The Collective Voice in Health IT – Inaugural Podcast

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The Collective Voice in Health IT is a new podcast series launched by our partner WEDI – the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange. The intent of this new podcast series is to offer engaging and intimate discussions with prominent healthcare thought leaders on both current and emerging themes and topics in healthcare: market trends, information technology, and regulations and policies. These important topics are examined from many different angles including the intersection of strategy, operations, marketing, big data, and clinical programs – among other important areas and viewpoints.

In the inaugural episode, Matthew Albright, Communication Committee Chair for WEDI and Chief Legislative Affairs Officer for Zelis Payments and Ferris Taylor, HCEG’s Executive Director, discuss how challenges, issues, and opportunities identified by the 2020 HCEG Top 10 list have exposed inequities and inadequacies in our healthcare system. Matt and Ferris explore priorities top of mind less than six months ago;  where those priorities were then and where they are now. To wit, they compare topics ‘Before Coronavirus’ (BC) to where they stand now.

Also included is a discussion about the 2020 Industry Pulse and the recently completed COVID-19 Flash Update survey measuring how priorities identified when the 2020 Industry Pulse was released in February of this year to where healthcare leaders and change-makers think those priorities lie now. The following are some highlights of the inaugural episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT. Listen to the complete podcast here and access a transcript of the entire podcast here. And look for future episodes here.

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Connect, Collaborate & Create – The Collective Voice in Health IT

Matt Albright asked Ferris Taylor: How do we deal with the costs of specialty pharmaceuticals and continue going forward with respect to vaccines and testing and everything else is coming with COVID-19? But even more importantly, right behind that fundamental change of Costs & Transparency was: What’s happening with the consumer and the consumer experience?

Ferris responded:

“The transition (to the healthcare consumer and the consumer experience) has been slow to develop in healthcare. It was gaining more understanding from both the payers and the providers and all the stakeholders in healthcare of what it really means to be consumer-centric. We know what that means with Amazon or what it means with Alexa, but healthcare was far away from that in terms of consumer centricity and, of course, delivery system transformation, which could include how we make this transition from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement.

But prior to the coronavirus pandemic, it (the transformation of healthcare) was already deep into digital health and personalized medicine, and holistic healthcare at the personal level.

Now obviously things have changed in the last few months. We couldn’t be more positive that the consumer healthcare experience in the last few months has been less than par. And, of course, one of the biggest and more obvious changes in healthcare has been around the HCEG Top 10 item labeled as Accessible Points of Care. Telehealth has exploded, driven by the absolute necessity for consumers to shelter in place. But the fact they (consumers) still needed access to care and also by providers recognizing that it wasn’t desirable to have patients come into their offices. So that blip in the concerns and issues that were being addressed in coronavirus has certainly impacted the Top 10. And we’ll see statistically how that has changed with the COVID flash survey that we’re just completing right now during the end of July.”

Social Determinants of Health – Aka. Barriers to Entry

Ferris shared his insight on how the coronavirus pandemic has drawn focus to the impact of social determinants of health and the importance of addressing the ‘barriers to health care.”HCEG Top 10. Social Determinants of Health. Barriers to Health

“I guess the other change, a couple of changes, are to Healthcare Policy, number nine on the HCEG Top 10 for 2020, most certainly has moved up. It seems like regulations change every day. And I’m seeing more discussion around Population Health that has been there (on the HCEG Top 10) for many years. It was starting to get described in the term that we most commonly use: Social Determinants of Health. I personally prefer Barriers to Health but for some reason healthcare has historically and narrowly defined healthcare as medical intervention and has excluded the barriers to health. COVID-19 has certainly challenged that thinking and changed the way that we are thinking about healthcare.”

Matt added:

“I think what’s interesting is when you talk about the priorities coming into 2020 absolutely things have changed. Absolutely its flipped – everything’s been flipped on its head. But the issues themselves or, if you will, the categories of issues haven’t changed, right?

So you talk about Digital Health which we see expressed through Telehealth. You talk about Consumer-Based or Consumer-Centric healthcare. And you talk about how, in the last six months, we’ve seen how that’s kind of failed on a certain level. And certainly, Social Determinants of Health has played itself out in the inequities in the races and the genders and the status of the people who have been ended up hospitalized and actually dying of this disease.  

So actually, it seems to me in 2019 the priorities and what came out of your Top 10 had it right? It’s just that now it’s been put under a pressure test. All of those issues have kind of sped up. And the other thing, which I think is interesting and maybe it’s tied somehow to how it’s affected consumer-based health, is that everybody’s talking about it. Right?

I had no idea that at the beginning of this year that I would know so much about viruses and how they were spread and so much about how vaccines were pursued.”

Healthcare Reform – Needs a Grass Roots Movement?

[31:09 – 32:40]

Matt Albright: “I think healthcare has suddenly become a dining room table conversation, a backyard barbecue topic – with social distancing, of course. A conversation where people are talking about the priorities of their group or a group in a specific industry – and looking to their own industry. Suddenly, this industry (healthcare) is everybody’s concern and suddenly every aspect of what you just talked about: telehealth, digital health, inequalities, all of those issues are suddenly being discussed by the people.

Matt queried Ferris with two questions about the ongoing pace and longevity of processes and approaches wrought by the pandemic.

  1. Do you think that, because everybody’s talking about it, there will be a grassroots push to see these things sped up? Virtual health, telehealth, the exchange, data interchange, interoperability of health IT, and transparency issues. Or do you think we’re going to be so exhausted as a healthcare industry after this pandemic, especially at the provider and hospital levels, are kind of economically bereft that we won’t be able to move forward very fast?
  2. How do you think the last six months adds to what’s going to happen next once we conquer this thing?

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste


Ferris shared how the coronavirus crisis has accelerated the transformation of the healthcare system:

“One of our board members, a past COO at a large payer in the Pacific Northwest, said: ‘Don’t waste a crisis but take advantage of it.’ And in some ways, that old and trite saying that: ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – is really coming into play here. Healthcare was already moving from analog to digital. We can come back to fax machines at some other point.”

Inequities & Inadequacies Exposed

[35:30 – 37:38]

“The COVID crisis has exposed a lot of inequities and inadequacies in our healthcare system. Lack of preparation. Safety concerns. We were disregarding a lot of public health issues that are now very much top of mind. And underneath all of that is as I listen to our members and the discussions back and forth, going back to this 2019 HCEG Top 10 priority number one Data & Analytics, it’s now moved to much more of a foundational function across Costs & Transparency, Consumerism, and Digital Transformation.

At the heart of these priorities are the challenges have also been exposed around electronic data aggregation, how we exchange data, how we get the right data at the right time about the right person in the hands of the right decision-maker in a near real-time environment to function as a healthcare system. And so platforms, technology infrastructure, interoperability, as you mentioned, have become significantly more important in terms of supporting healthcare and moving us from a transactional type of consumer experience to a much more continuous interactive, personalized, holistic consumer experience in health.”

“There isn’t a single person in the United States that is not much more cognizant of their personal health, how they feel, and how they’re protecting their health today than they were six months ago. It’s a different world.” – Ferris Taylor

When Will Consumer-Driven Healthcare Take Hold?

[42:47 – 44:48]

Matt Albright shared:

“And you know, I’m an impatient American. So my next question to you is going to be: When? I think we’ve legislatively done things out of emergency and some of the states and certainly CMS is kind of pushing to keep certainly some of the waivers that are in telehealth to keep them permanent. So we’re starting to see that already but on the same token the interoperability rule enforcement has been delayed because the hospitals just don’t have the bandwidth to make that lift right now. And the transparency rules are being argued in court.

So I guess, I don’t think we have the question here, but when are we going to see this consumer-driven healthcare take place? And when are we going to see, McKinsey says 20% of our healthcare visits will be virtual – our healthcare payouts – be in just a year or two? When do you think we’re going to see that? Is that going to have to wait for Congress to have lots of discussions about it and three or four years later we have regulations? What do you think?

Ferris responded:

“Well, and you know, there’s an interesting connection between Congress and the healthcare consumer. And that is, Congress exists because of voters. And voters are consumers of healthcare and consumers have experienced a very different healthcare environment in the last six months than they had experienced over the last number of years or even decades.

So part of the answer around when (consumer-driven health becomes widespread) shows up in the emergency orders, the state initiatives, governors’ responses, and even at the federal level some of the initiatives and emergency orders that President Trump and others, agencies have issued and put out there.”

RELATED: Surviving Coronavirus Pandemic & Thriving on the Other Side: Rapid Innovation & Telehealth

Healthcare System Survival Mode – Uncertain Recovery Timeline

[44:49 – 46:57]

Ferris shared an analogy and his take on when the healthcare system may recover.

“Obviously, along with when is how, how do we finance it? And how do all of those pieces come together? Right today, it’s hard right today to give a specific answer to your question. I kind of feel, I don’t know about you, but I feel hunkered down in the foxhole in the middle of a war with bullets flying. Flying over my head. I’m sheltering in place. I haven’t been on a plane since I think the last time I saw you in Jacksonville. And that was my last trip and I had a whole bunch of them planned but life has changed. But when you’re in that foxhole, it’s not the time to stand up and get up on a Podium and say let’s do this. Let’s do that.

I think we’re in a survival mode right now in healthcare. We’re still dealing with a surge. But as we start to flatten the curve and as we get back into the Healthcare System, the benefit designs to deal with a pandemic like COVID and the incorporation (of new services) into those designs and into the pricing for 2021. Or it might even be that it takes 2022 to get all of the financial part of this back in place so we have a stable healthcare system.

I have no doubt that we will get back to this new reality of consumerism, transparency, interoperability and the incorporation of 21st Century Technologies: artificial intelligence, machine learning, interoperability and real-time data exchange.”

Inveterate (Chronic) Innovation – Table Stakes for Survival

[47:03 -47:27]

“So, I think the answer to your question is: this too will pass, and we will get through COVID-19. I don’t know exactly when that will be. But on the other side in my 30 years in healthcare, I continue to just be very impressed with the inveterate innovation that has come into healthcare.

[49:27 – 51:41]

Innovation is here to stay. It’ll have to get priced out. It will have to get built into the financial models that make healthcare work. Hospitals, some hospitals are doing fine financially. Some, especially rural hospitals, are under extreme pressure. Different specialties in healthcare are experiencing different results. Health plans are concerned about all of the delayed, non-essential healthcare comes back. Is that going to hit them financially and with premium increases?

We’re a very state of the art, world-renowned healthcare industry and we’ll figure this out. I think that stability on the other side of the bridge will be consumer-centric. It’ll be transparent – whether it’s from costs or delivery processes or anything else. The delivery system will be much more virtual and if you push me, I’m going to say some time in 2021 – for sure 2022 – we’ll be back on track.”

Matt Albright added:

“Good. Ferris, I think you bring a great perspective. There’s no longer looking forward to Innovation. Innovation has already happened and we’re not calling it innovation anymore. We’re calling what we do on a day-to-day basis now with healthcare as innovation. I think that’s a terrific point. And I think there’s a lot to be said for how quickly our healthcare system reacted and proactively moved to take care of this pandemic.

And frankly, I’d probably have to say the same for our political systems. They came out very quickly. The governors came out very quickly with emergency orders that freed the providers to do what they needed to do. And even Congress, there’s a criticism to be had there, but they turned things around very quickly to get things moving. So, I think that’s a great point, things are already happening. Things are already here. Maybe there’s nothing that we need to wait for?”

2020 Industry Pulse Flash Update

[51:42 – 52:28]

Matt concluded the inaugural episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT podcast series with a question as to when the results and analysis of the COVID-19 Industry Pulse Flash Update survey will be available.

Ferris shared:

“I looked at the initial results of the flash survey on Tuesday, so just two days ago. We’ll have something ready to publish in two to three weeks. And I think Michael (McNutt – WEDI  Director of Education & Events) and Charles (Stellar – WEDI CEO) and you and I have talked about coming back here in August with a WEDI-specific webinar. We can have questions coming in and be able to respond to those in an interactive way. So three to four weeks and we’ll be back on the air. Thank you, Matt, Michael, and Charles, for a great discussion.”

RELATED: Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, HCEG Top 10, & Industry PulseHCEG Top 10 Industry Pulse Research

Connect, Collaborate & Create Solutions – The Collective Voice in Health IT

Matt closed the initial episode of The Collective Voice in Health IT with a call for the health information technology community to connect, collaborate, and create solutions for a Better Health System. If you’d like to participate in identifying, creating, and sharing information, ideas, and opinions on areas of interest to healthcare leaders and change-makers, reach out to us here.

Subscribe to the HCEG Newsletter here.

Surviving Coronavirus Pandemic. Rapid Innovation & Virtual Telehealth Visits. health plans, health systems, provider organizations and health information exchanges. Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI). WEDI 2020 Virtual event. World Health Care Congress. WHCC. HCEG Webinar Series.

Surviving Coronavirus Pandemic & Thriving on the Other Side: Rapid Innovation & Telehealth

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In just a couple of months’ time, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted healthcare delivery across the world in ways that most health plans, health systems, provider organizations, health information exchanges, government and non-governmental standards & research organizations were simply not prepared for. While resuscitating their organizations by offering telehealth is certainly appropriate at this time, to thrive beyond the pandemic requires rapid innovation, accelerating digital transformation initiatives, and expanding the capabilities and scale of virtual, telehealth services.

As we pass the midpoint of May, HCEG and its sponsor partners have presented content aimed at not only helping leaders resuscitate their organizations to survive these tough times but also thrive on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights of May’s Virtual Sessions Presented by HCEG Partners

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) kicked off HCEG’s Sponsor Partner Virtual Events for the month of May 2020 with its WEDI 2020 Virtual Conference. This digital event took place for a couple hours over each of three days.  Healthcare executives, thought leaders, and change-makers from public and private organizations on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic shared information about the following:

In addition, timely and information-rich content on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) use cases – including the Da Vinci Project Level Set and Implementation Guides – were presented by Steve Posnack, Deputy National Coordinator, ONC and Alexandra Mugge, Deputy Chief Health Informatics, CMS.WEDI 2020 Virtual data exchange-related roadblocks, practical aspects of new ONC interoperability rules, and Federal Telehealth Policy Actions in Response to COVID19

Recordings, Content & Insight Supporting Healthcare Innovation

The information shared in the multi-day WEDI 2020 Virtual event underscored that effective health information exchange has never been greater. The content is one example of the value WEDI offers its members and we’re pleased to share select portions of that content here in partnership with WEDI.

See Recordings, Content & Insight Shared at WEDI 2020 Virtual Conference and visit for more information and insight to help you and your organization survive and thrive across the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: WEDI’s Summer Forum – August 4th – 5th, 2020

“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”

On Cinco de Mayo, HCEG’s Executive Director Ferris Taylor opened up moderation of “The Silver Lining of COVID-19: Accelerate Innovation on the Road to Transformation” with an English-language proverb: “Necessity is the mother of invention” – roughly meaning: the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need.

In response to Ferris’s quote, Peter Kung, VP & Chief Innovation Officer, at SCL Health noted: “COVID19 has changed, overnight, how people will interact with the healthcare system.”

WHCC World Health Care Congress Webinar

This webinar, presented by our partner World Health Care Congress, shared additional insight from Peter Kung and leaders of other large healthcare systems on how their organizations have been changing their innovation programs over the last couple of months; and how specific actions they are taking now will position them to not only survive the pandemic but thrive afterward.

See a recording of this webinar here.

Huge Growth in Virtual Visits – Telehealth’s Breakthrough Moment?

Michelle Stansbury of Houston Methodist Hospital related how before the COVID19 pandemic, her organization provides about 2000 virtual encounters per month.  Now, telehealth consultations are being performed at a 101k per month run rate and climbing. Michelle shared how her organization transformed their “Innovation Center” into a “Telehealth Training Center” and suggested people check out this story on how that was accomplished. Michelle also offered a personal tour to interested parties.

Michelle also shared how the ‘Clinic of the Future’ will be supported by “ambient listening” with smart speakers installed in patient rooms to allow patients to self-serve: play music, communicate with loved ones, interact with the internet, etc.

Sustainability of Telehealth After the Pandemic

Ferris Taylor asked panelists:  How are payers keeping up financially with the new rules on payment for telehealth services? Is this ‘sustainable’ or will reimbursement return to pre-pandemic models?

Daniel J Durand of LifeBridge Health suggested that it will be up to “people, patients, and voters to demand and clamor for more telehealth services and value-based care arrangements; otherwise progress made due to COVID19 may be lost.”

Emma Fauss of Medical Informatics, a vendor of patient monitoring and real-time predictive analytics, shared that “it’s a bit of fallacy that many people think that telehealth services and its many variations are all a direct, 1-to-1 use case replacement for traditional office visits and other procedures.” Emma went on to propose that combinations of traditional physical and rapidly emerging virtual encounters will augment each other and should be integrated into your workflows.

SCL Health’s Peter Kung offered that “Economic pressure on Medicare and other government programs dictate a march toward value-based care and continued use of virtual services.”

Key Takeaways on “The Silver Lining of COVID-19

Ferris wrapped up the webinar by asking panelists to share 1 or 2 takeaways for leaders’ intent on ensuring that their healthcare organization not only survives the pandemic but thrives afterward – however the ‘new normal’ turns out to be. Here are their replies:

“Doing something new well requires that you not be afraid to ask people who know more about a subject than you do. Figure out the perspectives of others who have come before you.” – Daniel J Durand

“Dynamic pressures are forcing people and companies to be innovative. You don’t get extra points for originality. Start somewhere, iterate, and expect to pivot as you learn more.” – Peter Kung

“If you don’t know where to start, reach out to others. Avoid the pitfalls others have made.” – Michelle Stansbury

“It’s all about execution. With the new normal, MANY small innovations – changes, shifts, and pivots – will be the norm to build a new path forward.” – Emma Fauss

Innovations in Managing Healthcare Consumer Goals & Messaging

Our next virtual event intended to assist health plans and risk-bearing health systems with surviving the coronavirus pandemic – and thriving post-pandemic takes place on Thursday, May 21st, 2020 at 11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET. Our sponsor Zipari presents Breaking Through the Barriers to Better Consumer Experience.HCEG May 2020 Webinar Series event presented by our sponsor partner Zipari

A Consumer Experience (CX) framework built upon consumer experience technology that healthcare organizations can use to prioritize and manage consumer goals and messaging during COVID-19 will be presented. Actionable information and ideas on streamlining outreach to specific individuals prioritized across-departmental objectives will be shared.

Register for this Complimentary Webinar Here

2020 Industry Pulse Report: Alignments and Asymmetries

By | HCEG Top 10, Resources

Payer and provider alignment is essential in moving healthcare forward. Results from Change Healthcare’s 2020 Industry Pulse Report indicate that, although payer and providers are aligned in some areas of healthcare improvement (i.e. Social Determinants of Health, tactics to improve consumer engagement, and the potential for artificial intelligence and machine learning), divisions persist in key areas like value-based care, consumerism, and interoperability.


Read more

Provider and payer executives offer insights on key healthcare trends for 2020

By | HCEG Top 10, Resources

The healthcare industry has experienced rapid transformation over the past decade, with new patient expectations, technology and payment models serving as the primary drivers of change.

For the past 10 years, Change Healthcare has worked in partnership with the HealthCare Executive Group to conduct the annual Industry Pulse Survey. The research aims to examine the HCEG top 10 healthcare challenges, issues and opportunities as voted on by members during its annual forum. For 2020, InsightDynamo, a market strategy and research company, was commissioned to execute the Industry Pulse project for the partnership.

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The HealthCare Executive Group Releases 2020 HCEG Top 10 Infographic

By | HCEG Top 10, Resources

The HealthCare Executive Group (HCEG) announces the 2020 HCEG Top 10 Infographic with summary data and insights garnered from the 10th Annual Industry Pulse Research Survey. The Industry Pulse Survey, commissioned by the HealthCare Executive Group in partnership with Change Healthcare and based on the 2020 HCEG Top 10, aims to take the pulse of healthcare executives nationwide on the challenges, issues, and opportunities they’re currently facing.


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