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Becker’s Panel Recap: Healthcare Digital Transformations and Improved Patient Engagements

By 11.09.20
Reading time: 7 minutes

Last month, I presented a webinar for Becker’s Hospital Review on behalf of Silverline entitled “Post-Pandemic Decisions Accelerate Pace of Patient Access, Engagement, and Digital Experience Outreach.” Afterwards, I led a panel discussion with leaders in the health and technology space to talk about the state of healthcare hospitals and care centers that are using technology to ramp up their digital presence and patient engagement in the wake of COVID’s onset.

The complete webinar can be accessed here, or you can read below for insights from the panel discussion.

Olivia Goh Kidder

Director, Customer Relationship Management, Indiana University Health

What has worked best for your patient engagement strategy for IU Health? 

It’s so easy to look immediately to technology to solve a problem. And there are so many solutions out there competing to be the silver bullet for you in some regard. But one thing that has worked extremely well for us is having a strong vision and strategy for CRM as part of our overall patient engagement strategy. With that, we explored solutions from the point of view of: what will serve our goals best versus how do we get value out of this new tool while aligning our patient engagement plans with our systems, values, and our mission of making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest States. This has been a great way to rally people around CRM along with having physicians champion the strategy.  Along the way, we engaged our internal subject matter experts very, very extensively to get inputs for every campaign. 

What were some of the lessons learned throughout the process?

The first lesson that I learned was that you’ve got to know your data, what it is, what it isn’t, and then what are the limitations. And then how you can mitigate those limitations. The other thing is, don’t try to boil the ocean when you’re awash in data and the new platform. It can be very tempting to try to do a lot at once with those really complex patient engagement journeys. 

By all means dream big so that you’re always stretching yourself, but I think it’s also important to stay focused with patient engagement goals that can be defined, tested, and are achievable. So it’s okay to go live with whatever you’ve got. Just make sure to get some initial learnings, optimize, and then you can keep repeating and improving with every version.

What are the initial outcomes based on the work you’ve implemented?

We’ve seen a sustained increase in patient retention in our primary care panels. And that’s a crucial first step to just being able to care for our population and our community. We’re also expecting to see increased closures in gaps in care. 

How has COVID directly impacted your plans, both for now and in the future?

Well, it was very disruptive. We paused a number of things while our systems pivoted to manage COVID. But you know, so many months in our patient engagement goals have not changed. We still want our customers to meet their most healthy life, and we want to partner with them and reach out to them in a way that’s informative, and personally relevant. As we open back up our system to provide routine and elective procedures with COVID, it has really made it more important that we plan our outreach to our patients with optimal and timing.

If we have a demographically informed patient profile, sure, we can message to all women ages 40 and over to remind them to get a mammogram, but then it is more precise if we can use that clinically informed patient profile to only message to women who are truly due or overdue for a mammogram. So we’re meeting our patients where they are, and timing our outreach so that we serve our patients better, which allows us to prioritize access to the patients who need it most.

David Bradshaw

Senior Vice President, Consumer and Employer Solutions, Cerner

How have you seen your clients streamline time to value by closing gaps in care, based on those clinically informed data sources that we discussed?

Olivia hit it right on the head when she talked about the clinically informed CRM platform. And that’s actually the work that we’ve built inside of a solution we call the HealtheCRM product, which connects HealtheIntent, one of Cerner’s two big data platforms, and Millennium, which runs in the hospitals or the doctor’s office. HealtheIntent acts as the layer above the EMR — Cerner, Epic, anybody else’s  — and we’ve connected the clinical data and insights that are calculated in these big quality registry systems into Health Cloud to allow clients to run their campaigns on clinical data. 

For example, the calculation of who’s a diabetic and who’s not a diabetic is actually a very clinically deep calculation of who has that disease and who doesn’t. And the data’s always changing. And that’s one of the things that we think is the unique value proposition here is being able to connect those two data sources.

Cerner provides real depth and breadth around solutions for the industry, particularly with your strategy to evolve from being solely an EHR into a comprehensive health platform. From your perspective, how has the market responded and how have you seen your influence in the industry because of that strategy?

HealtheIntent works across multiple platforms. We have it available for small employers all the way to the high headcount companies where we’re across multiple EMR platforms and large integrated health systems state Medicaid, state programs, and even the federal government with our VA deployment. 

So the scalability of HealtheIntent becomes a network data foundation layer that supports these big networks and integrated networks that are coming together, no matter the size of your business. 

Many organizations and industry health leaders have taken different CRM strategies. Some have acquired an application to fill the gap on CRM, while others have decided to build their own. Cerner chose to partner with Salesforce. Can you share some initial insights on the decision and the overall impact that you’re seeing on your clients from that?

At its core, we fundamentally believe that CRM should move across the enterprise. And it was more than just a clinical use case. You talked earlier about omni-channel communications, and I think Cerner made a strategic decision that instead of building at Enterprise level that was going to be rolled out, we were going to partner with it. And we went through a pretty exhaustive analysis and ended up with this partnership with Salesforce. We’ve had some really good success with clients. And I think that this clinically informed CRM becomes a major differentiator going into the future.

Geeta Nayyar

Executive Medical Director, Salesforce

Dr. Nayyar, knowing that you are a clinician, I’m curious how you’re helping customers provide their patients high quality clinical care while also recognizing the importance and need to transform to the tools and approach to patient engagement in real time. How do you balance those two parties?

I think it’s exactly what we’ve been talking about today with this clinically informed solution. Whatever solution we offer in the technology space needs to first recognize and understand “what is the clinical problem that we’re solving?” so it has to fall back onto the front lines of care. And secondly, it needs to complement what is already in use. We don’t want to involve a new workflow. We appreciate that the EHR is a critical database and we’re really looking to be the wrapper around that or the complement to that. So I would say that again, clinically informed is the right wording, but also being an invisible technology that is not cumbersome or burdensome to the doctors, the nurses, and the care team.

If the technology gets in the way of what you’re trying to do, then obviously the adoption’s going to be impacted. We’ve seen this tremendous adoption of telehealth, how do you see the adoption of virtual health fitting into Salesforce overall solution strategy?

I think that COVID-19 has accelerated everything in the virtual and digital space. It plays really nicely into our solutions centered around digital engagement. I think what’s really changed is that virtual care, digital patient engagement, and online experiences — they used to be a nice to have. Right now in this environment, it’s a must have. And so we’ve seen an acceleration and adoption, and I think the key is really staying invisible to the care team, making sure that the clinical workflow is not cumbersome, and doesn’t contribute further to physician burnout or care team burnout.

And secondly that we keep this humanity in it. The practice of medicine is an art as much as it is a science, and it’s not all about algorithms and analytics. You’ve got to keep that human factor. So what is the right balance of what should be automated? What should be virtual and what needs to be in person and high touch. So just keeping an eye on that overall. 

What is your recommendation for an approach to engage clinical leadership? What have you seen work really well? And what have you seen that has led to failure in terms of getting them onboard and willing to adopt these types of technologies?

So again, I would say everything that used to be a nice to have has now become a must have, and that Chief Medical Officer, that Chief Medical Informatics Officer, or your physician champions now have a seat at the table at the C-suite in a really vocal way. Before, it was nice to have alignment or nice to have sort of the doctor in the room nodding their head. And now what’s happening naturally on its own is the CEO is really looking to their physician leaders to drive this and make sure that they are aligned to the business problem and the clinical problems that they’re solving. 

And it truly has made the importance of the care team, wellbeing, and efficiency front and center. I’m really pleased to say that this isn’t happening naturally, and that we are constantly being engaged by executives to say, “Okay, this is interesting. Now let’s talk about implementation workflow and how you can also help change the culture, not just the technology.”  

I’m happy to see so many physician leaders have a bigger voice at the table than they have in the past. And I think the lesson learned for the industry is that if you’re building solutions for the care team, physicians, and nurses need to be the decision makers on the technology that they’re going to be using.

Healthcare digital transformations with Silverline

For more insights from the presentation and Q&A, be sure to check out the recording.

If you’re interested in how Silverline can help your healthcare organization on its journey through digital transformation, reach out.

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