• Principle Healthcare Associates


    Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

    Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

  • Like PHA

Healthcare Innovation for an Economy Built to Last

Healthcare Innovation for an Economy Built to Last

According to President Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, “An economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country.  It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work, and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.” Overwhelmed by the increasingly complex, disorganized and costly system of care, healthcare organizations are creating entities to explore non-traditional solutions to a wide variety of healthcare delivery issues.  Taking a cue from private industry, these organizations are embracing innovation as a means for overcoming a number of previously insurmountable obstacles.  According to the California Healthcare Foundation’s brief, Reinventing Health Care Delivery:  Innovation and Improvement Behind the Scenes, the following is a short list of formal programs that currently exist:

  • Kaiser Permanente’s Sidney Garfield Healthcare Innovation Center serves as a test bed for workflow improvements, floor design plans and new technologies. In addition, they host comparative analyses and live demonstrations of competing technologies and equipment for consideration.  Two innovative processes emanating from this concept include the Nurse Knowledge Exchange, a comprehensive bedside protocol that facilitates information sharing at the time of shift change and KP MedRite, a systematic process for safe medication administration.
  • With three hospitals and 40+ physician practices in predominantly rural Pennsylvania, Geisinger Health System was an early adopter of the patient centered medical home concept.  Rebranded ProvenHealth, this forward thinking entity is focusing on personal care coordination by shifting from episodic acute care to a continuous, comprehensive team-centered approach.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital’s John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation develops, tests and implements improvements for their 22+ primary care practices care delivery process.  Included in their arsenal is a patient decision support tool that involves viewing short videos explaining the pros and cons of various treatments.  Additional efforts to increase the utility of the patient-provider interaction include development of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future which relies heavily on virtual doctor-patient visits.
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Szollosi Healthcare Innovation Fund – borne out of a discussion between patient, Peter Szollosi, and Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, contributions to this entity are being used to improve the overall patient experience.  More specifically, this small group is focused on junctures in the care continuum where significant events transpire but friction or inefficiency often undermine the process.
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center for Better Health provides a range of tools and capabilities for developing, testing and implementing new healthcare methodologies, systems and strategies.  While fifty percent of the work is performed for the medical center and medical school, the remaining time is spent consulting for external clients.
  • Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation is using a patient-centered focus to transform the experience and delivery of health care for patients everywhere. Laser focused on three platforms, each one is centered on human needs, has a multidisciplinary team, internal and external collaborators and a diverse portfolio of projects supported by a solid business model.  Specifically, they have their sights set on practice redesign, community health transformation and care at a distance.
  • Ascension Health Transformational Development Team – as the largest nonprofit health system with 67 hospitals and more than 500 total health care facilities, this group spends a great deal of time scanning a variety of business and industrial sectors to identify ideas, solutions and techniques that may be applicable in extending care beyond the hospital of physician’s office.  Borrowing from the world of high-tech start-ups, Ascension’s “funnel” approach requires a project to progress through a specific set of development, validation and testing stages prior to approval.  In a radical departure from traditional healthcare delivery, this group is also piloting immersion studies aimed at uncovering unique social and cultural barriers to care.
  • John Hopkins Center for Innovative Medicine has been creating new models of health care delivery that improve patient safety, quality and efficiency.  Through the development of tools and training programs that engage health care workers—from frontline staff to top leadership—to realize radical, measurable advances in care delivery.  Leveraging these experiences, the center has also helped hundreds of hospitals in the United States and around the world to develop or expand their quality and safety programs.
  • Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center organizes research teams from multiple Stanford Schools to design and test new methods of health care delivery that substantially reduce population-wide disability and annual per capita health spending in the near term. Research is led by teams of post-doctoral research fellows and mentored by faculty from multiple Stanford Schools with initial emphasis on Business, Engineering and Medicine.
  • Founded in 1995 by Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals, the Center for Connected Health develops new strategies to move health care from the hospital and doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients. Leveraging information technology — cell phones, computers, networked devices and simple remote monitoring tools — the Center helps providers and patients manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness, and improve adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes.
  • A relative new entrant, Boise, Idaho’s St. Luke’s Center for Healthcare Innovation, has culled expertise from the payer and venture capital industry and will be focused on employing venture philanthropy models for the purpose of accelerating cutting-edge projects.  By employing an approach that leads with the community and individuals, rather than an institution, the goal is to offer an opportunity for technology companies to test their wares in the real world.
  • Last but not least, philanthropic pioneers Gary and Mary West launched the West Health Policy Center in Washington D.C. this week.  While heavily weighted towards health policy and reimbursement, two of the five focus areas do include promoting infrastructure independent care and appropriate care utilization. Hoping to act as a fellowship program, the Center intends to:  1) fund research to identify more than $100 billion in cumulative health care cost savings within ten years, 2) serve as a neutral convener between the public and private sectors, and 3) conduct educational activities with government, industry, academia and nonprofit stakeholders.

With relatively differing approaches, several common themes do remain.  Innovating and evaluating effectively requires substantial investment.  In addition, unnecessary duplication of efforts and inability to define/document value can derail any program.  And it is only through structure and metrics that the most tenacious programs will prevail – and prosper – the goal of an economy built to last.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

*Graphic courtesy of the Kaiser Permanente’s Sidney Garfield Healthcare Innovation Center

Advertisements

Healthcare Collaboration: A Dream for All

Healthcare Collaboration: A Dream for All

With the recent celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, we are reminded about his passion for the dignity of life and justice for all Americans.  He would have turned 83 this year; and if this had occurred, it would have defied the average life expectancy of 69.7 years for an African American male.  Revisiting Dr. John Eisenberg’s, former Director for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s 2000 post, I too wonder what Dr. King would think about parity, but also the manner in which healthcare is delivered today?

While there remains significant work to be done regarding access for the under and uninsured, do we not have a wealth of opportunity to level the playing field by inviting all Americans to engage in their healthcare experience?  By encouraging patients to express their preferences for the type/intensity of health care services they receive and the settings in which they receive them, perhaps we would see more people taking an active role in preventative health and not just responding to an acute episode.

Poised on the cusp of a digital health revolution, there have been significant advances in electronic and personal health records,  mobile phones and wireless technologies, text messaging, tracking sensors and social media.  Despite this gain, a recent hypertension study published by the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association, noted that a mere 26% of patients used personal health records (PHR) frequently.   And it was only the most frequent users of the PHRs that saw reductions in their blood pressure.  So, how do we change this?

In the recent Congressional Budget Office economic and issue brief, Lessons from Medicare’s Demonstration Projects on Disease Management, Care Coordination, and Value-Based Payment, one of the recommendations for delivering high quality low cost services is to apply team-based care that includes face-to-face, as well as, telephonic visits by care managers.  While these individuals by and large have been working with chronic frequent flyers, imagine having a care manager assigned by your insurance company who becomes your point of contact upon entry into the system?  They review your insurance coverage with you to verify that it is appropriate for your needs, aid in your selection of a primary care provider and establish expectations for your role in maintaining your health.  Maintaining your health could very well be the most important job of your life.  Similar to a performance review, the payer care manager would contact you on an annual basis to confirm that you are liaising with your medical home care manager, discussing your care plan and acting on recommendations.  In essence, they become your macro patient relationship manager.

Payer care managers will also be instrumental in maintaining open lines of communication with the care manager, also known as the micro patient relationship manager, assigned to you within your medical home.  The success of such a model would be perpetuated by the secure exchange of vital data via a health information exchange (HIE), thereby allowing both parties to remain up-to-date regarding your current status.  Medical home care managers will work with providers, practitioners and individuals to develop a comprehensive plan of care.  And by ‘working’, these individuals become responsible for educating patients about their outcomes and reinforcing the role that they play in determining them.  With a firm baseline and predictive modeling, patients will receive preventative health reminders, episodic management and transitional follow-up.  Removing the burden of information exchange with pharmacy and lab providers, specialty providers, ambulatory sites and long-term care providers will also facilitate this critical planning process.

A system that provides connected care to patients no doubt can lead to improved care – and therefore improved health –  which is nothing less than a dream for all.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Digital Health Summit: Should it be Advancing or Aligning Innovation?

Digital Health Summit:  Should it be Advancing or Aligning Innovation?

The Digital Health Summit at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show commenced this week, bringing to the forefront a number of new consumer-based health and wellness innovations that sit at the convergence of technology and healthcare.  According to the Summit’s website, “ today’s generation of high-tech healthcare products and services will be the catalyst for better managed healthcare, patient/doctor communication, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery time, lowered costs for health insurance, early prevention and detection, digital patient information records, medical attention over distances, and so much more. A robust industry is developing to serve the healthcare market. The Digital Health Summit and Exhibition is here to serve as its epicenter.”  While consumer gadgets still dominate the CES 2012 platform, global technology giants clearly recognize that mobile and telehealth will continue to diminish barriers to healthcare access, quality and cost reduction.

Ultrabooks and smart phones with improved processing speeds for better viewing, video and data streaming, remote sensors and hubs, gateways and aggregation software dominated the healthcare presentations.  While these glitzy product launches can be instrumental in introducing new technology, are these companies – established and start-up alike – investing in the right mediums to successfully engage patients and providers for their product use?  As noted in the American Hospital Association’s Care Systems of the Future, the number one priority is to align hospitals, physicians, and other providers across the continuum of care.  Conceivably, one could argue that this should be extended to “hospital-physician-patient alignment,” under which strategies and action plans are implemented to align the interest and needs of the healthcare organization, physician, and the patient.  And when it comes right down to it, healthcare is about relationships – and who do patients trust more than their provider?  More to the point, with trust and respect comes influence.

While insurance companies attempts to engage patients in their healthcare management also remain important, would they not have more success if the patient’s primary care physician were aligned in this critically important mission?  Physicians inherently are analytical individuals, craving data for empirical evidence to validate the utility of new technology.  So goes the endless cycle, begging the question how does one solve it?  In short answer, smart technology vendors are surreptitiously working with residents that are entrenched in the ‘guts’ of healthcare delivery, allowing them to collaborate on future technology applications.  Similar to the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) health video challenge, technology companies should seek opportunities real-time, be it video or state/local society meetings, to solicit feedback from physicians and other healthcare providers regarding best practices for positively influencing patient engagement and technology utilization.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website

Innovating Healthcare Beyond the Primary Season

Innovating Healthcare Beyond the Primary Season

As the race for the White House heats up, healthcare will continue to be a focal topic.  According to Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan, the debt crisis is, above all, a health care spending crisis. About one-quarter of all federal government spending goes to health care — a percentage that would rise dramatically under the president’s new health care law.  For taxpayers, employers and families alike, health care costs rose about 8 percent in 2011 and are projected to rise by 8.5 percent in 2012.

At the rate health care costs are rising, no one-time tax increase could keep up with spending on health care — taxes would have to rise again and again, devastating the economy. As President Obama recently said, “If you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”

At its root, the Affordable Care Act is designed mainly to extend healthcare coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans by expanding Medicaid for the poor and establishing state exchanges where people with low incomes who do not qualify for Medicaid can buy subsidized private insurance.  In addition, it also calls for innovations that could guide America’s $2.6 trillion healthcare system, the world’s most expensive, toward incentives to contain costs.

In efforts to further this concept, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the billion dollar Health Care Innovation Challenge in October 2011.  Moving at a speed more characteristic of private industry, the first set of advisors were announced a mere two months later.  According to Kathleen Sebelius, “Public and private community organizations, including hospital, physicians, churches, and other groups, are developing innovative solutions to help improve our healthcare system. This competition will help them build on their success.”  Combining process improvement, technology and utilization of appropriate labor forces, the potential exists to reduce redundancy and waste prevalent in the current system.

With the primary season in full swing, Republican candidates have one thing in common—they all want to repeal the health reform law, the Affordable Care Act.  While campaign protocol requires a general response to what they would replace it with, few have stated specifically how they would reduce healthcare costs, improve quality and simultaneously provide coverage to the uninsured.   With the labor force participation rate – the percentage of able bodied adults in the workforce – falling in December and 60,000 falling out of the labor force altogether, the debt crisis – aka the healthcare debate – will continue to rage.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Contact us at PHA email and be sure to visit us at PHA Website