Technology & Innovation in Healthcare: Priorities for Tech and Innovation in Next 2 Years for High-Ranking Health System.
What’s next for hospitals and health systems in the next 12-24 months? What does the landscape currently look like for TGH, and what trends in healthcare will affect their digital roadmap? Patient engagement will be steering the course to meet the needs of a tech-friendly, patient-centric post-COVID environment.
Clearwave CEO Mike Lamb recently interviewed Jason Swoboda, the Associate Director of Emerging Tech and Health Innovation at Tampa General Hospital. Known for their patient-centric, tech forward approach to healthcare, TGH is an award-winning 1,000+ bed teaching hospital that we’re proud to partner with.
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Mike Lamb: What’s next on your horizon for the next 12-24 months? What are you thinking about in terms of digital expansion and other innovations that are on your roadmap?
Jason Swoboda: So, you know, COVID threw everyone for a loop. That goes without saying. But it also did some great movements in the adoption of virtual care. So I think that opens up some opportunities. As we start looking at what’s ahead in the next, as you’re asking, year to two years, of course, the continuation of enhancing our digital front door. So our website, we’re working on website redesign. We’re continuing to work on that. We’ll continue to enhance the options that we have with Clearwave in making that ability to find the right provider and services that our patients are looking for, and just make it continue to be easier to line up the right type of appointment with the patients that are wanting that.
We did talk about virtual. I talked a little bit about virtual visits, but I think there’s the shifts in reimbursement, as long as the shifts in reimbursement are there to stay, I do think there’s continued opportunity with virtual visits. Not everything can happen virtually. I do think as the economy starts to open up, in face-to-face visits – I do think there will be, and I think we’re already seeing it a little bit of a decline in virtual visits, but really taking how we can just make the care of a patient, how can we incorporate virtual into just the normal care? I think that’s just going to be, if you will, an amalgam of “this is how we care for patients now.” I think the shift from fee to fee-for-value or risk-based contracts, I think that’ll continue to give rise for preventative care and increase the number of lives covered in Accountable Care Organizations (ACO.).
So I do think that there will be a continued shift to decreasing readmissions and focusing on social determinants of health. And I know that’s probably a buzzword, but really, the health system will be more concerned with those social determinants of health. I know we at Tampa General, we’re really experimenting with being able to provide rides for patients that perhaps maybe can’t make it to an appointment. And I think that that’ll continue to expand. But I do think that as we understand the – as patients come more into that ACO-type of model, a lot of times, in those ACOs, the chronic disease patients, they have more than one chronic disease state, right? It’s not just a patient that has COPD, it’s a patient that has COPD and CHF and maybe some advanced organ failure of maybe the heart, or something like that.
And what we find a lot of times is that those patients probably have some behavioral health issues, whether depression or something like that, and it could be like a continuous or a vicious cycle. And so I do feel like behavioral health will – and I don’t know if that’ll come within the next one or two years, but I do think the spotlight will have to be back on including behavioral health. And I hope that reimbursement for behavioral health will start to start to become more prevalent. Because I do think that that’s something that will have to happen when we start taking care of those that are really sick, that are covered in the ACO.
Mike Lamb: And that’s great thoughts, Jason, and just as a side note, I – prior background – came from a population health management and wellness incentive platform. And that’s a lot of what you’re talking about, is exactly what we were trying to do and did do in, in more of the employer space. You’re exactly right, and we saw it in the data that comorbidities are not singularly linked. They generally occur in multiples and you have to consider that the whole health of the patient, not just a singular chronic condition, they’re generally linked to multiple factors. And I couldn’t agree with you more that the behavioral side is a frontier that needs to keep advancing to advance health of the population as a whole. So I think that’s really insightful.
Jason Swoboda: Yeah, Mike, I agree with you on that. Like we talked about, it’s a little bit of a vicious cycle. We want the patients to get better. We want the patients to participate in their health. We want patients to take their medicines. But when they’re depressed, you have to have something that breaks up that vicious cycle, that they can actually want to participate, they actually want to feel better. So I do think behavioral health will be part of that, but that’s why we do healthcare, right? If things were easy, then they wouldn’t need some of the solutions that we’re coming up with.