Three Ideas That Will Make Healthcare Work Better

By Kelly Rakowski

Kelly Rakowski,
“Making healthcare better depends on making the work of healthcare better.” — Kelly Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Payer Practice Leader

Tremendous changes triggered by healthcare reform, as well as the rise of high-deductible plans, have changed “patients” in the United States to “healthcare consumers.” These consumers (and their families) are becoming more informed about healthcare, and are more tech savvy.

Even as we observe shifts in the power center of healthcare, we can also see that inefficiencies, goal misalignments and fragmentation still afflict the entire U.S. healthcare system, despite the industry’s best efforts. One result is healthcare that ranks low in many quality standards and outcomes, and wastes (by some estimates) almost one trillion dollars every year.

In his recent remarks at Institute 2015, a conference organized by America’s Health Insurance Plans, Xerox Services President Bob Zapfel considered that scenario and asked this question: “How can we achieve a consumer-like experience, where standardization and technology-enabled processes are highly efficient and scaled, yet each healthcare consumer experience feels customized and individual?”

Interested in healthcare solutions from Xerox? Learn more.

Technology plays a big role, however technology alone won’t get us there. The path to efficiency resides within the work itself.

3 Ideas That Will Make Healthcare Work Better

We propose a system that is more connected, controls risks better, and is built around people.

  • More connected: To create effective connections and achieve true interoperability, we need a system-level engineering approach that breaks down the silos and facilitates better sharing of information in the provision of care. It has to happen within and among all players. This also means involving the healthcare consumer/patient and family, as well as community resources. Convening organizations, such as Healthy Communities Institute, create a platform for this type of collaboration. Xerox just acquired Healthy Communities Institute, whose cloud-based platform puts socioeconomic and community health information at the fingertips of hospitals, public health agencies and community coalitions. We will integrate HCI’s environmental and lifestyle health assessment data into our existing provider platform from Midas+, A Xerox Company. We believe this will create a powerful, connected health solution.
  • Controls Risks Better: The key is getting robust real-time data, and using predictive analytics to identify outlier behaviors or events before they happen. Building processes and aligning information provides a view of the healthcare consumer that reveals where the leaks and gaps are. This creates a platform that can mitigate “unintended consequences” like waste, redundancies, and fraud and abuse.
  • Systems Built Around People: Healthcare works better when systems and technology support how people work. This needs to mean more than investing in people and training – which does add value, however not enough. For example, a large hospital system that invested in dedicated, quality staff achieved only single-digit annual improvements in key performance indicators. They worked with Xerox to implement a workflow solution that supports the staff and eradicates silos. One year later, the hospital system improved its process effectiveness by 35 percent overall, and other performance objectives improved by as much as 60 percent.

If we can come together to engineer a healthcare system that is more integrated, mitigates risks better, and takes in account the staff who use it and the people receiving care, we will all benefit by raising the quality and experience of healthcare in the United States.

More importantly, we will improve the health and well-being of the communities and individuals we serve. Making healthcare better depends on making the work of healthcare better.

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