How many health plan websites do you access daily? Weekly? We know that utilizing web portals in health care settings is no longer optional, it’s necessary. Are there websites that are easier to work with than others? What makes one website “better” than another?
In reading over several recaps from HIMSS16, I was completely surprised that interoperability was at the top of the “hot” topics list. Just kidding. In truth, I would have been really surprised if it hadn’t made the list, especially since day one of the conference kicked off with the announcement of an industry-wide pledge for interoperability. Besides interoperability, there was another buzz word, somewhat related to interoperability, that caught my eye: Hyperportalosis.
In my role as Director, Interoperability and Standards with NantHealth's NaviNet Open team, a good part of my job is spent exploring the Healthcare IT landscape to identify, advocate and decide where we should invest our resources. With that said, if an organization, acronym or trade group exists to enable interoperability in health care, chances are I’ve crawled their website, sat through a webinar, interviewed their CEO, and/or talked to practitioners or users of their assets. My investigations continue to pull me back to HL7 and FHIR, as our organization has recognized that providers and payers increasingly need to pull disparate data from administrative and clinical workflows together.
On the very first business day of 2016, NaviNet was aquired by NantHealth, a transformative provider of genomic and clinical information technology. NaviNet’s huge network is an asset shared and used heavily by health plans, health systems, small practices, ancillaries and many other participants -- many of whom have been asking how and where NaviNet fits in NantHealth’s plans for the future.
The arrival of the New Year means New Year resolutions and new goals for 2016. For health plans, improving provider satisfaction and productivity should be on that list, but what do provider networks need from health plans in 2016? User feedback is critical for the continued success of healthcare technology solutions. Yet, gaining user input can be more complicated than in other industries because the users of the technology aren’t necessarily the purchasers. For example, health plan or insurance portals are vetted, purchased, and designed by health insurance companies, but they are used by healthcare provider offices and organizations. Including these provider office end users in the design and improvements of a portal is critical so that the technology supports the provider office workflows and helps drive higher adoption.
Every month the NaviNet community gathers for a Town Hall where we celebrate recent accomplishments and discuss upcoming goals. In addition, we recognize one or two outstanding team contributors, also known as NaviNet All Stars. NaviNet All Stars are nominated through an anonymous company-wide survey because they have helped make NaviNet successful and a great place to work. Our NaviNet All Stars have a big impact on NaviNet’s culture and are one of the many reasons we have been named to the National 2015 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For list, as well as to the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work. This month, two exceptional people, both cyclists, were selected as NaviNet All Stars: Senior Customer Support Analyst, Trish Santoro, and Principal Software Engineer, Guillaume Chesnel.
During this period of continual change, and with the increasing pressure to realize Meaningful Use investments, the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) proposed 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) is positioned to prepare all of us to better support the many transitions underway in the healthcare industry. If you are not familiar with ISA, it represents just a small portion of the great work coming out of the ONC’s Health IT Standards Committee.
The health insurance marketplace is more competitive than ever. So, is collaboration between these competitors, or “co-opetition”, appropriate? I think so—especially when it benefits consumers without negatively impacting the payers. To illustrate what I mean, let me borrow first from a different industry that everyone can relate to: Retail. Having recently relocated from Madison, Wisconsin to Boston, I have used my credit card in many new places as my family and I have explored the activities, stores and attractions our new home has to offer. However, as my credit card transactions have increased, so too has my frustration over why there isn't a standardized way to pay for goods at the point of sale. In other words, every credit card “swiper” is different and requires a different set of steps, and in a different order than the others. It seems to me that standardizing the shopper’s experience would benefit consumers without significantly affecting the competing companies behind these payment devices. Yet, this would require collaboration between competitors. It begs the question: As more and more of our daily activities and experiences become automated, will standardization and simplification of these activities and the devices we use to conduct them ever become a competitive advantage?
It's no secret that the healthcare industry is in the midst of significant change. From the Affordable Care Act to ICD-10, collaboration between healthcare organizations is more important than ever before, especially collaboration between health plans and provider offices. Payer-provider collaboration is particularly important so that both receive the right information at the right time so patients receive the clinical care they need.
For years, entrepreneurs have tried to apply the same consumer Internet strategies that worked for Amazon, Google, and Uber in retail, entertainment, and transportation to revolutionize health care. Shouldn’t we be at a tipping point by now? Unfortunately, we’re not.
One reason for this is that entre
preneurial innovations have been so narrowly focused on self-directed activities which are largely disconnected from traditional health care. When patients are ill, they receive clinical care as part of their relationship with credentialed providers, who also prescribe their pharmaceuticals. But in these relationships patients typically lack control of the search, selection, and purchase of the services and supplies.