Health Tech World correspondent Gil Bashe reports from the HIMSS conference on the shift to reprioritise patient care.
It was only a few months since the HIMSS community assembled in Las Vegas during the summer heat. In August, the pandemic public health bar was set high, and HIMSS proved that a health conference could smartly balance public health guidance with the need to assemble.
At that time, participants needed to demonstrate proof of vaccination, offer a negative COVID test and commit to wearing a mask to register and join the meeting. But seven months later – Orlando became the setting for reimaging a world where people gather and smiles are no longer hidden, masked, and imaged.
Reimagine Health became an open-ended call to action for attendees and their communities to begin to reconsider how we deal with the realities of a health system that is fractured and fragmented. A system where patient needs are secondary to the real customer – the system itself.
Since March 2020, we have finally recognised how bias and racism diminish people’s access to care.
We have seen how agism creates a digital divide and places unnecessary hurdles in front of seniors needing to navigate online appointment systems and access medical records.
After years of being stymied, we noticed that telehealth, virtual reality, and remote patient monitoring moved quickly to address urgent care needs.
At HIMSS Orlando, the health IT community bridged from reimaging a better care system to recognising that innovating is not our biggest challenge; it confronts the health system’s entrenched culture that bogs down changes that could improve people’s health.
Walking the halls of the Orlando Conference Center and Exhibit Hall, I heard and saw how health sector leaders are leaning into these long-overdue changes.
The most significant changes are how to heal the rift of a fragmented health ecosystem that separates the interests of patients, payers, product innovation, policymakers, and providers.
The halls were filled with entrepreneurs, engineers, and innovators who shared a common theme: “Make healthcare work for consumers, and things will better fall into place.”
Here are some of the companies and their leaders that caught my attention at HIMSS 2022 Orlando:
AssureCare is a population health company connecting care for payers, providers, pharmacies, and government-sponsored healthcare programs worldwide.
This company seeks to improve people’s health by taking a patient-centric approach to technology, providing a 360-degree view of the patient across the care continuum.
AssureCare combines pharmacists and pharmacy data to form a bigger population health picture. From specialty pharmacies to national chains like Kroger Health, the AssureCare team is working to break down healthcare data silos. No doubt that pharmacists are the connectors of personalised care.
Did you ever receive a prescription from a physician to have a blood test only to wait and wait till the script expired? Have you scheduled a doctor’s visit only to be told you first need a blood test? If so, you’re one of many.
Babson Diagnostics was on-hand at HIMSS to share how their approach to the retail-placed pharmacy at the pharmacy will empower people to take charge of their health by reimagining the entire blood testing collection process from ordering, to handling, analysing, and reporting results. Seven out of every 10 clinical decisions physicians make are from results obtained from blood tests. No test means consumers receive no direction on how to invest in their self-care.
In speaking with Dr. Stein at HIMSS, he shared: “Today’s healthcare system can be complex for consumers searching for the best options in care. The Covid-19 pandemic underscored that better access to diagnostic testing helps people make informed decisions about their health and well-being and improve public health.”
Caregility had a strong presence at HIMSS’22 on the heels of their Best in KLAS Virtual Care Platform (non-EMR) announcement. The company secured US$25M in funding to drive virtual care growth initiatives and was named to the Inc. Magazine “2021 Best in the Business” list in the Health Services category.
Caregility makes inpatient virtual engagement possible within the acute care setting. Lee Health System Director of Virtual Health and Telemedicineconducted two information sessions during HIMSS’22 about the inpatient virtual care approach using the Caregility system.
As in-real-life and virtual care became more common during the COVID-19 era, health systems looked to reduce staff burn-out and advance patient relationships. Caregility was able to support these patient-care priorities.
At every HIMSS, electronic health records (EHR) discussion takes center stage. CereCore, a subsidiary of innovation giant HCA Healthcare, showcased its EHR, IT and application support services.
While many companies talk product and ideas, CereCore acknowledged that it’s all about service from IT managed services, technical staffing, strategic IT consulting, and advisory services for hospitals and health systems.
The company was recognised by Clearly Rated for providing IT staffing services to their clients and named by Modern Healthcare as one of the best healthcare places to work.
CereCore VP of Strategy Peyman Zand shared insights from the recent CHIME gathering with national health IT leaders on why patient experience must be an industry priority so that health information can be actionable.
The health system is centered around managing economic resources and ClearBalance, another Best in KLAS 2022 Winner attending HIMSS’22. The patient financing company’s CEO, Bruce Haupt, was at HIMSS to accept this prestigious award.
Serving more than six million patient accounts at healthcare organizations nationwide since 1992, ClearBalance works to improve operating margins by increasing health system collections.
The demanding job they master is to ensure a positive experience for patients who know the ability to repay their direct cost of healthcare affordably is a challenge that needs to be more customer centric.
Patient financing programs have become important as consumers struggle to manage their healthcare expenses. ClearBalance is working to find that delicate balance.
Harmony Healthcare IT is a data management firm storing healthcare organizations’ patient, employee, and business records. Cybersecurity and interoperability have been a long-time HIMSS constant conversational centerpiece.
During HIMSS, Harmony Healthcare IT clients Lisa Shubitowski, System Director, Interoperability and Richard Shirey, Chief Information Officer of Hartford Healthcare, presented “A Data Consolidation Journey During M&A Activity.”
During the session touching on the complexities of data storage through mergers or legacy EHR replacements, Hartford Healthcare reiterated that their real-world experience proved again and again that a system is required so that life-sustaining information does not disappear into the matrix.
A company focused on at-home lab testing for patients and providers, ixlayer leaders spoke of the need for readily accessible and affordable testing programs.
The company is working to democratize diagnostics and partnering with retail pharmacies, direct-to-consumer brands, payors, health systems, and telehealth providers.
At HIMSS’22, Marcus Osborne, former senior vice president at Walmart Health and an ixlayer adviser, spoke on how the future of consumerism starts with testing.
The company’s CEO, Pouria Sanae, shared: “The diagnostics industry now has the opportunity to evolve, improving the patient experience with efficient, convenient at-home testing and enabling both patients and providers to make better, more timely decisions.
“Automation and data analytics make it possible to better determine diagnoses, track treatment efficacy, and enable course-corrections when necessary.”
Olive is the automation company creating the “Internet of Healthcare” and tackling some of the sector’s thorny hassles through automation —delivering hospitals, health systems, and payers increased revenue, reduced costs, and increased capacity.
At HIMSS’22, the company announced a partnership with NTT DATA and presented its vision to transform healthcare by building unique, universal products and custom solutions on the Olive platform at the Market Debut Theater.
Jeremy Friese, president of Payer Market, spoke of the ways to reduce health ecosystem fragmentation: “Healthcare deserves to be liberated. Our clinicians are burnt out and buried under mountains of inefficient processes.
“Our payers and government lack alignment in key areas, leaving our patients frustrated and confused. Technology can’t solve all our problems, but AI and automation are critical by tackling the inefficient, manual processes plaguing our providers and payers. We are at the beginning of something special.”
Revenue integrated analytics technology maintained a strong voice at HIMSS ’22. VISPA client, Kim Scaccia, vice president of Revenue Management at Mercyhealth, with 35,000 employees across regions of Ohio and Kentucky, one of the largest health care systems in the United States, sharing best practices in a session titled “Automated Processes Through the Pandemic.”
Kim focused on how Mercyhealth uses VISPA web-based software and shifted from in-house to remote teams during COVID-19 to maintain its family-care priorities and recognised the highest collection dollars in their system’s history.
As budgets become tighter and tighter, health systems will need to have a far stronger handle on their costs and revenues. VISPA was a solid example of how strong patient health and system health can be compatible.
Vantage Health Technologies is not understated on its mission to address the most pressing health challenges. Part of the BroadReach Group, a technology-enabled solutions business, Vantage is partnering with payers, providers, and national health organizations to address the issue of global health equity.
The company’s technology-enabled solutions enable health organisations to generate cost savings create operational efficiencies through AI-powered predictive and prescriptive decision support functional performance management tools.
Unlike other population health analytics platforms that focus on complex data analyses and dashboards as the main output, Vantage empowers users to take action so that health organisations can address health disparities within their member population.
In a conversation with two leaders, we explored how COVID-19 reinforced the struggle we face to create an equitable health system that the needs of the most vulnerable.
“The pandemic heightened national awareness of the fissures in our healthcare system and the disproportionate influence on communities of color. I believe in the transformative power of health technology, in its ability to help address health disparities and right social wrongs,” states Rachel Clad, Vantage director of global partnerships and alliances.
“There’s an incredible opportunity here to push positive change, as long as we’re looking through a racial and social justice lens. In supporting payers, providers, and national health organisations to identify health inequities and deliver prescriptive “next best actions to support this mission.”
Amogh Rajan, product manager at BroadReach Group, notes: “Healthcare in the United States is fragmented. We acknowledge that we can’t change it by ourselves.
“So, we partner with other organisations that solve parts of the problem and bring to our customers a comprehensive and coherent set of next best actions that help improve patient outcomes equitably across race, ethnicity, language, and geography. Data is not the problem- using it is.”
Reimagine is an important task. Reimagine is the command to become aware of people’s struggles and hassles. Reimagine alerts us to consider how to deliver exceptional care.
Healthcare professionals have an overwhelming readiness to go above and beyond the call of duty to sustain and save lives. During the long months of COVID, many have placed their health and lives at risk.
Now, the most significant challenges are resourcing their commitment to heal and at the same time, reduce patient and professional burnout so that all can easily access the care system and receive the help needed.
HIMSS created the setting for people to reimage and gather to share how the past two years have placed a magnifying glass on problems that must be addressed.
Health Tech World was there to listen, learn and share with readers that practice steps are being taken to make those needed changes possible.
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