2020 health IT pivots: 9 healthcare leaders discuss their team's new strategies

In the wake of HIMSS cancellation, members of the Becker's editorial team touched base with technology and advisory firm leaders in March and April via phone or email. Each leader was asked to answer three questions. Here, respondents share their response to question No. 2: Has your team's strategy changed in the last year? Why or why not?

Read the two other articles in this series:

Health IT buzzwords redefined — 11 healthcare leaders weigh in

Talk less, do more — 13 healthcare leaders apply this philosophy to health IT

Leigh Anderson. President of Performance Services at Premier: Over the last year we have increased our focus on automated prior authorization. We think that leveraging clinical decisions support and natural language processing to automate prior authorization will be a game changer for all parties within the healthcare ecosystem. We believe that if we get this right, the end result will be more patient-centered care, improved efficiency (across the board) and less clinician burnout.

Conor Bagnell. Vice President of Product Management at MCG Health: Our core strategy has not changed. We're very mission focused and we want to help health systems reduce variations in care and we want to do that because it's the right thing for the patients and healthcare providers. We are also very focused on reducing costs of reducing variation, including the administrative costs. The one area where we are intensifying our focus is helping those organizations that are taking on risk become more proactive in their approach.

Mike Baird. President of Customer Solutions at Amwell: At the core, our strategy has not changed. Our strategy has been and continues to be looking for ways to democratize healthcare and make sure patients and our clients are at the center of everything we do. We've helped patients access healthcare remotely for a long time and we've shown that it can be advantageous to the traditional care model during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the core, we are focused on the well-being of patients and supporting health systems and plans across the world.

Joe Bell. Vice President of Payer Operations at eSolutions: Our team strategy has started to change in the last year because of the convergence of administrative data and clinical data for the different payment and fee schedules. And now, with the latest advances in patients' access to their own healthcare data, we have new actors and new types of conversations between providers, between providers and payers, and between healthcare systems. All of these connections have become vital and differ from the traditional conversations happening only from provider to payer and payer to provider.

Sanjeeva Fernando. Senior Vice President of AI and Analytics of Optum: We have used analytics for decades, and in the past three years especially we've seen a transition away from the manually driven analytical data. In the past, we had professionals, economists, clinical informaticists or data scientists pore over data and software tools and then report on the results and key trends. That's how people have competed on analytics in many other industries as well. We have seen a different model emerge that requires the analytic models and AI models be delivered as software services. These solutions need to scale with the growth of our use of AI and analytics. That type of infrastructure is a change for us at Optum and has been for other companies too. We have started to build out our tools and capabilities to support this new approach to AI and analytics.

Kristen Jacobsen. Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for RevSpring: RevSpring has for many years had a great solution for providers to improve the effectiveness of their engagement and payment strategies. We built a process around how we use data to better connect patients with the right payment options. Sometimes it's a challenge to budgets for providers to invest in solutions that allow them to increase their collections.

One of the things we've really tried to rethink is how we make sure that revenue cycle leaders can invest in new technologies by saving money and creating efficiencies in other areas. Digital engagement is a great way to do that. If we can help providers to first reduce the cost of engagement with patients through more cost-effective digital channels, it becomes easier for them to make investments in the capabilities that allow them to drive payments. We recognize that we need to do both: balance not just payment effectiveness, but also the cost pressures that providers are under and reduce the communication and cost while increasing payment performance.

Dan Michelson. CEO of Strata Decision Technology: We have expanded our strategy from focusing on the experience within each customer to building value for all of our customers across our entire network. Strata has built up a customer base of over 200 health systems representing close to 25 percent of the spend in U.S. healthcare. We now have pulled that information together from across our network into StrataSphere, our data-sharing network and platform powered by machine learning that leverages the most comprehensive and granular dataset on the cost of healthcare. This allows our customers to benchmark, gain insights and conduct research across our network.

John Showalter. MD. Chief Product Officer with Jvion: Previously, we've been focused on proving that our AI-powered technology was capable of generating meaningful insights — we've done that. Now we're really focused on driving value for our providers, which means we've more than tripled the number of direct support staff on the ground to support change management and the use of technology among physicians and nurses. We've proven we can generate knowledge, now it's about putting that knowledge into action.

Raj Toleti. Founder of FollowMyHealth and Senior Vice President and General Manager of Patient Engagement for Allscripts: Our strategy has always been to make sure we align our platform's capabilities to meet industry needs more broadly. Now we're thinking more about how different types of organizations need different types of support to keep patients engaged. For example, a cancer center might send out an appointment reminder five days before the appointment that contains a lot of education material. For other care sites, a simple two-day reminder prior to an appointment is all that is needed. So now what we're working on is helping hospitals and health systems figure out how to self-configure patient engagement technology to best suit their own needs.

More articles on health IT: 
LifeBridge, Under Armour join to make personal protective equipment
ONC tracks more than 30 COVID-19 interoperability projects 
How 4 hospitals are using their EHRs to optimize COVID-19 care

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