Digital Health Summit Conclusions Modern Healthcare
The healthcare industry is ready to embrace new technologies and move towards consumerism, but is skeptical about change without governance and barriers.
Digital health leaders at this week’s Modern Healthcare Digital Health Transformation Summit discussed changing consumer expectations, the responsible adoption of AI, and the need for board discussion, among other things.
Here are eight takeaways.
1. Leaders want a fence around AI.
Health care leaders are excited about generative AI tools like ChatGPT, but want limits placed around their use.
“We have to accept it. It’s like telling people to use a rotary phone and don’t worry about cell phones,” said Dr. Paul Casey, chief medical officer at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “It will become part of our work.”
Casey said generative AI is already being used at Rush, which is developing a framework to help employees use it correctly.
However, it is not only generative AI that needs supervision. Providers want to put up barriers to all forms of AI. Desiree Gandrup-Dupré, senior vice president of healthcare technology at Kaiser Permanente, said the healthcare system is moving cautiously and is building a corporate governance structure to understand the risks associated with the AI models it is developing.
“We want to make sure there is an approval process in place before we move into any type of mass deployment,” Gandrup-Dupré said.
2. Investors want their piece of the pie.
Venture capital firms see dollar signs ahead. Daryl Tol, head of health delivery ecosystem at venture capital firm General Catalyst, said artificial intelligence and interoperability will dominate discussions about digital health in the coming years.
General Catalyst is behind a recent $50 million seed investment in Hippocratic AI, a healthcare-focused AI manufacturing company. “Consumers have for a long time wanted a brain in healthcare that is always on, not a doctor’s brain,” Tol said.
3. Management is important.
Establishing the right governance structure is essential to the successful implementation of digital health solutions. Marty Bonik, CEO of Ardent Health Services of Nashville, Tennessee, said the system has set up a committee to identify critical Ardent issues and find possible solutions. Bonik said he is not part of the committee but uses it for guidance.
“We’re trying to take this out of the corporate office environment and into the front lines. We talk to our employees… about the challenges we face,” Bonik said. “These are not necessarily problems that many companies face. [developing] solutions for… but if I can decide for throughput efficiency or nurse safety, that would be much more useful.”
Any potential decisions affecting medical care at Rush are being reviewed by a team of physicians, Casey said.
4. Councils take an active part.
Mike Roberts, Chief Technology Officer of VillageMD, said the company’s directors play a vital role in helping the organization choose the right digital health solutions.
“Our board not only has experience in the healthcare industry, but also has experience in the financial services and consumer industries,” Roberts said. “It’s not just about having the right people on your board with the right connections, it’s about having them actually involved in your business. And not only at meetings of the board of directors… It seems to me that the breaks between meetings of the board of directors are the most useful.”
Bonik said Ardent appointed Dr. Edmondo Robinson, chief digital officer of the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, to the board of directors in January 2022 so that he can leverage his digital health competencies.
5. There are no one-point solutions.
Health systems are unlikely to adopt one-to-one technical solutions that traditionally focus on only one area of medicine and may not link to other clinical systems.
According to David Lubarsky, CEO of UC Davis Health in Sacramento, Calif., many healthcare systems will move away from a solution that doesn’t integrate with an electronic health record system.
Health insurers are also not interested in one-stop solutions. Tracey Saula, Highmark Health’s senior vice president of products and healthcare, said many digital health companies don’t really understand what Highmark is looking for in technology.
“Those of us who are truly trying to drive a customer-centered transformation will need this pool of potential suppliers and partners in the ecosystem to shrink and shrink. [down] those who understand it,” Saul said. “A lot of people don’t understand this…they don’t see that they are part of something bigger.”
6. Consumers could get a bigger role.
Newcomers to the industry see the change in consumer demand as a starting point. Executives at major tech companies like Amazon have said their healthcare strategies will focus on improving the patient experience through customer feedback.
“If you’re going to be obsessed with a client, that means following yes, and also understanding what the client is telling you to adapt, to change,” said Dr. Nvorah Ayogu, chief medical officer and general manager of Amazon Clinic.
Traditional health care systems are feeling the change but are facing barriers, including labor shortages, caring for diverse populations, and overcoming geographic barriers.
“It’s about getting the client to meet us where they want to meet us, but that’s really difficult,” said Bill Bellando, CIO of Wellstar Health System in Marietta, Georgia. “And it’s constantly changing.”
7. Virtual visits will expand.
Many systems are looking for ways to meet patients where they are with virtual care.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Sanford Health last year began building a virtual medical center near its headquarters to serve as a hub for virtual clinics and telehealth services.
Other healthcare systems are using virtual care to increase engagement and improve patient care. “We don’t really need to build more facilities, hospital rooms or hospital beds,” Lubarsky said. [of care]”.
8. CMS wants to participate in the discussion.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services see great opportunities in publishing open source code and are in the process of upgrading their systems. Some of the new Java code began to be published online in January 2022.
“A lot of what people are building, we have actually already built,” Fletcher said. “If we publish a version [of that code] it’s standardized and then everyone else can tailor it to their needs… I think that puts us and everyone else in this space in a better position.”
One of the problems is working with outdated systems and coding languages. Another big problem: many of its developers are approaching retirement age. Fletcher said there is an active recruiting campaign underway and recent layoffs in the private sector could present an opportunity for the agency.