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A Mission to Believe In

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Whenever I need a lift, I watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talks called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. While we may not be great leaders yet, we can certainly apply his “Golden Circle” concept to what we’re doing as we seek to grow the company.

WhyCircleSinek believes that organizations that speak from the center, the “Why”, outward, to the “How” and the “What” are far more successful. Sinek contends that 100% of us know “What” we do, and some of us even know “How” we do it but a smaller subset really understands “Why” we do it. It’s not about making a profit, which is a result of our actions. The real question,” is our purpose meaningful, should anyone care, and what get’s us up every morning???” Hiring people who believe in what you do is far different than hiring someone for wages. Folks that believe in what you’re doing will work harder, longer and with more passion than just for wages. Sinek’s example is Apple Computers and the Wright Brothers. Apple believes that they’re purpose revolves around the experience of being an Apple customer and challenging the status quo. They just happen to make computers. The Wright Brothers were the first to successfully put a man in flight even though they were poorly funded and had even less support. Passion and belief were the solid foundation that those successes were built upon.

So as we’re beginning to build G2 Works, it’s important that we develop our “Why”. You can put 50 people in a room and ask how to define Analytics and I would hazard a guess you would get 50 different answers. They’re over 250 companies at HIMSS all claiming to do analytics. You can’t watch a sporting event without seeing one of those “Watson” commercials, which are a little lame, but that’s me. I’m not in favor of allowing machines to decide anything for anyone (Think Terminator and War Games). I am in favor of machine learning tools that help crunch data to support decision processes but we need to be careful about the “human” aspects of informed decisions. We humans have this great attribute called “Intuition”, which according to Steve Jobs, is more powerful than intellect. And while we might argue that point, the best decisions come from the balance of intuition and rational thinking. The combination brings all of the resources of our brain into action. This is what separates us from those who have no thumbs!!!

If we stay with that logic then, our “Why”, would have to be creating interactions with data that support and feed the intuitive aspects of each of us. Every waking moment is dedicated to understanding how to make the experience with data simple and easy. We have to mitigate the complexities of both gathering and presenting data behind the scenes. We have to engage with users to understand what matters to them and how best to augment that intuition that each of us brings to the table. We have to do all this with the idea that there is elegance in simplicity. Just because the subject matter is complicated does not mean the solutions need to be. We have a tendency to over-engineer software in ways that make the vast majority of systems less than 40% utilized. Is this achievable??? Sinek’s last example in his Ted Talks was that of Martin Luther King. Those of us old enough to remember that August 28, 1963 speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, were all moved by his words. The “I Have a Dream” speech spoke to the future of what could be. It takes a belief to make things happen. I think we just found our “Why”.

“The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves”

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I read an article written by Tom Emerick in the Healthcare Blog called “Torture the Data Until It Confesses”, and it got me thinking. So, I used the old joke for the title to this article “The beatings will continue until morale improves,” because both Tom and I are using that play on words to say the same thing. Torture the data until results improve… or the data confesses!!! While Tom was focused on claims data, I believe that the concept applies to all data. I learned a great lesson many years ago, as we were developing an EIS (Executive Information System). We were giving data to a bright group of executives and not giving them the flexibility to torture the data dynamically. It turned out to be torture to them!!! In those days all the data was batch driven, so there was always a delay in the timing, which made the quality of the data, suspect. We all know when we’ve been in a train wreck, as we have the bruises and scars to prove it. What we don’t know is why we were in the wreck to begin with. Healthcare as an industry is desperate to be able to torture the massive amounts of data that we produce daily. We can’t change how and what we do to make our industry more efficient until we change the way we torture the data.

Today, we get data through a series of reports that are produced by all the siloed systems within the four walls of whatever care delivery system we’re working in. Typically, our method for torturing the data is to put pieces of the data reported manually into a spreadsheet to see answers to how we’re performing across the organization. This manual process, I submit, is a form of torture (think water boarding) in and of itself. How much time are we wasting chasing these reporting mechanism’s that do nothing but report back,” we’ve been in a train wreck”??? While I can’t give you a definitive number as yet, our development partner has told us they believe they save upwards of 30% of executive time by utilizing the G2 Works Platform. To be honest, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on the number of Libraries and Apps within those libraries that will help folk’s torture their data. Let me be clear, we’re not a report writer and don’t want to be. There are lot’s of those out there. Our “Why”, is that we want to be the company that enables bright, intelligent executives to effectively torture their data to make their delivery system more efficient. We want to give them the ability to torture the data dynamically while the resolution has some meaning to enhancing how those services are being rendered. We want to create a platform that does not limit, but enhances those bright minds to challenge what they see, to avoid future train wrecks.

The good news is that technology has finally evolved to a point were all this is possible. And while our siloed systems are still siloed, and that’s not going to change anytime soon, we can invoke technology to help solve the data issue. Perhaps the “torture” metaphor is a little over the top for the healthcare industry. That said, it really does capture the essence of the problem. Maybe, just maybe, this is a form of torture we can all get behind. What do you think???

Transforming Healthcare

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I read an article on The Healthcare Blog over the weekend called “HillaryCare 2.0- “Back to the Future” by Jim Purcell. Not only insightful and filled with links to other proof sources, I found it interesting how similar conceptually both HillaryCare and ObamaCare are to one another. Both seek transformation of our industry but do so in such a way as to coerce and force on us drastic prescriptions for controlling the conduct of the states, employers, anyone providing good and services, doctors, hospitals and you and I. Of course it failed in 1993 only to have it shoved down our throats in 2010. Then as now, most of our politicians either have short memories or still do not realize that when it comes to healthcare we are all very passionate. What we want are choices and transparency not some cookbook approach to something as personal as our healthcare.

The article goes on to say what we must do to reform healthcare. First, you cannot reform healthcare without reforming how it’s delivered. You can’t reform how it’s delivered until you reform how it’s paid for. You can’t reform how it’s paid for until we agree on a universally governing set off standards for quality of care and outcomes by which every single practitioner and organization will be measured and publically scored. And we cannot measure quality of care and outcomes without interoperable electronic medical records that are core to the delivery of care. Of course all of this is influenced by how we, the public, accept our part of the responsibility of staying healthy and using the system appropriately. And while I agree in principle, setting standards is somewhat problematic. In a market that is functioning correctly it’s normally the highest quality for the lowest price. Whether I choose the lowest price is dependent on how I feel about how the particular service or product fits into my circumstances and who is performing that service. Can I afford it? Do I believe in the company or person providing the service? Do I have enough information to make an informed decision? Who are the competitors and what are customers saying about them? Do I know anyone who has used either the service or product?

Let me suggest that while all the aforementioned steps to reform are important, the transparency dilemma is what will disrupt our industry. Electronic medical record data is of great importance only if it allows me to participate in my care and own the data. I understand how it helps care delivery but if we’re to transform the industry the consumer/patient must play an active role. Ignoring the patient/consumer is how we got here to begin with. So we have both a data issue and a confidence issue that we, the people, are capable enough to handle our healthcare decisions. And while the is a percentage of the populace that are in need of help, can we at least build a system that works for the 80% that can and will make those decisions and a safety net for those that cannot. I wonder what that system might look like???

Can Healthcare Ever Become Consumer-Centric???

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You can’t swing a dead cat around without hitting the realities of how technology can help us transform our industry we’ve spent our careers in to become more consumer oriented. The issue is do we have the will to change our industry and the courage to face the tough issues of data governance and security as we move swiftly. The very folks that have the furthest to go are the folks under the most relentless pressure I’ve seen exerted since the advent of PPS way back when. Care delivery in this country is under siege. We can argue that it’s well deserved or not but it doesn’t change the steep hill we must climb. We have both doctors and nurses leaving direct care delivery. The pressure of providing the service and the technology we’re currently using is creating an inordinate amount of work that produces no value. We’re creating a bureaucratic nightmare that doesn’t compliment the effort of either those that are rendering or receiving those services and there’s no end in sight. It’s as if the good folks in Washington believe that with a mere stroke of a “Harry Potter” wand will make all of the old disappear and a new far better world is just right around the next bend. While that may work in a Hollywood movie, I haven’t seen that manifested in real life.

I’ve said repeatedly that the professionals in this industry are some of the best. Yet their plight and by extension ours, has been taken over by forces that we’re now just beginning to understand. Because our industry lacks any form of transparency, as consumers we’re left to our own devices. As I write this I’m thinking about the Delta App on my phone and my Amazon Prime experiences just yesterday. Both companies have expended millions of dollars trying to learn about our habits and us. They now use that knowledge to make sure that we keep using their products and services by making our experiences very simple, very easy, and very targeted. Both companies are aggressive with surveys on the experiences that we’ve had and what can be done to make that experience better. They send us reminders of things we’ve done in the past as well as products and services that may be of interest. Now some may feel that kind of communication adds a layer of pressure that we don’t want or need. For me, I would much rather deal with an organization that thinks enough of my business to keep me front and center as opposed to a necessary evil to be dealt with when absolutely necessary. The transition of these two companies has happened over the last 20 years. Amazon was started in 1994 and Delta started flying passengers in 1929. Neither one got here over night but Amazon has really lead the charge when it comes to being consumer-centric.

The key to making our industry consumer-centric is data, DUH!!! The difference is that the data that Delta and Amazon are focused on is centered on our habits and how we chose to spend our money. We can’t say that about our industry can we??? Well, healthcare is fundamentally different than any other industry and therefor not subject to the same drivers. Wrong!!! The closer we get to value-based purchasing, the higher the deductibles become, the more the focus needs to be on you and your preferences. Yes, healthcare is a collaborative effort between care delivery and us. And yes we’re beginning to see changes in approaches stimulated by our need to spend less and get more in return. But we’re moving at a snails pace by comparison to other industries. How do we speed things up???

The way to speed things up is to start with the patient at the center and work backwards from there. Every touch point, every occasion of service, every communication needs to analyzed and reviewed. Where we find bottlenecks we eliminate them and then find out from the source whether we hit the target. The measures that are coming out of CMS are a good starting point. All that said, our industry has to communicate more freely and openly with their patients/consumers. We are all sensitive to the issues around data security but we cannot allow that to de-rail our march to become more consumer-centric. At G2 Works, we’re spending countless hours thinking about how to help care delivery with this challenge. We’re both patients as well as consumers like you. And while we’re making progress there is still much to do.

At HIMSS “It’s Deja Vou All Over Again”

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Having spent last week in Las Vegas attending my 25th (I’m old) HIMSS meeting, with over 40,000 other brave souls, I’m reminded of Yogi Berra’s often used quote. According to my fitbit, I walked over 10.9 miles the first day and subsequently added another 11.3 miles before collapsing on the airplane home. And, while my walking prowess is interesting, it’s what I saw and observed that compels me to write this morning and use the Berra quote. I saw dozen’s of presentations on the floor and was struck that most of the issues and problems that were being addressed have been talked about for years and even sometimes decades. The first discussion around EMR’s was way back in the early 90’s.

Thank God our industry is filled with many conscientious, hard working folks trying to make a difference. We know we’re both problem solvers as well as participants in this health Eco-system that we all have spent our lives trying to improve. My belief is that we’ve reached a tipping point where just talking about what has to take place is no longer going to be suffice. Our industry has got to come to grips with the anger and frustration of both patients and caregivers over the state of our healthcare system that does not cater to providing the highest quality for the lowest price.

A system designed around care delivery, albeit not very well, not patients.

A system that has become so expensive, 18% of GDP, to make us non-competitive in a world that shows us daily that most do not fear our economic prowess anymore.

A system where patient’s opinions have to be accounted for and dealt with while the occasion of service is being rendered. At one of the presentations at HIMSS a well-known CIO stated that Twitter complaints don’t matter. REALLY???

As the value-based pricing models begin to take hold there is no question that the lack of transparency that most of us have into the system has to disappear. The more the patient has to pay the more questions they have, the more options they’ll pursue, and settling for the pat answers we’ve been giving are at an end. I worry that our history of innovation in information technology, a slow and steady course, is going to get replaced with an aggressive fast paced model that will make even the largest players in our space shiver. I’m afraid that the conventional wisdom of most of our current businesses processes will have to be replaced by those that recognize that old patterns of thinking can no longer be supported. If you are not disrupting your status quo, then you’ll be what’s for dinner as we go over that tipping point. This has happened to every other industry but ours and it’s now our time in that barrel. Are we prepared for this new reality?

The good news is that I saw lots of innovative thinking on the perimeter of the Las Vegas event. What we should be doing is putting the new innovation at the center of the event and allow the “old guard” to be on the perimeter so at least you’d have the opportunity to see what’s out there. I know that will never happen!!! The even better news is that healthcare has always been an industry that has rewarded new ideas as you can tell by the number of start-ups our industry spawns every year. I saw and talked to many folks in the banking and private equity space that are trying to find the next Uber or Facebook in healthcare. I also saw an international presence that is becoming more prominent. We Americans tend to believe that the world revolves around our solutions and us even though we represent a mere 5% of the world’s population. Every nation has healthcare issues that need to be solved.

We all complain every year about going to HIMSS, don’t we??? But every year that I go, I come back more motivated about the possibilities of making a difference. So while the subjects may be the same, the solutions continue to evolve. See you next year in Orlando!!!

Big Data!!! Big Questions???

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I read with great interest this morning Michael Malone’s article called “The Big-Data Future Has Arrived” which appeared in this morning’s Wall Street Journal Opinion Page. While very compelling and well-written two things really struck me. First, while Big-Data has seen its biggest inroads in commercial markets to date, healthcare will be impacted in ways that 5 years ago we would have never imagined. From the Genome project, to drug clinical trials, to disease management, to population health, the world we grew up in is about to change at a speed that’s liable to be breathtaking. All this is happening in an industry very quick to accept clinical advances but reluctant or even reticent to accept process or workflow changes. And while we’re beginning to see changes in the care delivery systems we all know, can or will they adapt to change at the rate required to support the movement to a consumer based healthcare system.

More importantly and as Michael points out in his article, big data will force questions on us that we really have no answers for today. Who owns our personal healthcare data? Today our data is scattered across our care delivery teams in their silos with our access being web portals for each member. Right now there is little or no aggregation of that data for our ease of use. As Malone suggests the very design of our healthcare Eco-system may indeed call for a “Bill of Data Rights” in order to resolve the issue. The problem is that care delivery wants to own their segment of the data to insure proper re-reimbursement for the services they render. With the government pushing us toward value based purchasing and re-reimbursements being subject to hold backs due to quality, the problem is getting more convoluted. We’ve reached an inflection point where the fundamental design of our systems has to catch-up with the reality of how fast our data needs are expanding.

The good news in all this is that our care delivery systems for the most part do a great job of collecting information so we do not have to start from ground zero. The power of big data however is the disbursement of that data/ metadata to the point where it will do the most good. And while we’re not there yet, this industry will solve the problem and in doing so discover solutions to needs we never imagined.

Most of us will be at HIMSS next week in Las Vegas. I’m looking forward to connecting with both colleagues (Booth4443) and company’s that will help move us forward.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

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I saw this quote yesterday on LinkedIn and it made me harken back to my “Captain Quality” days at the old HBO & company here in Atlanta. My interest in in TQM (Total Quality Management) was driven by what I saw in the field as a national sales leader for the mainframe group within HBOC. Talking and interacting with both customers and prospects it became clear to me that what we were creating in software wasn’t meeting the needs of the customers. What software we were producing were reconstituted versions of what we already had in a new wrapper. In hindsight, we allowed the pressures of being a public company to overly influence decisions around the products and the technology. Couple that with the fact that in “those days” we believed that our customer was the hospital and the physicians and they were, we begin to understand our current dilema. In my simple brain, I always considered the end user whether they are in admitting, in A/R, on the docks, to nurses and physicians were the focus of our efforts. Notice I said nothing about the patient/customer because at this point in our history they were merely cogs in the wheel of healthcare. All quality programs are built around their customers and removing barriers to producing a high quality product for the lowest possible price. My intent in becoming “Captain Quality” was to educate our people on not only the concepts of TQM but also how to we as an organization needed to view our responsibilities to our customers. In 18 months we trained every employee we had and I thought we were on our way. As it turned out it represents the worst failure I’ve ever had because while the training was a success, the roll-out failed.

The key to quality is data, and the courage to use it in a way that gets the best result. This is where culture comes in. As we all know, culture starts at the very top of the organization, which means the Board, CEO and direct reports, middle management all the way down to the janitorial staff. If any level doesn’t take the cause to heart and lives it and breathes it, the likelihood of success diminishes very quickly. In this case the top leaders were going to use the program as a method to trim headcount, as at the time our financial results were less than stellar. And while there must be a balance between your current reality and the direction you’re going, people have to believe that all the hard work that accompanies these kinds of effort will benefit everyone and most especially the customer. Focusing on the financial took precedent over everything else so the values and the processes we were trying to improve never really took hold. The old adage of success has many fathers while failure is an orphan is very fitting to my experiences. And while I hate that we didn’t get where we wanted to as an organization, the experiences and the history of what followed taught me many lessons, which still influence me to this day.

So the mission I started in 1990 still lives on here at G2 Works. I honestly believe that our industry is finally in a place where the concepts of TQM or whatever it’s being called today can be exploited. My biggest concern is that our industry is the only one I know where our data is both an asset and a liability. Most other industry’s data breaches certainly have market implications and legal fallout. Healthcare data breaches are in a class all their own and the full ramifications of which none of us truly understand as yet. To really get at lean concepts the data has to be democratized so decisions and processes that need to be improved can be in real time. I’m not sure as an industry we’re there yet which means that we may have to crawl before we walk and walk before we run. I’m not sure how quickly healthcare can get to real time but I do know that until you do we’ll find it hard to bend the cost curve down. The speed with which our industry is now changing is really breath taking for someone who has been at this for 35 years. When I first viewed the “Internet of Things” back in early 2000’s from work out of MIT my eyes glazed over with all possibilities. Then I remembered I was in healthcare. As all of us know the healthcare highway is littered with the bones of Technology Company’s large and small that believed that their product would be the silver bullet that our industry has been waiting for. Only to find out that healthcare isn’t simple and it’s always the last to adopt emerging non-clinical technology.

Will the next few years be different??? I really do believe so. My hope is that the work I started way back when may finally pay some dividends. If you’re at HIMSS16 – come see me at Booth #4443.

Accomplished Community Hospital Enlists Cloud Technology To Turn Their Data Into Actionable Information

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WCHPANAMA CITY, FL., “February 17, 2016” (Business Wire)Wood County Hospital (WCH) announces a successful implementation and go-live of the G2 Works scalable cloud analytics technology platform; providing data-driven information to advance quality and operational efficiency initiatives.

G2 Works, the Cloud Analytics as a Service for Healthcare company, has deployed in record time, an advanced cloud analytics platform coupled with services to bolster WCH’s analytics strategy.  This analytics engagement will enable WCH to 1) rapidly make efficient changes to clinical, operational and financial processes, 2) recognize significant returns in both hard and soft costs, and 3) enhance their patient care experience.

From Skepticism to Savings

WCH_imageWCH, like many mid-sized care environment facilities, found themselves pushing off their Business Intelligence (BI) needs due to factors endemic to most hospitals. “We didn’t have the time, the deep financial pockets, or extensive resources to develop a BI reporting function. When G2 Works met with us and shared their vision of what they could provide to us, I was initially very skeptical,” recalls Joanne White, CIO, Wood County Hospital.

“We’ve had many vendors make grand presentations, only to learn there were limits or barriers to success. But, out-of-the-gate with G2 Works, we were able to easily see areas for immediate clinical process improvement. Our preliminary findings estimate that we’ll save our clinicians 30% of their time in retrospective reporting in the ED. They’ll now be able to spend this time with patients, improving the care-giving experience at WCH”.

WCH patients also indirectly benefit from the cloud analytics with smoother operational processes. As Dawn Mason, RN, BS, MSN, Director of Quality and Accreditation explains, “the implementation of the G2 Works product provides our team with a real-time composite of the patients that are within our facility.  Not only does this allow our staff to prioritize their work in meeting insurance utilization review deadlines, but also allows them to work more efficiently.  The G2 Works product eliminates the need to look at patients’ demographics and insurance payers in our EHR system separately, as it provides all of that information in a color-coded and tabulated, “one-stop-shop” format.”

When asked about the implementation success at WCH, Bruce Grambley, CEO at G2 Works shared, “G2 Works is proud of the speed at which we deploy actionable information to the right caregiver at the right time.” We are committed to providing clinicians with actionable information at the point of care which will reduce unnecessary interventions, help eliminate wastes, and drive down the “real” cost of healthcare. Ultimately, due to G2 Work’s technology, providers will be able to deliver better patient outcomes and improve the patient experience.”

To hear more from Wood County Hospital about their realized process improvements and savings with G2 Works, come see a presentation by Joanne White, CIO, Wood County Hospital at HIMSS 2016 in the InterSystems booth #4443

March 1 – 4:00PM

March 2 – 3:30PM

March 3 – 11:30AM

 

About G2 Works – www.g2works.com

G2 Works delivers intuitive cloud-based analytics for healthcare enabling more efficient care delivery. Our scalable technology platform captures and presents straightforward, data-driven information needed to make more insightful decisions about patient care and operations. Our easy-to-understand analytics help facilities unearth the value of their technology investments and utilize the vast amounts of data they produce to rapidly make positive impacts. Organizations can quickly and accurately uncover trends to reduce bottlenecks, improve performance and ultimately reach corporate goals. G2 Works – actionable intelligence through analytics as a service for process improvement.

About Wood County Hospital – www.woodcountyhospital.org

Founded in 1951, Wood County Hospital is a private, not-for-profit general acute care facility, licensed for 196 beds, that serves a population of over 72,000 in Wood, Henry, Seneca, Sandusky and Hancock counties in Northwest Ohio.

Receiving Meaningful Use Stage 2 Year 2 attestation, a recipient of HIMSS Stage 6 designation in 2015, and 2015 Most Wired Hospital, Wood County Hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.

The Confusion Over Big Data

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One of the many things that attracted me to G2 Works was trying to help make sense out the difference between what IBM’s “Watson” represents and the world we currently live in from a healthcare perspective. We’ve all seen the commercials on television with Watson speaking with Dylan about his lyrics, Ken Jennings about the game show questions and answers. And while entertaining, what are we aiming this incredible tool towards???

The healthcare industry produces massive amounts of data every minute of every hour of every day. The information systems we’ve developed do a wonderful job of aggregating information on patients and procedures regardless of venue. The rub is how to convert all of this data to actionable information that enhances and facilitates a better patient experience. As I’ve said before, these systems were designed around care delivery not around the patient’s experience.

Does that mean we need to rip and replace???

Not only NO, but heck no!!!

While Watson represents one tool, we need to follow what other industries have done when faced with the dilemma of having actionable data at the point of the action. In an interview of Hilary Mason CEO of Fast Forward Labs, and Andreas Weigend former Chief Scientist of Amazon.com, I found several concepts that I think are important in our quest to eliminate the confusion.

The first concept is that of data democratization. Yes I know, I have a hard time saying “democratization” too!!! We in healthcare think of this data as a liability not an asset because of all the negative things that can happen to us if somehow the data is hacked, lost, or viewed by someone not entitled to view the data. We’ve seen plenty examples of these things happening over the years. If we continue to stay defensive on this issue, our ability to move quickly to change or modify what’s not working in making that patient experience better will be hindered.

Most processes we put patients through in healthcare are not tailored to be expedient. They’re tailored to not make a mistake even though we all know that mistakes will still be made and the experience of the patient still is less than what it should be. Case in point. This morning because I’m old (er), I have to arrange for a test that I don’t want to do but my physician say’s it has been too long between procedures. Okay, I get it. The paperwork that was required just to ask a few questions was atrocious. Thank God they let me download it and fill it out at home. That said, having to read through 17 pages of questions that they already had answers to because the specialist I was referred to had just acquired the very practice where all previous procedures had taken place is not the experience I was hoping for. My previous specialist retired, so apparently all the data he had collected over the last 10 years is now obsolete. It’s happened to all of us and yet we still put up with it. It won’t stop until all of this data becomes ours that we’ll have the symmetry required to make the experience better. Right now we’re playing cards with a stacked deck not in our favor.

The second concept that I believe get’s lost, and adds to the confusion, is that all of this data is a tool for enhancing “Human” intuition. The minute we allow machines to make decisions we invite Arnold’s “Terminator” character a seat at the table. Most of the professionals we deal with in healthcare got there because they were both educated and experienced. They see things every day that go into that bank of experience that they draw from when necessary. Data for them reinforces those intuitions as well as can point out thing that were too small for our human radar to see. While the power of computing continues to advance at startling rates, the purpose of that power has to be built around us ordinary folks.

This is what keeps me up at night. How do we at G2 Works make the confusion and fog around Big Data and Analytics disappear??? How can we simplify and speed up the creation and adoption of applications that make the patient experience a better one??? It all starts with a group of like-minded people coming together and waking up every morning with the expressed purpose of solving this problem. I know we’re not the only ones working on this problem.

Our dream is to be an organization that is ever mindful that we must continue to innovate to assist our cumbersome, hard to navigate healthcare system to become the smooth flowing patient centered system it must become.

Health Insurance: “Employers vs. Health Costs”

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In Friday morning’s Wall Street Journal, Louise Radnofsky article caught my attention.

While I’ve seen employer’s alliances before, most have whithered and died on the vine before a measurable difference occurred. Part of the problem was the purpose; part of the problem was the participants. We employers have a dual dilemma. We have to provide health insurance in order to attract the talent required to drive the business to the performance level required to grow and prosper. At the same time, most of us are not healthcare experts so we tend to focus on those areas we know and understand with the hope that our healthcare system would act like any normal functioning businesses.

By that I mean offering the highest quality product at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately, with healthcare costs approaching 18% of GDP, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As our world continues to get flatter, we here in the US are becoming less competitive when you factor the cost of healthcare to the products and services we produce. Certainly the size and the complexity of our economy can support additional expense but we’re over 5% higher than our closest competitor of comparable size.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to determine that healthcare is the most inefficient industry we have here in the United States. Most industries here and around the world have gone through, and are continuing to go through, the “lean” revolution that came with the push for higher quality and lower costs. Advances in technology have exacerbated this revolution by decreasing the time between idea creation and value realized. This means that in an industry like healthcare, which is today managed retrospectively, our task is much more daunting. Lean concepts are built around customers. Healthcare has been built around care delivery with little attention paid to the patients/customers. So how do we turn the corner???

 I think Louise’s article is capturing a future trend that has legs. Privately insured businesses have done a remarkable job squeezing every penny of EPS from their supply chains by using “lean” concepts. The next logical place to attack is the largest expense they incur, people costs. The one area where most of them have little or no transparency as to how their dollars are being spent is the very healthcare benefit they are compelled to deliver. While most companies get views into their claims, the data lags the events. The only way to impact the dollars is to be aware as to how the dollars are being spent and how services are being rendered to their employees.

Lean is driven by “data”. The company’s successful transition from being just a provider of insurance to a partner with their employees is dependent on the healthcare delivery system, the payers, and the government creating an environment to do so. In the 35 years I’ve been in this industry that has very rarely happened. I do get the sense that that’s about to change. For all of our sake let us hope so.