We need the coordinated efforts of out-of-the box thinkers who put consumer needs first—pushing the paradigm shift beyond current practices into the realm of what-might-be-possible if we break the traditional mold into tiny little pieces.
Things need to change.
We hear that all the time in healthcare on any number of fronts. But most recently, it was coming from the podium of the CONVERGE conference, where Dr. Steven Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and the TJU Health System, addressed a foundational need in healthcare’s new technology-infused environments.
In his keynote address, Dr. Klasko said that we have a need for a paradigm shift in terms of the types of partnerships that are being created in healthcare. In a summary of Dr. Klasko’s remarks in a recent article for MedCityNews, Dan Verel noted,
“Hospitals and physicians need to seek out entrepreneurial partnerships beyond the once-narrow world of the healthcare industry to foster better patient experiences while harnessing the latest technology, such as telehealth, that can lead to better treatments and a more engaged patient.”
A perfect example
A perfect example of this type of relational shift is the new innovation center that New York Presbyterian Hospital recently opened at BluePrint Health—an accelerator and co-working space for health tech startups.
“At New York-Presbyterian, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation,” says Aurelia Boyer, senior vice president and chief information officer at NYP. “To consistently deliver the best care for our patients, we need to develop forward-thinking technology and build applications that are both sustainable and scalable…We could not be more excited about this collaboration and look forward to providing more engaging experiences for our patients.”
Here, a traditional healthcare system recognizes the need to move beyond the often-sluggish development and implementation partners of the past to those that can help it develop cutting-edge innovations to meet clinical and business needs in a more agile manner.
We see the same on a global scale, where unique relationships are being created between innovators, healthcare providers and investors at HealthXL in Dublin—which is partnered with some of the biggest corporations in healthcare to develop meaningful commercial projects with a focus on solving industry problems.
Their Global Gathering 2014 was the launching point for connecting the leading companies in healthcare with the most promising high growth companies in digital health with a goal of creating new solutions for the global challenges at hand.
This model provides the opportunity for the leading thinkers in innovation to connect with needed resources for development, as well as environments of opportunity to provide practical applications. Since one of the major issues in digital health is a disconnect between existing solutions and consumer benefits across the healthcare continuum, such partnership models can begin to forge the way in breaking down such barriers.
The new structure will enable MD 24-7 to use Cerner’s mobility solutions to enhance their services by providing subscribers with access to their electronic health record (EHR), schedule appointments, and message with a doctor 24 hours a day for medical consultations, assessments, triage, and care coordination—all through the use of evidence-based medicine.
According to Raouf Khalil, founder and CEO of Mobile Doctors,
“Cerner was chosen as our partner of choice given their unmatched EHR and population health solutions that support the physician workflow and enhance our ability to engage with our consumers. By working with Cerner, we consolidate medicine and technology for a true doctor driven, 24-7 patient advocate delivery service. Jointly, we will transform the relationship between patients and physician by allowing the patient to have access to their medical record and physicians’ schedules, resulting in better clinical outcomes.”
Michael Pomerance, VP and Managing Director, Cerner Middle East and Africa noted,
“Given the UAE government’s strong initiatives around development and digitization of the health care industry, we are honored to support Mobile Doctors as they enhance their patient advocate system to offer world-class services for the community. This agreement will enable the UAE communities to improve their health and wellness using the latest mobile information technology. MD 24-7 is our first relationship in the UAE’s private health care sector and we look forward to other collaborations.”
This consumer-first mentality is something that Tim Chang, the managing director of the Mayfield Fund, cites as key to the success of “Healthcare 2.0”—a movement laced with startup models that are helping to drive the paradigm shift and permanently disrupt the healthcare business.
“New companies are going around the traditional ‘front door’ of FDA approval, insurers, and healthcare institutions by launching ‘Healthcare 2.0’ companies that target consumers and self-insured employers, upending the health sector through the use of innovative digital and social technologies…This next generation of healthcare startup is first and foremost adopting a business to consumer model that can lead to business-to-business monetization.”
Chang lists a number of companies that are doing just that—including Audax Health, Brighter, Castlight Health, Jiff and Omada Health. Their disruptive approaches reach out to consumers first through “social and business-to-consumer web-based models” which can then be followed by bridge-building efforts to the players of the traditional healthcare business—insurers, payers, hospitals and claims companies.
“The challenge is determining which partners you need and their motivations, because their non-transparent business models and closed-systems can be tricky to understand. But proving organic consumer adoption and engagement first will naturally pull in the interest of enterprises, payers, insurers, and institutions—they’ll see market demand from end users; which mitigates the risk of roll-outs into their own populations.”
Yes, things need to change—and fortunately, it looks like they are. With the tsunami of development in digital health, we certainly have a plethora of disruptive innovations at hand. But we need more.
We need the coordinated efforts of out-of-the box thinkers who put consumer needs first—pushing that paradigm shift beyond current practices into the realm of what-might-be-possible if we break the traditional mold into tiny little pieces.
We won’t find that in stifling regulatory environments where financial incentives, permission-based thinking and proprietary protectiveness rules. Instead, what we need are innovators who care, backed by investors who dare, partnered with healthcare entities that are willing to return to their roots—remembering that consumers are the reason they exist in the first place.