Former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman: The future of innovation is patient empowerment not EHRs
Glen Tullman has served as the CEO of a major EHR vendor and the founder of a startup app maker focused initially on diabetes.
That background gives him a unique insight into the possibilities and constraints of each. For our Focus on Innovation, I spoke with Tullman about the foundation EHRs have created for the future of digital health, what to expect next from Livongo, and where he expects next-gen innovations to come from.
Q: You formerly ran Allscripts and now lead Livongo. Given that perspective, what’s your take on the innovation happening in so many corners of healthcare right now?
A: EHRs are fundamentally data repositories, so what do you need to do? You need to make them much easier for physicians to use on the front-end. On the back-end a lot of companies like IBM Watson and smaller startups are saying ‘we’ll take the data from the EHR and analyze it to give you real feedback on how to provide better care.’ But EHR vendors aren’t doing any of that innovation.
Q: We are seeing EHR vendors take steps to open their platforms to third-party developers and enable them to drive some of that innovation but is that the answer?
A: EHRs were an important step to get things digitized but they have not realized the promise of making it easier for physicians to deliver care and they haven’t been connected to each other. Why not? Technology-wise, they could be connected.
Q: Well, there’s a lot of innovation happening in healthcare and much of has little to with EHRs. Where is it all going?
A: The future of healthcare is not about big software systems in hospitals. That’s important but healthcare today is about how we empower people with chronic conditions, how we empower those people with software and technology to make it easier to be happier and healthier. Everything people can rip out of a hospital they’re ripping out of a hospital. Surgery centers, urgent care.
Q: In which case, what’s next for Livongo?
A: We’re going to release a cellular-enabled blood pressure monitor so we have hypertension data and give people real-time feedback outside the doctor’s office because 24 percent of people on meds actually white coat hypertension instead of high blood pressure. Imagine if we could get them to check their blood pressure at home versus in the doctor’s office? It’s available now but the official release will happen at Health 2.0.
Q: And what about the broader industry, not just Livongo?
A: We’re going to see a lot of innovation. The world we’re talking about, tons of activity in digital health, making people smarter, helping them navigate the complex world of healthcare, making payments easier — that’s where the innovation is going to come from.
Focus on Innovation
In September, we take a deep dive into the cutting-edge development and disruption of healthcare innovation.