Which innovations have executives most excited? 6 insights from healthcare leaders

Healthcare is ripe with innovation and new technologies, which hold great promise to transform the way care is delivered.

We asked several attendees at Premier's 2018 Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition in Nashville, Tenn., this question: When looking at the future of healthcare, what clinical, financial or operational innovation are you most excited about?

Here's what leaders had to say. (Responses are presented in alphabetical order and lightly edited for length and clarity.)

Jeff Ashkenase. Executive Vice President of Acurity (New York City): "The integration of various clinical and financial information. Right now, if we want to understand which pacemaker provides better outcomes, it's a huge process because systems aren't integrated, and we aren't tracking the right things. But this sort of knowledge could help keep someone out of the hospital for four days or prevent the need for another implant. That's where the big savings are. We can do this analysis today, but it's so manual, labor intensive and hard to track. I think we'll start to see a lot more predictive analytics come with this integration of data."

James Hunter, MD. System CMO of Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.): "Innovations in the realm of virtual medicine and artificial intelligence. Our acute care hospitals already offer virtual intensive care units and virtual infectious disease consultations. In our primary care offices, we've also embedded behavioral health virtually. We screen everyone for depression. If patients are recognized to have symptoms of depression at their family practitioner visit, they start their evaluation and treatment that day. Eventually, we'll move to offering same-day consultations with a dermatologist, cardiologist, etc. Instead of leaving their doctor's office with two or three appointments, patients can go in and receive the comprehensive care they need in one visit. This will lead to better results, better satisfaction and lower costs for the health system and patients."

Ruth Krystopolski. Senior Vice President of Population Health at Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.): "Much of our time and energy in healthcare, up until probably the last four or five years, has been focused within the acute care setting. But healthcare happens across the community and outside the walls of healthcare facilities. Connecting community partners in new and different ways, and having them come to the table to improve the health of the people we serve, is important. These efforts are well underway at Atrium Health, and I think working outside of our walls will be the most exciting and impactful thing we've done in a long time in healthcare."

Nathan Lawrence. Director of Quality and Risk Management at Murray-Calloway County Hospital (Murray, Ky.): "Technology in general. One of the neat things I saw from one of the vendors at the conference was the ability to scan tissue and see deep tissue injuries before they are apparent from external observation. It's things like that that will really propel healthcare forward."

Rachel Mandel, MD. Vice President of Medical Affairs at Frederick (Md.) Regional Health System: "We're excited about how we can get healthcare to people who need it the most in ways that are not historically typical. Everyone is talking about telemedicine, home-monitoring and moving healthcare into the community and out of the four walls of the hospital to help prevent people from getting sick in the first place. Healthcare is one of those few sectors of the economy where less business is better. So we need to acknowledge that and understand that's how healthcare has to change."

Ken Turner. Vice President of Operational Effectiveness at University Hospitals Health System (Cleveland): "Telemedicine. Healthcare used to be delivered one home or one family at a time. Then we built hospitals and had people come to us. But now we're reverting back to the past and going to patients' homes, so they don't have to travel to us. We're trying to make it more convenient for our customers and patients so we can deliver care where they're at."

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