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Thought Leaders in Healthcare IT: Michael O’Neil, CEO of GetWellNetwork (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Feb 14th 2018

Sramana Mitra: My conclusion, to some extent, is that the drive to get these kinds of systems out would probably need to come from the payers because they are incentivized to keep people healthy. You’re right. The data are sitting inside of different providers. It’s a complex adoption cycle. In your orbit, who are at the forefront of this work?

Michael O’Neil: Let me say one thing about what you said. What we’re seeing happen is that the regulatory change is driving a lot of integration of payers and providers. The providers are taking on risk, thus becoming payers in many instances. Kaiser Permanente are both payer and provider in many respects. It’s not surprising that the forward-thinking innovations are happening in these fully-integrated systems.

For them, it’s a no-holds bar. They’ll say, “Listen. Break down the walls of a technology barrier. Put the power in the hands of the patient and our clinical providers to provide better care.” You’re right. That’s where we’re starting to see a lot of traction. Some of the folks are actually leading in this space; I would tell you that this is a team sport. This isn’t solved by some massive technology company suddenly claiming they’re going to be in healthcare.

This is a combination of finding a portfolio of technology suppliers and innovators that can partner effectively with a payer and provider or an integrated payer/provider system and begin to create a breakthrough on this. For example, out in Southern California we recently were in a very significant collaboration with Kaiser Permanente on a new campus they’re building in San Diego.

One of the things they wanted to do was to make sure they can bring more physicians around the point of care to have more effective transitions of care with patients and families. We worked on with them for a year on an R&D project to bring secure telehealth visits, whereby a physician can order up a visit through their electronic health record. It will notify the patient, invite them into a secure telehealth chat, and have them bring family member. Now, you have a collaboration at the point of care with multiple physicians, multiple family members, and all documented into the chart for reimbursement.

Sramana Mitra: I hear you, but you’re still solving the problem only at the communication layer. Because I know a lot about artificial intelligence, it seems like all these doctors are fumbling because they can’t do these multi-variate optimization in their heads, which is completely insane that we even expect them to do it. Where are we from being able to do that process? You have to separate the communication layer to the actual brain that powers that communication process.

Michael O’Neil: I think that’s right. I think IBM and some companies are starting to build some pretty significant analytics capabilities where they’re pretty dynamically going after new and unique datasets to add to those engines. Your observation is accurate. The industry is still still absorbing that data as much as they’re pushing back because they’re ill-equipped from a process standpoint to be able to take it all in, assimilate it in the time that they have, and use it for intervention.

Healthcare is a more complex model. You are dealing with real people and lives. The industry is behind times. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a single company to name. This involves doing the hard work and taking some micro-populations that include targeted providers and really explore how to assimilate better data. It’s not solved yet.

Sramana Mitra: Great conversation. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Healthcare IT: Michael O’Neil, CEO of GetWellNetwork
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