare providers. The WannaCry ransomware attacks affected tens of thousands of NHS medical tools in England and Scotland. The enthusiasm in rolling out new digital health solutions must not overlook security principles or create systems that rely on ad hoc patches.

One way of meeting the stringent security requirements of healthcare is to ensure that connected medical devices have security literally built into their hardware, following the most recent guidelines set out by the GSMA for IoT security, including the GSMA IoT SAFE specifications. In accordance with this globally relevant approach, connected devices have a specially designed SIM that serves as a mini “crypto safe” inside the device to ensure that only authorized communication can occur.

Similarly, new medical devices and software that are difficult to implement or cannot communicate with other systems such as electronic health/medical records risk being “orphaned” in the system or simply not used.  The latter is a matter of both developing the necessary integrations and ensuring the appropriate access and permissions are managed. More easily said than done, fully integrated systems take time, and some of the pieces may be added incrementally – the key is that the potential to do so is there from the beginning so future resources can be invested in enhancements rather than replacements. 

Early Collaboration is Key

Accessibility and usability must be designed right into IoMT solutions from the outset, and the best way of ensuring that is for developers and healthcare stakeholders to have plenty of interaction long before the product enters the market. Stakeholders are many and healthcare systems are complex, so innovators can look to startup accelerators and other thought leaders to help navigate the territory. The time and effort spent by innovators and healthcare stakeholders in collaborating is a sound investment in the future, ensuring that technology is designed and then applied in meaningful and equitable ways to address the most pressing issues. 

The telehealth genie, powered by IoMT, is indeed out of the bottle and is set to revolutionize healthcare. By ensuring that IoMT technologies are developed and implemented with security, accessibility, and ease of use for all stakeholders as priorities, we can make sure that the full benefits of this new dawn can be enjoyed by all. 


Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. Bio

As the current CEO of the Bruyère Research Institute and VP, Research and Academic Affairs at Bruyère Continuing Care, Heidi Sveistrup, Ph.D. is focusing on increasing the research and innovation supporting pivotal transitions in care; meaningful, enjoyable and doable ways to support people to live where they choose; and creating opportunities to discover and create new approaches to identify, diagnose, treat and support brain health with individuals with memory loss. Fostering new and supporting existing collaborations among researchers, policymakers, practitioners, civil society and industry continues to be a priority.


Elza Seregelyi Bio

Elza Seregelyi is the Director for the TELUS L-SPARK MedTech Accelerator program, which offers participants pre-commercial access to a secure telehealth platform. L-SPARK is currently working with its first cohort of MedTech companies. Elza has an engineering and entrepreneurship background with extensive experience driving collaborative initiatives.


Four strategies to optimize patient collections

Experian Health products referenced in this blog post:

Healthcare may be historically more recession-resistant that other industries, but the COVID-19 pandemic has left many providers hurting financially, as many patients struggle to pay their bills. Patient collections were already a challenge, with declining Medicaid coverage and rising co-pay obligations putting patients on the hook for more of their healthcare expenses. Now, with millions of Americans out of work and missing out on employer-sponsored insurance, providers are being forced to adapt their collections processes to fit this unstable insurance landscape, or risk losing more dollars to bad debt.

Four key strategies can help providers seal the cracks in patient collections and stem the surge in uncompensated care. With compassionate processes that treat each patient as an individual, providers can use data and automation for more efficient healthcare charity screening, find missing coverage and identify both propensity to pay and the best financial pathway to minimize the chances of bills going unpaid.

1. Screen for charity eligibility early and often

Nearly 4 in 10 unemployed Americans have been without work for more than 27 weeks – the most since November 2013. As unemployment persists and benefits dwindle for many, more patients may be eligible for charitable support to cover their healthcare costs. Running presumptive healthcare charity screening as part of the collections workflow can help providers identify those who should be getting extra support.

Patient Financial Clearance runs automated checks when a patient registers, so individuals can be automatically enrolled as soon as eligibility is confirmed. Checks are repeated throughout the patient journey, should their financial situation changes.

Caye Mauney, Patient Access Director for Palo Pinto General Hospital, says the automated checks can confirm eligibility within just three seconds. This saves a huge amount of time for her team, while giving patients financial clarity without worrying waits: “All the information we need is now at our fingertips. The patient no longer needs to bring in check stubs or go back to a former employer to ask for information. It’s been a game changer.”

2. Find forgotten coverage quickly 

Automation can help providers cut uncompensated care by finding missing and forgotten coverage, even when patient case mix and payer rules are constantly changing. Healthcare organizations that quickly uncover previously unidentified coverage are often are paid sooner and avoid the collections challenges of self-pay receivables.

Experian Health’s Coverage Discovery uses best practices around search, historical information, multiple proprietary data sources and demographic validation to find previously unknown coverage. It continuously scans for insurance coverage to maximize reimbursements and minimize accounts sent to collections and to charity.

Learn from Banner Health how Coverage Discovery has helped the organization find 30+% unidentified coverage earlier in the revenue cycle.

Register for the webinar here.

3. Improve the collections experience with compassionate billing

Speedy coverage checks are just one way to give patients peace of mind when it comes to medical expenses. The collections process is often opaque and intimidating, hitting patients when they’re already stressed and vulnerable. The more compassion that can be built in, the better the patient financial experience will be. Unpaid bills go down, while patient loyalty goes up.

Transparent pricing, data-driven payment plans, personalized communications, and easy ways to pay all contribute to a positive patient financial experience. A good place to start is with Collections Optimization Manager, which allows providers to segment, support and monitor patients throughout the entire collections cycle. By connecting to a host of other patient-facing tools, this helps members feel taken care of from start to finish.

4. Use data to put patients on best payment pathway

None of these strategies will work without reliable, accurate data. Healthcare organizations traditionally rely on demographic and behavioral datasets, but this leaves gaps in how much is known about patients’ financial situations. Incorporating credit data can add a layer of valuable insights about a patient’s propensity to pay, so collections resources can be directed to the appropriate accounts. If you know a patient has a missed mortgage payment or delinquent loans, you can help them find alternative coverage and redirect them to a better payment pathway.

Experian Health combines demographic, behavioral and credit data so you can help your members navigate their health expenses with confidence. The result? Better financial health for both your members and your organization.

Find out more about how to optimize patient collections, whatever 2021 has in store, in our recent eBook, Recession-proof your revenue cycle. 

Download now.

The post Four strategies to optimize patient collections appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

The future of patient access: digital front door

Experian Health products referenced in this blog post:

Patient Engagement Solutions
Patient Scheduling
Precise ID
Patient Payment Estimates
Patient Payment Solutions

To access more insights and trends, download the entire white paper: 

The State of Patient Access: 2021

How has the pandemic affected consumer attitudes toward patient access? What kind of digital experience do consumers expect from their healthcare provider in 2021? Are patients and providers on the same page when it comes to self-service in the healthcare journey? Providers must answer these questions if they are to improve their digital front door, boost patient loyalty and withstand the financial impact of COVID-19.

While we know that a satisfying patient access experience translates to a stronger revenue cycle, change can feel risky without knowing what consumers really want. Experian Health surveyed hundreds of healthcare consumers and providers to find out what each expects from patient access in 2021, and uncovered opportunities for providers to lay the groundwork for future financial success.

Survey findings: 4 revenue-boosting opportunities for patient access in 2021

1. More control and convenience for consumers

Nearly eight in ten consumer survey respondents want to be able to schedule their own appointments, at any time of day or night, from their home or mobile device. They can already order groceries and view their bank accounts this way – and they want the same level of control and convenience when managing the non-clinical aspects of their healthcare.

Digital patient engagement solutions allow providers to offer consumers the flexibility and accessibility they crave. Patients can schedule appointments online, complete registration from home and pay bills from a mobile device. Convenience also delivers health benefits: no-shows are less likely, and patients find it easier to adhere to care plans. And while COVID-19 remains a concern, self-service options minimize face-to-face contact, keeping staff and patients safe.

Automating patient access even contributes to better collection rates, for example, by reducing errors that can lead to denied claims.

2. But don’t deliver convenience at the expense of safety and security

Patients want convenience, but they also want their data to be kept safe. More than half of consumers surveyed, particularly the younger age groups, say they worry about security when accessing their personal details online.

Security can be challenging for providers: they need multi-layered solutions that can adapt to security threats that evolve with ever-increasing complexity, without creating cumbersome log-in processes for patients. But with the right technology, providers can  safeguard patient data with confidence.

Experian Health’s patient portal security tools use leading-edge identity proofing, risk-based authentication and knowledge-based questions to reliably verify patient identities. Patients can book appointments, register for care or view their health information. Calls to IT support are likely to drop too, saving staff and patients valuable time.

3. Contactless care requirements are driving long term, systemic change

While many of these changes were already simmering in the background, the pandemic has turned up the heat and accelerated the need for contactless care. Will this be a long-term trend? Both patients and providers believe self-service technology is here to stay and seven in ten providers surveyed say they don’t expect patients to feel comfortable in waiting rooms until at least summer 2021. While face-to-face care will always be important, it seems likely that a digital front door will become the default to make the non-clinical portion of the healthcare journey easier and quicker for everyone.

“As providers expand the use of patient portals, there is a huge opportunity to demonstrate the true value of virtual care – and transform healthcare for the long-term.”
– Tom Cox, general manager, head of product, Experian Health

4. The financial conversation between consumers and providers must be based on trust, transparency and empathy

When the final bill bears no resemblance to initial estimates, patients feel frustrated and misled. With deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses on the rise, patients are demanding simple and clear pricing information so they can plan accordingly. Providers that offer consumers transparency, understanding, control and convenience when managing their financial responsibilities are going to have the competitive edge.

Providers can achieve this with clear, upfront and accurate pricing estimates to help patients understand their financial obligations before their visit. Next, support to check coverage and advice on tailored payment plans will provide patients with as many tools as possible as they plan to meet those obligations. Experian Health’s Patient Payment Solutions can check for patient coverage, identify a payment plan(s) that suits a patient’s individual situation, and then make it easy to pay via a mobile device.

Future provider revenue hinges on investment in digital healthcare. A welcoming, convenient and secure digital front door translates to patient loyalty, which in turn can mitigate losses in challenging times. Wherever are in digital patient access journey, there’s an opportunity to improve the experience for patients and build a revenue cycle that not only survives the tumult of the pandemic, but also thrives in the years ahead.

Learn more.

The post The future of patient access: digital front door appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Nuance Launches AI-Powered Patient Engagement Virtual Assistant Platform

Nuance Launches AI-Powered Patient Engagement Virtual Assistant Platform

What You Should Know:

– Nuance Communications, Inc. launched an AI-powered
patient engagement virtual assistant platform to transform omnichannel digital
experiences for patients.

Healthcare provider organizations can now deploy
a single, common cloud-based platform to support their entire patient journey
across engagement channels using Nuance’s market-leading Intelligent Engagement
AI technology

– The launch comes as patients increasingly expect the
same level of engaging experiences from healthcare organizations that they have
with consumer brands.


Nuance
Communications, Inc.,
today launched an AI-powered patient
engagement virtual assistant platform
to transform voice and digital
experiences across the patient journey. The platform combines Nuance’s decades
of healthcare expertise and its award-winning AI technology trusted by consumer
brands like H&M, Rakuten and Best Buy. It works by integrating and
extending Nuance’s EHR, CRM and Patient Access Center systems to enable
healthcare provider organizations to modernize their “digital front door” and
improve clinical care experiences.

Holistic Approach to Healthcare’s New Digital Front Door

Patients are demanding the same conveniences from healthcare
organizations that they enjoy from major consumer brands. A recent survey reveals that consumers are ready for
digital changes such as telemedicine options (44%), digital forms and
communication (41%), and touchless check-in (37%). What’s more, 68% value a
customized patient experience. In fact, a poor digital health experience caused
more than a quarter of patients to change medical providers in 2020 — up 40
percent from 2019.

“Our new omnichannel Patient Engagement Virtual
Assistant Platform takes a holistic approach to powering healthcare’s new
digital front door, overcoming the shortcomings and inconsistencies of partial
point solutions,” said Peter Durlach, Senior Vice President, Strategy
and New Business Development, Nuance. “By marrying the capabilities of our
healthcare experience and the proven omnichannel customer engagement technology
trusted by Fortune 100 companies worldwide, we can help address the
urgent need of providers and patients alike to transform access to, and
delivery of, care in the modern age of digital medicine.”


Blue KC, HealthMine’s expanded partnership will extend digital rewards program to ACA members

The Missouri-based payer is expanding its partnership with the technology company to offer an incentive and rewards program for its Affordable Care Act members in an effort to increase engagement.

Why A Patient-First Strategy for Specialty Rx Pharmacists Is Critical to Optimize Outcomes

 Patient-First Strategy:  Uses Specialty Rx Pharmacists to Maximize Orphan and Rare Disease Management, Optimize Patient Journey and Outcomes
Dr. Brandon Salke, PHARM.D, Pharmacist-in-charge, Optime Care

One of the biggest challenges for biopharmaceutical companies of rare and orphan disease patient populations is optimizing disease management in a way that enhances the patient journey and improves outcomes. As these companies seek innovative solution partners, a patient-first approach that offers specialty Rx pharmacist expertise is critical for securing insurance coverage, coordinating care, ensuring compliance, and, ultimately, minimizing the daily impact of rare and orphan diseases. 

In today’s challenging healthcare environment, biopharma companies need to feel confident that their products are properly and promptly distributed, and reimbursements processed quickly and correctly. The best approach is to partner with a pharmacy, distribution, and patient management organization that offers a patient-first strategy for rare and orphan disorders, as well as personalized care programs designed to maximize the benefit of the therapies prescribed for patients. The goal is to improve the quality of life for both patient and caregiver with a dedicated support system for positive outcomes and long-term well-being.

The right patient-first partner can tailor IT, technology, and data-based upon client needs, combined with a high-touch approach designed to improve patient engagement from clinical trials to commercialization and compliance. 

High Touch Meets Technology

Rare and orphan disease patients require an intense level of support and benefit from high touch service. A care team, including the program manager, care coordinator, pharmacist, nurse, and specialists, should be 100% dedicated to the disease state, patient community, and therapy. This is a critical feature to look for in a patient-first partner. The idea is to balance technology solutions with methods for addressing human needs and variability.  

With a patient-first approach, wholesale distributors, specialty pharmacies, and hub service providers connect seamlessly, instead of operating in siloes. This strategy improves continuity of care, strengthens communication, yields rich data for more informed decision making, and improves the overall patient experience. It manages issues related to collecting data, maintains frequent communication with patients and their families, and ensures compliance and positive outcomes. A patient-first model also hastens time to commercialization and provides continuity of care to avoid lapses in therapy – across the entire life cycle of a product.

Key Components for Effective Patient-First Strategy

A patient-first strategy means that the specialty Rx pharmacist works directly with the patient, from initial consultation, and across the entire patient journey, providing counseling, guidance, and education-based upon individual patient needs. They also develop an individualized care plan based on specific labs and indicators related to patient behavior to help gauge the person’s level of motivation and identify adherence issues that may arise. 

The best patient-first partners enable patients to contact their pharmacist 24/7 and offer annual reassessments that ensure that goals of therapy are on track and every challenge is addressed to improve the patient’s quality of life. These specialty pharmacists also play a critical role on behalf of biopharmaceutical partners, providing ongoing regulatory and operations support and addressing each company’s particular challenges.  

Telehealth

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes on, it’s also important to find a patient-first partner that offers a fully integrated telehealth option to provide care coordination for patients, customized care plans based on conversations with each patient, medication counseling, education on disease states, and expectations for each drug. 

A customized telehealth option enables essential discussions for addressing patient challenges and needs, a drug’s impact on overall health, assessing the number of touchpoints required each month, follow-up, and staying on top of side effects.

Each touchpoint should have a care plan. For example, a product may require the pharmacist to reach out to the patient after one week to assess response to the drug from a physical and psychological perspective, asking the right questions and making necessary changes, if needed, based on the patient’s daily routine, changes in behavior and so on. 

Capturing information in a standardized way ensures that every pharmacist and patient receives the same assessment based on each drug, which can be compared to overall responses. Information is gathered by an operating system and data aggregator and shared with the manufacturer, who may make alterations to the care plan based on the patient’s story. 

Ideally, one phone call with a patient can begin the process of optimizing medication delivery, insurance reimbursement, compliance, and education based on a plan tailored for each patient’s specific needs.


About Dr. Brandon Salke, PHARM.D

Dr. Brandon Salke serves as the pharmacist-in-charge and General Manager at Optime Care in Earth City, MO. He previously served as a team pharmacist for Dohmen Life Science Services, where he helped launch several new care programs and assisted in the management of clinical trial activities.

He is specialized in specialty pharmaceuticals, particularly ultra-orphan, orphan, and rare disease. Dr. Salke has been involved in all aspects of operations (planning, process integration, project management, etc.) for pharmaceutical manufacturers. This includes clinical trials to commercialization and assisting in commercial launches (and relaunch) of specialty pharmaceuticals.


Success at a glance: finding unidentified coverage

It is estimated that 30-50% of denied claims occur on the front end during the patient access process, namely during registration, authorization and eligibility. Unfortunately, manual patient intake processes contribute to these denials, and ultimately, the bottom line, staff productivity and the patient experience take the hit.

Banner Health chose to automate its patient access processes with eCare NEXT from Experian Health. The solution, which integrates directly with Banner Health’s acute and ambulatory electronic health records (EHRs), automates the organization’s preregistration workflow, including medical necessity and financial clearance. This improves registration accuracy, provides more accurate patient estimates and reduces the number of denials on the front end.

Banner Health has benefited by incorporating a mix of Experian Health products that integrate directly and collaborate with other technologies and workflows already in place:

  • Decrease in eligibility errors. With eCare NEXT, initial denials due to eligibility errors have been reduced by $30M in the first quarter alone since going live with Experian Health.
  • Significant cost savings. With more accurate estimates, Banner Health has seen significant cost savings on the front end from more efficient coverage discovery. The system is consistently finding 30+% unique or new coverage in the patient access workflow.
  • Improved staff engagement and satisfaction. Automation has greatly reduced manual inputs, enabling staff to focus more on the patient rather than systems and logins required for patient intake.

Our partnership with Experian Health helps Banner Health’s revenue cycle team deliver on its mission of “getting it right, at the right time, every time.” 
— Becky Peters, Executive Director of Patient Access Services, Banner Health

Want to learn more about Banner Health’s success in finding unidentified coverage earlier in the revenue cycle? Sign up for the January 21 webinar below, where attendees will gain insight into the organization’s proven workflow and processes.

Register here.

The post Success at a glance: finding unidentified coverage appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Xealth’s CEO Shares Impact of Digital Health in 2020 and What’s Ahead in 2021

Xealth’s CEO Shares Impact of Digital Health in 2020 and What’s Ahead in 2021
Mike McSherry, CEO & Co-founder of Xealth

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.  


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

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

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

Kimberly Powell, Vice President & General Manager, NVIDIA Healthcare

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

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

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


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

Omri Shor, CEO of Medisafe

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

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


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

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

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

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

Improved Capacity

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Curt Medeiros, President and Chief Operating Officer of Ontrak

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


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

G. Cameron Deemer, President, DrFirst

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

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

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


Angie Franks, CEO of Central Logic

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Jay Desai, CEO and co-founder of PatientPing

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

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


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

Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis

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

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


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

Jake Pyles, CEO, CipherHealth

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Rich Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Qgenda

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


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

Data Becomes the Fix, Not the Headache for Healthcare

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

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


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

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

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

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


Jennifer Price, Executive Director of Data & Analytics at THREAD

The Rise of Home-based and Decentralized Clinical Trial Participation

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


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

Doug Duskin, President of the Technology Division at Equality Health

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


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

Brian Robertson, CEO of VisiQuate

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

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

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


Kermit S. Randa, CEO of Syntellis Performance Solutions

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


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

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

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

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


Rose Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMyne

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


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

Dharmesh Godha, President and CTO of Advaiya

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


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

Simon Wu, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

Healthcare Data Proves its Weight in Gold in 2021

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


Kyle Raffaniello, CEO of Sapphire Digital

2021 is a clear year for healthcare price transparency

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


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

Dennis McLaughlin VP of Omni Operations + Product at ibi

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


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

Joe Partlow, CTO at ReliaQuest

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


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

Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President at Bitcoin Association

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

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

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

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


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

Alex Lazarow, Investment Director, Cathay Innovation

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

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


Lisa Romano, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, CipherHealth

Hospitals will need to counter the staff wellness fallout

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


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

Kris Fitzgerald, CTO, NTT DATA Services

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


Patient-First Model: High Tech Meets High Touch for Individuals with Rare Disorders

Patient-First Model: High Tech Meets High Touch to Optimize Data, Inform Health Care Decisions, Enhance Population Health Management for Individuals with Rare Disorders
Donovan Quill, President and CEO, Optime Care

Industry experts state that orphan drugs will be a major trend to watch in the years ahead, accounting for almost 40% of the Food and Drug Administration approvals this year. This market has become more competitive in the past few years, increasing the potential for reduced costs and broader patient accessibility. Currently, these products are often expensive because they target specific conditions and cost on average $147,000 or more per year, making commercialization optimization particularly critical for success. 

At the same time precision medicine—a disease treatment and prevention approach that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person—is emerging as a trend for population health management. This approach utilizes advances in new technologies and data to unlock information and better target health care efforts within populations.

This is important because personalized medicine has the capacity to detect the onset of disease at its earliest stages, pre-empt the progression of the disease and increase the efficiency of the health care system by improving quality, accessibility, and affordability.

These factors lay the groundwork for specialty pharmaceutical companies that are developing and commercializing personalized drugs for orphan and ultra-orphan diseases to pursue productive collaboration and meaningful partnership with a specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management service provider. This relationship offers manufacturers a patient-first model to align with market trends and optimize the opportunity, maximize therapeutic opportunities for personalized medicines, and help to contain costs of specialty pharmacy for orphan and rare disorders. This approach leads to a more precise way of predicting the prognosis of genetic diseases, helping physicians to better determine which medical treatments and procedures will work best for each patient.

Furthermore, and of concern to specialty pharmaceutical providers, is the opportunity to leverage a patient-first strategy in streamlining patient enrollment in clinical trials. This model also maximizes interaction with patients for adherence and compliance, hastens time to commercialization, and provides continuity of care to avoid lapses in therapy — during and after clinical trials through commercialization and beyond for the whole life cycle of a product. Concurrently, the patient-first approach also provides exceptional support to caregivers, healthcare providers, and biopharma partners.


Integrating Data with Human Interaction

When it comes to personalized medicine for the rare orphan market, tailoring IT, technology, and data solutions based upon client needs—and a high-touch approach—can improve patient engagement from clinical trials to commercialization and compliance. 

Rare and orphan disease patients require an intense level of support and benefit from high touch service. A care team, including the program manager, care coordinator, pharmacist, nurse, and specialists, should be 100% dedicated to the disease state, patient community, and therapy. This is a critical feature to look for when seeking a specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management provider. The key to effective care is to balance technology solutions with methods for addressing human needs and variability.  

With a patient-first approach, wholesale distributors, specialty pharmacies, and hub service providers connect seamlessly, instead of operating independently. The continuity across the entire patient journey strengthens communication, yields rich data for more informed decision making, and improves the overall patient experience. This focus addresses all variables around collecting data while maintaining frequent communication with patients and their families to ensure compliance and positive outcomes. 

As genome science becomes part of the standard of routine care, the vast amount of genetic data will allow the medicine to become more precise and more personal. In fact, the growing understanding of how large sets of genes may contribute to disease helps to identify patients at risk from common diseases like diabetes, heart conditions, and cancer. In turn, this enables doctors to personalize their therapy decisions and allows individuals to better calculate their risks and potentially take pre-emptive action. 

What’s more, the increase in other forms of data about individuals—such as molecular information from medical tests, electronic health records, or digital data recorded by sensors—makes it possible to more easily capture a wealth of personal health information, as does the rise of artificial intelligence and cloud computing to analyze this data. 


Telehealth in the Age of Pandemics

During the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, it has become imperative that any specialty pharmacy, distribution, and patient management provider must offer a fully integrated telehealth option to provide care coordination for patients, customized care plans based on conversations with each patient, medication counseling, education on disease states and expectations for each drug. 

A customized telehealth option enables essential discussions for understanding patient needs, a drug’s impact on overall health, assessing the number of touchpoints required each month, follow-up, and staying on top of side effects.

Each touchpoint has a care plan. For instance, a product may require the pharmacist to reach out to the patient after one week to assess response to the drug from a physical and psychological perspective, asking the right questions and making necessary changes, if needed, based on the patient’s daily routine, changes in behavior and so on. 

This approach captures relevant information in a standardized way so that every pharmacist and patient is receiving the same assessment based on each drug, which can be compared to overall responses. Information is gathered by an operating system and data aggregator and shared with the manufacturer, who may make alterations to the care plan based on the story of the patient journey created for them. 

Just as important, patients know that help is a phone call away and trust the information and guidance that pharmacists provide.


About Donovan Quill, President and CEO, Optime Care 

Donovan Quill is the President and CEO of Optime Care, a nationally recognized pharmacy, distribution, and patient management organization that creates the trusted path to a fulfilled life for patients with rare and orphan disorders. Donovan entered the world of healthcare after a successful coaching career and teaching at the collegiate level. His personal mission was to help patients who suffer from an orphan disorder that has affected his entire family (Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency). Donovan became a Patient Advocate for Centric Health Resources and traveled the country raising awareness, improving detection, and providing education to patients and healthcare providers.


M&A: EverCommerce Acquires Healthcare Communication Platform Updox

EverCommerce Acquires Healthcare Communication Platform Updox

What You Should Know:

– Service commerce platform EverCommerce acquires Dublin,
OH-based Updox, a healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual
care.

–  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.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

M&A: Kyruus Acquires HealthSparq from Cambia Health Solutions

M&A: Kyruus Acquires HealthSparq from Cambia Health Solutions

What You Should Know:

– 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
Payer-Provider Collaboration

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.


How to close gaps in care with automated patient outreach

Scheduling an appointment shouldn’t be complicated. Yet too often, patients are left to figure out their next move alone, with just a single phone number to call.

Frustrated and confused, patients may drop out of the scheduling process entirely or miss the appointments they’ve already booked. Missed appointments can lead to critical gaps in care, poor health outcomes and possible readmissions, and they are also unnecessarily costly for providers.

But what if you could make scheduling easy? Minimizing the burden on patients could close more gaps in care, improve the patient experience and reduce call center workload at the same time. Automated, targeted outreach campaigns can help you do exactly this.

Using a simple text message or voice message, you can prompt patients to book their next appointment right there and then. Here’s how:

5 ways automated patient outreach can help close gaps in care

1. Quicker and easier for patients to book care

An automated solution can send targeted text messages (SMS) or interactive voice calls (IVR) to patients to remind them to book an appointment. By providing a self-scheduling link in the message, patients can book their appointment immediately. Patients are often more likely to schedule when they’re given a reminder plus a booking link, compared to a reminder message alone. There’s less risk of appointments being forgotten, sealing any potential care gaps from the start.

2. More appointments booked

Automation also means you can contact and schedule more patients than if your call center was contacting each person individually. One large Medicaid managed care plan saw a 140% increase in their scheduling rates since using

Patient Schedule. They’re able to match patients to the right provider first time, protecting calendars from errant bookings and eliminating the dreaded three-way calls between member, provider and payer. 

3. More patients showing up to appointments

When automated patient outreach is paired with digital scheduling, patients are far more likely to show up to appointments. The Iowa Clinic found that when patients book online, they’re not only more likely to show up, but they feel more engaged and eager to follow their care plan. Their patient show rates are as high as 97% for appointments scheduled online. If those patients are also more engaged, that’s a good sign that care gaps can be minimized too. 

4. Better coordination of transport services

One obstacle to attending non-emergency appointments that is often overlooked is the lack of access to reliable transportation. With automated scheduling software, this can be easily fixed. Once a member has booked an appointment, data analytics can flag up a potential need for transportation, so the member can be sent an automated text reminder to book transport. And if they need to reschedule for some reason, the transportation booking will auto-update too. Patients (and staff) no longer need to wrangle two separate systems for booking appointments and transportation.

5. Better management of wait lists and reduced call times

Another way to close gaps in care is to give patients the option to book an earlier appointment, if a slot becomes available. Seeing their doctor sooner can mean quicker treatment and reduce the chance of a patient disengaging with their care plan because of a long wait.

With automated outreach, you can send an automatic message to offer an earlier appointment, and then cancel the old booking (and offer it to others) at the same time. This enables better wait list management and can reduce call time for staff by an average of 50%.

Automated patient outreach is a win-win. It’s far more convenient for patients, and drives down costs for providers and payers. Learn more about how automated appointment reminders and digital patient scheduling can help your organization improve the patient experience and close costly gaps in care.

The post How to close gaps in care with automated patient outreach appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

QliqSOFT, CPSI to offer Covid-19 vaccine chatbot to community hospitals

The COVID-19 Vaccination Assistant will provide information about the new vaccines to help allay fears among the U.S. public. It will also help people schedule their vaccinations and connect them with rideshare services to make it to their appointment.

Elation Health Nabs $40M for Clinical-First Solution to Power Independent Primary Care

Elation Health Nabs $40M for Clinical-First Solution to Power Independent Primary Care

What You Should Know:

– Elation Health, which provides an easy-to-use and
affordable clinical technology platform for more than 7 million independent primary
care clinicians serving 14M+ patients – including an EHR raises $40M in Series
C funding from Al Gore’s sustainable investment firm, Generation Investment
Management.

– Elation’s API-enabled platform also allows
organizations to transform the patient and provider experience and implement
their own models of data-driven, value-based care.

– Company will surpass a milestone this year of
delivering more than 20 million in-office and virtual visits through their
provider network.


Elation
Health
, a clinical-first technology company powering the future of
independent primary care, today announced a Series C financing round of $40
million led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment
Management
, a firm that invests in sustainable businesses accelerating the
transition to a more healthy, fair, safe, and low-carbon society. The round
also included participation from existing investors, including Threshold Ventures and Kapor Capital.

Clinical-First Commitment to Independent Primary Care

Independent primary care is one of the few areas in healthcare where upfront investment leads to significant savings in the long term. For every dollar spent on primary care, studies suggest that as much as $13 in downstream healthcare costs are avoided. Increased spending on primary care is also associated with fewer emergency department visits and reduced total hospitalizations and specialty interventions for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure

Elation Health was founded in 2010 after siblings Kyna and
Conan Fong struggled to help their father transition his solo primary care
practice from paper charts to a digital system. Born from that experience,
today Elation Health powers the largest network for independent primary care,
with 14,000 independent clinicians caring for seven million patients. The
company offers an EHR
solution, enterprise APIs, revenue cycle services, patient engagement app, and
access to interoperability partners.

The company surpassed a milestone this year of delivering more than 20 million in-office and virtual visits through its provider network. In addition to serving small practices, Elation has partnered with primary care innovators such as Crossover Health and Cityblock Health to provide the underlying clinical platform for technology-enabled, team-based care.

Helping Intendent Practices Shift to Virtual Care Amid The
COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, Elation Health’s customer base of independent
practices has faced significant business challenges as primary care shifts to
virtual settings and the pace of insurance and government policy change has
accelerated. The company has responded by expanding its role as a critical
technology partner — including adding HIPAA-compliant telehealth to its core
offering, deepening support for Medicare and Medicaid quality programs, and
delivering new patient engagement capabilities for patients to schedule
appointments and interact with practices. Elation’s API-enabled platform also
allows organizations to transform the patient and provider experience and
implement their own models of data-driven, value-based care.

Expansion Plans

In the year ahead, Elation Health will continue to invest in
its core platform, while adding new capabilities to support business operations
for independent primary care. The company has plans to develop solutions in
billing and payment collection, patient population management, interoperability,
and quality reporting — ensuring practices have the tools to drive high-quality
patient outcomes and business success.

What’s needed to make consumerization of healthcare work for patients? [Sponsored]

As healthcare systems strive to recover from losses due to the pandemic, patient acquisition and retention have never been more urgent, and patient experience has never been more critical. A new guide from Bright.MD offers a digital checklist on how to improve the patient experience.

2021 Patient Experience Predictions

As 2020 draws to a close and headlines hint that the end might finally be in sight for the pandemic, the healthcare industry is considering COVID-19’s legacy. The sudden shift to contactless care, financial consequences of widespread social distancing measures and changing expectations of the patient experience have upended the world of healthcare and health IT – but which changes are here to stay? And what do these changes mean for the patient experience in 2021?

We asked several leaders across Experian Health for their predictions in the areas of patient access, collections, and identity management, and here is a preview of what they had to say:

“Patients will choose providers that give them control over their healthcare experience”

Patients have more opportunity today than ever before to manage their healthcare experience from the comfort of their own home, whether that be through patient portals, online self-scheduling and registration or online payment tools.

As lockdowns and social distancing prevented patients from presenting in person, providers were forced to offer patients with more options for self-service. Unsurprisingly, this was a move a lot of patients have been waiting for and many welcomed this new technology with open arms.

Jason Kressel, senior vice president of consumer products and analytics at Experian Health, expects that, as patients become more accustomed to this level of self-service, more than half of consumers will change providers in favor of one that offers premium digital healthcare services:

“Providers who can meet patients where they are—through web-based services and via their mobile devices—will have the most success with retaining and attracting patients.”

Online self-scheduling can put patients in the driver seat while also avoiding unnecessary contact while many remain cautious about on-site visits. With access issues removed, the patient experience will improve, in turn improving health outcomes (and providers’ bottom lines!).

“With hospital finances on shaky ground, collections will be a top priority for survival”

As COVID-related unemployment leads to an unstable insurance landscape, many providers are worried about maintaining effective collections processes, and they cannot afford to spend time chasing payments. Guarding against uncompensated care and tightening up the collections process will be essential.

Automated collections software can help collections teams focus their efforts on patients who are most likely to pay, while also helping patients manage their financial obligations with as little stress as possible. Providers can also quickly determine which patients qualify for financial assistance, helping them get them on the right payment pathway for their circumstance without delay. Not only will this provide a much better patient financial experience, it’ll prevent “lost coverage” and allow providers to collect a larger portion of dollars owed.

“The surge in portal usage means providers need to watch out for fraudsters”

What does the rapid growth in portal uptake mean for data security? The speedy rollout of telehealth and other digital services has exposed security concerns for many providers, who fear a rise in fraudulent activity in 2021 as cybercriminals sniff out opportunities to steal patient data.

To protect patient information and avoid costly reputational damage, providers must adopt more sophisticated identity management solutions. By combining cutting edge identity proofing, risk-based authentication and knowledge-based questions, providers can more easily verify a patient’s identity when they log on to their portal, greatly eliminating the risk of fraud.

Interested in learning more about other trends that could affect the patient experience moving forward?

View the Experian Health 2021 Patient Experience Forecast.

The post 2021 Patient Experience Predictions appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

How to improve collections and patient satisfaction with contactless payments

How did Starbucks lose $1.2 billion in sales during the pandemic, but still exceed revenue expectations in the last quarter?

The answer lies in contactless mobile payments. By making it possible for coffee lovers to pre-order and pay for their morning cappuccino through a mobile app, the company was able to offer a safe and convenient slice of normality during the pandemic. While stores were limited to drive-thru and takeout, customers could still get their caffeine fix, but in an easy, socially distanced way. And customers want convenient and contactless ways to pay – as evidenced by $6.2 billion in quarterly sales. Thanks to the app introduced a few years ago, the company has been able to withstand much of the disruption that’s hit the rest of the industry hard.

Can healthcare providers learn from Starbucks’ strategy? Yes. Social distancing measures and fears about face-to-face contact are preventing many patients from visiting healthcare facilities and it’s becoming harder for providers to collect payments and maintain a steady revenue cycle. Self-service and contactless payment methods are now a necessity if providers want to remain profitable during these uncertain times.

But it’s not just about facilitating payments in the context of social distancing. Even before the pandemic, patients were looking for more convenient ways to manage their out-of-pocket expenses and thinking more like active consumers than passive participants in their healthcare journey. Starbucks’ story shows how prioritizing the consumer experience wins out in the end.

So how do providers accelerate collections, ensure patients and staff remain safe, and keep up with consumer expectations? Here are three ways to use pre- and post-service online and mobile payment tools to optimize both collections and consumer satisfaction:

3 ways to improve the patient financial journey with easy contactless payments

1. Empower patients with upfront payment estimates

Imagine sending patients an email or text as soon as their appointment is scheduled, with a personalized cost estimate, relevant payment options and convenient ways to pay before they even arrive. Healthcare payments could be as easy as ordering and paying for a coffee!

With Patient Financial Advisor and Patient Estimates, providers can do just that. With a single text message, providers can give patients transparency, control and reassurance about what they’re going to owe and how they can settle their bill quickly and easily.

2. Help patients find the right payment plan

The pandemic means finances are tighter than usual for many families as well as many organizations, so helping patients manage their bills and get on the right plan pre-service is especially important.

With a consumer-friendly online portal, patients can check their balances, manage payment plans and apply for financial support at the tap of a button. Quicker insurance checks will also increase the likelihood of faster payments and minimize the risk of claim denials for providers.

3. Make it easy to pay – before or after treatment

Reducing friction at the point of payment is probably the biggest dial-mover when it comes to accelerating collections. If patients can settle their bill at the click of a button, the job is ticked off quickly without too much effort on their part, and with minimal input from providers taff. Why make paying harder than it needs to be?

Consider offering patients safe and secure digital payment methods that they can access anytime, anywhere, both before and after their appointment. Post-service, maintain a positive consumer experience with proactive follow-up, timely account information and options to navigate payments from home, if not already settled.

The pandemic has intensified the need for healthcare payments to evolve. Contactless and mobile payments can keep revenue coming in the door (even when the real doors are shut). And as Starbucks has shown, consumers expect easier ways to pay. Every day that a patient struggles to pay a bill is a missed opportunity for the bottom line.

Find out more about how pre- and post-service contactless payments could help your organization withstand financial turbulence, during the pandemic and beyond.

The post How to improve collections and patient satisfaction with contactless payments appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Covid-19’s terrible toll on diabetes patients. What can be done? [Sponsored]

The public health crisis has undermined the economy and made people with chronic conditions more vulnerable and stressed. A validated program that can effectively help people manage their disease is invaluable, especially at a time when in-person physician visits are unavailable.

Healthcare M&A: DAS Health Acquires Randall Technology Services

DAS Health Acquires Health IT and Medical Billing Conglomerate

What You Should Know:

– DAS Health Ventures acquires healthcare
and managed IT company Randall Technology Services (RandallTech).

– This acquisition adds Allscripts® PM
and EHR solutions to the DAS portfolio of supported products, and DAS Health
has now added additional staff in Texas that will create opportunities for
greater regional support of its entire solutions portfolio.


DAS Health Ventures, Inc., an industry leader in health IT and management, announced today it completed the acquisition of Randall Technology Services, LLC (RandallTech) healthcare and managed IT company based in Amarillo, TX. As part of DAS’ growth strategy, this most recent expansion further strengthens its position in the US healthcare technology space.

Acquisition Enhances DAS Health Market Reach

DAS Health actively serves more than 1,800 clients, and
nearly 3,500 clinicians and 20,000 users nationwide, with offices in Florida,
Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas, and a significant employee presence in 14 key
states. This acquisition adds Allscripts® PM and EHR solutions to the DAS
portfolio of supported products, and DAS Health has now added additional staff
in Texas that will create opportunities for greater regional support of its
entire solutions portfolio.

Increased Support for Existing RandallTech Clients

Randall Technology’s clients will gain an increased depth of support, and a substantially improved value proposition, as DAS Health’s award-winning offerings are robust, including managed IT / MSP services, practice management, and EHR software sales, training, support and hosting, revenue cycle management (RCM), security risk assessments (SRA), cybersecurity, MIPS/MACRA reporting & consulting, mental & behavioral health screenings, chronic care management, telemedicine, and other value-based and patient engagement solutions.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

WELL Health raises $45M, taps former Haven exec as new senior VP

The company, a facilitator of patient-clinician communication, plans to use the funds to bring new features and capabilities to market, as well as build strategic partnerships. It has also added Dr. Dana Gelb Safran as senior vice president of value-based care and population health.

3 steps for comprehensive patient collaboration

Janssen’s Daniel de Schryver tells us why it’s time to give patients a permanent seat at the table and improve health outcomes through patient-pharma dialogue.

I’m struck by just how much we thrive when we share a common purpose; when – as a society, a group or a family unit – we work together to achieve the same goal. It’s no different in healthcare. Pharma companies, healthcare providers and governments share a well-established common purpose: the desire to make disease a thing of the past. But healthcare is often a system of silos, and what can get lost in the gaps is the input of patients themselves. Which rather begs the question: how well are we caring for patients, if we can’t always hear their voices?

I saw a statistic in a Health Europe article, published in September this year, which reported that 81% of patients do not feel listened to by pharma companies. Patient-centricity has, I fear, turned into a buzzword. We must remind ourselves to focus on systematic changes – from the early R&D phases, all the way through to reimbursement discussions – that enable us to develop optimal solutions together with patients. In short, to ensure they have a seat at the table at every stage of the process.

To get back on track and embed a comprehensive collaboration between patients and industry, I believe we need to consider the following three areas:

“To ensure we are making a difference, we need robust KPIs, both short and long-term, to measure patient-industry collaborations. We must understand the value over time of these solutions”

1. Open conversations lead to better patient-industry collaborations

Pharma needs to convey a clear picture of who we are and what we’re trying to achieve. When the public sees patients working directly with us, it can still arouse suspicions, as if there’s some form of collusion going on. Transparency is crucial, therefore, so that any outcomes from our collaborations with patients are shared and accepted.

We have been adapting our processes at Janssen to put patients at the heart of everything we do. It’s a work-in-progress, because this means streamlining the way we work to include the patient voice within acceptable timelines, while still meeting compliance requirements. But the aim is for every function in our value chain to demonstrate how they have involved the patient in their decision-making.

A good example of a productive, open collaboration we’ve experienced with patients, clinicians and regulators is the one that resulted in the Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs Diary (PSSD). Through this outcomes measurement tool, patients keep comprehensive diaries of their condition, documenting what aspects of the disease affect them most.

A major insight revealed once the tool was in use was to not just focus on the percentage of the body covered by psoriasis – a patient with smaller areas of their face or hands affected, for example, may find it more difficult to cope compared to patients with larger areas affected on their backs.

Projects like these are time intensive, of course; this collaboration with psoriasis patients took five years to co-develop. But the important thing was that it worked, and that it has provided a great model of patient interaction for us to replicate.

2. Pharma must support patient empowerment

Patient empowerment is not a catchphrase; it is a genuine drive to enable patients to take ownership of their health. We need more people to see themselves as experts in their own treatment, so they feel able to provide input into key debates and initiatives. It should be our duty, as pharma, to help more people achieve this.

The European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) is a good example of this in action. EUPATI is a public-private partnership run by a multi-stakeholder consortium. It brings together patients, pharma, academia, regulators, non-profit organisations, and health technology assessment bodies, and it allows trained patient experts to input into the R&D process, regulatory deliberations, and other initiatives.

In the UK, my colleagues have created a Patient Advisory Committee, two of whom mentor several members of the UK management committee, helping them to further embed the patient voice in their decisions. A more empowered patient helps improve solutions that are beneficial to their own health and the health of many other patients besides, thereby contributing to a healthier future for all.

3. Measure the success of patient-industry collaborations

To ensure we are making a difference, we need robust KPIs, both short and long-term, to measure patient-industry collaborations. It is rewarding to see the immediate impact these projects can have, but we must also understand the value over time of the solutions we are co-developing with patients.

Patients Active in Research and Dialogues for an Improved Generation of Medicines (PARADIGM) is a public-private partnership paid for by the European Commission and the pharma industry, and co-led by the European Patients’ Forum and The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).

PARADIGM provides a framework for innovative patient engagement approaches and is able to demonstrate the benefits of these approaches to all stakeholders. Through this partnership, we have been able to support the development of solutions designed to not only improve an individual patient’s experience of care, but also the overall health of populations, and which, ultimately, should reduce the per capita costs of care.

Putting patients at the heart of the process

It’s essential to listen to what patients have to say, to identify solutions that are beneficial individually and collectively, and to provide feedback on how patients’ insights have helped shape better outcomes for all. If we can listen and listen well, and if we can show we genuinely care about patients’ views, then their contributions can make a real difference.

As I said at the start, we thrive when we are united behind one common purpose. We must be united with patients, and that common purpose must be their purpose.

So, to any patients reading this, I urge you to join a patient advisory group and multiply your impact, to study with EUPATI and become an expert, and – put simply – to get involved and be heard. And to everyone with whom we work across the industry, let’s follow the process: ask the patient, include them from the onset, and ensure their insights are at the core of everything we do. Let their voice be the driving force in our shared goal of making disease a thing of the past.

About the author

Daniel De Schryver is patient engagement & advocacy lead, Europe, Middle-East and Africa, at Janssen. He joined Johnson & Johnson in 2001 as Director Corporate Communications. In that function, he initially worked in the field of oncology. In 2006 he joined the Janssen teams working in Infectious Diseases where he helped to maintain and enhance the company’s relationships with the HIV Patient Community. Later, he built the external relationships in the field of Hepatitis C, before becoming the Global Therapeutic Area Communications Leader Infectious Diseases and Vaccines.

The post 3 steps for comprehensive patient collaboration appeared first on .

Simpler bills, more payment options can improve hospital billing experience

A new survey from healthcare revenue cycle firm Waystar shows that most patients find their medical bills confusing and delay payment because of financial constraints. But there are steps hospitals can take to improve the billing experience for patients.

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

Microsoft Launches Dedicated HealthTech Startup Program in India

What You Should Know:

– Microsoft launches a dedicated HealthTech Startup Program and partners with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of healthtech startups in India.

– Selected startups into the program will benefit from
focused healthcare industry teams, co-innovation and collaboration, and
Microsoft AI for healthcare.


Today, Microsoft has announced the launch of a
dedicated healthtech
startup program
to drive healthcare innovation in India. India faces an
increasing number of healthcare challenges with a lack of infrastructure,
uneven doctor to patient ratio, and an increase in demand for healthcare
services. The program is designed
to help startups
scale with advanced technology and joint go-to-market support.

Microsoft HealthTech
Startup Program Approach

Spread across three tiers,
the program offers a range of benefits:

– All startups: Qualified Seed to Series C startups can boost
their business with Azure benefits (including free credits), unlimited
technical support and go-to-market resources with support for Azure Marketplace
onboarding

– Co-sell
startups:
Startups with
enterprise-ready solutions can scale quickly with joint go-to-market
strategies, technical support and new sales opportunities with Microsoft’s
partner ecosystem

– Co-build startups: Startups that are looking to create healthcare solutions have access to Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the first industry-specific cloud that brings together trusted and integrated capabilities to enrich patient engagement and connects teams for improved collaboration, decision-making, and operational efficiencies

Being forced by the global pandemic to rethink how healthcare services across the world operate, startups in this industry are reimagining solutions for some of the most pressing healthcare challenges. Technology innovation with advanced data and analytics capabilities is a critical enabler as we build trusted and reliable solutions at scale. The Microsoft for Healthtech Startups program deepens our focus on specific industries and is aimed to accelerate the growth journeys of startups with the best tech enablement and business resources,” said Sangeeta Bavi, Director – Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

Partnership with Startup Incubator Social Alpha

In addition to the healthtech program launch, Microsoft is also collaborating with startup incubator Social Alpha to accelerate the growth of participating startups. To date, Social Alpha has supported over 20 healthtech startups working across devices, diagnostics, treatment, access and quality/UX.

The collaboration with Social Alpha will provide healthtech
startups programmatic support through product innovation labs, sandbox pilots
and structured incubation initiatives that offer knowledge services, bootcamps
and masterclass sessions with mentors as well as tech and industry experts.

As the startups accelerate, they receive access to
go-to-market resources, ecosystem networking, angel networks and investor
forums. Social Alpha supports entrepreneurs and innovators that enable social,
economic and environmental change through their ‘lab to market’ journey by
building access to technology and business incubation initiatives.

Success at a glance: patient-centric collections

With high-deductible health plans, larger out of pocket costs, and confusion about medical costs in general, it’s no surprise that patients today face increased financial responsibility. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has introduced an entirely new level of financial responsibility and uncertainty for both patients and providers.

Like many provider organizations across the country, Yale New Haven Health was feeling the impact of the changing healthcare landscape. Patients are finding it harder and harder to pay their medical bills, and more accounts are going to debt. The organization obviously needed to be compensated for their services and improve collections, but it needed to do so in a way that matched its mission and vision of providing high value, patient-centered care.

A few years ago, Yale New Haven Health turned to Experian Health to improve collections with an elevated patient experience.

With Experian Health’s Collections Optimization Manager, Yale New Haven Health was able to score and segment patient accounts based on who has the propensity to pay, determine how a patient could best resolve their bill and then direct them to the appropriate resources for doing so. The organization supplemented this activity with PatientDial, a cloud-based dialing platform that offers inbound and outbound communication options to increase collections.

While these efforts have improved collections for the organization in the past, they have proven invaluable for both the revenue cycle and the patient experience during COVID-19.

  • Increased patient satisfaction. A billing indicator was included for patients that might be experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, allowing the organization to hold that particular billing statement for 90 days. After 90 days, those accounts were again reviewed and evaluated for charity care as necessary. Patients have been grateful for the extra time and flexibility for payment during such a stressful event.
  • Continued collections. With these steps in place, Yale New Haven Health was able to maintain the regular daily statement production and movement of accounts through the revenue cycle for those not experiencing COVID-related hardship. The additional revenue supported the institution and helped to maintain collection levels as close to normal as possible during uncertain times.
  • Improved communications. Even with the 90-day delay for select accounts, call campaigns with PatientDial continued throughout the pandemic. Connection rates have increased by 5.5% month over month from January to present. Patients are not only pleased with the communications over balances due but are more receptive to attempts to resolve debt as the organization has approached billing-related communications in a more empathetic manner.


Learn More.

The post Success at a glance: patient-centric collections appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Increasing patient engagement with UK clinical trials

Pharmaceutical companies often struggle to actively involve patients in the design phase of clinical trials but doing so can have huge benefits for the sustainability and success of research.

It can help address well established issues with studies, such as patient recruitment and retention, as well as reducing the need for additional trial protocol amendments. Now, patient engagement is becoming even more relevant, with the COVID-19 pandemic heralding a major shift towards remote, virtual and hybrid clinical trial models.

The regulatory issues of how to engage with patient organisations and involve patients in clinical trial design are covered by publications such as the ABPI’s Code of Practice. However, the implementation of these while maintaining compliance with internal company guidelines can prove challenging and can be difficult to navigate without support and guidance.

So, working together with patients, research clinicians and Pfizer, the NIHR has collectively agreed a way in which it can facilitate patient engagement, remain aligned with ABPI and AMRC Codes and help to manage the burden faced by life sciences companies.

 

This pharmaphorum webinar, held in association with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), takes place on Wednesday 16th December, 11:00 GMT / 12:00 CET and will look at how to navigate the compliance pathway to increase patient engagement with clinical trials.

Focus

The webinar will also cover:

  • Building better relationships between pharma/CROs and patient advocates
  • Improving the design of commercial research by listening to the patient voice
  • Gaining patient input on marketing and recruitment materials
  • How the NIHR’s Patient Engagement in Clinical Development service can help

View the webinar* by clicking on the link in the window above or by clicking here.

Our Panel

Sophie Evett is the feasibility lead within the Pfizer Study Optimisation group. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and a PhD in Molecular Biochemistry from the University of Reading, UK. Having worked for CROs since graduating, Sophie joined Pfizer in 2011 and has had various roles within the UK and now global groups.

Richard Stephens has survived two cancers, a heart emergency, and continued co-morbidities and late effects. He has participated in four interventional studies and nine others. A patient advocate for two decades, Richard has been involved in the design and delivery of over 30 clinical trials and studies, and has sat on many UK and European strategic bodies, including several roles within NIHR. He works with patient groups and advocates globally, with academics and industry, and with researchers and clinicians. An international key opinion former, Richard is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Research Involvement and Engagement, chairs BBMRI-ERIC’s Stakeholder Forum, and chaired the NCRI Consumer Forum 2012-2019.

Keith Wilson Patient AdvocateKeith Wilson is a former heart patient who has worked on a voluntary basis, over many years with various organisations and researchers, promoting Public and Patient involvement to enhance the clarity of documentation and participation in Research. In 2014 Keith was fortunate to become a full-time salaried patient research ambassador at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Trust. Embedding the patient voice not only in research, but everything they do.

Gareth Powell, Business Development Officer for NIHR Clinical Research NetworkGareth Powell is a business development officer for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN). Gareth facilitates key discussions between industry and the Clinical Research Network, and is a point of contact for life sciences companies engaging with the Clinical Research Network’s Study Support Service to ensure clinical studies are set up efficiently, and recruit to time and target. Gareth has been with the Clinical Research Network since 2009. Before joining the Business Development and Marketing Team, Gareth previously worked within the Research Delivery Directorate. He was responsible for supporting interactions between the life sciences industry and the NIHR National Speciality Groups across seven therapeutic areas, providing operational support through feasibility, set-up and patient recruitment.

Dominic Tyer, Creative and Editorial Director, pharmaphorumDominic Tyer, interim managing editor, pharmaphorum [moderator] Dominic Tyer is a trained journalist and editor with 19 years of pharmaceutical and healthcare publishing experience. He serves as interim managing editor at pharmaphorum media, which facilitates productive engagement for pharma, bringing healthcare together to drive medical innovation. He is also creative and editorial director at the company’s specialist healthcare content consultancy, pharmaphorum connect.

The post Increasing patient engagement with UK clinical trials appeared first on .

Change Healthcare Unveils Social Determinants of Health Analytics Solution

Change Healthcare Acquires Credentialing Tech Docufill to Improve Administrative Efficiency

What You Should Know:

– 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
outcome.

– 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
Analytics

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
SDOH Analytics:

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
algorithms.

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.”

Intermountain Adds Omada’s Diabetes Prevention Program to At-Risk Patients

Intermountain and MDClone Team Up to Transform Patient Data into Actionable Insight

What You Should Know:

– 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
musculoskeletal issues.


Deepening a collaboration that began in 2016, Omada Health
and Intermountain
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
meaningful results.

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
Healthcare.

“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.

Providence Taps Nuance to Develop AI-Powered Integrated Clinical Intelligence

Nuance Integrates with Microsoft Teams for Virtual Telehealth Consults

What You Should Know:

– 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
clinician burden.

– The collaboration centers around Providence harnessing
Nuance’s AI-powered solutions to securely and automatically capture
patient-clinician conversations.

– 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
solutions
.

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
One

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
Solutions

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
transform healthcare.

WELL Health Integrates with Cerner’s Patient Portal to Simplify Patient Communication

WELL Health Integrates with Cerner’s Patient Portal to Simplify Patient Communication

What You Should Know:

– Cerner is striking a deal with patient communication
hub company WELL Health to change its patient communication technology for its
provider customers.

– 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
delays.

– 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.”

Success at a glance: call center scheduling

The manual process for fielding scheduling calls isn’t an easy one. Calls can take up to 20 minutes, and call center agents may have to comb through binders or spreadsheets of provider calendars and scheduling rules to book a single appointment.

As a result, call center staff may only be able to place a handful of patients per day, despite receiving hundreds of scheduling calls. This not only contributes to a poor patient experience but can cause care delays and potentially push patients to seek care from surrounding competitors.

Prior to working with Experian Health, call center agents at Heritage Medical Associates were manually scheduling patients with the process described above, and only able to place three to five patients per day with calls lasting several minutes.

With Experian Health’s call center scheduling solution in place, call center agents now have access to all of the organization’s 135+ providers in a single digital platform. With an integration with Allscripts, call center agents can see all available appointments in real-time, identify the best provider and appointment for a patient’s specific care need and then book the appointment on the spot.

Heritage Medical Associates has seen several improvements since working with Experian Health.

  • Increased call center efficiency. The time spent on the phone for scheduling an appointment has been nearly cut in half — from seven minutes down to just four. With more time, call center agents can now place between 40 and 50 patients per day.
  • Improved patient experience. Patients who called in to book an appointment, reported higher levels of satisfaction as they were able to navigate to the right provider and appointment more quickly.
  • Enhanced physician satisfaction. By automating their scheduling rules, providers can ensure that any open appointment slots are booked according to their personal preferences. They can better predict their schedules and maintain control over their calendars with the new solution.
  • Improvements to the bottom line. As each individual provider and separate location becomes more efficient, Heritage Medical Associates as a whole has been able to control overhead and has seen quantifiable improvement to its bottom line.

“The physicians that I’ve talked with so far find that they have a more efficient and planned day, and it’s more relaxing. Their productivity is increased, and, at the same time, they’ve been able to reduce some of the stresses of their schedule.”

Jim Browne, Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Medical Associates

Learn more about how you can improve call center efficiency and the patient experience with guided search and scheduling.

The post Success at a glance: call center scheduling appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Are rapid progress and patient engagement mutually exclusive in a COVID-19 world?

COVID-19 has sparked a flurry of research and discoveries are being made at an unprecedented rate – but patient participation cannot and should not be left behind in the rush, say leading voices.

SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated both the strengths and the weaknesses of the life sciences ecosystem, and it is now up to the sector to learn and to lead.

While trials of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments have accelerated at a hitherto unimaginable rate, work in other conditions has been halted and paused, both of which could hinder future progress, said Aisling Burnand, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

“In a race of frantic, unprecedented change with challenges none of us have faced before, patient and public involvement has felt pushed aside.”

“Research has stopped, and what has gone ahead has felt rushed, with little listening,” she said during the first session of this year’s Pioneering Partnerships conference, organised by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and the AMRC.

As we turn the research tap back on, the sector must do everything it can ensure the patient voice gains rather than loses importance, said the speakers.

“One of the consequences of the system commissioning lots of urgent COVID-19 research was that, to a certain extent, patient and public involvement got bypassed. For various reasons it was too difficult or time consuming to do when everybody was in a frightful rush”

Halting progress

In April, 73% of clinical trials were stopped, and, as of early October, more than 40% were still on hold.

Aisling said we were “unlikely” to reach pre-COVID levels of non-SARS-CoV-2 clinical research before August 2021, even without the looming second wave. It means that without a cross-sector plan to get trials back up a running, a decade of research could be lost to the COVID-19 crisis.

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Conservative MP and chair of Genomics England, agreed, and said that unlocking what we have learned from research during the pandemic so far would help move the NHS from a “sick care service to a healthcare service”.

“COVID-19 has transformed the way clinical trials are run. Our research ecosystem responded to the crisis with a pace and effectiveness that few other nations were able to match,” said Baroness Blackwood.

“UK researchers sourced streamlined regulatory processes, had better communication with patients and clinicians, and we saw some much more sensible approaches to risk. This sped up the development of new COVID treatments, without sacrificing safety.”

Weaknesses

But the crisis also brought some of the system’s weaknesses into sharp focus, said NIHR director Jeremy Taylor.

“One of the consequences of the system commissioning lots of urgent COVID-19 research was that, to a certain extent, patient and public involvement got bypassed. For various reasons it was too difficult or time consuming to do when everybody was in a frightful rush,” he said.

“Patient and public involvement turned out to be less embedded than we thought, so I think COVID has been a bit of a shock to the system. It’s made us think that maybe we have been a little bit too complacent.”

The virus, which has disproportionally affected people from Black, Asian and minatory ethic (BAME) communities had also highlighted a lack of diverse voices, and the urgent need to address clinical trial representation and health inequalities, he said.

“We need more BAME voices around the table. We need younger people, and we need people from excluded communities.”

Regardless of what the health system is faced with, Dr Richard Torbett, chief executive of the ABPI, said that “we can’t ignore our collective responsibility to make sure we conduct ethical research”.

“We need to continue advocating the importance of having the patient voice right at the heart of everything that we do.”

Building on the positives

Aisling said we needed to build upon the positives, pointing to the increased public awareness around the process, language, and importance of clinical research.

More people have volunteered for trials than ever before and thousands are monitoring their health on a daily basis.

The sector must seize this opportunity to build back better and stronger, the speakers agreed.

Said Baroness Blackwood: “We need to look honestly at the areas where the crisis has brought sharp relief, and what needs to be improved.

“If we don’t take this chance, we risk losing what is a golden moment to make our clinical research landscape fit for the next generation.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Dr Torbett, who said the UK government needed to take “urgent action” to develop a sustainable, safe, restart plan for non-COVID clinical research.

“It is incredibly important to ensure all patients have the opportunity to be involved and engaged with research. That needs to be a principle that carries right the way through this,” he said.

“I really feel that we’ve got a head of steam right now with multiple stakeholders, particularly in this country, who really understand the value of medical research.  We have a genuine opportunity to lead here.”

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABPI has published a summary of its advice to the pharmaceutical industry on working with patients and the public. Click here for more information.

The post Are rapid progress and patient engagement mutually exclusive in a COVID-19 world? appeared first on .

4 Ways to Combat Hidden Costs Associated with Delayed Patient Care During COVID-19

Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle
Matt Dickson, VP, Product, Strategy, and Communication Solutions at Stericycle

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.

How RPA Can Help Get COVID-19 Vaccines to High-Risk Patients First

How RPA Can Help Get COVID-19 Vaccines to High-Risk Patients First
Ram Sathia, VP of Intelligent Automation at PK

While most of the public’s attention is focused on the horse race for an approved COVID-19 vaccine, another major hurdle lies just around the corner: the distribution of hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. In today’s highly complex and disconnected health data landscape, technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and robotic process automation (RPA) will be essential to making sure that the highest-risk patients receive the vaccine first.  


Why identifying at-risk patients is incredibly difficult 

Once a vaccine is approved, it will take months or years to produce and distribute enough doses for the U.S.’ 330 million residents. Hospital systems, primary care physicians (PCPs), and provider networks will inevitably need to prioritize administration to at-risk patients, potentially focusing on those with underlying conditions and comorbidities. That will require an unimaginable amount of work by healthcare employees to identify patient cohorts, understand each patient’s individual priority level, and communicate pre- and post-visit instructions. The volume of coordination required between healthcare systems and the pressing need to get the vaccine to high risks groups makes the situation uniquely different than other nationally distributed vaccinations, like the flu. 

One key challenge is that there’s no existing infrastructure to facilitate this process – all of the data necessary to do so is locked away in disparate information silos. Many states have legacy information systems or rely on fax for information sharing, which will substantially hamper efforts to identify at-risk patients. Consider, in contrast, the data available in the U.S. regarding earthquake risk– you can simply open up a federal geological map and see whether you’re in a seismic hazard zone. All the information is in one place and can be sorted through quickly, but that’s just not the case with our healthcare system due to its fragmentation as well as HIPAA and patient privacy laws. 

There are several multidimensional barriers that make it nearly impossible for healthcare workers employed by providers and state healthcare organizations to compile patient cohorts manually: 

– Providers will need to follow CDC guidelines on prioritization factors, which based on current guidelines for those with increased risk could potentially include specific conditions, ethnicities, age groups, pregnancy, geographies, living situations (such as multigenerational homes), and disabilities. Identifying patients with these factors will require intelligent analysis of patient profiles from existing electronic health record data (EHR) used by a multitude of providers. 

– Some hospital networks use multiple EHR and care management systems that have a limited ability to share and correlate data. These information silos will prevent providers from viewing all information about patient population health data. 

– Data on out-of-network care that could require prioritization, like an emergency room visit, is often locked away in payer data systems and is difficult to access by hospital systems and PCPs. That means payer data systems must be analyzed as well to effectively prioritize patients. 

– All information must be shared and analyzed in accordance with HIPAA laws, and the mountain of scheduling communications and pre- and post-visit guidance shared with patients must also follow federal guidelines.  

– Patients with certain conditions, like heart disease, may need additional procedures or tests (such as a blood pressure reading) before the vaccine can be administered safely. Guidelines for each patient must be identified and clearly communicated to their care team. 

– Providers may not have the capacity to distribute vaccines to all of their priority patients, so providers will need to coordinate care and potentially send patients to third-party sites like Walgreens, Costco, etc.

All of these factors create a situation in which it’s extremely difficult – and time-consuming – for healthcare workers to roll out the vaccine to at-risk patients at scale. If the entire process to analyze, identify, and administer the vaccine takes only two hours per patient in the U.S., that’s 660 million hours of healthcare workers’ time. A combination of analytics, AI, and machine learning could be a solution that’s leveraged by healthcare workers and chief medical officers in identifying the priority of patients supplemented with CDC norms.

How RPA can automate administration to high-risk patients 

Technology is uniquely poised to enable health workers to get vaccines into the hands of those who need them most far faster than would be possible using humans alone. Robotic process automation (RPA) in the form of artificial intelligence-powered digital health workers can substantially reduce the time spent prioritizing and communicating with at-risk patients. These digital health workers can intelligently analyze patient records and send communications 24 hours a day, reducing the time needed per patient from hours to minutes. 

Consider, a hypothetical situation in which the CDC prioritizes certain risk profiles, which would put patients with diabetes among those likely to receive the vaccine first. In this scenario, RPA offers significant benefits in the form of its ability to: 

Analyze EHR and population health data: 

Thousands of intelligent digital health workers could prepare patient data for analysis and then separate patients into different cohorts based on hemoglobin levels. These digital health workers could then intelligently review documents to cross-reference hemoglobin levels with other CDC prioritization factors (like recent emergency room admittance or additional pre-existing or chronic conditions ), COVID-19 testing and antibody tests data to identify those most at risk, then identify a local provider with appointment availability.

Automate patient engagement, communications and scheduling: 

After patients with diabetes are identified and prioritized, communications will be essential to quickly schedule those at most risk and prepare them for their appointments, including making them feel comfortable and informed. For example, digital health workers could communicate with diabetes patients about the protocol they should follow before and after their appointment – should they eat before the visit, what they should expect during their visit, and is it safe for them to return to work after. It’s also highly likely that widespread vaccine administration will require a far greater amount of information than with other health communications, given that one in three Americans say they would be unwilling to be vaccinated if a vaccine were available today. At scale, communications and scheduling will take potentially millions of hours in total, and all of that time takes healthcare employees away from actually providing care. 

While the timeline for approval of a COVID-19 vaccine is unclear, now is the time for hospitals to prepare their technology and operations for the rollout. By adopting RPA, state healthcare organizations and providers can set themselves up for success and ensure that the patients most critically in need of a vaccine receive it first.  


 About Ram Sathia

Ram Sathia is Vice President of Intelligent Automation at PK. Ram has nearly 20 years of experience helping clients condense time-to-market, improve quality, and drive efficiency through transformative RPA, AI, machine learning, DevOps, and automation.

How health plans can reduce ED visits and readmissions post-pandemic

Visits to emergency departments (ED) dropped by 42% in the early months of COVID-19, according to the CDC. In pre-pandemic times, this might have been a positive sign. Two-thirds of ED visits are thought to be avoidable, with emergency care used as a safety net in the absence of access to more appropriate services. Excessive emergency care also comes with a high price, often resulting in a poor patient experience. UnitedHealth Group estimates that the 18 million preventable visits per year cost the health system up to $32 billion annually.

Unfortunately, the rapid decrease in ED use during the pandemic isn’t a signal that care management and access challenges have been resolved. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders and fear of being exposed to COVID-19 have prompted patients to avoid seeking care in person altogether. Inevitably, as more individuals either postpone or forego the care they need, ED use will start to creep back up again.

For health plans, the worry is a sudden influx of their members returning to emergency departments with more complex care needs arising from delayed treatment. Medical costs could sky-rocket, while gaps in care could reach critical levels as health plans and providers struggle to keep track of ED admissions and readmissions.

As health plans look to curb ED utilization in the aftermath of COVID-19, digital tools can provide a valuable lifeline.

4 ways health plans can use digital tools to reduce unnecessary ED visits

1. Take action to engage members before acute episodes occur

Proactively involving members in their own care management can help head off unnecessary ED visits before they’re even a possibility. Understanding how the social determinants of health affect a member and how they access care can help health plans tailor their engagement strategies and close gaps in care.

Experian Health’s Member Engagement Solutions draw together all the insights needed to connect the dots between emergency visits, social and economic risk factors, and digital care coordination, so health plans can communicate with members in the most effective way.

2. Make it easier for members to access care when they need it

Part of the ED visit volume is based on members’ frustration of not being able to access care when they want or need it.

Health plans can prevent unnecessary ED visits by sending automated outreach prompts to encourage members to schedule appointments, via interactive voice response or text. A digital scheduling platform can give the member an easy way to book their appointment, without needing to call during office hours. With digital scheduling, health plan member engagement teams and call centers can facilitate member appointment scheduling with the right providers without the cumbersome three-way call.

3. Implement a real-time tracking strategy for ED admissions

One of the biggest challenges for health plans is not knowing when members are admitted to the emergency department.

A tool such as MemberMatch® can alert health plans of their members’ real-time ED encounters, so they can rally around active episodes of care – potentially avoiding unnecessary, out-of-network admissions and readmissions – and optimize the cost and quality of encounters across the continuum of care post-discharge. Using Experian Health’s leading referential matching system, a member’s care team can be notified via text, portal or email for quick insights that enable better care coordination.

4. Ensure better management of post-discharge follow-up care

Every health plan’s checklist for reducing readmissions should include a follow-up strategy when patients have visited the ED. Given that post-ED follow-up for members with chronic conditions is likely to be a STAR measure in the future, plans should prepare their proactive intervention strategy now.

USMD WellMed Health System used Experian Health’s Member Utilization Management Solutions for better care coordination for patients within 30 or 90 days of leaving hospital, significantly reducing their readmissions rate. Within just four months, the ROI trends gave them confidence to roll out Care Coordination Manager from USMD clinics to WellMed clinics too.

Reducing admissions and readmissions is not about making access to the ED more difficult, but making access to other services, care options, and care management solutions easier. With the right digital solutions, health plans can take action to make this unprecedented transition of care from the ED to other, more cost-effective arenas the ‘new normal’ and put the old model of ED over-utilization in the past.

Contact us to learn more about how Experian Health can help health plan reduce unnecessary ED visits.

The post How health plans can reduce ED visits and readmissions post-pandemic appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Healthcare gets ready for a Starbucks and BOPIS revolution

A few months ago, who would have thought that going into a hospital or clinic to meet with your doctor would be considered a high-risk experience? And yet, here we are. COVID-19 has forced the entire health care sector to adopt low-contact and contactless experiences for the safety of patients and caregivers alike – an unexpected outcome of the pandemic experience.

RWJBarnabas Health’s new program aims to identify social barriers to care without stigmatizing patients

social determinants of health,

The New Jersey-based health system’s culturally nuanced social determinants of health program will screen all patients for social and behavioral factors that impact their health, in the hopes of improving outcomes and encouraging appropriate use of healthcare services.

Online scheduling, virtual visits emerge as key criteria for selecting providers

Healthcare consumers want the same level of ease when scheduling a health check-up as they have when booking an Uber, and younger generations of Americans are increasingly hinging their care selection preferences on facilities that offer a user-friendly digital front door, a new report shows.

Florida Health System to Implement Fully Digital Patient Smart Rooms

Florida Health System to Implement Fully Digital Patient Smart Rooms

What You Should Know:

– 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
tasks.


eVideon,
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.”


Technology can ease pandemic challenges faced by hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers

To keep critical revenue flowing, hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers need to resume elective surgeries and procedures as quickly as possible and mobile apps can help by giving patients and staff vital information, provide advance symptom screening and help providers reduce elective procedure no-shows through better patient compliance.

Best practices for physicians in adopting compliant and efficient data sharing

hand touching visual screen

By making responsible and strategic technology investments, practitioners will have access to robust data, be in a position to analyze and interpret trends and outcomes and provide health care informatics that ultimately will be the insights they need to be successful in a value-based health care environment.

Humana Taps Cohere Health to Modernize Prior Authorizations for Musculoskeletal Treatment

Cohere Health Launches with $10M to Increase Transparency Across Care Journey

What You Should Know:

– Cohere Health partners with health insurer Humana to modernize
the prior authorization process for musculoskeletal treatment across 12 states.

– In addition, the company has closed an additional $10M
in funding led by Flare Capital Partners and Define Venture, bringing the
company’s total funding to $20M.


Health insurer Humana has signed an agreement with healthcare collaboration company Cohere Health to improve the prior authorization process for musculoskeletal treatment across 12 states, starting Jan. 1, 2021. Cohere aligns physicians, patients, and health plans on a patient’s optimal healthcare experience—enabling access to higher quality care while at the same time minimizing administrative burden and siloed decision-making.

The partnership leverages CohereNext Platform’s prior authorization capability which grants authorizations across an entire episode of care, in effect pre-authorizing a complete treatment regimen from the initial diagnosis to treatment plan selection, and, ultimately, to the patient’s return to good health. Cohere’s approach aims to expedite evidence-based treatment plans to improve the healthcare experience for doctors and patients alike.

Humana to Leverage CohereNext Platform to Streamline
Prior Authorizations

As part of the partnership, Humana will employ the CohereNext Platform to streamline prior authorizations in musculoskeletal treatment in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The platform will initially serve approximately 2 million members and more than 3,500 physician practices.

This partnership supports Humana’s vision to reimagine and modernize processes for prior authorization by reducing approval times and improving the delivery of care, all while preserving important benefits such as safety, predictability, and cost containment.

Cohere’s solution will initially focus on prior
authorization; the company is developing additional use cases such as
value-based contract performance, improving physician and patient engagement,
and optimizing health plan clinical programs. By facilitating physician and
health plan collaboration, Cohere’s technology will help accelerate the
evolution to value-based care models.

“Through this strategic initiative and collaboration with Cohere Health, Humana is building on its commitment to reduce the complexity and friction of prior authorization for our physicians and members,” said William Shrank, MD, MSHS, Chief Medical Officer, Humana and Board Member, Cohere Health. “Cohere’s solution was co-designed with physicians and represents a major leap forward in improved physician experience and the adoption of evidence-based medicine.”


Cohere Health Closes Additional $10 Million in Funding to
Accelerate Delivery of Patient Journey Platform

In addition, the company announced it closed an additional
$10 million in funding led by Flare
Capital Partners
and Define Ventures,
bringing the company’s total funding to $20 million. The funding will be used
to enhance the company’s scalable CohereNext® platform that is built on
next-generation cloud and data technologies and provides interoperability to
existing healthcare infrastructure as well as the emerging digital health
economy.

This
Series A extension comes just two months after Cohere Health’s initial $10 million Series
A funding, which was also led by Flare
Capital Partners with Define Ventures contributing as an investor and partner,
as well as participation from a leading national strategic partner.

The CohereNext Platform improves the physician experience
and quality by:

– Authorizations that begin with diagnoses and not billing
codes

– Facilitating and auto-approving evidence-based treatment plans

– Delivering a peer review process with a true peer
specialist or sub-specialist

– Sharing quality performance relative to peers for specific
care paths and patient cohorts

– Providing tools, data and technology that optimizes
value-based payment

“The tragedy of COVID-19 has reinforced that the basic infrastructure supporting healthcare innovation is fundamentally broken. The shift from fee-for-service to value-based-care requires enabling interoperable capabilities to facilitate care around the interests of patients, and as a result, Cohere Health continues to rapidly grow and attract additional investments,” said Siva Namasivayam, CEO and founder of Cohere Health. “The additional funding will enable us to expand the CohereNext platform to impact more failure points across patient journeys so that physicians can deliver better outcomes and we can continue building our team, which has grown by more than 95 people this year.”

5 Trends Driving The Future of Healthcare Real Estate in 2020 & Beyond

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.

5. Technology

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.

Patient acquisition and retention strategies to implement post COVID-19

A consumer-first healthcare revolution has been simmering for years. Despite efforts to create more human-friendly services, the industry still lags behind other consumer-centric sectors. Patients want healthcare to be simple, convenient and on-demand, but a persistent lack of coordination, accessibility and affordability leaves many struggling to navigate the healthcare landscape with ease. Is this about to change? Has COVID-19 flipped the switch?

The pandemic has prompted people to engage with their own care in a way the industry hasn’t seen before, with a surge in telehealth and virtual care. Infection-control forced much of the patient journey online, while providers were pushed to find new ways to communicate quickly and clearly. Now, those with an eye on the road to post COVID-19 financial recovery are optimizing these digital strategies to meet new consumer expectations and improve patient loyalty.

Embracing digital technology and automation throughout the entire patient journey will be key to patient acquisition and retention. Where should providers focus first?

4 consumer-led strategies to keep patients loyal

1. Prioritize convenience across the entire consumer experience

Eighty percent of patients would switch providers for convenience factors alone – ranking ‘convenient, easy access’ ahead of insurance coverage and quality of care. Creating a digital experience that gives patients the flexibility and simplicity they desire should be priority number one in any patient loyalty plan.

Providers can start by reviewing their digital platforms. Encourage patients to use their patient portal to access information, book appointments and manage their healthcare when appropriate. Telehealth and virtual care solutions can be future-proofed with reliable identity protection, so patients can safely access care from home and not worry about cumbersome log-in procedures.

2. Make patient access…accessible

The patient experience shouldn’t begin with time-consuming forms, long waits and error-prone manual intake processes. Rather, providers can make it easy for patients to complete as many tasks as possible BEFORE they set foot in the office by automating patient access.

Online patient scheduling lets patients book, cancel and change appointments online – which 77% of patients say is very important. It has the potential to reduce delays and no-shows, and can minimize the administrative burden for provider staff. While patients remain concerned about the risk of infection during COVID-19, providers can ease their concerns by reducing face-to-face contact with online pre-registration.

3. Respond to affordability and pricing pain points

One Experian Health study found that the top pain points in the consumer journey center on the financial experience, from shopping for health insurance to understanding medical bills. Patients may be unsure what their insurance covers, whether their deductible has been met and whether they can afford the out-of-pocket costs. By providing clear, upfront pricing information about coverage and financial responsibility, providers can protect their patients from unnecessary surprises and reduce the risk of missed payments.

Self-service patient payment tools can simplify the payment process too: patients can settle their bills anytime, anywhere, and get advice on financial assistance and best-fit payment plans.

4. Personalize the patient experience from end to end

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t cut it anymore. Patients are looking for communications and services tailored to their individual needs. That used to be both technically and logistically impossible, but not anymore. Providers today can use comprehensive data and analytics to personalize the entire healthcare journey, from customer relationship management to patient collections.

By combining automation, self-service tools and accurate insights into the patient’s circumstances, providers can help consumers make better decisions about their care and how to pay for it. To ensure data reliability and integrity, providers should consider partnering with a trusted data vendor, who can translate robust, multi-source consumer and financial data into a competitive consumer experience.

There is no question that COVID-19 has changed the way we do healthcare, but the industry is perfectly posed to harness the change in consumer behavior and shift towards greater patient engagement. By bringing together a myriad of digital tools, providers can create a healthcare experience that’s convenient, compassionate and in line with consumer expectations.

Interested in learning more about how we can help your organization welcome new patients through its digital door, and boost loyalty among existing patients?

Contact us.

The post Patient acquisition and retention strategies to implement post COVID-19 appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Success at a glance: online self-scheduling after hours

It’s important to provide our patients with the absolute best access channels to quickly and seamlessly connect with the care they need. Experian Health’s solution guides our patients to the right care and digitally connects them with a confirmed appointment.” – Kaci Husted, Vice President, Benefis Health System

It’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that patients today want their healthcare experience to mirror the flexibility and convenience that they are now accustomed to with other industries. Notably, patients want easier and faster access to care, and preferably without having to pick up the phone to call and make an appointment.

Benefis Health System knew it needed to provide patients with a new and improved access experience. Patients were required to call the office during business hours to book an appointment, and while some may have been immediately connected with a scheduler, others would have to leave a voicemail or be placed on hold. The process was not only taking valuable time out of patients’ days but carried the risk of delaying care.

With online self-scheduling in place, patients can schedule an appointment online with any of Benefis Health System’s 300+ providers, regardless of time of day. The solution leverages powerful decision support, which guides patients directly into the appointment type and provider necessary for the treatment they need. It’s good for patients and providers, as the solution’s accuracy prevents any misplacement of patients to the wrong provider or appointment type.

Patients started using the self-scheduling solution almost immediately after it was available. Benefis Health System has since experienced the following results:

  • Improved access to care. Patients of Benefis Health System have used the system to book many appointments outside of office hours, with 50% of its patient base booking after hours.
  • Better access to urgent care. One of Benefis Health System’s urgent care centers has seen a large uptick in online self-scheduling. In fact, 52% of patients are scheduling appointments online for that location.
  • Ongoing improvements with analytics. Benefis Health System is leveraging analytics to track how many patients use online self-scheduling and can identify when and where they might fall out. They can see the pitfalls and where improvements may be necessary and make those changes in real time to drive better conversion rates. Currently, 23.6% of patients who start the process are converting to a booked appointment.

Interested to see how online self-scheduling can help your organization improve access to care?

Learn more.

The post Success at a glance: online self-scheduling after hours appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

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

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

What You Should Know:

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

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


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

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

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

Digital First Approach to Banner Health Network

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

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

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

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

Corrona Acquires Virtual Patient Community HealthUnlocked

Corrona Acquires Virtual Patient Community HealthUnlocked

What You Should Know:

– Nationwide disease registry Corrona has acquired
virtual patient community HealthUnlocked, creating a first-in-class patient
experience ecosystem.

– The acquisition will enable Corrona to expand its broad
set of capabilities–ranging from highly granular and longitudinal structured
data across eight registries.


Corrona, LLC 
(“Corrona”),
a nationwide disease registry and is now the largest
registry in the world collecting data on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), today
announced it has acquired
London-based HealthUnlocked, the
world’s largest virtual patient community.  

Acquisition Will Establish Innovative Snapshot of Patient

Founded in 2010, HealthUnlocked leverages an innovative
social platform to connect 1.3 million patients, representing over 300 disease
states and conditions with more than 500 patient advocacy groups. Corrona’s
investment in HealthUnlocked helps to further expand the patient engagement
offerings that began in late 2019 with Corrona’s acquisition of HealthiVibe, a recognized leader in
patient experience and engagement. HealthUnlocked provides an additional
dimension of cultivated data by leveraging a social network of 1.3 million
patients across hundreds of condition-specific communities, moderated by over
500 patient advocacy groups, capturing insights to better understand what
matters most to these patients. HealthUnlocked will be integrated into
Corrona’s HealthiVibe business unit to establish an innovative and holistic
snapshot of the patient. 

By building out its patient experience business, Corrona is working to create an industry-leading ecosystem centered around the patient voice. This ecosystem directly supports both the 21st Century Cures Act and the FDA’s Patient-Focused Drug Development initiative, and establishes Corrona as a leader in patient insights and real-world evidence with both a scalable technology platform and short- and long-term outcomes and safety data. This data powerhouse is the first of its kind to provide such a wholistic, 360⁰ degree view of a patient while ensuring data integrity. 

“By combining with HealthUnlocked, we are expanding our broad set of capabilities–ranging from highly granular and longitudinal structured data across our eight registries, to broader patient insights from HealthUnlocked,” said Abbe Steel, Chief Patient Officer of Corrona. She continued, “The HealthUnlocked communities provide access to engaged patients across the globe, allowing us to better understand the patient experience and what matters most to patients. Our organization is positioned to expand its expertise in gathering, analyzing, and applying deep patient insights to optimize the patient journey and bring significant value to our clients.”

Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

Press Ganey Acquires Doctor.com, Acquires Majority Stake in Binary Fountain

What You Should Know:

– 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
loyalty.


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 benefits of online scheduling during a “twindemic”

In previous winters, anyone struck by a sore throat or fever might assume they had flu, and head to bed with a hot drink and some painkillers. This year, the looming specter of COVID-19 could prompt those with flu-like symptoms to seek medical care instead. Combined with a likely second wave of COVID-19 cases as lockdown requirements relax, healthcare organizations anticipate a surge in patients seeking tests and treatment this winter.

To protect against a possible “twindemic”, where COVID-19 and winter flu season collide, providers will want to ensure the patient intake and access process is as easy and efficient as possible—and not just for regular appointments with a primary care physician or specialist, but for pandemic- and flu-related services like COVID tests, flu shots, and more.

Online scheduling has been a game-changer during the pandemic: could it be the key to surviving a twindemic? With the right digital tools in place, providers can screen patients for their COVID-19 or flu risk before attending an in-person appointment, helping separate healthy patients from those suspected of having either illness. Providers can also leverage those same digital tools to streamline activity like flu shots, or even drive-through testing for COVID-19.

Four ways to leverage digital scheduling for a twindemic

These four steps could be key to protecting patients, streamlining workflows and reducing pressures on call centers during flu season as it collides with COVID-19:

1. Create screening questionnaires during patient scheduling

As soon as the patient logs on to book an appointment, they are asked to answer a few short questions about their symptoms. A screening questionnaire can triage people wanting to get tested, while the answers inform providers of the likelihood of a patient having COVID-19 and if that individual needs to quarantine. After being screened, the system can direct patients through the correct channel of care based on the information provided.

A similar questionnaire could be adapted during flu season for providers to assess and compare symptoms and risks ahead of time. Providers can even designate day and time slots available to patients for flu vaccinations, making it easy for patients to schedule on their own time and further minimizing the risk of unnecessary contact with other patients in office.

2. Direct patients to drive-through testing to minimize in-person tests

Depending on the answers given during screening, patients may be directed to virtual and disease-specific care, such as drive-through COVID-testing. An online scheduling platform can easily be used to book appointments for tests, presenting patients with any available time slots, either same-day or a few days out. The platform can also record information about the patient’s vehicle to quickly identify patients and avoid bottlenecks in the drive-through.

With so many patients hesitant to show for in-person visits today, a similar system for flu shots could serve providers well.

3. Use guided search to direct patients to the right virtual services

Virtual care has proven both necessary and valuable during the current pandemic. Not only has it kept patients in close contact with providers and specialists, but it has helped providers capture revenue lost from the cancellation or delay of in-person appointments.

Virtual care will be increasingly critical during a dual COVID-19/flu season. By asking the right questions during online scheduling, patients can be connected to the correct provider, whether virtual or in-person, for their needs and book an appointment quickly and easily.

4. Eliminate walk-through traffic at urgent care centers

Urgent care centers are already known to be the ‘doctor of choice’ for many patients, but this could pose a few challenges for both patients and providers during a dual pandemic. Rather than be a gathering spot for patients with both illnesses, urgent care centers may want to consider switching to an appointment-only system, where appointments must be scheduled online or by phone. This can help reduce the number of in-person visits and walk-in traffic, which will not only help keep everyone safe and healthy but contribute to a far better patient experience as patients wouldn’t have to sit and wait to be seen by a provider.

Interested in hearing more about how online scheduling could help your organization manage flu season as it collies with COVID-19?


Learn more.

The post The benefits of online scheduling during a “twindemic” appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Don’t miss our patient engagement conference ENGAGE at HLTH Oct. 15

Patient engagement and experience were coming into focus as part of the overall transformation of healthcare, but the advent of Covid-19 has thrust it to the forefront. Hear from patients, providers, retailers, tech disruptors and others about why patient engagement is paramount.

Success at a glance: improved collections, part two

While all hospitals and health systems will no doubt encounter revenue-specific challenges related to the pandemic, a solid foundation and targeted approach for improved collections can help speed up the road to recovery. In fact, it was Sanford Health’s unique approach to increasing patient collections that allowed it to both optimize collections during the pandemic and improve employee satisfaction and retention.

Several years prior to COVID-19, Sanford took steps to improve collections with a patient-focused, hybrid approach that combines employee incentives with segmentation strategies.

Leveraging Collections Optimization Manager and PatientDial from Experian Health, Sanford was able to quickly and easily streamline call center operations and increase collections in a myriad of ways – through new and updated patient addresses, patient-friendly billing statements, identifying new guarantors and more.

With the above items in place, Sanford was already well positioned to seamlessly manage normal business operations during a pandemic. The organization was able to quickly adapt, and then build on that momentum to better serve its patients and staff, while also driving results.

Since the start of COVID-19, Sanford has:

  • Increased employee satisfaction with remote capabilities
    PatientDial allowed Sanford to seamlessly transition its call center team to work remote. Where about 30% of the workforce was remote prior to COVID-19, just shy of 99% of call center representatives are now remote. This has been a great source of employee satisfaction and safety and has aided in the system’s ability to keep the collections momentum going.
  • Provided a more compassionate approach to collections
    Recognizing that this is a sensitive time for many, Sanford ensured the proper mechanisms were in place to identify those who required additional help, offering the best methods for collection possible. Sanford has not only created a billing indicator for patients affected by COVID-19, but Experian Health has provided additional insight with a weekly file of patients who are identified as possibly financially stressed.
  • Improved collections during time of crisis
    While collections decreased for the quarter, Sanford saw a record increase in collections for the month of March — $800K more than the system saw in March of 2019.


Learn more.

The post Success at a glance: improved collections, part two appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Success at a glance: improved collections, part one

Before working with Experian Health, call center operations at Sanford Health were disparate and disjointed, with each call center operating on a different phone system with different carriers. While some centers saw high abandonment rates, others were waiting around for calls. Although Sanford attempted to create balance by placing accounts in a work queue, the process for managing outbound collection calls remained manual and it was impossible to identify and strategically contact patients based on ability to pay.

Sanford took steps to improve collections with a patient-focused, hybrid approach that combines employee incentives with segmentation strategies.

Since working with Experian Health, Sanford now has a focused approach to managing accounts receivable (AR) by identifying patients with a certain propensity to pay. Collections Optimization Manager allows Sanford to quickly identify a pathway and delivery to resolution of the patient’s balance.

The analytical segmentation models within Collections Optimization Manager use precise algorithms that reveal those patients who likely are eligible for charity services, those who might prefer to pay in full at a discount, or those who might benefit from a payment plan. The solution then feeds segmentation data to PatientDial, which Sanford uses to route calls to 70 patient account representatives.

Sanford also implemented a re-designed, more user-friendly patient statement format. The improved cover page offers easy-to-understand information about the bill including the available options for payment.

In a larger effort to improve the patient experience, Sanford implemented an employee incentive program that appropriately rewards staff based on their collections’ performance.

Since working with Experian Health, Sanford has seen the following improvements:

Streamlined call center operations. With PatientDial in place, Sanford was able to consolidate its call center team members in 4 regions and seamlessly operate on centralized toll free and direct dial numbers. Where it used to take on average 56 seconds for a call to be answered, calls are now answered in 20 seconds or less. The system now comfortably manages an average of 12,000 inbound calls weekly.

Increased collections. The model in place has allowed Sanford to improve collections in a myriad of ways. In addition to increased collections from calls made through PatientDial, Sanford was able to see an additional $2.5M in patient payments by ensuring patient statements were sent to the new or correct address. The system found an additional $60K by identifying new guarantors for accounts of deceased patients. The segmentation capabilities from Experian Health also enabled Sanford to identify patients struggling with bankruptcy, allowing staff to focus their efforts on collectible accounts and more efficiently direct individuals to charity options.

Learn more about Sanford Health’s journey and how a similar approach could help your organization improve collections and employee satisfaction.

The post Success at a glance: improved collections, part one appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

New Jersey Urology Launches First-Ever Urologic-Centric Epic EHR

New Jersey Urology

What You Should Know:

–  New Jersey Urology (NJU) becomes the first urology-only group to launch a urologic-centric Epic electronic health record (EHR).

– NJU is the largest urology practice providing complete
urologic care and comprehensive individualized treatment at more than 60
convenient locations, including six state-of-the-art Cancer Treatment Centers.


New Jersey Urology (“NJU”), the leading urology service provider in New Jersey, and Urology Management Associates (“UMA”), NJU’s administrative practice management, today announced the launch of its urologic-centric Epic electronic health record (EHR). The launch marks NJU as the first urology-only group to launch Epic.

NJU is the largest urology practice in the United States providing
complete urologic care and comprehensive individualized treatment at more than
60 convenient locations, including six state-of-the-art Cancer Treatment
Centers.

“NJU will now have a toolset designed to treat urological conditions and meet the unique needs of their patients,” said Leela Vaughn, Epic Vice President. “As the first large, independent urology group to install Epic on its own, NJU is creating a new option for other independent urology practices to get Epic and benefit from NJU’s expertise.”

Why It Matters

As one of the key drivers of becoming a more patient-centric organization, NJU is also using Epic’s patient-facing app, MyChart. Patients can use MyChart to connect with their care team, view their health record, update their demographic and clinical information, request prescription refills , and more. This will vastly improve patient accessibility, increasing patient engagement, and satisfaction.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this offers patients a safer, simplified, and much more streamlined contactless check-in process. The integrated enterprise EHR system pulls together data from NJU’s four legacy systems into one single, merged view within NJU’s 60+ practices across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“We selected Epic because it allows NJU to perform under one integrated platform. It supports seamless workflows, efficient coordination, and built-in analytics to improve operational efficiencies,” said Derek Grimes, CIO of NJU. “We began our Epic project back in June 2019, and this launch represents a significant milestone. In partnership with Epic, this initiative is a testament to our amazing NJU Epic team consisting of IT, clinicians, physician champions and Epic Super Users across the entire organization. Epic will revolutionize and transform the daily interactions within our practices, facilitate better patient care, and vastly improve patient outcomes.”

Value-Based Reimbursement Contracts Now Account for 26% of Hospital Revenue, KLAS Finds

What You Should Know:

– Value-based reimbursement (VBR) contracts now account
for 26% of hospital revenue, according to a new report from KLAS research and
CHIME.

– Report reveals providers are looking first to their
electronic health record (EHR) systems to drive PHM, and are most interested in
investing in new healthcare information technology (HIT) when they know there
is a clear ROI. 


With value-based reimbursement (VBR) adoption slowing, healthcare providers are searching for ways to manage risk and achieve ROI on population health management (PHM) solutions adoption, according to a new report from KLAS Research and CHIME – the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The new report, issued, reveals that providers are looking first to their electronic health record (EHR) systems to drive population health management (PHM), and are most interested in investing in new healthcare information technology (HIT) when they know there is a clear ROI.  The findings were based on findings from KLAS Decision Insights, the KLAS 2019 Population Health Management Cornerstone Summit, and CHIME’s 2019 HealthCare’s Most Wired data.

Value-Based Reimbursement in 2020: How Far Have We Come?

VBR contracts now account for 26% of hospital revenue. Fee-for-service still outpaces VBR, and over time, the lack of significant progress toward VBR has eroded healthcare organizations’ confidence that the change will happen in the near future. The biggest factors limiting the adoption of VBR are uncertainty that an ROI will be achieved and a lack of needed infrastructure.

How Is Technology Being Used to Support VBR?

Once organizations decide to invest in technology to help
with VBR, they generally turn first to their EMR. Though provider organizations
may not ultimately choose their EMR for certain population health management
(PHM) needs, EMRs are almost always considered, due to (1) assumed integration
with EMR data; (2) anticipated cost savings; and (3) increased ease of access
to PHM data in the EMR.

EMRs are slightly less likely to be used for administrative
and financial reporting—EMRs have historically struggled to provide the nuanced
views needed in these areas, so organizations often opt for third-party
solutions that provide additional analysis, visualization, and ad hoc reporting.
Third-party solutions may be used on their own or in conjunction with EMR
functionality.

Organizations invest in HIT when there is a concrete ROI

Solutions that help organizations identify and act on care
gaps see some of the broadest adoption as they can be helpful with just about
any VBR contract. Once a gap is identified, organizations need to reach out to
the patient and close it, so patient engagement tools are also highly sought
after.

Functionality is a significant driver in PHM purchase
decisions

Healthcare organizations are looking for enterprise EMRs and
broad BI platforms capable of tackling a large swath of their PHM and
VBR-related functionality needs (e.g., root cause analysis, A/B testing, etc.).
In this quest for consolidation, organizations are seeking to eliminate ad hoc
interfaces and replace vendors who haven’t delivered on functionality or
quality.

“Providers are trying to find positive ROI on their population health management investments,” said Adam Gale, president of KLAS Research. “This report offers a useful roadmap for how they can meet that challenge.”

For more information about the report, visit https://klasresearch.com/report/value-based-reimbursement-2020/1705

A debate on reimagining health insurance: Video from MedCity Invest Digital Health

In the latest video installment from INVEST Digital Health, venture capitalist Michael Yang, Managing Partner, OMERS Ventures, and healthcare entrepreneur Shawn Wagoner, Chief Revenue Officer, Bind Benefits, go head to head to debate the future of health insurance.

How health plans can close more gaps in care with digital scheduling

Four in ten Americans live with multiple chronic conditions. For these individuals, life is punctuated with physician appointments, visits to the pharmacy and referrals to different specialists. Their care should be coordinated with orchestral precision, but the reality is somewhat less harmonious. Snail-paced scheduling systems, poor communication and mismatched patient records can lead to a lack of proper support for patients, confusion about how the care plan is managed, and potentially dangerous (and costly) gaps in care. For health plans, quality markers are missed and incentive payments start to dwindle.

To help close these gaps, health plans must embrace a more innovative, consumer-focused approach to care coordination. Digital scheduling platforms make it easy for call center agents to help members find and book appointments, eliminating the need for a three-way call between the member and provider. Members are much more likely to be placed with the right clinician, at the right time and for the right appointment, while health plan call centers can operate far more efficiently. The automation and data integrity of digital systems makes it much easier to track and book appropriate post-discharge appointments and routine care management.

Digital scheduling has the potential to improve health outcomes, drive up operational efficiency and yield big savings down the line. It’s about more than just matching consumer expectations, though a great member experience is certainly a competitive advantage for health plans. Better coordinated care could be life-changing for patients with chronic conditions. And with more members switching plans and seeking call center support in light of COVID-19, there’s a short-term urgency to tighten up communications and direct members to the care they need. Could a digital scheduling platform help your health plan close gaps in care and create a better member experience?


Learn more.

The post How health plans can close more gaps in care with digital scheduling appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Seniors navigating healthcare technology in a post-COVID world

Products referenced in this article:

With just a few clicks, patients can book appointments, speak to their doctor, access billing information and pay for care, all without leaving their homes. Online health services have been a lifesaver for many during the pandemic, and the reliance on digital tools has sky-rocketed over the last few months. But for some older consumers who may be less comfortable using digital devices, this shift towards “healthcare from home” feels daunting and isolating.

Many seniors are not immersed in the digital culture and navigate life just fine without a touchscreen. The sudden shift in healthcare delivery channels has demanded many to venture into unfamiliar technology in a rushed and urgent manner. Others face barriers related to things like dementia, hearing loss and vision loss.

Closing the digital divide

Whatever their age, those left out of the digital loop face a higher risk of missed appointments, delayed care and anxiety about how to get tests and treatment. Providers will want to ensure that all of their digital offerings are designed to help patients of every age access care in a way that works for them. That means creating a consumer experience with pathways and channels to suit different patient needs and expectations, including “analog” options for those who aren’t inclined to learn new technologies.

4 ways to make digital health technology more senior-friendly

1. Use data to determine what’s working and what’s not

The starting point for providers who want to improve seniors’ digital engagement is to understand how they’re actually using it (or not) right now. Non-clinical data can give insights on technology engagement, lifestyle and socioeconomic circumstances across all ages in a patient population. When providers know what patients are looking for, and where the gaps are, they can tailor their services to meet their patients’ needs.

For example, let’s say a proportion of an organization’s older members have smartphones or tablets, but aren’t using them to access their patient portals. It’s likely they have the skills so but may not be aware of the service. This can be solved with a simple omnichannel outreach campaign to provide step-by-step instructions explaining how to get started.

One way for providers to capture useful data is with “Z codes” — the ICD-10-CM codes included in categories Z55-Z65. These identify non-medical factors that may influence a patient’s health status. Utilizing Z codes will enable better tracking of seniors’ needs and identify solutions to improve their health and wellbeing.

Providers can also leverage data to better understand seniors’ activity in the continuum of care. Are older patients continually presenting for care at a facility that is out of network? A tool like MemberMatch can deliver these insights in real time, alerting care teams as early as possible so that they can rally around active episodes of care proactively and efficiently. This helps risk-bearing organizations optimize the quality and cost of member activity in the continuum of care, leading to better outcomes for patients and a better bottom line for organizations responsible for their health.

2. Give patients choices about how they access services

Adoption of healthcare technology is increasing among older adults: 76% of over 50 say they welcome services to help them “age in place”, or live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level. At CareMount Medical, 27% of primary care appointments made using Experian Health’s online scheduling tool are initiated by those aged 60 and over. The demand is there; support should follow.

That said, an omnichannel approach is still important. Given a choice, more than half of people aged 50 and over prefer their health be managed by a mix of medical professionals and technology. This means giving patients the option to easily schedule appointments by phone. Automated outreach and integration, combined with practice management systems, will ultimately make patient scheduling easier.

3. Make virtual care easier to use

More than half of seniors cancelled or delayed appointments due to COVID-19. Despite the promise of safety measures, many are hesitant to return. Virtual care may be the answer.

Providers are quick to learn that telehealth is not a panacea, in particular for the senior population. As some patients may not have the technology and skills to access telehealth, providers may want to consider a hybrid “facilitated telehealth” model where medical professionals visit patients’ homes to help them get set up for telehealth visits.

4. Create a smoother patient financial experience

As older patients become newly eligible for Medicare, many are unclear about their coverage status. To take the burden off the patient, providers should consider a tool such as Coverage Discovery, which allows staff to find MBI numbers quickly. This often proves helpful, particularly for new Medicare beneficiaries who may not have received their MBI card yet.

A way to ease the stress of payments is to offer more transparent pricing so patients know what to expect as they start their healthcare journey. Experian Health’s Patient Financial Advisor gives a breakdown of their bill and payment options, helping them feel financially confident and more in control of their ability to pay – resulting in fewer collections issues.

As older patients become more accustomed to paying for other everyday items through their smartphones or laptops, online patient payment solutions will become less foreign and more convenient, allowing them to manage medical payments in a time and place that suits them.

It’s never been more important to help older patients stay connected, access care and feel supported during their healthcare journey. Contact us to explore how Experian Health’s solutions can help you close the digital divide.

The post Seniors navigating healthcare technology in a post-COVID world appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Is COVID-19 another catalyst for price transparency?

Few of us would buy a new car or TV without
checking the price tag first. Why should our healthcare be any different? Yet
this is exactly what many patients are forced to do when they need medical tests
or treatment.

Following the breadcrumbs on a provider’s
website is a time-consuming and confusing way for patients to piece together a price
estimate. Even with a rough idea of the cost of care, variations in health plan
pricing often bump up the final bill. The lack of transparency is stressful for
patients and costly for providers, who end up chasing slow payments and losing
revenue to bad debt. But could things be about to change?

Many providers have been proactive in
offering transparent pricing, and thanks to recent regulatory changes, this could
soon be an industry-wide requirement. The CMS
Price Transparency Final Rule
mandates that by 1 January 2021, hospitals
should publish consumer-friendly pricing information on certain ‘shoppable’
services, to help patients understand and plan their bills ahead of time. The
proposed Health
PRICE Transparency Act
would similarly compel providers to publish real
cash prices alongside rates negotiated with insurers. As households, businesses
and public bodies grapple with the economic impact of COVID-19, any additional
clarity around pricing that could help make a dent in healthcare-related debt
is to be welcomed.

Liz Serie,
Director of Product Management and Patient Experience at Experian Health, says
that regardless of changes to the regulatory landscape, pricing transparency is
here to stay:

“It’s great for the patient because they
have visibility, transparency and clarity about what they owe. They can prepare
financially before their visit, so they can focus on what matters most –
healing. Providers are excited about price transparency tools because they let
patients pick and plan payment options, reducing the total cost to collect. And
with more reliable billing data, it’s a win from a decision-making perspective
too.”

Transparency is becoming the norm in other
aspects of healthcare consumer experience, and billing should be no different.

4 steps to fast and simple patient-friendly
pricing

1. Remove the guesswork with accurate, upfront pricing estimates

No one wants to play detective with their deductibles. Giving patients pricing information upfront puts them in control of their payments, improving their engagement and increasing the likelihood of faster collections – a top priority for providers today as they continue to feel the effects of COVID-19 on the bottom line.

A Patient
Estimates tool
can generate accurate, easy-to-understand estimates based on
known treatment costs, payer rates and real-time benefits data. Estimates and
secure payment options can be sent straight to the patient’s mobile device,
improving the patient financial experience with a single text message.

2. Give patients 24/7 control through their online portal

With COVID-19
pushing even more of our lives online, a 24/7 patient portal is a must for
providers that want to stay competitive.

Yale New Haven
Health (YNHH) used PatientSimple
to give patients a mobile-friendly, self-service portal through which they can
generate price estimates, choose payment plans, and monitor payment
information. Sharlene Seidman, Executive Director Corporate Business Services
at YNHH says patients have welcomed online access:

“ROI is not just
tangible dollars in additional revenue, it’s patient satisfaction and improving
the financial experience.”

3. Minimize delayed payments with quicker insurance checks

Millions of Americans have experienced sudden job
losses or changes to their insurance status in the wake of the pandemic,
causing confusion about their current coverage. Payment delays and denied
claims are an inevitable side-effect. Providers can help by offering fast,
automated insurance eligibility verification, so patients can confirm coverage at the point of
service and take the next steps with confidence.

4. Move to mobile for a more convenient patient experience

Imagine if your patients could have all the information they need about their healthcare account, right there in their pocket. Patient Payment Solutions offer real-time pricing estimates based on provider pricing, payer rates and benefit information, so patients can review their bill at a time and place that suits them. There’s also the option to offer secure and contactless payment methods, so they can settle their bill at the click of a button.

Estimates
suggest
that
the average family of four could save up to $11,000 a year if they had the
option to choose care on the basis of more transparent pricing. Savings on this
scale mean that demand for clear information about out-of-pocket expenses is
going to soar, whatever happens with price transparency regulations.

Learn how Experian Health can help your
organization support patients and improve collections through more transparent
pricing.

The post Is COVID-19 another catalyst for price transparency? appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Three ways hospitals can support price transparency

The regulatory requirements for price transparency are in full effect. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is moving forward with the OPPS Price Transparency Final Rule (CMS-1717-F2), which states that hospitals must provide transparency that will help consumers understand medical costs and make informed decisions.

At this point, it is recommended that hospitals begin to form a strategy for price transparency.

The concept behind price transparency is simple: provide transparency that will help consumers understand medical costs and make informed decisions. Experian Heath’s commitment is simple: provide solutions that benefit the patient and the provider, that improve collections and patient satisfaction.

Discover how Experian Health can help you succeed with price transparency.

The post Three ways hospitals can support price transparency appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Improving patient intake during COVID-19 starts with patient experience upgrades

Despite the majority of elective procedures
being up and running again, patients are still keeping their distance. Nearly
half of Americans
say they or a family member have delayed care since the
beginning of the pandemic, while visits to the emergency room and calls to 911
have dropped
significantly
. Patients are avoiding care, but it’s not for the reason
you’d expect.

Beyond obvious worries about catching and
spreading the virus, a second concern is becoming apparent: patients are
fearful of the potential cost of medical care. With so many furloughed, laid
off or losing their insurance coverage, medical care has become unaffordable for millions of Americans. It’s especially tough for
those who fall into the coverage
gap
, where their income is too high to grant access to Medicaid coverage,
but too low to be caught by the ACA safety net.

If patients continue to delay care, it’s
only a matter of time before their symptoms worsen, leading to more complex and
expensive treatment or even risking their lives. For the hospitals and health
systems with revenue levels at a record low, encouraging patients to return for
routine care is a matter for their own financial survival too.

The answer lies in making sure patients feel safe and comfortable both when they come in for care, and when they look at their financial responsibilities.

5 ways to ease the return to routine care

1. Reassure patients about safety measures before and during their visit

Patients are understandably anxious about
what their visit is going to be like. Will they have their temperature taken?
What should they do if they have symptoms of the virus? Will seating areas be
spaced out and sanitized? Pre-visit communications and proactive
information on arrival will help them feel comfortable and eliminate the shock
factor of seeing more stringent infection control measures.

2. Minimize unnecessary contact by shifting patient intake online

From online scheduling and
pre-registration to telehealth and contactless payment, there are many ways to
keep face-to-face interactions to a minimum. Not only will this help reduce the
spread of the virus, it’ll make the whole patient experience more convenient
for patients. Exploring a virtual and automated patient intake experience can also free up staff to work on other tasks, thus also protecting the
organization’s bottom line through efficiency savings.

3. Encourage patients back to care with automated outreach campaigns

With so much uncertainty at the moment,
patients may be unsure if it’s even appropriate to come in for routine care.
Use automated outreach to prompt them to
book appointments and schedule follow up care. A digital scheduling platform
can help you set up text-based outreach campaigns, to reassure patients that
it’s safe (and essential!) to come in for any overdue care – without placing
any undue burden on your call center.

4. Provide price transparency before and at the point of service

With healthcare experts pointing to financial
worries as a major barrier to care, anything providers can do to improve the
patient financial experience is an advantage. Price transparency is the first step.
When patients have clear and accessible payment estimates upfront, they can
plan accordingly and/or seek financial assistance as quickly as possible,
reducing the risk of non-payment.

5. Screen for charity care eligibility with faster automated checks

Once those payment estimates have been
generated, the next step is to confirm whether the patient is eligible for financial support, in the event that they’re unable to cover their bill. Checking eligibility
for charity assistance is a time-suck for patient collections teams, but with
access to the right datasets, it’s a perfect candidate for automation.

These steps become even more urgent as
providers face the prospect of a ‘twindemic’ – or a surge in COVID-19 cases
colliding with flu season.
By avoiding delays to care, patients can avoid the need for more serious and
expensive treatment further down the line, when hospitals are likely to be
under even greater pressures.

Contact us to find out more about how our
data-driven, automated patient intake
solutions
can help make your patients feel as safe and
comfortable as possible, both physically and financially.

The post Improving patient intake during COVID-19 starts with patient experience upgrades appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Fast track the path to closing gaps in care

The rates for closing gaps in care are
some of the most widely used, quantitative metrics to measure quality, allocate
incentives, and control costs. Unfortunately, health plans face numerous
obstacles closing gaps in care, from social determinants of health to
inconsistent coordination of care, and don’t always have a care gap closure
program in place. Thankfully, digital solutions like web-based scheduling and
automated outreach can help health plans jump many of these hurdles while also
helping to close gaps in care.

Call center scheduling
Many health plans are still grappling with the difficulty of three-way scheduling calls between themselves, members and providers. Calls are lengthy and cumbersome as agents dig through binders of provider schedules and scheduling rules to determine and book the right appointment for each member. Members are often put on hold, sometimes more than once, and are much more likely to drop out of the scheduling process entirely when faced with this experience. As a result, these members may face significant care delays, or in some cases miss their necessary follow-up care entirely.

With web-based scheduling, member engagement call centers can eliminate three-way calls. Guided search helps to narrow down the right provider for each member and the scheduling platform allows for immediate, on-the-spot appointment selection. Health plans can more efficiently close gaps in care as members can quickly and easily schedule their appointments. This has proven to cut call times in half, and increase scheduling rates by 140%. To learn more, read this case study.

Automated Outreach
Health plans typically have a list of individuals to follow up with on a regular (bi-weekly or monthly) basis to book whatever care service is needed to close the gap in care. Now, health plans have the ability to automate this outreach via interactive voice response (IVR) or text message (SMS) while simultaneously enabling members to schedule appointments on-the-spot, either through a link in the text or during the IVR call.

The automation improves the member experience with convenient access and helps close more gaps in care – all without a single call center agent.

The ultimate combination for closing gaps in care
Used alone, automated outreach and call center scheduling are both effective for closing gaps in care. When used together, health plans can fast track the path to closing gaps in care and further improve efficiencies.

Members can first be reached via automated
outreach, prompting the individual to schedule an appointment. This allows
members the opportunity to self-schedule and essentially self-close their gap
in care, without a single live agent phone call. From there, call center agents
can pinpoint the members who didn’t schedule as part of the outreach campaign
and then call them directly to book the necessary care.

We know that despite the flexibility
and convenience offered by digital solutions, like automated outreach, there
are still individuals who prefer to schedule over the phone and have personal
interaction when booking care. The combination of web-based scheduling and
automated outreach enables omnichannel access for health plans while helping
call center agents focus their attention on the members who need their help
most.

Contact us to learn more about how Experian Health can help health plans fast track the path to closing gaps in care.

The post Fast track the path to closing gaps in care appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Success at a glance: 24/7 patient access

The age of consumerism has been a catalyst in the shift towards patient-centered care, driving hospitals and health systems across the board to evaluate and improve their current methods of patient access. For one multi-specialty medical group, fast and easy access to care meant providing strategic tools for patients to use beyond the four walls of the organization and outside of the traditional hours of the practice.

In order to provide a more flexible and convenient method to access care, CareMount Medical, the largest independent multi-specialty group in New York State, turned to Experian Health to enable online self-scheduling. With it in place, patients now have the ability to schedule an appointment online, across any specialty, any time of day or night.

Providers’ scheduling protocols are automated within the solution to accurately match patients with the right provider and appointment based on care need. Those same protocols are also used to prevent overbooking, allowing providers to maintain close and comfortable control over their calendars.

Improved call center efficiencies. Automated scheduling relieves call center staff of the associated administrative work, allowing more time for nurses and other credentialed staff to answer health questions and concerns over the phone.

Increased patient acquisition and retention. In addition to attracting new patients, the solution has proven valuable for patient retention. Since implementation, the organization has seen on average 30 online appointment bookings per provider per month.

Higher patient satisfaction. Patients are no longer required to call to schedule an appointment during office hours. This level of convenience gives patients more control over their day and has contributed to rising patient satisfaction scores for the organization as a whole.

Continued Improvements. Real-time analytics and dashboards provide direct line-of-sight into scheduling activity, helping leaders at CareMount Medical to both identify areas for improvement and fine-tune the process to further improve online bookings.

“Experian Health’s guided search and scheduling solution adds immediate benefits for our patients, supporting our commitment to provide our patients with cutting-edge technology in the convenience of their home.”

Scott D. Hayworth, MD, FACOG, President & CEO, CareMount Medical

Learn more about how your organization can improve patient access with patient scheduling from Experian Health.

The post Success at a glance: 24/7 patient access appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Experity Acquires Reputation Management Platform Calibrater Health

Experity Acquires Reputation Management Platform Calibrater Health

What You Should Know:

– Experity, a provider of urgent care health IT, has
acquired feedback management solutions company- Calibrater Health.

– Through the acquisition, Experity will expand its patient engagement HIT platform by fully integrating Calibrater’s reputation management functionalities like AI-powered issue tracking, SMS patient surveys, and enhanced performance insights.


Experity, a provider
of clinical and practice management software to the urgent care space, today
announced that it has acquired Calibrater Health, a provider of feedback management
solutions. 
The acquisition enables Experity to strategically expand
its industry-leading patient engagement offering with reputation management
capabilities tailor-made to meet the needs and demands of the rapidly growing
urgent care industry.

Patient Experience Top Priority for Urgent Care

The patient experience is top priority for providers in the
urgent care space. While a positive experience largely depends on efficient and
seamless care delivery, equally important are clinics’ patient engagement and
reputation management capabilities designed specifically for the urgent care
industry.

“Delivering a positive patient experience is the lifeblood of the urgent care market, so joining forces with a leader in feedback management like Calibrater Health is the right step in Experity’s continued growth,” said David Stern, CEO of Experity. “The urgent care industry continues to redefine what the patient experience can look like. We are committed to evolving alongside our providers to ensure that we will always meet their needs.”

Calibrater Health’s feedback management technology contributes
to a seamless patient experience through:

– Reputation management

– AI-powered issue tracking

– Text-based patient surveys

– Net promoter score (NPS)

– Team scorecards and engagement

– Performance insights

Acquisition Expands Patient Engagement Platform

In combination with Experity’s intuitively designed
workflows and critical load-balance and reporting capabilities, the new
features will deliver a more robust patient engagement platform. As a result,
clinics can provide a smoother patient experience from the patient’s initial
online search, to post-visit follow-up, to their future urgent care visits.

A seamless patient experience
requires connected, integrated technology. However, urgent care clinics have
traditionally had to rely on multiple, disparate platforms to get all the
functionalities needed to manage the various elements of the business. This
acquisition fully integrates crucial technological functionalities and data
collected across all workflows within an urgent care business, including
patient feedback and clinical data. As a result, over 50% of US clinics that
use Experity and Calibrater solutions will now have all the capabilities and
insights they need in one interface to provide a truly seamless patient
experience.

“Joining two leaders with different areas of expertise in urgent care technology brings immense value to urgent care providers who are tired of having to work across disconnected technology platforms and vendors to get what they need,” said Tim Dybvig, CEO of Calibrater Health. “With this integration, clinics using Experity or Calibrater solutions now have all the capabilities and insights they need in one interface to provide a truly seamless patient experience.”

Designing A Digital Experience to Drive Revenue and Patient Engagement

 Designing A Digital Experience to Drive Revenue and Patient Engagement
Bill Krause, VP and GM, Digital Experience and Consumer Engagement at Change Healthcare

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.

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

Vocera Acquires Secure Communications Platform EASE Applications

What You Should Know:

– Today Vocera Communications acquires EASE Applications,
a provider of a secure communication platform and mobile application that
delivers updates, messages to patients’ loved ones, during surgeries and at
other times.

– The Orlando-based EASE offers a cloud-based service
that is built to improve the patient experience by enabling friends and family
members to receive timely updates about the progress of loved ones in the
hospitals. Care team members can send a patient’s loved ones HIPAA-compliant
texts, photos, and video updates putting them at ease and saving valuable time.


Vocera Communications,
Inc., 
a provider of clinical communication and workflow solutions,
today announced that it has acquired
EASE (Electronic Access to Surgical
Events),
based in Orlando, FL. EASE offers a cloud-based communication
platform and mobile application built to improve the patient
experience by enabling friends and family members to receive timely updates
about the progress of their loved one in the hospital. The EASE app
enables nurses and other care team members to send HIPAA-compliant texts,
photos, and video updates to patients’ loved ones, putting them at ease and
saving valuable time.

Patients can add friends and family members to their distribution list; and with a simple tap, caregivers can keep them informed and ease their concerns. Messages, pictures, and videos sent disappear 60 seconds after being viewed, and nothing is saved on the mobile device, providing an additional layer of security and privacy. The application also provides secure two-way video conferencing between patients’ families and care teams. Additionally, EASE enables care team members to customize in-app surveys, offering a quick way to track and improve patient engagement and satisfaction in real-time, and giving feedback and support for the caregivers.

Return on Investment

With more than 1.6 million sent messages, the EASE
application has demonstrated improved patient and family satisfaction and
reduced the number of phone calls from loved ones to the hospital. In one study
with approximately 2,500 family members, 98% said that EASE reduced their
anxiety, and 81% reported that the availability of EASE would influence their
choice of hospital. Additionally, patient satisfaction scores increased by an
average of 6% for patients who used EASE compared to patients who did not use
the application.

Issuance of Restricted Stock Units

As part of the onboarding process, Vocera will issue
restricted stock units totaling approximately 60,000 shares of Vocera common
stock to approximately eleven employees of EASE. These restricted stock units
will vest over three years after the closing and will be made from an
inducement plan adopted by the company’s board of directors pursuant to the
inducement exemption provided under the NYSE listing rules.

Improve the patient experience with digital patient intake

Imagine if every time you wanted to sign up
to buy groceries online, book a vacation, or apply for a job, you had to fill
out a paper registration form. For 21st century consumers who are
accustomed to sleek digital and self-service experiences in industries such as
retail, travel and banking, such an antiquated and cumbersome process seems
unthinkable. Unfortunately, when it comes to healthcare services, we don’t have
to use our imagination. Too often, we’re still required to fill out
time-consuming, repetitive and tedious forms before accessing services.

For providers who want to stay competitive,
the long waits and wasted time that arise from paper-based registration system
do nothing to win consumer loyalty. And on top of the disappointing patient
experience, manual intake processes often lead to delays and errors that can
disrupt the billing cycle, costing time and money further down the line.

In fact, up
to half of denied claims
occur because of issues around the point of
registration, such as identification errors, sub-standard data analytics and
inefficient workflows. And at a time when patients and staff are trying to
minimize face-to-face contact due to COVID-19, manual registration seems like
an unnecessary extra touch point.

Is it time to say goodbye to paper-based
paper registration?

Reimagining the patient intake
experience for the digital age

During registration, patients can be asked
to provide personal details, submit their medical history, and confirm payer
information. They may also need to schedule
appointments
, organize billing, or sign up for care management programs. It’s
often a patient’s first glimpse of how a provider is going to look after them,
so making the registration experience as stress-free as possible is a great way
to build
customer loyalty from the start
.

As the competition for consumer business
heats up, providers should look for ways to give patients the virtual and mobile-friendly
experience they desire, with as little time as possible spent in waiting rooms
filling in forms. By letting patients tick off their registration to-do list
online or via a mobile device – before even coming into hospital – providers
can improve patient satisfaction, while using automated workflows to drive down
costly errors and increase revenue.

Here are two examples of how healthcare providers have embraced
self-service registration and automated pre-registration workflows to benefit
both their consumers and bottom line:

1. Schneck Medical Center used automated pre-registration to double their productivity

For the patient access team at Schneck Medical Center, getting the correct patient information in a timely manner during registration was a challenge. By introducing  eCare NEXT®, they were able to automate pre-registration workflows so the majority of manual, repetitive patient tasks could be completed automatically, freeing up staff to focus on patients who needed specific attention before being cleared. With Registration QA added to the mix, they could track and correct errors and spot opportunities to improve performance in real-time, for a better patient experience and more efficient operations.

Skylar Earley, Director of Patient Access and Communication, said that by using Experian Health’s patient intake solutions, “we were able to make some fairly minor workflow changes, but double our pre-registration productivity on a daily basis and then repurpose some labor to different areas in patient access.”

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) used automated registration to reduce claim denials

Seeing that a large portion of claim denials were
originating during patient registration, MLKCH introduced an automated registration workflow to eliminate unnecessary manual tasks and increase
the accuracy of the data being collected.

For Patient Access Manager Lori Westman, the results
have been impressive:

“We get fewer denials because we’re getting true verification data, and our patient volumes continue to increase. So the fact that we can take off at least two to three minutes on half of our registrations is speeding up the work for the team, and the turnaround time is much better for the patients.”

By reducing paper-based tasks and
introducing automated pre-registration options, these providers were able to
make life easier for patients while slimming down their workflows. Is it time
for your organization to do the same?

Download our free eBook to find out more about how automated
patient intake workflows could help you create a seamless, more efficient
patient registration experience.

The post Improve the patient experience with digital patient intake appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Bridge Connector Lands $25.5M to Expand Healthcare Integration Platform

Bridge Connector

What You Should Know:

– Bridge Connector raises $25.5 million in Series B funding to advance interoperability layer for healthcare organizations as demand for integrated health data intensifies during COVID-19 pandemic.

– The investment will support the growth of Destinations,
the company’s new integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that connects
health data systems using use-case-based interoperability blueprints to speed
integrations with major vendors.


Bridge Connector,
a Nashville, TN-based interoperability company changing the way health care
communicates, today announced it has raised $25.5 million in Series B funding led
by Axioma Ventures. The round was also joined by all existing investors,
including veteran investor Jeff Vinick, and brings Bridge Connector’s total
funding to over $45 million.

COVID-19 Underscores Growing Demand for Integrated Health
Data

The last decade has seen an explosion of digital health platforms and the U.S. health care system has taken incremental steps toward achieving interoperability between them. In March, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new rules that force formerly closed vendor solutions to become interoperable.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the urgent need for data liquidity as healthcare providers across the country have struggled to share essential patient information and provide comprehensive care via remote delivery methods such as telehealth. In the face of the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on minority communities, the industry has also recognized the critically important role that social determinants of health — the environments in which we are born, live and work — play in our overall well-being and the need to make this information available to health care providers.

A True Interoperability Layer for Healthcare

Founded in 2017, Bridge Connector provides a suite of vendor-agnostic integration solutions and a full-service delivery model, helping health care vendors, providers, and payers more easily share data between disparate systems, such as electronic health records (EHRs) or patient engagement solutions. The company’s technology is designed to democratize health care by allowing organizations of any size to equitably connect data systems and empower care teams with the most accurate patient data in real-time. Unlike other health care interoperability vendors, Bridge Connector’s unique approach does not lock customers into a forced data model or proprietary APIs, instead of employing a vendor-agnostic integration layer that works across data models without the need for standardization.

The investment will further support the company’s increasing
market share in healthcare interoperability and growth of Destinations, a new
integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that connects health data systems
using use-case-based interoperability blueprints to speed integrations with
major vendors.

Recent Integrations with Key HIT Stakeholders

The new funding comes shortly after Bridge Connector finalized various collaborations with some of the most influential stakeholders in health IT, including Epic, Allscripts, and Salesforce, as well as other system integrators such as MuleSoft. Those collaborations represent calculated steps toward creating a centralized hub of integration solutions for all data platforms that any health care provider or payer can access. The average hospital today uses approximately 16 disparate electronic health records platforms that limit data sharing within the walls of a single hospital, let alone between separate hospitals.

Memorial Health Deploys Chatbots to Virtualize Waiting Room Experience

Memorial Health System Deploys Mobile Chatbots to Virtualize Waiting Room Experience

What You Should Know:

– Memorial Health System selects LifeLink Conversational
AI technology to virtualize the waiting room experience for patients

– Mobile chatbots to automate intake for telehealth and
in-person visits, while maintaining COVID-19 social distancing and safety
protocols.


Memorial Health System
, a community-based, not-for-profit corporation serving the people and
communities of central Illinois through five hospitals has selected LifeLink to deploy advanced conversational
technology that virtualizes the waiting room experience for every
patient who has an appointment with their physicians. LifeLink-powered AI chatbots
communicate through natural language-based messaging to help patients confirm
appointments, screen for COVID symptoms,
complete their intake forms, provide timing updates, and check in for their
visits. The mobile solution supports both in-person and telehealth visits.

Virtualize the Waiting Room Experience for
Patients

The virtual waiting room chatbot solution
digitizes processes that were previously handled through manual, one-off phone
calls, paper forms, and in-person interactions. Now patients simply converse
with a digital agent on any smartphone or personal device. Key capabilities
include:

–  Reminder and
confirmation messages are sent ahead of appointments

–  Intake and consent
forms are digitized into conversational workflows and completed before arrival

–  Chatbots educate
patients about COVID-19 protocols and conduct a risk assessment

 – On the day of
appointment, the bot provides timing updates and alerts patients when it is
time to enter the office and go directly to the exam room

 – Integration into
EMR and scheduling systems for full process automation

Why It Matters

As patients get back to seeing their physicians for care, we
must find ways to virtualize that experience to keep everyone safe, but there’s
a bigger opportunity at hand,” said Jay Roszhart, president of MHS’ ambulatory
group.  “We’re always looking for ways to improve our patient experience.
LifeLink chatbots virtualize the entire intake process on mobile devices, which
will ultimately do away with the need for waiting rooms and will
make the patient’s visit more efficient.”

“We were among the first providers to successfully launch conversational chatbot screeners from LifeLink as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread,” Roszhart added. “Now it’s time to take patient engagement innovation to the next level. The waiting room presents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and streamline operations, all in the context of delivering a better, safe patient experience.”

Three benefits of automated outreach

No thanks to COVID-19 and the subsequent delay of elective procedures, many healthcare providers today are struggling to ensure their patient populations are getting the care they need. While online scheduling and referral coordination solutions can no doubt help improve patient access, especially as those who cancelled or postponed appointments look to reschedule, it’s the use of automated outreach combined with the ability to schedule appointments in real-time that can take it one step further and help providers close gaps in care.

Automated outreach via
interactive voice response (IVR) and text messaging (SMS) is now effectively
closing gaps in care and streamlining the entire scheduling process from start
to finish.

Healthcare organizations leveraging
automated outreach are seeing numerous benefits. Among them:

  1. Extended Outreach Capabilities – An automated and technologically advanced outreach system has far greater capacity to reach patients, when compared to the bandwidth of traditional call centers. The system enables thousands of automated calls per day that don’t require an agent to personally facilitate.
  2. Increased Appointment Bookings – Reaching more patients means more successfully booked appointments, and in turn, fewer gaps in care. Our technology successfully automates the process all the way through the booking itself, scheduling far more appointments with much less effort.
  3. Higher Patient Satisfaction – Automated outreach ensures that patients are notified on-time about any necessary follow-up care, and then provides the opportunity to quickly and easily book appointments that fit their schedule. This convenience and simplicity fosters patient engagement and satisfaction.

Using a targeted outreach list, an
automated calling and texting system manages the bookings, coordination and
follow-up, completely lifting the burden off of the organization and its call
center. Additionally, this type of technology can track metrics (i.e. response
rates, booking rates, opt-outs, etc.) in real-time, allowing health plans to easily
identify areas for improvement and make the necessary changes to their
processes. For these reasons – as well as the benefits outlined above – a
growing list of both providers, payers and ACOs are choosing to employ
automated outreach technology today.

Learn more about automated
outreach and how it fits into an omnichannel access strategy.

The post Three benefits of automated outreach appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

The age of precision in the post COVID-19 world

Health and care have been inexorably moving towards a new paradigm – one where the nature of the interactions are more personalised and require the person to be more active in their pursuit of reducing risks that have an adverse effect upon the development of non-communicable diseases, says Dr Charles Alessi, chief clinical officer at HIMSS.

Lumeon Lands $30M to Expand Care Pathway Management Platform

Medtronic to Leverage Lumeon’s Care Pathway Management Platform to Deliver Value-Based Care in Europe

What You Should Know:

– 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
themselves.

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.”

Adapting to meet patient expectations during COVID-19

Download our free eBook to find out how digital health solutions can help your organization improve the patient journey now and beyond COVID-19.

You can also check out our free COVID-19 Resource Center, where you can get free access to telehealth payer policy alerts to help avoid payment denials and delays.

The post Adapting to meet patient expectations during COVID-19 appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond
Art Papier, MD, CEO and Co-Founder at VisualDx

We are facing a global healthcare crisis unlike any in our recent history. Within the span of a few short weeks, we saw our lives and practices drastically change. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered how medical care is delivered today and possibly for many years to come. We as clinicians need to rise to the challenge to provide the best possible care in this time of change and uncertainty. This includes adjusting the way we communicate with patients, adapting to the evolving landscape of telehealth, and incorporating new technologies into our daily medical practice to drive improved care and efficiency.

The Role of Clinical Decision Support in Telemedicine

Tens of thousands of doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners are now using telemedicine for the first time. How do we maintain our exacting standards of clinical excellence in evaluating and educating patients from afar? We must find new ways to facilitate patient interaction and engagement as we administer care virtually. Now more than ever before, we need the right tools and technology.

The use of tools such as clinical decision support software during virtual care visits can aid in the diagnosis, guide therapeutic decision-making, and enhance patient engagement while helping to keep as many patients as possible out of the acute care setting. It can assist in triaging patients with suspected COVID-19 as well as help with the diagnosis and management of patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses that require care. And it can help us deliver knowledge (patient information, medical images, and illustrations) to the patient via screen sharing and e-mail.

Trust Begins with Transparency

It is imperative that we find ways to build patient trust and confidence and reduce patient anxiety in the virtual environment. Clinical decision support, both during an in-person patient encounter and using telehealth services, facilitates greater transparency. We can show patients on the screen the set of diseases in our differential, thus bringing them into the diagnostic process; share images representative of their conditions, and show words describing their symptoms. 

We have made much progress in moving away from a paternalistic system of care delivery to one of partnership with the patient, where we allow and encourage patients to be more active participants in their healthcare decisions. We must continue to move toward a holistic system of care that is problem-oriented and patient-focused. We can transform the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities. The rapid adoption of telehealth platforms by providers’ and patients’ necessary acceptance of virtual appointments instead of office visits sets the stage. In training healthcare providers and students on decision-making tools that support virtual care delivery, we can further normalize their use as well as the sharing of information at the point of care. 

The Dermatology Example

Today we are seeing a lot more live telemedicine in dermatology, and as a result, more referring providers and specialists are using decision support to provide an essential second opinion, acting as the co-pilot in the cockpit. This is not without challenges. What we see on the patient’s skin is of great importance. In the absence of an in-person visit, it’s essential to have clear, in-focus images of the lesion in order to ascertain the morphology and diagnose a patient’s skin condition when they are not physically in the exam room. Educating the patient in advance on best skin photography practices is key for empowering patients to improve the overall telehealth experience. Other specialties may need to educate patients in other ways to improve the experience.

The Future

This crisis has upset traditional models of delivering healthcare in all specialties, accelerating our use of telemedicine and technology. It is critical for our industry to implement proven strategies to optimize this burgeoning technology. Clinical decision support is a great example of an essential “cockpit tool” to assist providers in evaluating, diagnosing, and managing treatment strategies for patients as well as educating and building trust. We must embrace our future as information intensivists, expertly equipped to logically handle massive amounts of information. In doing so, we can emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, with a renewed sense of purpose and with a new set of tools to connect with and treat our patients. 


About Art Papier

Art Papier, MD, is Co-Founder and CEO of VisualDx, a University of Rochester affiliated medical informatics company.


Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Improving the Patient Experience by Optimizing Telehealth Through COVID-19 and Beyond
Art Papier, MD, CEO and Co-Founder at VisualDx

We are facing a global healthcare crisis unlike any in our recent history. Within the span of a few short weeks, we saw our lives and practices drastically change. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered how medical care is delivered today and possibly for many years to come. We as clinicians need to rise to the challenge to provide the best possible care in this time of change and uncertainty. This includes adjusting the way we communicate with patients, adapting to the evolving landscape of telehealth, and incorporating new technologies into our daily medical practice to drive improved care and efficiency.

The Role of Clinical Decision Support in Telemedicine

Tens of thousands of doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners are now using telemedicine for the first time. How do we maintain our exacting standards of clinical excellence in evaluating and educating patients from afar? We must find new ways to facilitate patient interaction and engagement as we administer care virtually. Now more than ever before, we need the right tools and technology.

The use of tools such as clinical decision support software during virtual care visits can aid in the diagnosis, guide therapeutic decision-making, and enhance patient engagement while helping to keep as many patients as possible out of the acute care setting. It can assist in triaging patients with suspected COVID-19 as well as help with the diagnosis and management of patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses that require care. And it can help us deliver knowledge (patient information, medical images, and illustrations) to the patient via screen sharing and e-mail.

Trust Begins with Transparency

It is imperative that we find ways to build patient trust and confidence and reduce patient anxiety in the virtual environment. Clinical decision support, both during an in-person patient encounter and using telehealth services, facilitates greater transparency. We can show patients on the screen the set of diseases in our differential, thus bringing them into the diagnostic process; share images representative of their conditions, and show words describing their symptoms. 

We have made much progress in moving away from a paternalistic system of care delivery to one of partnership with the patient, where we allow and encourage patients to be more active participants in their healthcare decisions. We must continue to move toward a holistic system of care that is problem-oriented and patient-focused. We can transform the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities. The rapid adoption of telehealth platforms by providers’ and patients’ necessary acceptance of virtual appointments instead of office visits sets the stage. In training healthcare providers and students on decision-making tools that support virtual care delivery, we can further normalize their use as well as the sharing of information at the point of care. 

The Dermatology Example

Today we are seeing a lot more live telemedicine in dermatology, and as a result, more referring providers and specialists are using decision support to provide an essential second opinion, acting as the co-pilot in the cockpit. This is not without challenges. What we see on the patient’s skin is of great importance. In the absence of an in-person visit, it’s essential to have clear, in-focus images of the lesion in order to ascertain the morphology and diagnose a patient’s skin condition when they are not physically in the exam room. Educating the patient in advance on best skin photography practices is key for empowering patients to improve the overall telehealth experience. Other specialties may need to educate patients in other ways to improve the experience.

The Future

This crisis has upset traditional models of delivering healthcare in all specialties, accelerating our use of telemedicine and technology. It is critical for our industry to implement proven strategies to optimize this burgeoning technology. Clinical decision support is a great example of an essential “cockpit tool” to assist providers in evaluating, diagnosing, and managing treatment strategies for patients as well as educating and building trust. We must embrace our future as information intensivists, expertly equipped to logically handle massive amounts of information. In doing so, we can emerge from the pandemic stronger than before, with a renewed sense of purpose and with a new set of tools to connect with and treat our patients. 


About Art Papier

Art Papier, MD, is Co-Founder and CEO of VisualDx, a University of Rochester affiliated medical informatics company.


Success at a glance: price transparency

With
so many complexities surrounding deductibles, premiums, copays and more, consumers
sometimes struggle to understand the financial components of their health plans
and are often unaware of the out of pocket for their healthcare needs.

Recognizing that confusion about healthcare costs can make it difficult for consumers to ask the right questions, define priorities and take a more active role in their healthcare, Silver Cross Hospital made a point to educate and provide its patient base with health care estimates prior to service being rendered.

With
the Self-Service Patient Estimates tool from Experian Health, patients of
Silver Cross Hospital now have a consumer-friendly, easy-to-use and accessible
path to obtain out of pocket cost estimates. The Self-Service Patient Estimates
tool works both with the hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) and as a
standalone tool for the community to use when needed.

Integrating with Silver Cross Hospital’s EMR, the solution calculates estimates based on the hospital’s charge master pricing information and payer contracted rates and utilizes each patient’s individual eligibility and benefits information to create specific out of pocket costs. The tool also allows for detailed and accurate estimate creation using historical claims data to determine the typical procedures and related charges to generate average out of pocket cost estimates by health plan.

Accessible
via the hospital’s website, the tool acts as a digital front door in the
patient exploratory process. Patients can obtain an out-of-pocket estimate any
time of day or night, and as part of the process are then connected to the next
place of service, whether that be to schedule an appointment, ask additional
questions or obtain more information.

Since
implementing Patient
Estimates
,
Silver Cross Hospital has:

  • Increased point of service (POS) collections
    by bringing more awareness and education of out of pocket costs to patients
    upfront
  • Reduced inbound calls and queries to the
    organization regarding cost estimates
  • Integrated the solution into scheduling and
    pre-registration workflows within the EMR
  • Reduced time spent training staff on other
    systems or workflows

Learn
more about Patient
Estimates

and how we can help create accurate estimates of authorized services for
patients before, or at the point-of-service.

“Patient Estimates acts a great digital front door for Silver Cross Hospital, facilitating that first step in the patient exploratory process.”

– Miguel Vigo IV, Administrator Director Revenue Cycle, Silver Cross Hospital

The post Success at a glance: price transparency appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Cerner Invests in Xealth to Jointly Develop Digital Health Solutions for Clinicians

Digital Prescribing Platform Xealth Raises $11M to Expand Digital Health Tools

What You Should Know:

– Cerner and Xealth announce a collaboration to foster
tighter physician-patient relationships by giving patients easier access to
digital health tools.

– These assets will be prescribed directly within the physician’s EHR workflow to manage conditions including chronic diseases, behavioral health, maternity care, and surgery preparation.

– Cerner and LRVHealth have together invested $6 million
in Xealth as part of this agreement, with Cerner and Xealth planning to jointly
develop digital health solutions that extend the value of the EHR.

– Already integrated into Epic, the integration puts
Xealth in the EHR of record for more than half of the U.S. hospital systems.


Xealth, a Seattle, WA-based company enabling digital
health at scale, and Cerner
Corporation
, today announced a collaboration that will bring digital
health tools to clinicians and patients to improve the healthcare experience.
As part of this agreement, Cerner and Xealth plan to jointly develop digital health
solutions that extend the value of the electronic health record
(EHR).
Already integrated into Epic, this integration puts Xealth in
the EHR of record for more than half of the U.S. hospital systems.

In addition, Cerner
and LRVHealth have together invested $6M in Xealth. Cerner joins Xealth
investors including Atrium Health, Cleveland Clinic, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, MemorialCare Innovation Fund, Providence
Ventures and UPMC as well as McKesson, Novartis, Philips, and ResMed.

Xealth/Cerner EHR
Integration Details

At its core, the
relationship between Xealth and Cerner aims to give patients their own digital
data so they can be more engaged in their treatment plans. The Xealth platform
is designed to help clinicians easily integrate, prescribe and monitor digital health
tools for patients from one location in the EHR. Care teams will be able to
order solutions directly from the EHR to manage conditions including chronic
diseases, behavioral health, maternity care and surgery preparation. Incorporating Xealth into Cerner’s technology and patient portal
provides easier access to personal health information and gives care teams the
ability to monitor patient engagement with the tools and analyze the effects of
increased engagement on their healthcare and recovery.

The collaboration
between Cerner and Xealth will provide care teams and patients convenience and
help improve care accessibility. Better communications and engagement with key
members of their care team will create an experience that is connected across
settings before, during and after a care encounter.

Why It Matters

During the recent
surge of COVID-19 across the world, tools that automate patient education,
deliver virtual care, support telehealth and offer remote patient monitoring
have become even more prominent, creating new methods to inform care decisions
and keep care teams and patients connected.

“Today, we have the unique opportunity to improve people’s lives by allowing active participation in their own treatment plans,” said David Bradshaw, Senior Vice President, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner. “Patients want greater access to their health information and are motivated to help care teams find the most appropriate road to recovery. Xealth and Cerner are making it easier and more convenient for patients and clinicians to accelerate healthcare in a more consumer-centric experience.”

Incorporating Xealth’s
digital health platform with clinician recommendations has been shown to
increase patient engagement rates as compared to a direct to consumer approach.
The company powers more than 30 digital health solutions, connecting patients
with educational content, remote patient monitoring, virtual care platforms,
e-commerce product recommendations and other services needed to improve health
outcomes.

“In order for digital health to have lasting impact, it needs to show value and ease for both the care team and patient,” said Mike McSherry, CEO and Co-Founder of Xealth. “We strongly believe that technology should nurture deeper patient-provider relationships and facilitate information sharing across systems and the care settings. It is exciting work with Cerner to simplify meaningful digital health for its health partners.”

“Combining our expertise in developing interactive digital solutions that improve the patient experience with Cerner’s world-class platforms creates immense opportunity for our clients to better meet the needs of today’s highly connected healthcare consumer,” concluded McSherry.

Innovaccer, CareSignal Partner to Enable Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring


Innovaccer, CareSignal Partner to Enable Deviceless Remote Patient Monitoring

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer has recently partnered with CareSignal to
address healthcare’s urgent need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: to create and
maintain solid, clinically actionable relationships with patients in a new set
of predominantly virtual care.

– CareSignal offers evidence-based end-to-end support services for chronic medical conditions such as asthma, CHF, COPD, diabetes, depression, hypertension, and hospital discharge support, and maternal health monitoring.


Innovaccer, Inc., and CareSignal today announce a partnership to address healthcare’s urgent need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: to create and maintain solid, clinically actionable relationships with patients in a new setting of predominantly virtual care.

Partnership Details

The partnership combines more than two dozen
condition-specific patient monitoring programs with population
health
data insights for a more integrated care and improved clinical
outcomes with industry-leading financial returns.

CareSignal offers evidence-based end-to-end support services for chronic medical conditions such as asthma, CHF, COPD, diabetes, depression, hypertension and hospital discharge support, and maternal health monitoring. With a focus on prevention and addressing the social determinants of health, each program offers personalized clinically-validated features to deliver even more value from Innovaccer’s population health, care management, and organization-specific offerings. 

“Innovaccer has always stayed on top of delivering on promises to our customers, and our partnerships with leading organizations have been instrumental in achieving 100% client satisfaction,” says Abhinav Shashank, CEO at Innovaccer. “Working with CareSignal supports our mission to help healthcare care as one. With CareSignal as our partner, we will strengthen our approach towards better patient engagement and enable smart deviceless remote patient monitoring.”

Technology key for hospital financial recovery following COVID-19

Financial recovery after COVID-19 is likely to
be a slow burn for most healthcare organizations, according to a recent
survey
. Nearly 90% of
healthcare executives
expect revenue to drop below
pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2020, with one in five anticipating a hit greater
than 30%.

While the return of elective procedures will
be a lifeline for many hospitals and health systems, the road to financial
recovery remains fraught with obstacles:

  • Five months of canceled and postponed procedures need to be rescheduled
  • Worried patients must be reassured of hygiene measures, so they feel safe to attend appointments
  • Patient intake and payment processes must be modified, in order to minimize face-to-face contact
  • As the rate of infection continues to grow, providers must find new ways to also grow their revenue and protect against a further dent in profits.

The healthcare industry is unlikely to see the recovery curve hoped for across the wider economy, but digital technology, automation and advanced data analytics could help provider finances to bounce back more quickly.

4 ways technology can accelerate your
post-pandemic financial recovery

1. Easy and convenient patient scheduling unlocks your digital front door

Patients want to reschedule
appointments that were postponed or canceled over the last few months. To
manage the backlog and minimize pressure on staff, consider using a digital
patient scheduling platform
, so patients can book their
appointments online.

A self-scheduling system that
incorporates real-time
scheduling
and calendar reminders will help to create a
positive consumer experience, while offering analytics and behind-the-scenes
integration to keep your call center operations running smoothly.

2. Secure and convenient mobile technology can enhance your telehealth services

Telehealth
is the top choice for many hospitals looking to boost revenue growth and
counter the impact of COVID-19, with two-thirds
of executives
expecting to use telehealth at least
five times more than before the coronavirus hit.

Many new digital
tools and strategies
designed to improve the patient
journey as a whole can support telehealth delivery, and help to meet growing
consumer demand for virtual care.

For those beginning
their telehealth journey, our COVID-19
Resource Center
, which offers free access to
telehealth payer policy alerts, may be the place to start.

3. A digital patient intake experience can lessen fears of exposure

Although many providers are starting
to open up for routine in-person appointments again, patients may wonder if
it’s safe. Proactive communication about the measures in place to protect staff
and patients will be essential.

Another way to minimize concern is to allow
as many patient intake tasks as possible to be completed online. Automating
patient access
through the patient portal can give
patients quicker and more convenient ways to complete pre-registration, while contactless
payment
methods are a safe way to settle bills
without setting foot in the provider’s office.

4. Optimize collections to bolster financial recovery

Automation can also play a huge role in helping providers tighten up their revenue cycle, find new ways to enhance accounts receivable collections and avoid bad debt.

Tools such as Coverage Discovery and Patient Financial Clearance enable providers to find missing or forgotten coverage, and help the patient manage any remaining balances in a sensitive and personalized way.

Palo Pinto General Hospital uses automated coverage checks to find out whether a patient is eligible for charitable assistance within three seconds, so self-pay accounts can be directed to the most appropriate payment plan before the patient even comes in for treatment. With fewer accounts being written off, Palo Pinto has seen a noticeable improvement to their bottom line.

The pandemic has been a wake-up call for an industry that has been traditionally slow to adopt new technologies. Ahead of a second wave of COVID-19, providers must move now to take advantage of automation and digital strategies to speed up financial recovery. Contact us to find out how we can help your organization use technology to improve the patient experience, increase efficiencies and kickstart your revenue cycle.

The post Technology key for hospital financial recovery following COVID-19 appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

DAS Health Acquires Managed IT Services and CyberSecurity Company Technology Seed

DAS Health Lands $6M to Accelerate Company Acquisition Strategy

– Both companies’ clients will gain an increased depth of IT and security support, and Technology Seed’s healthcare clients will now have a substantially improved value proposition

DAS Health Ventures, Inc., a provider of health IT and management, announced today it completed the acquisition of Technology Seed, LLC, a managed IT and cybersecurity services company based in Salem, NH. This acquisition strengthens DAS’ position in the MSP sector and significantly advances its growth strategy to build the leading managed IT and services provider to physician groups, hospitals, and healthcare systems throughout the country.

Impact of Acquisition

DAS Health actively serves more than 1,500 clients, 3,000 clinicians, and 15,000 total users nationwide. With its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, a regional office in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a significant presence in Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North and South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, DAS Health serves clients throughout nearly all 50 states. The recent acquisition significantly enhances their presence in New England, and as a result, DAS Health has now added a regional office in New Hampshire that will create opportunities for greater regional support of its entire solutions portfolio.

This
is the largest of over a dozen acquisitions in the past several years made
by DAS, which has become known for its ability to
identify quality companies that are a strategic fit and rapidly integrate them
in order to continually enhance the customer experience for clients of both
companies. Cogent Growth Partners assisted DAS in
the acquisition.

Both
companies’ clients will gain an increased depth of IT and security support, and
Technology Seed’s healthcare clients will now have a substantially improved
value proposition, as DAS Health’s
offerings are robust, including practice management and EHR software sales,
support and hosting, revenue cycle management (RCM), managed IT services,
security risk assessments (SRA), MIPS/MACRA reporting & consulting, mental
& behavioral health screenings, chronic
care management, telemedicine, and other value-based and patient engagement
solutions.

“Technology Seed offers an exciting opportunity for DAS to strengthen and expand our managed IT services throughout
the country, and specifically in New England” stated David Schlaifer, DAS Health President and CEO.
“I am pleased to welcome Kurt Simione and his team to the DAS family.
With this strong addition to our portfolio, we look forward to unlocking additional
value for our clients.”

Five Ways to Improve Health Plan Member Engagement

The focus on improving health plan member engagement and overall
experience has been steadily growing over the years, much of it being driven by
the push towards a more consumer-friendly healthcare experience. James Beem,
Managing Director, Global Healthcare Intelligence at J.D. Power, states, “health
plans are doing a good job managing the operational aspects of their
businesses, but they are having a harder time addressing the expectations
members have based on their experiences in other industries where their service
needs are more effectively addressed with better technology.” His remarks are
based off of findings from the annual Commercial
Member Health Plan Study
, which also found that care coordination between
different providers and care settings is a top challenge health plans are
facing today.

Most of our conversations with health plan prospects and
customers revolve around how digital technology can improve health plan member
engagement and close gaps in care. From our experience, here are five key
digital strategies that health plans can employ to better engage members and
improve satisfaction.

Call centers remain a cornerstone of member engagement. From onboarding
new members to closing gaps in care, the call center is where the rubber meets
the road between health plans and their members. At Experian Health, we focus
on making it easier for call center agents to find and book appointments on
behalf of members – specifically, we eliminate the need for three-way calls
with providers by giving agents access to a digital scheduling platform. It
automates providers’ scheduling rules, while also protecting their calendars,
and allows health plans to schedule appointments for members without having to
call the provider office. In some cases, once our platform is in place, we’ve seen
scheduling rates increase by 140%, call times cut in half, and show rates go
up.

A large factor in social
determinants of health
is the availability of transportation
– are your members physically able to make it to and from their appointment? While
members may know what care they need and are able to book an appointment, they
may not be able to show up for that appointment due to unreliable or non-existent
transportation. The member doesn’t show, the care gap remains, and health plans
take a hit on quality metrics. What’s worse, the member puts themselves at risk
for readmission or other, costly trips to the ED for care that remains
unaddressed – all an expensive medical cost for the plan. We are proud to work
with transportation vendors and ultimately, include the ability to schedule
transportation in a workflow while booking an appointment. By facilitating easy
access to transportation as part of the appointment scheduling process, we are
ensuring a better outcome for everyone.

Why not offer the functionality that consumers are accustomed to in
nearly every other industry? Booking a hotel, flight, or dinner reservation can
all be done online via a mobile device, so why not an appointment? Imagine
being able to extend this type of convenience and consumer-friendly experience
to your members. They come to the health plan’s site or app to search for an in-network
provider and can then schedule an appointment in real-time, on the spot, day or
night, no phone call required.

Instead of simply sending members text and phone call reminders to
schedule care, health plans can use automated outreach to send those messages with
the ability to schedule an appointment via self-service. The member would receive
a text message or phone call, and after confirming their identity, would
receive their personal health-related message along with the ability to
schedule an appointment as part of the outreach process. In a few clicks, or
with a few verbal responses, the appointment is scheduled, and the care gap is
closed with very minimal effort.

The struggle to find and maintain accurate contact info for
members is real. Fortunately, Experian Health has unprecedented access to
consumer data. With the largest
consumer database
, collected on more than 300 million consumers, we
can provide a deeper understanding of your current members or prospects in your
markets. These data assets can enable the most effective marketing and
communication strategies to improve enrollment rates as members are more
successfully identified and reached. The data can also be leveraged to enhance
internal analytics, like member risk score algorithms or other models, to
improve member outcomes.

Learn more about how a digital care coordination platform can help your organization improve member engagement and the member experience.

The post Five Ways to Improve Health Plan Member Engagement appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

Success at a glance: online self-scheduling

Many patients today are forced to call the doctor to schedule an appointment. These phone calls are often inconvenient: patients are required to call during a provider’s business hours, a single call can sometimes take up to 20 minutes, or the patient may end up playing phone tag until an appointment is finally booked. The entire process bodes for a poor patient experience, but also hinders access to care as staff are only able to manage a number of phone calls per day.

Like many healthcare organizations today, The Iowa Clinic wanted to improve access to care for its patients, removing the many barriers that come with having to call to schedule an appointment. Requiring a solution that could both improve patient satisfaction and operational efficiencies, the clinic, which schedules more than 600,000 appointments per year across multiple specialties, turned to online self-scheduling.

With online self-scheduling, patients of The Iowa Clinic have the ability to self-schedule directly into provider’s calendars in real time from a computer or mobile device. During the booking process, patients are asked a series of brief questions and their answers are used to guide them to the right provider and appointment based on their specific care need. Appointments can be booked any time of day or night.

Since implementing online self-scheduling, The Iowa Clinic has not only improved access for patients, but has enhanced operations throughout the call center, seen growth in patient acquisition and has achieved higher than average show rates. Results include:

  • At least 15% of all appointments booked came from online during the first eight months
  • The centralized call center has seen a 30% reduction in the number of scheduling calls
  • At least 8 new patient appointments are booked online per provider per month
  • Patient show rates are at 97% for appointments scheduled online

Learn more about online self-scheduling and how it can help to improve patient access for your organization.

“Patient Schedule allows us to improve the experience by offering a simple, convenient way to schedule an appointment online.”

– C. Edward Brown, CEO, The Iowa Clinic

The post Success at a glance: online self-scheduling appeared first on Healthcare Blog.

How ADT-Based E-Notifications Can Enable Better Safety for COVID-19 Patients

Why E-Notifications Are More Important Than Ever Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jay Desai, CEO & Co-Founder, PatientPing

As COVID-19 continues to impact the country, providers across the continuum face new challenges delivering care and ensuring safety for their patients and themselves.  During this period, sharing real-time information about patients’ care encounters across provider types and care settings matter more than ever. In particular, hospitals sharing admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) events with COVID-19 patients’ community-based providers is critical to ensure the best treatment course and safer more seamless care transitions for infected and recovering patients. 

Real-time ADT-based notifications include information about a patient’s current care encounter, demographic details, information about the provider or institution sending the notification, and, as permissible, clinical information. This data enables providers across the continuum to make informed and coordinated decisions about their patients’ treatment and care transition plans. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized the importance of such ADT notifications in supporting patient care and finalized a new Condition of Participation (CoP) as part of the recently published Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule (85 FR 25510). The CoP requires hospitals to share electronic patient event notifications, or e-notifications, with other community providers, such as primary care physicians (PCPs) and post-acute care providers, to facilitate better care coordination and improve patient outcomes. 

The necessity and benefit of these e-notifications has come into stark relief as providers and the healthcare system more broadly fight COVID-19. ADT-based e-notifications are an accessible and easy way to help enable better safety for COVID-19 patients and their providers while also ensuring efficient use and appropriate allocation of scarce resources. For example, ADT-based e-notifications can:

Enhance Safety for Patients Protecting patient safety and providing appropriate treatment is especially urgent during a crisis like COVID-19 when resources are limited and staff is stretched.  E-notifications allow hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients to more rapidly get in touch with a patient’s other providers and obtain important medical histories to help guide treatment and clinical decision-making.  Traditional exchange of data facilitated by phone calls, faxes, or labor-intensive data searches can introduce treatment delays, unnecessary or harmful interventions, and frustrations for providers. The faster information can be exchanged and a patient’s history is known by the hospital care team, the easier it is to effectively and safely treat the patient with the most appropriate interventions. 

Enhance Safety for Providers: Hospital e-notifications are especially important for post-acute and other community-based providers that will continue treatment for COVID-19 patients discharged from the hospital. Because e-notifications provide context about the patient’s most recent encounter, including diagnoses where permissible, they help guide the continuation of care.  Receiving e-notifications from hospitals allows such providers to appropriately prepare staff and put safety measures in place prior to treating COVID-19 patients. In particular, Skilled Nursing Facilities need time to properly and safely intake infected patients while Home Health Agencies need to prepare and equip their nurses for visits to homes of infected patients.

Open Hospital Beds for the Sickest Patients: Through real-time e-notifications, hospitals are able to more easily and quickly communicate and share information with COVID-19 patients’ other community-based providers who will care for recovering patients after they are discharged from the hospital. This exchange of information allows hospital care teams to more seamlessly and quickly transition recovering COVID-19 patients to the next level of care, which opens scarce hospital beds for the sickest patients.

Improve Care for COVID-19 Patients: Real-time e-notifications from hospitals allow PCPs and care coordinators to know when their patients have inpatient or ED events. In particular, discharge notifications can trigger critical follow-up services, including telehealth-based visits, to ensure COVID-19 patients recover safely and fully after they leave the hospital. Engaging COVID-19 patients after a hospitalization can help prevent readmissions and keep patients healthy in their homes. At the same time, PCPs are able to support the financial viability of their practices by being able to provide and bill for Transitional Care Management Services and ensure patient engagement in ongoing preventive and other clinical care.

Bolster Public Health Response: Aggregated and de-identified ADT-based notifications offer wide-ranging and powerful real-time data for local, state, and federal public health officials to detect emerging COVID-19 hotspots and intense ED, hospital, ICU strain.  Real-time data about the hospital and ED utilization can help public health officials direct and allocate scarce resources to the highest need areas quickly.

These are just some examples of how ADT-based e-notifications can play an important part in helping healthcare organizations effectively, efficiently, and safely deliver care for their patients during the ongoing pandemic – and beyond. 


About Jay Desai, CEO & Co-Founder, PatientPing

Jay started PatientPing in 2013 with one goal in mind: to connect providers everywhere to seamlessly coordinate patient care. Prior to founding PatientPing, Jay worked at the CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) where he helped develop ACOs, bundled payments, and other payment initiatives. Jay’s passion lies at the intersection of technology, policy, and community building. He has an MBA in healthcare management from Wharton and a BA from the University of Michigan. 

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

Central Maine Healthcare, Innovaccer Partner to Power Data-driven Telehealth Capabilities

What You Should Know:

– Innovaccer has recently partnered with Central Maine
Healthcare (CMH), an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves over
400,000 people in the central, western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to
connect providers with their patients through data-driven telehealth, powered
by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform.

– The care delivery system will conduct data-enabled
virtual visits to assist its providers with efficient, remote care amid the
COVID-19 crisis and beyond.


Innovaccer, Inc., a
San Francisco, CA-based healthcare technology company, has partnered with Central Maine Healthcare (CMH), an integrated
healthcare delivery system that serves over 400,000 people in the central,
western, and mid-coast regions of the state, to connect providers with their
patients through data-driven telehealth,
powered by its FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform. The collaboration will
empower physicians at CMH with the ability to care for their patients with
real-time virtual visits and remote consultation experiences during the
pandemic.

When many patients are reluctant to visit the clinic to
avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus, healthcare organizations are
implementing virtual exam rooms and data-enabled telehealth visits for
chronically-ill patients in their care. 

With Innovaccer’s Virtual Care solution built on top of its
FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform and its data-driven telehealth
capabilities, the providers at CMH can conduct online patient consultations as
seamlessly as traditional onsite visits. The care teams at CMH can streamline
their workflows with the solution’s automated bulk messaging and outreach
capabilities. The platform will also assist providers in expediting the
follow-up process through telehealth consultations with secure messaging and
improve patient engagement with the health system. 

In addition to scheduling HIPAA-compliant HD video visits,
the solution’s virtual patient examination room can empower providers at CMH to
send and receive pre-visit assessments, texts, and email through secure
messaging.

Providers at CMH will be using the Virtual Care solution to
provide educational material for their patients, conduct smart outreach and
enable pre-visit planning with accurate patient self-assessments. With the
solution, providers at CMH can manage post-call logs to streamline their care
management approach.  

Given the situation we are all in, healthcare needed a new approach to tackle the pandemic. Central Maine Healthcare adopted a modern approach to care delivery where our primary focus was to offer our patients a virtual care option to make it easier for them to seek care, wherever they may be. Innovaccer’s FHIR-enabled Data Activation Platform expertise will be helpful for us in strengthening our virtual care and it will be a good addition to our strategy going forward,” says Steven Martel, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, CMH

Change Healthcare Launches SmartPay Integration with Epic MyChart to Improve Patient Payments

Change Healthcare Acquires Credentialing Tech Docufill to Improve Administrative Efficiency

What You Should Know:

– Change
Healthcare’s SmartPay integration with Epic MyChart helps facilitate patient
payments both pre- and post-service, and connectivity with Hyperspace® creates
a “one-stop shop” experience that lets providers’ staff stay within Epic to
process point-of-service payments.

– Change Healthcare’s SmartPay Payment Integration for
MyChart and encrypted device integration is available in the Epic App Orchard.

Change
Healthcare
announced the launch of its SmartPay
Payment Integration solution integrated with Epic
MyChart
and encrypted device integration within Hyperspace. This latest
integration with Epic’s EHR
technology allows providers to offer their patients a wide range of payment
options––letting them easily pay their healthcare bills how and when they want,
with Change Healthcare providing phone and mail-in payment channels to give
providers a multi-channel payment solution.

Epic Integration Benefits for Providers and Patients

Using SmartPay Payment Integration, provider users won’t
have to leave their workflow in order to collect patient payments. Providers
also can take advantage of features including phone pay, consumer lockbox, patient
statements created with design thinking to boost patient engagement.

With SmartPay™ Payment Integration, patients can make
payments online from within the MyChart® clinical patient portal. Multiple
payment options are offered to accommodate patient needs and preferences,
including using debit, credit, HSA, and FSA cards, as well as setting up
payment plans.

Availability

Change Healthcare’s SmartPay Payment Integration for MyChart and encrypted device integration is available in the Epic App Orchard.

Failing States of health – How broader collaboration can bring us closer to the future of health

Without cross-border co-operation the potential of personalised health cannot be realised, acccording to Bogi Eliasen, director at the Health Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and HIMSS Future50 leader, who will be speaking at HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Digital Event taking place 7-11 September.