Patient Care Reimagined: The Impact of Healthcare Technology Transformation

Posted by Amy Fowler Stadler on 3/14/16 2:57 PM
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HIMMS Healthcare Leadership Summit Takeaways

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme this year was “Transforming Health through IT.” Whether you are in this space or a possible patient of the future this update is a must read!

There were over 40,000+ Healthcare leaders, lots of sponsors, many entrepreneurs, and innovators at the event and an impressive set of vendor booths.  I had not been to this event before, and I was reminded of the amazing buzz you have when that many technology leaders and innovators are together in one place! Not only did it give me a chance to meet one-on-one with several customers in a casual setting, but I spent time with many entrepreneurs talking about what is needed to transform Healthcare with IT from many aspects.  It is clear to me that Lewis Fowler fits into the future solutions around transforming Healthcare.   

Below I’ve outlined my insights from the event and key messages that really resonated with me.

What are the key themes trying to be supported or solved with Healthcare IT? 

Patient Engagement, population health, chronic disease management, improving access to care, outcome based healthcare, cost containment across the supply chain including RX, interoperability (including EMR – Electronic Medical Records) across the entire healthcare ecosystem, all about the data analytics and of course the ever present HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance and ever changing and increasing expectations from HHS (Health & Human Services) and CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).

Whew – that is a lot to cover at one event! 

One of the most interesting takeaways for me was the wealth of statistics I heard throughout the week. Did you know there are over 100,000 healthcare mobile applications that have around 4 million downloads a day?  I actually think this number is low and expected it to be higher!  At the moment many are tied to personal health but directionally that is changing toward patient access and patient engagement.  Sixty percent of healthcare costs come through Medicare and Medicaid with over 140 Million Americans supported by these programs.  150 billion dollars a year and numerous resources are expended on basic conditions like colds and flu symptoms.  While I was not able to substantiate these numbers it was an eye opener of what will be driving the future.  There is room everywhere for cost containment, new models, and new initiatives.

Alright, let me continue with my four favorite sessions (there were hundreds to choose from):

1. Venture Forum – Pitch, Connect, Transform – Innovation Leaders Program

Think “Shark Tank” style event where high energy entrepreneurs’ in the healthcare IT space get a chance to present to venture firms like McKesson Venture, Philips Healthcare and others for a chance to be the Venture Forum Winner.  Day one narrowed the pool down to four semi-finalists that included, Flow Health, Sansora Health, and Vuca Health.  The diversity and focus of each company made for an exciting throw down.  In the end the audience and the venture panel voted for a winner other than my vote - - so go figure.  Afterwards I talked and heard the pitches of many health tech entrepreneurs who are all early and growth stage companies.  I think this is where we are going to see the most movement from the industry. Of course being an entrepreneur myself, I am admittedly slightly biased.  This session and following event were by far my favorites of the week.

2. A Special Session with ONC & CMS

This session was well attended and included Karen DeSalvo, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Acting Assistant Secretary for HHS (Health & Human Services), and Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Much time was spent on the interoperability need and there was an open connected healthcare challenge thrown out.  There are grants out there for building open APIs in the healthcare vertical.  In the future it is predicted that half of all payments from the federal government will be based on improved outcomes goals.  In the near future outcome based healthcare will be driven by policy and regulations.  Healthcare costs double for those between the ages of 70 and 95 and with the baby boomers abound, this is a frightening number.  The pair spoke in depth on these topics and let everyone know that, regardless of what the impending election outcome is, all of us need to work on advancing healthcare to support the quickly advancing needs.

3.Change Management: Increasing Your Odds for Success

Larry Dux, a director from a hospital provider in Milwaukee, gave some practical insights into how tough change is in any vertical, particularly healthcare.  Larry outlined his hospital’s specific problems, how they approached them, and added a few lessons learned at the end.  Needless to say, I think the message was loud and clear: have a plan, communicate, communicate, and communicate some more, expect resistance, and dig in and forge ahead.  This session had a good sampling of the CIOs, physicians, healthcare leaders, and ambassador groups that spoke. 

4. Closing Keynote Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning spoke on leadership topics as well as how Healthcare innovation had affected him personally.   Even though it was the last day of a long week, the ballroom was full.  I tried to tell everyone I was actually from Colorado so I should sit in the front, but that did not seem to work with the bandwagon crowd. 

Some of Peyton’s key messages included:

  • There is a ferocious need to communicate more efficiently, more clearly, and more often.
  • When teams work in unison, toward the same goal, each playing their specific role at the highest possible level, the results often defy the odds.
  • Football is a game. Revolutionizing healthcare is a mighty endeavor. “I cannot even come close to doing what you do.”
  • Keep doing what you are doing.

Afterwards there was a Q & A with the Carolina Panthers doctor (ironically) and Peyton.  A lot of topics were covered and yes this was before the big announcement of Peyton’s retirement. Surprisingly nobody asked him that question.  Now that the announcement has occurred, my opinion is Peyton certainly has a career opportunity as a leadership speaker and I cannot wait to see and hear more from him in the future.  The closing ended with a standing ovation and a sense of optimism for the future.

Looking Forward

I personally left the event feeling optimistic about the future role technology can play in solving key problems in healthcare. I walked away with many ideas to ponder and discussions to be had about where patients, providers, and payers need to focus. It also confirmed that transformation, technology enablement, organizational effectiveness and outstanding execution capabilities will all be key capabilities Lewis Fowler can bring to the healthcare vertical.  Last, but not least, I will leave you with my favorite quote from the event:

“Pace of change in healthcare is frenetic”.

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Topics: Forward Thinking, IT Strategy