Posts Tagged ‘artificial intelligence’

2018 Success Strategy: Differentiate to Survive Next Wave of Healthcare

January 5th, 2018 by Patricia Donovan

Are supermarkets the next wave of healthcare?

Perhaps not, but if a health insurer can move into the community pharmacy, why not the local grocery store?

On the heels of the recent non-traditional CVS Health-Aetna merger and amidst other swirling consolidation rumors, industry thought leaders are encouraging healthcare organizations to embrace similar partnerships and synergies.

And given the presence of pharmacies inside many supermarkets, “there is potential for greater synergies around what we eat, what we buy and how our healthcare is actually purchased or delivered,” suggests David Buchanan, president of Buchanan Strategies.

“The bonanza [from this merger] might be where data can be shared between CVS’s customers and Aetna’s customers and whether we can steer those CVS customers to Aetna,” he added.

Buchanan and Brian Sanderson, managing principal of healthcare services for Crowe Horwath, sketched a roadmap to help healthcare providers and payors navigate the key trends, challenges and opportunities that beckon in 2018 during Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning Session, a December 2017 webinar now available for rebroadcast.

Key guideposts on the road to success: data analytics, consolidation, population health management, patient and member engagement, and telemedicine, among other indicators. Also, organizations shouldn’t hesitate to test-drive new roles in order to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

“If you are not differentiated, you will not survive in what is a very fluid marketplace,” Sanderson advised.

Honing in on the healthcare provider perspective, Sanderson posed five key questions to help shape physician, hospital and health system strategies, including, “What are the powerful patterns?” Industry mergers, an infusion of private equity money into areas like ambulatory care and emerging value-based payment models fall into this category, he suggested.

These patterns were echoed in four primary trends Sanderson outlined as shaping the direction of the healthcare market, which faces an increasingly “impatient” patient. “I could tell you the market wants care everywhere,” he said. “In the same way we have become impatient with our commoditized goods, so have patients become impatient with accessing care.”

Among these trends are “unclear models of reimbursement,” he noted, adding that after a self-imposed “pause” relative to healthcare reimbursement at the start of a new presidential administration, the industry is ready to “restart with some new sponsors now.”

Notably, Sanderson advised providers to embrace population management. “Don’t think population health, think population management. It’s no longer just the clinical aspects of a patient’s or a population’s health. It’s the overall management of their well-being.”

Following Sanderson’s five winning strategies for healthcare provider success, David Buchanan outlined his list of hot-button items for insurers, which ranged from the future of Obamacare and member engagement to telemedicine, healthcare payment costs and models and trends in Medicare and Medicaid.

Healthcare payors should not underestimate the value of engaging its members, who today possess higher levels of health literacy, he stated. “The member must be an integral part of healthcare transactions, as are the provider, the facility and the insurer. The member must have a greater level of personal responsibility and engagement in the process.”

Offering members wearable health technologies like fitness trackers is one way insurers might engage individuals in their health while creating ‘stickiness’ and member allegiance to the health plan.

Telemedicine, the fastest growing healthcare segment, is another means of extending payors’ reach and increasing profitability, he adds. “Telemedicine is not just for rural health settings anymore, but is finding another subset of adopters among people who can’t fit a doctor’s visit into their busy schedule.”

Payors should expect some competition in this area. “I believe the next wave [of telehealth] will be hospitals expanding into local telehealth services as a lead-in to their local clinics,” Buchanan predicted.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in healthcare is growing, but Buchanan and Sanderson agree that adoption will be slow. On the other hand, expect more collaboration between digital players like Amazon, Google and Apple and larger health plans.

“You will see [synergies] when you can put those two players together: the company that can bring the technology to the table as well as those companies that bring the users to the table,” concluded Buchanan.

Listen to a HIN HealthSounds podcast in which David Buchanan predicts the future of mega mergers in healthcare, the impact of the CVS-Aetna alliance on brand awareness, and the real ‘bonanza’ of the $69 billion partnership, beyond bringing healthcare closer to home for many consumers.

Healthcare Hotwire: Blockchain Technology and AI in Healthcare

November 9th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence are healthcare game-changers.

Blockchain technology is a game-changer with the potential to impact not one or two industries, but the complete landscape of how business is done. When 200 healthcare executives were recently surveyed by IBM, 16 percent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale sometime this year.

And artificial intelligence (AI) and robots that support, diagnose and treat people are already in homes, workplaces and clinical environments all over the world, according to PWC.

Still in their infancy, early adopters of these technologies are starting to report promising results.

In the new edition of Healthcare Hotwire, you’ll learn more about the patient benefits of blockchain technology, how AI is being used to identify high-risk colon cancer patients and improve medication adherence and other healthcare blockchain and AI trends.

HIN’s newly launched Healthcare Hotwire tracks trending topics in the industry for strategic planning. Subscribe today.

Infographic: How Is Artificial Intelligence Disrupting Healthcare?

June 19th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

With breakthroughs in sensors, medical technologies and patient and clinical data, artificial intelligence (AI) is sweeping across the entire healthcare value chain, according to a new infographic by Phronesis Partners.

The infographic identifies how different healthcare sectors are using AI and vendors who are offering solutions in these areas.

Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results Between Medicare’s aggressive migration to value-based payment models and MACRA’s 2017 Quality Payment Program rollout, healthcare providers must accept the inevitability of participation in fee-for-quality reimbursement design—as well as cultivating a grounding in health data analytics to enhance success.

As an early adopter of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the largest sponsor of MSSP accountable care organizations (ACOs), Collaborative Health Systems (CHS) is uniquely positioned to advise providers on the benefits of data analytics and technology, which CHS views as a major driver in its achievements in the MSSP arena. In performance year 2014, nine of CHS’s 24 MSSP ACOs generated savings and received payments of almost $27 million.

Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results examines program goals, platforms, components, development strategies, target populations and health conditions, patient engagement metrics, results and challenges reported by more than 100 healthcare organizations responding to the February 2016 Digital Health survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

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Guest Post: EHRs, Artificial Intelligence and Empathy

March 9th, 2017 by Basil Hayek and Paul Penta, Sapient Health

social_business_strategyCan melding the best of electronic health records (EHRs) and artificial intelligence foster greater empathy among healthcare providers? Basil Hayek, Director of Business Consulting, Sapient Health, and Paul Penta, Manager of Business Consulting, Sapient Health, examine that possibility in this guest post.

EHRs, artificial intelligence, and empathy: If this were a Sesame Street segment, it would be easy to pick the one that is not like the others. But could combining the first two actually enable greater empathy?

First, let’s set some context. Industry-wide, there is a high degree of dissatisfaction amongst physicians with EHRs. This can result from the increased clerical burden, poor user interfaces, and feeling of cookbook medicine. These challenges add to the burden already faced by physicians, and contribute to burnout, sub-optimal prescribing and referral behaviors, and erosion of clinician empathy.

As empathy diminishes, so do outcomes. Studies across multiple conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and the common cold, found evidence supporting this hypothesis. In addition, a broad evidence review saw a consistent positive association between patient experience, patient safety and clinical effectiveness. As clinician empathy can dramatically influence a patient’s experience, it can be surmised that empathy is a contributing factor.

There are various approaches to addressing EHR challenges. Healthcare organizations are deploying scribes, tablets and optimization programs. Legislative and policy changes are in the works. Although not enacted before the end of the congressional session, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee introduced a bill last year to help improve EHR usability. In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within the Department of Health & Human Services has called for certification requirements on EHR usability.

Ultimately, healthcare provider satisfaction with EHRs will improve through these tactics. That’s not to say that EHRs cannot move from simply meeting a HCP’s expectations to exceeding them. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) will play a role.

When AI is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is probably IBM’s Watson. Watson, which gained fame for winning Jeopardy against two former champions in 2011, has dramatically evolved its cognitive capability and reach to make an impact in various industries, including healthcare. Healthcare providers can use Watson to analyze medical records, assist in diagnosis, and help find evidence-based treatments, and its capabilities continue to grow. These developments are exciting, but only hint at what is achievable, which includes helping to achieve the Quadruple Aim of an improved patient experience, improved population health, reduced costs, and an improved clinician experience.

AI can contribute in realizing the Quadruple Aim due to its ability to efficiently analyze large volumes of data, discover patterns, and make logical inferences. The potential population health and cost implications resulting from AI are fairly self-evident. What is intriguing is how AI can play a role in helping improve the provider and patient experience. How this could come together is better told through two scenarios.

Scenario 1:

Consider 47-year-old Gary, recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He is due for a follow-up with his doctor to review his treatment after completing blood work. In the first scenario, Gary is trying to navigate his diagnosis in the current state environment.

Because of a lab location that requires him to drive instead of taking public transit, Gary misses three scheduled lab appointments and is forced to reschedule his follow-up. When he finally completes his labs and meets with his doctor, she seems hurried and spends most of the time looking at her laptop as she updates Gary’s chart. Although she notes his A1Cs have risen, she opts to continue the same regimen until his next appointment. Gary leaves feeling uncertain about the effectiveness of his medication, and has doubts on whether the side effects of heartburn and indigestion are worth it.

Now, let’s look at a version of this same narrative where AI enables a better all-around experience.

Scenario 2:

After Gary misses his first lab appointment, the AI-enhanced EHR offers to reschedule at a location one stop away from his house. He attends that appointment and keeps his follow-up with his doctor. Prior to this appointment, his doctor reviews an AI-generated clinical summary, which highlights key factors to consider for Gary’s treatment and confirms that she has reviewed the latest research relevant to Gary’s condition and history.

She greets Gary when he arrives and asks how he’s doing with the medication. When he mentions heartburn and indigestion, she acknowledges they’re common side effects, and recommends that he be diligent about taking it with food and using an antacid until the side effects diminish.

She turns Gary’s attention to a large wall-mounted screen showing a patient-optimized view of his health record. She uses a tablet as a second screen to direct the conversation via a physician view. Gary sees his blood glucose trends and notices that the side effects he just mentioned are in his record. As they discuss additional medication to help control Gary’s rising A1Cs, the doctor asks Gary to confirm the accuracy of the displayed list of medications and supplements. Gary mentions he has also started taking low dose aspirin.

Shortly after he says this, aspirin appears on the screen. The physician view on her tablet alerts her of new research indicating an interaction between aspirin and a candidate medication. With this information, she recommends an alternative combination drug, and Gary walks out with a new prescription and confidence in managing his diabetes.

Conclusion:

In the second scenario, AI enabled the following technologies and associated benefits to provide an alternate and improved experience:

  • Prescriptive analytics based on clinical and socio-demographic perspectives of EHR data: offloads intent from the patient and reduce barriers to care;
  • Context-aware clinical natural language processing: offloads data entry from the physician, and allows the patient to more naturally participate in the treatment conversation;
  • Cognitive computing to assess medical evidence: allows physicians to more easily review information relevant to a specific patient.

These enablers are neither new nor novel. However, combined they provide unobtrusive interventions that reduce the clerical and cognitive burden on physicians and provide improved opportunities for patient engagement. With time to think and a renewed focus on the person sitting in front of them, physicians can return to an empathy-driven encounter, and everyone wins.

About the Authors:

Basil Hayek, Director of Business Consulting, Sapient Health

Basil Hayek, Director of Business Consulting, Sapient Health

Basil Hayek is responsible for digital strategy and delivery for Sapient Health. He supports a broad portfolio of clients, with a focus on health plans, pharmacy, and retail health. He gets excited about bringing together his technology, data, and product background to drive engagement and deliver business results for companies and better health outcomes for individuals. Basil graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Computer Science.

Paul Penta, Manager of Business Consulting, Sapient Health

Paul Penta, Manager of Business Consulting, Sapient Health


As a Manager of Business Consulting at Sapient Health, Paul Penta draws on his experience building technology for patients in a clinical chronic care environment to enable digital change in healthcare organizations. With a focus on digital and technology strategy, Paul always keeps the patient at the center of the experience. Often taking on a cross-functional role, Paul excels in leading the strategic merger of process and product to achieve impactful metrics. Paul received an MBA from Boston University.


HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.