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Scott joined Overlake Medical Center & Clinics as director of information technology in 2015. Scott has been in healthcare IT leadership for more than 12 years, holding various leadership positions. During his tenure at Overlake, Scott has helped lead the organization through a number of transformational projects, including the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system, the completion a $250 million new patient tower, multiple clinic acquisitions and new clinic openings, and the extension/implementation of the corporate electronic medical record system to a partner hospital’s emergency department.
In your opinion, how has the Healthcare Tech landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?
With Healthcare technology, evolution has historically been a cyclical process that has followed regulatory and legal compliance requirements mostly. Strict compliance, regulation and legal environments have created an industry that has been very risk averse. In many ways this aversion to risk is warranted. We are responsible for patient quality and safety. But even in areas across the healthcare industry where patient care is not impacted, innovation breakthroughs have been few and far between because the incentives in healthcare have not aligned to nurture innovation. Things are changing, and the pandemic has been a big catalyst for this change.
"Two years into the pandemic, patients are not only used to telehealth, in many cases they prefer and demand it"
Telehealth saw a large expansion due to the necessity of social distancing, the loosening of regulations around security, and alignment of incentives for the providers (payment parity). Now, two years into the pandemic, patients are not only used to telehealth, in many cases they prefer and demand it. This has created a significant change in the value placed on this type of healthcare technology.
What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Healthcare Tech landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
There are a number of challenges we need to figure out from a technology perspective. The most important in my mind is true interoperability between not only disparate Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems but expanding that concept to integrate information from non-EHR systems to pull Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) data elements into the context of the patient chart. This would allow our providers to care for the whole person, and see if they are for example, facing food or housing insecurity among other SDOH conditions.
Which are a few technological trends influencing Healthcare Tech today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?
There is a lot of work being done to digitally transform operations across the provider and payor space. Healthcare is difficult to navigate for patients and employees as well. We need to do better. The most progressive healthcare organizations are seeing the value in patient experience from a consumer perspective and working on strategies to build Digital Front Doors into their organizations that allow for a frictionless experience for patients. Being able to engage and communicate with patients through multichannel (voice, text/SMS, IM/ Chat, video) experiences that have similar look, feel and ease of use to what is being used in other industries is at the top of the list. At the same time, organizations need to look at their internal operations. The digital tools their employees are using need fit their expectations and needs as well. Despite deploying EHR systems and ERP systems over the past decade, most healthcare organizations still have many manual processes that could be automated, duplicate data being entered, and difficulty finding the help and information they need daily to be efficient and engaged.
Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Healthcare Tech space?
Healthcare is the business of helping people. The nurses, providers and support staff that work in healthcare organizations are very passionate people who really believe in the mission to care for patients and support our communities. This is an industry that has been historically very risk averse, for good reason. Change is difficult to accomplish in healthcare, but not impossible. We are seeing a whole new generation of staff and providers joining our organizations that are poised to support and lead digital change to allow them to utilize their skills at their full potential. We have patients across every demographic category with increasingly high technical literacy and with that, expectations of how they engage in their own care. To be successful in healthcare, technologists need to value and leverage the clinicians and Healthcare administrators who offer tremendous experience and insight. Work with these talented people to understand their challenges, hopes and dreams. Then develop solutions to address those problems. Don’t bring a technical product or solution looking for a problem it solves like has been done historically. You must show them what’s in it for them, their staff, and their patients