Where some health systems are betting big on digital

Avia digital bet article

By Eric Langshur  | December 1, 2016 | MedCity News

The story of how Healthcare met Digital has all the hallmarks of a bestseller: old meets new, worlds collide, and nothing is ever the same again. This story is still in its early chapters, and the decisions health systems make today will influence their financial success in the years to come. New entrants threaten to rewrite the story if traditional delivery systems are slow to adapt.

These should be short-term imperatives for provider organizations: create a digital strategic plan, increase the capacity for innovation within the organization, and get moving.

The good news: this isn’t an impossible assignment.

But it does require bold actions. Digital transformation requires changes to decision-making processes, financial models, clinical workflows, patient relationships, and measures of success. AVIA leads a network of provider organizations undergoing this transformation, from small and nimble community hospitals, to leading academic medical centers, to large health systems. They are working together to solve pressing challenges with digital solutions, and while they vary in size, they are united in action. And they are betting big on digital in three key areas to deliver outsized impact and shape the healthcare narrative.

Connecting to the Consumer
Smartphones have changed the way consumers communicate with the world around them, from ordering takeout to hailing taxis to connecting with friends. Now that the majority of patients carry smartphones, hospitals are searching for new methods to better connect and guide them.

Memorial Hermann Health System, based in Houston, recognized that patients could easily map routes from school to work or play, but had trouble with another important destination: navigating within hospitals.

Visiting the hospital is stressful enough, and labyrinthine buildings, multiple walkways, and enormous parking garages can make people lost, late, and frustrated. Physical signage and information desks are valuable but not always sufficient tools. An estimated 40% of patients and visitors depend on staff to find their way around and decision makers at Memorial Hermann leaders saw an opportunity to increase staff efficiency and on-time appointments.

The nonprofit has mapped out a win with Connexient’s MediNav. This solution, which will soon be piloted at its Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in west Houston, provides a Google Maps-like navigation experience, helping patients, visitors, and staff get where they’re going with ease. MediNav provides a consistent user interface (UI) across mobile, web, kiosks, and digital signage to ensure that patients and visitors can access vital information anytime, anywhere.

Additionally, Connexient offers location-based tracking, reporting, and analytics for real-time visibility into the location and status of patients, visitors, vendors, and staff. This intelligence provides plenty of ideas for future process improvements at the health system.

Delivering with Value
Consumerism may be a more natural move for the industry, but the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care (VBC) is tectonic, striking at the very core of healthcare.

Value-based reimbursement models, aimed at reducing the cost of care and achieving better outcomes, can benefit from digital solutions. Some health systems are embracing these tools to extend their reach and support their VBC initiatives. For example, technology can play a critical role in care coordination and care management.

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network, which is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin has seized this opportunity. Under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) new payment model, hospitals are now financially accountable for the quality of an entire episode of hip or knee replacement through 90 days post-discharge. The health network needed to quickly find a smarter and faster post-discharge solution to support its care team.

Froedtert & the MCW regional health network discovered HealthLoop, a solution that puts patient engagement on a pedestal. HealthLoop has deep content and friendly reminders to nudge patients along their care path post-discharge. It also collects outcomes data to support outreach to patients who may need additional coaching or engagement.

HealthLoop implementations by other organizations have helped reduce the readmissions rate by more than 30%. By prioritizing and enhancing patient engagement, the Froedtert & MCW health network has accomplished not only CMS compliance but also achieved a strategic goal.

Optimizing the Business
Health systems executives have never felt more pressure to run optimized businesses. They need to balance costs and quality, while also providing a user-friendly experience. This pressure trickles down from the system to the staff, who feel the impact of increased reporting demands, reduced resources, and higher throughput.

Clinician satisfaction is a high priority for Sutter Health. Leaders at the Northern California health system recognized that primary care physicians were spending 2-3 hours per evening transcribing notes. Each visit was becoming more about documentation rather than engagement, focused on screens and not patients. Sutter Health sought a digital solution to recalibrate patient encounters.

The answer was right in front of their eyes – literally.

They selected Augmedix, a visionary solution that uses cutting-edge smartglass technology – the Google Glass – to connect physicians with a remote team of scribes. Physicians wear the smartglass, which contains a camera, during patient exams. The remote scribe acts as an extension of the team, transcribing notes in real time, pulling up patient information, and providing rich patient notes post-visit.

Sutter ran a pilot program to test Augmedix with a diverse set of 10 physicians, ranging in tech savviness and productivity. The results of the pilot showed physician productivity savings of almost 2 hours per day, plus increased satisfaction from both physicians and patients.

In conclusion, we are in the next chapter of healthcare, and these health systems that are adopting novel digital technologies are writing the story, not waiting to read about it. At AVIA, we believe digital solutions can drive impactful results if you focus on strategic challenges and seize this opportunity to change.

The results are sure to jump off the page.

Photo: lucadp, Getty Images

 

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