A recent HIMSS panel discussion titled “Addressing the Disruptors” brought together leaders from health systems and digital health technology companies to discuss strategies to compete with new “convenience care” services through innovation and care transformation.

The live event was moderated by Neil Patel, President of Healthbox and the panelists included:

  • Rameet Singh, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Twistle
  • Ann-Somers Hogg, Assistant VP, Strategy & Transformation, Atrium Health
  • Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH, Chief Information & Digital Health Officer, UC Davis Health

What Does “Disruption” Mean

The idea of disruptive innovation was first introduced by Harvard Business Review in 1995 and since then has been used in a variety of different ways. To level set the discussion, each panelist shared their definition of disruption. The panelists described disruptive innovation in different ways – from a major disruption like “on demand” care services to something that improves the quality of healthcare while lowering costs. A good example of disruption is Walmart, CVS and Amazon who are changing healthcare delivery by offering convenience, efficiency and lower costs.

Innovations that improve the quality of healthcare and lower the costs – particularly for disadvantaged populations – that is disruptive.

Rameet Singh, MD, MPH FACOG

Medical Director, Twistle

Traditional Healthcare Providers Respond to Disruption

Disruption often comes as a shock – like Uber and the taxi industry – and transforms it in a short period of time. Healthcare, on the other hand, has clearly been ripe for disruption for a long time. The lack of digital access to basic services like making appointments, price transparency, and access to specialty and holistic care have long been highlighted as shortcomings. Without an alternative, though, patients had little choice but to seek care in the existing structure.

The panelists pointed out that the speed at which healthcare responded to the pandemic and the easy pivot to telemedicine were both very surprising. The pandemic was described by one panelist as a disruptive force in the external healthcare market that forced even small rural hospitals to quickly adopt telemedicine. Dr. Singh found her adolescent population particularly receptive and responsive in telehealth visits.

So now that the pandemic has proven that change is very possible and can happen quickly, the panelists spoke to the need to look at the horizon:

  • Where do vulnerabilities persist?
  • Which patients are still underserved or overlooked?
  • What are the pressures on health systems that need to be alleviated?
  • Where can patient-centered care be improved and advanced?

Dr. Singh mentioned maternal health – our healthcare system spends more money than any developed country, yet is near the bottom for morbidity and mortality rates. Dr. Atreja mentioned the growing issue of capacity in hospitals and the potential for the “hospital at home” model to deliver a lot of positives for payers, health systems, and patients.

A final point from Dr. Atreja highlighted partnerships as another way traditional healthcare can respond to disruption, keep up with competitive forces, maintain their market share, and nurture growth. Opening up your organization and learning from each other can be a great model to test new ideas, gather data, and improve healthcare for everyone.

Partnering with a Health IT Leader

At Twistle, we think partnerships between healthcare providers and technology companies are also going to be essential to accelerate innovation. Retail disruptors are going to quickly draw patients away from traditional health systems due to the radical convenience of scheduling, access and lower costs. Traditional health systems have to adapt and serve their existing patients better while attracting new consumers.

That will require a flexible, configurable technology platform that can support the connection between patients and their care team and maintain continuity for patients. At Twistle, we put the patient at the center. We meet the patient where they are to make sure they can engage and be activated in every healthcare journey. We help health systems compete by bridging gaps in care that exist today, particularly as more care is delivered outside the four walls of the hospital, and more and more patients are managing chronic conditions.

Providing patients with personalized digital health tools will help health systems respond to disruptors by giving patients an equally convenient and seamless experience and, at the same time, allowing patients to benefit from a comprehensive, holistic health journey.

Interested in learning more about Twistle? Explore our case studies!