Alan Portela, CEO of AirStrip, has more than 25 years of experience in bringing medical technology solutions to market. Portela originally joined AirStrip as a senior advisor and member of the board of directors prior to his appointment as CEO in 2011. Prior to joining AirStrip, he was CEO and principal of Hybrid Clinical Transformation, LLC, where he developed EHR adoption strategies for the U.S. Military Health System and much of the Veterans Health Administration. He also served as president and chief strategist at CliniComp, Intl., and in senior executive roles in several innovative healthcare technology and service organizations.
AirStrip provides a vendor and data source-agnostic, enterprise-wide mobile interoperability platform that advances care collaboration and serves as a catalyst for health system innovation. Here he discusses mHealth trends; why and how it needs to change; interoperability; security and protecting against breach;and the biggest issues facing healthcare in the next year.
Can you tell us about yourself and your background prior to starting AirStrip? Why healthcare?
Prior to joining AirStrip, I was the president at CliniComp and responsible for the implementation of high acuity EHR systems at the U.S Military Health System, Veterans Health Administration (VA) and a number of prestigious healthcare organizations in the private sector. In my more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, I have held several senior executive roles with innovative healthcare technology vendors and helped pioneer an mHealth company more than a decade ago that came out of UCLA Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery (Global Care Quest). Leading the industry via disruptive and continuous innovation has become a true passion. Each day I see how technology improves patient care, and I enjoy being an active part of that transformation.
What do you think the mHealth industry needs to change to better support doctors and patients today?
Mobile technology and clinical decision support tools will undoubtedly be the biggest contributors to the needed clinical transformation revolution, providing physicians with a means to deliver proactive quality care to millions of patients throughout the continuum of care. However, for clinical transformation to occur, the industry needs to establish – and enforce – interoperable standards so that data and technology can move seamlessly across systems and provide clinically relevant patient information at the moment of care regardless of where the caregivers and the patients are. Interoperability will remove the data silos that currently impede access to information, and allow for clinical decision support that lets clinicians provide the best care, improving overall patient outcomes and well-being. The fact that legacy vendors are not sharing data means that innovation is being stifled. Unfortunately, both the federal government and a handful of legacy vendors seem to be driving us deeper into the crisis by carrying the flag of interoperability, but only limiting requirements to minimal clinical data sets, which do not contribute to the move from volume to value-based reimbursement.
In this series, we are featuring some of the thousands of vendors who will be participating in the HIMSS15 conference and trade show. Through it, we hope to offer readers a closer look at some of the solution providers who will either be in attendance – with a booth showcasing and displaying key products and offerings – or that will have a presence of some kind at the show – key executives in attendance or presenting, for example.
Hopefully this series will give you a bit more useful information about the companies that help make this event, and the industry as a whole, so exciting.
AirStrip enables transformational and lasting improvements in healthcare delivery by creating innovative technology for caregivers to collaborate and care for their patients. AirStrip provides a complete, vendor and data source-agnostic, enterprise-wide mobile interoperability platform and application that advance care collaboration and serves as a catalyst for health system innovation. With deep clinical expertise and strong roots in mobile technology and data integration, AirStrip is empowering leading health systems globally as the industry evolves at a rapid pace.
Dr. Cameron Powell and Trey Moore are innovators in the field of mobile patient monitoring, having developed a technology platform and applications that address the many challenges facing modern healthcare. The two initially met in their Texas church’s parking lot, which led to the creation of AirStrip with co-founder Gene Powell more than a decade ago. Moore boasts an extensive background that includes application development, team leadership and building scalable business applications for both the desktop and handheld platforms, with a focus on creating innovative and compelling user interfaces. Dr. Powell, an obstetrician by training, stopped practicing in 2008 to devote himself full-time to AirStrip. Both remain active members of the AirStrip leadership team, with Dr. Powell serving as chief medical officer and Moore the chief technical officer. Through AirStrip, Dr. Cameron Powell and Trey Moore have delivered on their vision of making the complexities of healthcare technology simpler to navigate than ever before, making patient data accessible regardless of time or location and enabling faster and more informed care decisions, which can lead to improved patient outcomes.
Healthcare is changing, growing in complexity like never before. New clinical challenges, new regulations, new financial pressures and new business models. AirStrip supports healthcare providers in meeting those challenges by using the power of interoperable mobility, erasing the boundaries that separate clinicians from each other and from their patients. AirStrip ONE can empower clinicians to make informed patient care decisions instantly—whenever they need to, wherever they are. That changes everything: for physicians, for patients, and for healthcare organizations. AirStrip puts the power to transform care in your hands.
Representing more than 5,000 app companies and information technology firms, ACT | The App Association is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the intersection of government and the app economy. In addition to drafting best practices, guidelines, and FAQs to help inform app companies about new legal obligations, ACT | The App Association hosts conferences, bootcamps and workshops to provide developers the resources they need to ensure compliance.
As the only organization focused on the needs of small business entrepreneurs from around the world, ACT | The App Association advocates for an environment that inspires and rewards innovation while providing resources to help its members leverage their intellectual assets to raise capital, create jobs, and continue innovating.
Here, Morgan Reed, executive director of the organization, discusses its goals, the app economy, how ACT | The App Association works across mobile health, innovations in the space and what’s likely to come in the year ahead.
What are the biggest barriers to entry for new health IT companies?
We have a “cascading” problem in the mobile health space right now. Regulatory guidance hasn’t kept pace with the rate of innovation, which has led to care providers being worried they will be exposed to liability, or will be providing services that aren’t covered by health plans.
It’s this fear and uncertainty that keeps hospital systems, independent practices, and individuals from adopting new technology, leaving care providers and patients to suffer as we wait for all the pieces to catch up.
What is ACT | The App Association doing to address issues facing mobile health companies?
ACT | The App Association is spearheading an effort to bring updates to outdated health privacy laws with a group we recently launched called the Connected Health Initiative. This coalition of leading mobile health companies and key stakeholders urge Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to adopt policies that encourage mobile health innovation.
How is ACT | The App Association working with Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services to bring clarity to the outdated regulatory environment facing mobile health companies?
Most recently, ACT | The App Association and a number of our member companies, all of which are part of the newly formed Connected Health Initiative, called on Congress to bring much needed updates to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). We outlined changes needed from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure HIPAA fits better in today’s mobile world.
Make existing regulation more accessible for tech companies. Information on HIPAA is still mired in a Washington, D.C. mindset that revolves around reading the Federal Register, or hiring expert consultants to ‘explain’ what should be clear in the regulation itself. Not surprisingly, app makers do not find the Federal Register to be an effective resource when developing health apps.
Additionally, there are limited user-friendly resources available for app developers, who are mostly solo inventors or small groups of designers – not large companies with the resources to easily hire counsel or consultants who can help through the regulatory process.
Proposed solution: HHS must provide HIPAA information in a manner that is accessible and useful to the community who needs it. The agency should draft new FAQs that directly address mobile developer concerns.
A day removed from the chaos (and wonderment and bliss) of HIMSS14 I thought I’d provide you with some of my thoughts about my experiences at the event. First, it was a wonderful, albeit tiresome experience. I was glad, and proud, to be back.
I attended the show twice before – in 2011 and 2012 as a vendor – and this third time as a reporter. In sum, I enjoyed it much more being there as a member of the press. It was more enriching and engaging and I was able to learn more about what’s actually going on in the space.
My only regret: Not being able to connect with colleagues of mine in the blogosphere. If truth should be told, I would have liked to have personally met as many as possible. The presence of several at the show was noticeable and lively. I crossed paths with several of them, but was not actually able to shake hands and say hello. I take full responsibility. Perhaps I’m a bit shy and introverted.
However, I met many other great people and had great conversations at the show. Omnicell, Verisk Health, Allscripts, ZirMed, MedSys Group and SAS stand out. I saw some great displays and some great IT. However, there were many times in which I was bored. One vendor, for example (with what can probably be described as having the biggest social media presence on Twitter while there) did not live up to the hype, and likely needs some ongoing communication training to help its officers learn how to stay on point and drive a story home; a totally missed opportunity from this reporter’s perspective.
Overall, I tend to agree with John Lynn. I saw very little that was truly exciting and innovative; nothing that really knocked my socks off.
Day 2 at HIMSS14 was much the same as day 1: Lots of walking, talking and great meetings with great organizations. I can’t thank enough vendors like Verisk Health, Omnicell, Amazing Charts and SAS for the great information they’ve shared, and for the perspectives about the market, trends and what’s ahead (and what’s behind).
Electronic health records are now foundational, and in many cases, they’ve lost their sex appeal. Though there’s an obvious and huge presence by them here, this year’s HIMSS doesn’t seem to have the same energy around the technology, from my point-of-view, that they did two or three years ago, for obvious reasons. Though their importance is still great, as we all know, other issues are taking center stage. ICD-10 is the obvious elephant in the room.
“Risk” is the biggest buzz word I’ve heard here in Orlando. I’ve heard it dozens of times. “Patient engagement” seems overcooked, according to those I’ve spoken to; an aspirational concept, yes, but actionable in an an entirely different story. Lofty goals and strategy, fewer practical best practices approaches for proceeding.
Patient engagement has only just begun, or at least is just developing past its infancy, and I look forward to seeing how it matures as a concept. Remember, just a couple years ago, those with vested interest claim patient portals would solve the ever elusive patient engagement issue. Portals clearly have not done so. Why would they? I remain skeptical that the actual patient is at the heart of this conversation rather how a systems can implement “best practices.” We’ll see, I suppose.
That said, HIMSS14 remains a wonderful experience and I’m glad to be here and meeting some wonderful people. I look forward to what today brings. Likely, more walking!
AirStrip provides a complete, vendor and data source agnostic enterprise-wide clinical mobility solution, which enables clinicians to improve the health of individuals and populations. With deep clinical expertise and strong roots in mobile technology and data integration, AirStrip is empowering the nation’s leading health systems as the industry continues to evolve to new business models, accountable care and shared risk. Based in San Antonio, Texas, AirStrip allows health systems to unlock the full potential of their existing technology investments with a complete mobility solution that provides access to critical patient data across the care continuum. AirStrip is backed by investments from Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm, Inc., Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and the Wellcome Trust. AirStrip’s customers includes HCA, Texas Health Resources, Vanguard Health Systems (part of Tenet Healthcare Corporation), Dignity Health and Ardent Health Services.
Allscripts delivers the insights that healthcare providers require to generate world-class outcomes. The company’s Electronic Health Record, practice management and other clinical, revenue cycle, connectivity and information solutions create a Connected Community of Health for physicians, hospitals and post-acute organizations.
Axial’s products improve the quality of patient care, and reduce the cost of providing it, by credentialing the most qualified providers, delivering point of care decision support tools, and utilizing a 360-degree cloud-based predictive model to stratify risk and quantify outcomes. Axial furthers the IHI Triple Aim of driving healthcare value by developing cost-effective, quality-based treatment pathways combined with seamless IT and workflow integration.