Key to digital innovation: Giving executives a view into the clinical perspective

Femwell Group Health Chief Healthcare Innovation Officer Geeta Nayyar explains why it’s important to make sure women have a seat at the table when making strategic tech decisions about patient engagement and other trends.
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Geeta Nayyar, MD, the chief healthcare innovation officer for Femwell Group Health and TopLine MD TV host.

Health technology is growing at an increasingly rapid pace, but that’s not the industry’s greatest challenge. Rather, the biggest change for the healthcare sector is that the entire patient experience is evolving -- some of it is good, some not so much. 

To Geeta Nayyar, MD, the chief healthcare innovation officer for Femwell Group Health and TopLine MD TV host, the increase in technology gives patients more choices when it comes to their care. 

For example, a patient can go online to read physician reviews before selecting a new provider.

[Also: Former IBM exec Star Cunningham on the keys to value-based care]

However,  those reviews don’t always reflect the quality of care a patient will receive. Nayyar explained that “some of the best surgeons out there have horrible bedside manner, and don’t know how to communicate with patients.”

As a result, that top surgeon may have bad reviews based on that behavior -- not their capability.

“It’s complicated: The consumer doesn’t even know what they’re buying,” said Nayyar. “If you’re looking for better outcomes, you want to make sure your patient is empowered to make that decision.”

[Also: Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Tejal Gandhi on building a culture of patient safety in hospitals and at home]

Healthcare needs to be a partnership, and Nayyar explained that patients do well when they are better informed. Not only that but, “health IT is never just about health IT.”

Educating patients to avoid infection in a hospital, for instance, is just as important as bedside manner and doctor skills, she added.

“Everything we do in an organization is about patients. And not just patients, but people,” said Nayyar. “That needs to stay at the forefront.”

And that’s where the clinical experience can really influence digital innovation.

[Also: Women leaders in health IT: You can control your own destiny]

Nayyar explained that as a whole, the industry has a lot of physicians struggling with this shift into value-based care. But the trick is to straddle clinical experience with the innovation side to increase the power of tech.

As AT&T’s former chief medical informatics officer, she understands the value of bringing a clinical view and lens to the executive role. A mindset she’s carried through each leadership position. And what she found was that too often those who need innovation the most, don’t have that “clinical knowledge and don’t understand how it is in the trenches, what the real troubles are.”

“I believe that to find the solutions, you have to have a grasp on the problem,” Nayyar said.

That’s a philosophy executives should keep in mind when considering user design, she explained. Femwell is focused on helping providers become the best quality physicians in the state, by ensuring they’re aligning with quality metrics -- data metrics that are outcome-driven.

Further, organizations should reflect their constituents, whether it’s a hospital system or physician practice, she explained. When people get sick, the first person they talk to is “doctor mom”: the first line of defense.

And Nayyar said that perspective should also be in the boardroom or C-suite of any healthcare organization -- especially when attempting to figure outpatient engagement and innovation work as women are an important part of the household economy and decision making.

“It’s really important in our industry to make sure women are at the table when you’re trying to make those decisions,” said Nayyar. “And that’s what the data shows. I would challenge organizations to make sure they are implementing those details on the constituents they are trying to engage.”

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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