Can we simplify and personalize healthcare through technology?

Parveen Chand, Chief Operating Officer at Eskenazi Health, and hc1.com Founder Brad Bostic spoke at the third and final workshop in the Indiana’s Opportunities to Lead in Digital Health series.

Search the Internet for “the Uberization of everything” and you will find dozens of articles discussing startups that follow the Uber model of customized, on-demand service. Uber is the world’s largest taxi company that owns no cars. Airbnb is the largest accommodation provider that owns no real estate. These companies are so successful because they created a personalized experience that fits the needs of their customers.

So why isn’t there a similar personalized experience for your health? This is the question Parveen Chand, Chief Operating Officer at Eskenazi Health, began the conversation with at the third and final workshop in the Indiana’s Opportunities to Lead in Digital Health series, sponsored by Ice Miller and organized by the Regenstrief Institute, hc1.com and TechPoint.

Catch up on the first and second workshop recap’s to see how the discussion has evolved.

How can technology play a role in personalized health?

“We can simplify healthcare by creating solutions that combine health, wellness and nutrition that connect with people on an emotional and personal level,” Chand said. “Consumers at Eskenazi Health tell us they want things simplified.”

What does “simplified” really mean? “They want to be connected for convenience. We are seeing this through the popularity of Uber, Airbnb and Netflix. In healthcare, if we can’t reduce wait times and get people in for appointments, we lose them,” Chand said.

Millennials (1981 – current) make up 31% of the population, with baby boomers (1946-1964) at a close second with 30%. These two generations interact with technology in very different ways, and their expectations of customer service can be different. Millennials have a high desire for quickness, prefer choices and use many providers, while baby boomers focus their attention most on the value and cost of the services provided.”Exceptional customer services requires considering the specific needs of multiple generations of consumers,” Chand said.

What is the current environment for health information exchanges and population health management?

“Indiana has one of the most storied health information exchanges in the country (Indiana Network for Patient Care) that we are not leveraging to the fullest extent. We have a data exchange environment and venture capital tech startup community,” Chand said. “How do we as healthcare providers move infrastructure, culture, collaboration and payment models to focus on population based healthcare and value based healthcare?”

Nationally, the top 10 healthcare IT trends for 2016 include PHI security, patient portals, population health management and mobile computing. These national trends are pushing healthcare providers to shift from looking at infrastructure, culture, collaboration and payment models as separate pillars and instead shift the focus to population health and value based healthcare.

What’s standing in the way for healthcare providers and tech companies to create a personalized health solution? Chand believes the answer lies in the lack of understanding of the strengths within each organization and the collaboration across the healthcare continuum.

“There is a duplication of efforts across multiple health systems,” Chand says. During his presentation he shared a slide that features dozens of clinical systems and how they communicate data. As regulatory demands continue to grow, healthcare providers must pay close attention to the effective use and proper investments of technology. “IT is no longer a department, it is a critical strategic component necessary for success,” Chand said.

How can healthcare providers utilize Indiana’s health information exchange?

Both the Indiana Network for Patient Care and the Regenstrief Institute offer the data, but tapping into it and effectively utilizing the information in healthcare settings is still a challenge.

The data repository in Indiana holds 25-30 years worth of longitudinal data, but physicians do not have enough time to review those histories. “Physicians look back 2-3 years, not 10-15 years. We can lead this effort if we make the data actionable,” Chand said.

“If tech companies could tap into the data repository, we could build apps that sit on top of the data to solve for those problems,” said Brad Bostic, Chairman and CEO of hc1.com.

The open conversation shifted toward one common denominator: giving patients access to their healthcare information. While some in the room argued that privacy concerns would keep this information from existing in a way that is as easy to access as it is to request an Uber ride, others suggest privacy can be addressed but access to personal data is a trend we cannot avoid.

Joseph Schneider, Chief Health Information Officer at IU Health, held up his iPhone while discussing how we share our data outside of healthcare. “The idea that hospitals and doctor’s offices will hold your information in the future is archaic. We will have the access to our own information and share it with whomever we want to,” he said.

Dr. Michael Fletcher, Chief Medical Officer at Hancock Regional Hospital, further emphasized how paper is an outdated technology. “Providing an app that is highly functional is the best solution and makes the patient the purveyor of their own information.”

What is your single biggest concern regarding the health of Hoosiers? What is the #1 opportunity you see for tech to help improve the health of Hoosiers? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Croft is the director of communications at TechPoint. She writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people and events. Reach out to Sara @saraelysecroft.