Transforming the ecosystem of healthcare DIGITAL REPORT 2021
IN ASSOCIATION WITH:
TRANSFORMING THE ECOSYSTEM OF HEALTHCARE
Mathew Dietz, Division Director, Digital and Virtual Care Strategy and Dr. Joel Ward, CMIO discuss why healthcare needs to go digital amidst the pandemic
f you’ve caught yourself watching one too many E.R. episodes, then this one’s for you. MercyOne – Iowa’s answer to Country General – is a relatively new health care system, founded in 1998 and currently operates out of 420 care locations across the state of Iowa and neighbouring communities. Mathew Dietz, MercyOne’s Division Director, Digital and Virtual Strategy, and MercyOne’s CMIO Dr. Joel Ward discuss everything from COVID19 to provider burnouts, and more. Dr. Ward has been with MercyOne for a little over six years serving as the Chief Medical Informatics Officer for the health system’s Central Iowa region, along with Dietz who joined about a year ago, as the driver for all digital health strategic and regulatory implementations across MercyOne's seven centres. Currently, the centres have been busy with vaccine implementation, and digital transformation is no longer on the back-burner. The executives talk about how COVID-19 created an urgency for telehealth and the birth of innovation in the light of adversity. The longstanding need for transformation With more than 20,000 colleagues under its wing, MercyOne is no small organization. To be a healthcare provider in a time when all eyes are on you is a lot of pressure, even for the most seasoned players. So what do
Dr Joel Ward & Mathew Dietz
MercyOne Des - the virtual nursing is the new normal
you do when you’re thrown into the deep end of a global pandemic, at a time when people are looking for risk-free, affordable ways to get the best possible care they deserve? You improvise. Dr. Ward and Matt Dietz share a camaraderie that is evident not just through the interview but also in the way tasks are managed at the health system. While Dr. Ward oversees the provider and operational tasks in-house, Dietz spearheads the virtual care strategy at MercyOne. Together, they’re making sure the health system is at the helm of digital transformation. “Healthcare as an industry is usually two to three generations behind technology compared to other industries. The concept of cloud-based storage is something that still requires a large change management process.” says Matt Dietz, setting the premise for why a digital transformation was challenging but very much required. 6
However, the need for a shift to digital didn’t arise solely from the lack of better infrastructure. Patients today want to be in control, whether it’s choosing a healthcare provider or physically commuting to a care centre of their choosing. Keeping this in mind, it was important for MercyOne to adopt newer ways of reaching their primary consumer – the patient. As Dr. Ward points out, “As providers, we've pretty much dedicated ourselves to taking care of our patients. And when our patients tell us that what they needed at the time was a digital transformation, it was pretty obvious to us because due to COVID-19 regulations we had to pause non-essential in-person care and our patient volumes cut down drastically, and some people were just afraid to come in because of the risks. But we didn't really have to look at just the COVID19 pandemic to realize there was a need for transformation, but it’s what the patients really wanted.”
“AS PROVIDERS, WE'VE PRETTY MUCH DEDICATED OURSELVES TO TAKING CARE OF OUR PATIENTS. AND OUR PATIENTS TOLD US THAT WHAT THEY NEEDED AT THE TIME WAS A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION”
DR JOEL WARD TITLE: CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATICS OFFICER INDUSTRY: HEALTHCARE LOCATION: UNITED STATES Joel Ward is the Chief Medical Informatics Officer for MercyOne Central Iowa Medical Group. He is trained in Internal Medicine. He received his doctorate of osteopathic medicine and received a concurrent masters in bioethics from the Kansas City University. He also has experience in utilization management and software engineering. Dr Ward works to achieve improved clinical outcomes through technology where informatics and utilization create workflow efficiency.
DR JOEL WARD
CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATICS OFFICER, MERCYONE
Strategic partnerships that fuel efficiency At a time when hospitals are treating more patients than ever, it has become increasingly imminent that remote monitoring is the way forward. Speaking of steps taken by MercyOne to make this as seamless as possible, the subject of strategic partnerships cannot be ignored. Dr. Ward and Dietz mention two such partnerships that have helped the health system meet patient expectations as well as increase their provider output. “Phreesia is one of our most dynamic partners in creating the digital front door of our clinics.” They have helped develop a patient intake platform that saved MercyOne the pain of manually onboarding details of every patient, and prevented patients from endless paperwork. The health system did see a surge in in-patient numbers, but this has been managed effectively and in record time due to this alliance.
COVID-19 has also pushed the healthcare industry into developing virtual systems of care faster than ever, as a direct consequence of restricted movement, compromised immunity and legislation.
The New Standard of Care HRS has become a nationally-recognized provider of telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions. HRS will continue to innovate to further the mission of improving the care and quality of life for as many patients as possible.
Hospitals + Health Systems Deliver telehealth to patients across the care continuum regardless of acuity
Payers + Payviders Empower patients to age-in-place, provide peace of mind to patients and caregivers
Hospice + Palliative Care
Provide end-of-life care to patients in the comfort of their own homes
Physician + Group Practices
Expand the care setting of your offices, reaching your patients directly at home
Home Health Agencies Manage total cost of care and utilization of members through remote monitoring
Health Recovery Solutions Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) provides healthcare providers and payers with the most advanced telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions (RPM). Aimed at changing patient behavior to improve clinical outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, the HRS solution improves patient engagement by incorporating patients into their condition management— “the HRS solution is all about engaging the patient to be proactive in their disease management. If you can give patients the tools to be successful, they’ll surprise you,” said HRS CEO Jarrett Bauer. HRS’ disease-specific telehealth solutions are customized with symptom surveys, educational videos, care plans, and medication reminders while also integrated with Bluetooth peripherals to facilitate real-time biometric monitoring. The solution, which can integrate into a provider’s EMR, offers seamless communication tools including video chat, wound imaging, voice calls and text messaging. On the cloudbased clinician facing dashboard, ClinicianConnect, providers monitor their patients and respond to risk alerts in-real time. As the population ages, healthcare costs continue to rise, the capacity of hospitals is challenged, the social determinants of health continue to be center stage, and as the industry becomes more patient-centric, solutions that
enable continuous, collaborative, patient care are essential. “At the center of our product strategy is the experience of patients, clinicians, and caregivers. By harnessing the most innovative technologies, building robust integrations, and always focusing on clinical enablement, we are able to provide the most advanced telehealth and RPM solution,” said HRS Chief Product Officer, Jess Vamvas. HRS arms patients with tools to control and understand their health and allows clinicians to view a patients’ condition(s) holistically. Telehealth has a place across the care continuum —from primary and preventative care, to the Hospital at Home model, post-acute recovery, and end-of-life support.
“PHREESIA IS ONE OF OUR MOST DYNAMIC PARTNERS IN CREATING THE DIGITAL FRONT DOOR OF OUR CLINICS” MATT DIETZ
DIVISION DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL AND VIRTUAL CARE STRATEGY, MERCYONE
Another noteworthy mention is Health Recovery Solutions, MercyOne’s remote monitoring partner for the Des Moines market. A historic partner of MercyOne, Health Recovery Solutions is making home health possible for over 1,600 patients just within Des Moines, allowing the care centre to make more informed empirical and algorithmic decisions without the patient leaving their home. This is a giant leap in the area of remote care, allowing patients to enjoy a quality of care that was previously unseen, from the comfort of their homes and equipped with the best technology. Extending nursing careers through a virtually integrated care program Speaking of virtual care, Dr. Ward has also spearheaded the introduction of virtual nurses as an extension of the care provided at MercyOne. This provides two noticeable benefits – round the clock patient care and reduced nurse burnouts. Unfortunately, due to pandemic-related restrictions, healthcare providers are overworked and unable to provide round the clock care. This, along with the need to put on a full PPE suit each time can extremely limit a nurse's movement and output. Similarly, visitors are finding it harder to arrange social visits amidst the lockdown and restrictions. What the virtual nurse does is that with a simple click, provides both the 10
DIGITIAL SIGN-INS Previously, patients spent seven to ten minutes on average filling out forms before they even saw a physician. Since implementing digital sign-ins, patients are now able to fill up a form before they enter the facility, reducing the overall onboarding time to two minutes. • Over $200,000 in paper/print savings due to paper reduction • Over 500,000 digital COVID risk screenings • Over 5000 individuals identified needing social services resources (through social determinants of health) • 18% increase in outstandin balance collection
Safe. Convenient. Contactless. Phreesia powers registration at health systems nationwide.
MATT DIETZ TITLE: DIVISION DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL AND VIRTUAL CARE STRATEGY INDUSTRY: HEALTHCARE LOCATION: UNITED STATES Matt Dietz is the Division Director of Digital and Virtual Care Strategy for MercyOne in Iowa. One of the industry’s telehealth leaders, Matt and his team lead the strategy, business development, and implementation of all MercyOne digital health and telehealth strategies across more than 420 care locations for MercyOne. Matt graduated with his Masters of Health Administration from Saint Louis University in 2015, and has dedicated himself as a lifelong learner in incorporating cutting edge technologies to health care such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain.
“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAILURE. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS STILL NEW, AND WE TRY THINGS OUT BECAUSE WE WANT TO IMPROVE THE CURRENT EXPERIENCE” MATT DIETZ
DIVISION DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL AND VIRTUAL CARE STRATEGY, MERCYONE
physician and their families with a full update on the patient's health. This, in turn, reduces the hours that nurses need to put in on the floor and gives them the chance to mentor new resources from the tele command centre, so hospitals didn't lose that deep well of knowledge. Eventually, the support that the virtual nurse provides is unmatchable, and in the words of Dr. Ward, "We're really able to wrap the patient with all manners of care from practically every service line, and it's been something that's been relatively new to the tele-health industry because really it comes down to supporting
“WE'RE REALLY ABLE TO WRAP THE PATIENT WITH ALL MANNERS OF CARE FROM PRACTICALLY EVERY SERVICE LINE, AND IT'S BEEN SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN RELATIVELY NEW TO THE TELEHEALTH INDUSTRY” DR JOEL WARD
CHIEF MEDICAL INFORMATICS OFFICER, MERCYONE
PARTNERS MercyOne’s strategic partners at-a-glance: Phreesia: A patient intake platform that drastically cuts down the time required to access a provider Health Recovery Solutions: Home health and remote monitoring platform that takes providers directly to their patients, improving the overall quality of car
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the patient for the other 23 hours and 45 minutes that the doctor isn't in the room". A fearless approach to change With all eyes on healthcare, it is no surprise that institutions across the world are rapidly evolving. Matt Dietz shares some insight for peers taking on a rightful step towards digital transformation. "There is no such thing as failure. Digital transformation is still new, and we try things out because we want to improve our current experiences. And if something doesn't work as we originally hypothesized it doesn't mean it's a failure, it means that we're learning, it gives us an opportunity to improve upon something and that's what excites us the most about digital transformation. It gives us not a reckless mindset, but it allows us to be fearless sometimes – to try things that we never thought we could before."
West Des Moines Iowa United States mercyone.org