Part­ner­ing with star­tups can help sys­tems find their en­trepreneurial side

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT - By Dr. Nick Turkal and Steven Krein

We’re liv­ing in a unique mo­ment in the his­tory of health­care. It’s never been more im­por­tant for lead­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions to start mak­ing bold changes that will help them nim­bly adapt to the di­verse needs of pa­tients and bet­ter in­te­grate new tech­nolo­gies that im­prove the qual­ity of care.

It’s of­ten said that health­care is years be­hind the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion curve. With the grow­ing “con­sumer­iza­tion” of the health­care econ­omy, this lag does a dis­ser­vice to the grow­ing num­ber of pa­tients who are now shop­ping for high-qual­ity, af­ford­able care.

There are also grow­ing pres­sures on the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing es­ca­lat­ing costs, an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and adapt­ing to re­quire­ments un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Large hos­pi­tals and sys­tems are con­sol­i­dat­ing and ex­pand­ing, and while some of these net­works have been suc­cess­ful, or­ga­ni­za­tions that hes­i­tate to rein­vent them­selves by em­brac­ing a cul­ture of trans­for­ma­tion will strug­gle long term.

Too many ex­ec­u­tives at large, es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tions are still mak­ing the same mis­take: They’re not look­ing out­side their own walls for new ideas and ap­proaches. They’re en­trenched in a “stag­na­tion mind­set,” not col­lab­o­rat­ing in the devel­op­ment of so­lu­tions with en­trepreneurs work­ing to ac­com­mo­date the care of the fu­ture.

But by adopt­ing a “health­care trans­former mind­set,” think­ing like an en­tre­pre­neur and look­ing to ex­ter­nal part­ner­ships, these ex­ec­u­tives can en­cour­age dis­rup­tion within their own or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Aurora Health Care, a large not-for­profit health­care sys­tem based in Mil­wau­kee, re­cently de­cided to take a lead in­vest­ing role in StartUp Health, an or­ga­ni­za­tion lead­ing a global move­ment to trans­form health by or­ga­niz­ing the world’s largest com­mu­nity of health and wellness en­trepreneurs and stake­hold­ers. This col­lab­o­ra­tion is con­sis­tent with Aurora’s em­pha­sis on trans­form­ing care pro­cesses and re­flects a con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to in­ter­nal dis­rup­tion.

Col­lab­o­rat­ing with StartUp Health

gives Aurora ac­cess to hun­dreds of vet­ted star­tups from all over the world that are look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­ploy their so­lu­tions. It’s a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tion­ship that makes a big dif­fer­ence to the pa­tients cov­ered un­der Aurora’s net­work.

One of StartUp Health’s 135 port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, BabyScripts, uses dig­i­tal sen­sor tech­nol­ogy to trans­form the way pre­na­tal care is de­liv­ered. Typ­i­cally, an ex­pec­tant mother would need to visit her care cen­ter for 15 check­ups dur­ing the course of a nor­mal preg­nancy. These fre­quent vis­its can be tax­ing and un­re­al­is­tic, and each ap­point­ment pro­vides only a snap­shot of her health on any given day.

An in­creas­ing num­ber of soon-to-be moms in the Aurora net­work have ac­cess to a BabyScripts care pack­age, which in­cludes a wire­less blood pres­sure cuff and scale for daily home use. Stud­ies show that en­cour­ag­ing pa­tients to par­tic­i­pate in their own self-mon­i­tor­ing at home leads to bet­ter health out­comes. A mo­bile app sends push alerts for pre­na­tal vi­ta­mins, and also alerts physi­cians if there are any ab­nor­mal bio­met­ric changes.

An­other com­mon care chal­lenge is pa­tients who are “lost to fol­low-up.” This means the pa­tient has stopped vis­it­ing the doc­tor, trans­ferred to a dif­fer­ent net­work or has been lost to ad­min­is­tra­tors.

With that in mind, an­other StartUp Health com­pany, Care­merge, of­fers a soft­ware plat­form that acts as a co­or­di­nated-care net­work be­tween the sys­tem and care teams out­side of that sys­tem. The in­for­ma­tion stored is com­pli­ant with the Health In­surance Porta­bil­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity Act and al­lows care­givers, physi­cians, fam­ily mem­bers and pa­tients to all be on the same page.

Pa­tients ex­pect and de­serve the best care at the lowest pos­si­ble price. We’re now liv­ing in a dig­i­tal world, and many of the so­lu­tions in health­care will re­quire a re-imag­i­na­tion of the sta­tus quo. It’s a lim­ited ap­proach to as­sume that all the an­swers can be found only in­ter­nally. In­stead, health­care sys­tems should be open to the best ideas from the startup ecosys­tem and pro­vide a fer­tile test­ing ground for new ap­proaches to flour­ish.

Now is the most im­por­tant time to col­lab­o­rate and em­brace star­tups. To­gether we can speed up the cy­cles of in­no­va­tion and help pa­tients live well.

In­ter­ested in sub­mit­ting a Guest Ex­pert op-ed? View guide­lines at modernhealth­care.com/op-ed. Send drafts to As­sis­tant Manag­ing Edi­tor David May at dmay@modernhealth­care.com.

Dr. Nick Turkal, left, is pres­i­dent and CEO of Aurora Health Care, Mil­wau­kee. Steven Krein is CEO of StartUp Health.

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