Innovative technologies impacting health system operations

Care delivery operations represent one of the major areas of change for healthcare providers, which we are calling, “Operations 2.0.”
By W. Roy Smythe, MD
03:58 PM
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Editor's note: This is the second segment of Roy Smythe’s four-part series that takes a deeper look at healthcare innovation from the perspective of four Contemporary Provider Challenges: Chronic and Behavior Care, Operations 2.0, Patient as Consumer and Post-Acute Care. This post focuses on Operations 2.0 while the first focused on responding to the Chronic and Behavioral Care challenge.

Today, healthcare systems and providers face the challenging headwinds of new regulations, increased competition, the need to understand and implement value-based payment models, an overwhelmed workforce, and more. At the same time, healthcare is transforming at an increasing rate - in part due to the impact of emerging technologies. All of these factors are converging to create a “perfect storm”.

Making care delivery operations maximally efficient is an imperative, considering all of the above. We call this Operations 2.0.

Value = Cost / Quality, and maximally efficient care means removing all non-value added components of work. We feel that there are exciting opportunities to use innovative technologies to these ends in an increasingly value-based healthcare enterprise.

HX360, co-developed by HIMSS and AVIA, is focusing on the way forward by more effectively leveraging technology, along with process and structure, to improve health care. The good news is that providers actually now do have better tools and insights at their disposal – tools that can transform their operations and potentially revolutionize the delivery of care to patients.

So, how is technology impacting health system operations today? Here are just a few exciting examples:

Referral management

One key opportunity where technology is improving operations is in the area of referral management.  Referral management enables providers to more effectively and efficiently refer to specialists that are aligned with them, or their organizations on the same EHR platform, and can provide referral guidelines based on clinical condition or need.  Innovative technologies that fit into providers’ workflow and channel patients within the desired network benefit both administrators and physicians, particularly in highly competitive markets, and this is especially true for delivery systems that have recently expanded, and/or are taking on more risk.

Supply chain

Another area ripe for innovation is supply chain. Across the country, health system leaders list financial stewardship as a top strategic goal and foresee increasing participation in value-based models. In this environment, understanding end-to-end cost is an imperative and as a result, purchasing is a tremendous opportunity.  Building supply chain capabilities—to understand pricing, renegotiate, and bring discipline to supply purchasing and use—grows in importance in this context. Traditionally, most decisions are based on cost, physician preference, or lack of information on inventory availability or price. Technology now allows for better information tracking and easier information retrieval of supply chain data points in real time for better decision-making and greater price/cost transparency, and can provide physicians with better data to make better collective decisions.

Automation

Automation or delegation is another area that will benefit from innovative technology. In this case, leveraging technology helps clinicians practice at the top of their license. With algorithm support, technology empowers clinicians to better understand which tasks should be delegated, to whom, how, when, etc., for best results. When considering technology in this area, it is important to be sure that solutions help streamline rather than become additive to the provider’s workflow.

These are just a few examples of areas being transformed by technology and innovation in the era of Operations 2.0. In the months and years ahead, there will be much more to come.

HX360 exists to advance the new model of care. Learn more about Operations 2.0 and emerging technology solutions at HX360 during HIMSS16. Don’t miss the HX360 Innovation Pavilion plus cutting-edge programming led by world-class healthcare executives, investors, innovators and leaders like you.