“Innovate or die” has taken on a whole new meaning in the last month thanks to COVID-19. From building ventilators with car parts to hospitals repurposing video conferencing apps for patient engagement, a pandemic changed the world and innovations changed the delivery of healthcare. In a post-pandemic world, failing to have a virtual engagement strategy isn’t just unwise, it’s potentially fatal; for patients, staff and a sustainable business model.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and while telehealth was “invented” a long time ago, it’s here now, and it’s here permanently out of necessity. There’s been much written about this recently, but we also have to acknowledge all the other ways healthcare will need to be ready for what’s next. Because one thing is for sure – healthcare will never be the same.
As of May 12, there are currently 1.4 million cases of COVID-19 in the US, and 82,799 deaths due to the virus. By the time I’m done writing this, those stats will be higher. By the time this article is published, those stats will be higher still.
While our minds immediately go to those in healthcare who are fighting COVID-19 on the front lines – the doctors, nurses, technicians, and countless support staff in hospitals and clinics – it’s important to remember that all of healthcare is suffering in some way. While half of healthcare is working long hours in dangerous conditions without proper PPE, the other half of healthcare is out of work.
There are few elective procedures right now, which displaces all the staff associated with those types of hospitalizations – surgeons, surgical nurses, etc. Healthcare as an industry is learning to cope out of necessity. But hopefully we’re also learning some valuable lessons about what’s possible for the future. And some of those lessons will set the new standards of care.
While it took years and massive federal investment for healthcare to adopt technologies like EHRs, in mere weeks we’ve seen an exponential increase in use of virtual/digital engagement tools.
Patients are embracing the convenience and safety of “distance medicine” enabled by these solutions. Whether patients were simply unaware of the option or maybe distrusted telehealth, their fears and hesitations about it are gone.
Due in large part to the HITECH Act and the meaningful use incentive program, electronic medical record (EMR) initiatives have dominated the IT efforts of healthcare providers for the better part of the past decade. Most of the focus over this time has been placed on simply implementing the technology and getting clinicians to embrace it.
Now that more than 95 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are currently using EMRs*, it seems the focus is beginning to shift. However, the move isn’t away from EMRs to some other groundbreaking technology. Instead, the focus is transferring from simply implementing EMRs to optimizing the software in order to squeeze more value out of it.
You see, most healthcare providers aren’t very happy with the ROI they are currently getting from their multimillion-dollar EMR investments. In fact, only 10 percent believe they are getting a positive or superb return from their EMRs, according to a recent survey of 1,100 healthcare professionals by Health Catalyst.
The remainder describe the ROI as terrible, poor or mediocre.
As a result, healthcare providers are turning their attention to enhancing their existing EMR systems. According to a recent Black Book Market Research survey, 61 percent of healthcare respondents say technology optimization is the highest priority IT engagement for their organizations by the end of 2020. Not surprisingly, EMR software and revenue cycle management systems are the primary targets of these optimization efforts.
Michael Nusimow, CEO, and Daniel Kivatinos, COO, co-founders of drchrono discuss the company, its goals, how to disrupt health IT and how mobile is being embraced by those in healthcare.
Tell me about drchrono, mission, goals and how it fits into the current landscape.
drchrono created a free electronic medical record (EMR) platform on the iPad, iPhone and cloud, and recently announced its newest app for iOS7. This is the first mobile EHR to support Apple’s new iOS7. Physicians are using mobile devices such as the iPad as a key business tool in their practice and it’s drchrono’s mission to enable the world’s doctors and patients to be better connected.
On a more local level, we are looking to bring Silicon Valley technology and people into the forefront of the healthcare space. We are using cutting edge technologies like the iPad and SaaS software to deliver clinical and business tools for office based doctors.
Why use your talents in health IT? What drives you to serve this space?
We went to college together back East and several years after graduating we met up to learn that we both had family members with unfavorable healthcare experiences. We felt this urge to improve healthcare practices starting at the physician/patient level. We realized that a healthcare system built on faxing and shuffling papers is inefficient and thought so much more could be done to streamline the process via new technologies.
Based on our experiences, we witnessed that many office-based doctors were using paper charts for clinical work. If they have a patient taking 10 or more drugs or who has a very complex chart, they will waste a lot of time trying to understand the entire patient’s history. Seeing this need and personally suffering through bad healthcare experiences due to inefficiencies was the inspiration to start drchrono with the goal to digitize healthcare. We both knew we could build a software application that would create a better care experience.