Hospitals are changing with the times, particularly with the introduction of new technologies, as well as a changing funding paradigm. Special Sections Editor Brad Graves, with the help of Health Care Reporter Jared Whitlock, asked several senior hospital executives about the advent of new technologies and approaches — in short, what we might expect from the hospital of the future. Here are their edited responses.
Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Scripps Health
Q: Artificial intelligence is all the buzz in health care. How is your hospital using AI or how does it plan to do so?
A: We are currently leveraging AI to provide early detection of declining patient conditions within our Epic platform and intend to implement additional capabilities included within the Epic Upgrade coming in July. Additionally, we intend to leverage advanced AI within our Nuance Dragon Medical One Cloud platform to automate standard clerical procedures, allowing our providers and clinicians to have more time to focus on our patients and less time on documentation.
Q: Health care is moving toward an emphasis on outcomes and value rather than volume. How is your hospital system preparing for this shift?
A: We are making significant investments to advance our analytics and population health management tools for our caregivers, providers and care management resources. We are also making investments in online and mobile applications to help our customers navigate our health system, gain access to healthy lifestyle information and resources, and engage in virtual care solutions to help improve overall wellness, medication adherence and lifestyle programs in convenient venues.
Q: From a business perspective, what’s the greatest challenge and opportunity in San Diego health care right now?
A: The biggest challenges are related to reducing the rising cost of health care services, while simultaneously improving cost, quality, access and overall customer experience. These same challenges also serve as the largest opportunities to leverage new technologies, community partnerships and new relationships with innovative health care companies and technology providers to overcome these challenges.
Q: San Diego is a genomics hub, with companies like Illumina based here. How can hospitals incorporate genomics into care?
A: In the newest release of our Epic Upgrade in 2019, we will begin exploring pilots to incorporate genomic data within our Electronic Health Record.
Q: How might your hospital be using telemedicine to gain a competitive edge?
A: We are currently launching e-visits and video visits in our hospital, post-acute and ambulatory settings to provide convenient alternatives to in-office visits. Although we have strong desire from our consumer base to leverage these tools, we still lack uniform support from Medicare and our public payers for reimbursement. We are all making progress in 2019 on these fronts; however, faster movement on the reimbursement side would help speed adoption, lower overall cost and provide needed convenience to busy families.
Q: Any other thoughts on what the hospital of tomorrow might look like?
A: I think the hospital of the future will look very different and overall total bed count should be reduced significantly. This will occur by leveraging new advancements in clinical protocols, enabling care to be delivered in lower-cost, virtual and home-based venues. Hospitals will focus on treating the most acute conditions with an increased emphasis on preventing hospital admissions through predictive analytics and remote monitoring. By accumulating and analyzing various data sources such as care delivery related data, data from patient-owned devices such as glucose monitors, and other sources, health care systems will be positioned to proactively address and manage care of patients before their health deteriorates, resulting in a hospital admission. Additionally, advancements in cellular, mobile and other communication technologies will bring together the entire care continuum and family in a digitally connected ecosystem.
Q: Any thoughts on how a hospital of tomorrow might interact with its community? Will it be appreciatively different than today?
A: We know that most of health and health care occur outside of the hospital today with a growing desire to shift more to care venues outside of the hospital. With advancements in interoperability, the digital health care ecosystem will be leveraged by community health and wellness organizations controlled by the consumer, not the health care system, payer or provider.
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