Colleagues & Friends,
This is, by far, the best discussion I’ve ever had about the value of social media in transforming healthcare. In a time in which we are constantly being reminded in the news about the downsides of social media, this episode highlights the humanizing and democratizing aspects of social media, with platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
Our guest today is Colin Hung. Colin is a healthcare IT professional turned healthcare marketing executive, turned social media guru. His career has been dedicated to using digital technologies, social media platforms and community organizing to improve healthcare. Over the last decade, he has helped numerous companies build and market solutions that improve patient safety, patient-provider communications and the patient experience. Colin has also co-founded one of the most popular healthcare Twitter communities – #hcldr – which brings together patients, clinicians, healthcare administrators and leaders as well as policy & governmental influencers. He has been selected as a HIMSS (Health Information & Management Systems Society) Social Media Ambassador three times and is internationally recognized as one of the top HealthIT Social Media Influencers. His work has been published in medical journals and he writes regularly for Healthcare IT Today and HITMC (Healthcare IT & Marketing Community).
In this interview we'll discuss:
Colin’s discoveries regarding the benefits of social media - from being a source of expert information, to a platform for sharing diverse perspectives, to a powerful form of community building.
Colin’s views on social media as a vehicle for humanizing & democratizing healthcare - for both patients and providers.
The connecting and community organizing phenomena of Twitter chats, particularly the #hcldr twitter chat that Colin and his colleagues hold weekly.
How organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic are using social media to create clinically-informed, patient-led, open forum communities.
Colin’s understanding of healthcare social media is profound. Although he is an expert in information technology, healthcare marketing and social media, his focus is on the importance and value of connecting - connecting people, connecting ideas, connecting streams of work - and creating synergies through those connections. His work aims to empower and enable the professional development of those attempting to improve, innovate and transform healthcare. His desire is to create empathy. And although these connections and communities lead to concrete progress in the realm of product design and business development, he also sees the inherent value of human connectivity as being a primary goal, in and of itself.
Colin is a remarkable ‘servant leader’ - a guide and mentor who is focused on helping others advance in their personal and professional journeys. The one trait that he emphasizes as being critical to participation in social media is “being open to being changed by the conversations and communities you connect with online”. It’s a lesson in humility, diversity and acceptance. The world of social media allows us to go beyond the confines of our limited, and limiting, social and professional circles. It empowers us with information, expertise and divergent perspectives that we would otherwise not be exposed to. It releases us from the isolation and insularity that we can experience in our day-to-day lives.
My call to action is for you to engage on a social media platform, if you haven’t already. Try just one Tweet or one LinkedIn message this week! Or, if you’re more adventurous, please join a tweet chat like the #hcldr that Colin introduces us to in this interview. It’s at 8:30 PM EST every Tuesday night. Hope to see you there!
Until next time, be well.
Zeev Neuwirth, MD
Colleagues & Friends,
Chronic disease management has become the predominant healthcare issue of our time. The vast majority of medical encounters and healthcare dollars are spent on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic disease. Despite the staggering negative impact, we continue to treat chronic disease within an episodic, reactive, generic and largely ineffectual care model. It’s a reflection of a healthcare delivery approach that is simply out-dated and poorly aligned with the societal and healthcare consumer needs at hand.
Our guest this week, Dr. Jennifer Schneider, and her colleagues at Livongo, are ushering in a “new era” in healthcare delivery. Livongo is a healthcare start-up with cutting-edge digital and machine-learning technology whose mission is to “empower people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives.” Dr. Jennifer Schneider is the President of Livongo and previously served as the company’s Chief Medical Officer. Prior to Livongo, she held several key leadership roles at Castlight Health, including as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Schneider is also the author of the recently published book, Decoding Health Signals: Silicon Valley’s Consumer-First Approach to a New Era of Health, which explores how companies are using big data analytics and artificial intelligence to reinvent care delivery for people with chronic conditions. Dr. Schneider has a Doctor of Medicine degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in Health Services Research from Stanford University.
In this interview, you’ll hear about:
Applied Health Signals - the new category of chronic condition management Livongo has pioneered - which uses data-driven, machine-learning algorithms to deliver continuous, real-time, actionable, and personalized clinical insights.
Dr. Schneider’s perspective on this new era of “human-first experience” and “whole person” care in which the locus of chronic condition management is shifting from the provider’s exam room to the healthcare consumer’s life.
How Livongo is reducing the “noise” in healthcare delivery - that is, reducing the frustration, friction and complexity of the patient care experience.
Some of the clinical efficacy outcomes that Livongo has demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications.
What I especially appreciate about Jennifer’s perspective and Livongo’s human-centered, consumer-oriented philosophy is the understanding that the primary goal of clinical care is not in deploying technical wizardry, but in solving the ‘pain points’ for individuals with chronic disease. Livongo's focus is on understanding people’s unique needs, preferences and goals, as well as continuously ‘machine-learning’ how to customize communication in order to optimize engagement and motivate healthful behaviors.
Once you hear about Livongo’ s model, I suspect it will become clear that this approach to chronic condition management is far superior to anything offered in our current medical models. The simple fact that Livongo’s technology stack is collecting multiple points of health-related data throughout the day, aggregating and interpreting that information, and then using it to communicate in real-time and in a personalized way, is so far ahead of where we are today in clinical practice.
Livongo is creating and deploying a major reframe of healthcare delivery - humanizing healthcare, by unleashing the profound value of the patient as the most pivotal member of the healthcare team. From a provider’s perspective, I firmly believe that this is a welcome enhancement of the role that physicians and other providers play in the chronic disease management ecosystem. As Dr. Schneider, who has managed her own Type I diabetes for the past 30 years, puts it, “The idea that the doctor or any other healthcare provider is in charge is really erroneous. It’s really the individual person living with that chronic condition, and great doctors understand that!
Until Next Time, Be Well!
Zeev Neuwirth, MD
Colleagues & Friends,
You may not have heard of Renown Health - a moderate-sized healthcare system in northern Nevada - but once you hear how they are reframing healthcare - literally redefining and reorganizing healthcare delivery, I suspect that you’ll not forget them.
Our guest this week is Dr. Anthony Slonim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Renown Health in Reno, NV. Over the last four years, he and his colleagues have created one of the most innovative and progressive health services organizations in the country. Dr. Slonim is a nationally recognized thought leader. Modern Healthcare has named him one of the “50 Most Influential Clinical Executives” of 2019. He has also been named a “Physician Leader to Know” every year, since 2014, on the Becker’s Hospital Review. A board-certified pediatric intensive care doctor by training, Dr. Slonim has authored more than 15 textbooks and published more than 60 academic journal articles. Before joining Renown Health, Dr. Slonim served in executive leadership roles at Barnabas Health in NJ, Carilion Clinic in VA and Children’s National Medical Center in DC. Dr. Slonim currently chairs the American Hospital Association’s Systems Council, representing more than 300 integrated health systems nationwide.
In this episode you’ll hear about:
How Dr. Slonim caught the healthcare industry’s attention by launching the Healthy Nevada Project®, the first population health initiative that combines genetic, environmental, social and clinical data to address individual and community health needs.
The reorganization of the Renown Health system into two major divisions - a ‘health’ division addressing preventive, population-based, public health needs; and a ‘healthcare’ division comprised of acute care facilities and chronic disease management providers and services.
Why Dr. Slonim believes that the doctor’s prescription pad is a metaphor for the constraints of our system and what a better “prescription” for care looks like..
How Dr. Slonim’s background in public health, combined with his own long-term experience as a patient, shaped his perspective and his approach to healthcare delivery.
There are a number of things that stand out about this interview. First, Dr. Slonim brings a great depth of clinical AND public health expertise to the perspective of a healthcare CEO, which is a rarity. Second, his thinking and approach are scientifically based, consumer-oriented, brilliantly logical, and elegantly simple. Third, he is laser focused on the needs of his patients, consumers and community. Dr. Slonim and his leadership team recognize that there are two fundamental, vastly different, value propositions that are required to care for communities. So they set about to restructure their system and redeploy the appropriate resources to deliver on those two value propositions. Their goal is to improve health through proactive community-based prevention, while creating the best healthcare system for those with acute and chronic disease. Once I heard Renown’s strategy and approach, I was left wondering why other hospital systems in the country aren’t immediately following suit.
From my perspective, Dr. Slonim and his colleagues are brilliantly executing the steps of the Reframe Roadmap - reorienting their approach; redefining the problems from the primary perspective of patients and community; rebranding their value proposition to meet those needs; redesigning their healthcare delivery for results that matter to people; reorganizing their healthcare system to optimally deliver on those results; and importantly, redirecting their strategies, tactics and resources to make it all happen.
What resonates the most, however, from this interview is the profound sense of empathy Dr. Slonim has for the people he serves. He shares that the biggest lesson he learned from his own cancer diagnosis and treatment was about the inequities and disparities of healthcare in our country. The lesson he learned wasn’t about himself, but about others. That speaks volumes about how his mind and heart work. His goal and the goal of Renown Health is clearly to humanize healthcare. To make it less complex and less reactive. To make it more convenient, customized and accessible. To make one of its prime purposes the prevention of illness and trauma. To make it what people want and need in order to stay healthy and return to health.
Again, why aren’t more healthcare leadership teams learning from and emulating this approach?
Until Next Time, Be Well.
Zeev Neuwirth, MD
For decades, Geisinger Health has been one of the most innovative healthcare systems in the world. It’s efforts are not only admired but also emulated and replicated throughout healthcare systems across the country. It is a literal mecca for healthcare leaders to come visit and learn. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting Geisinger at least four or five times over the past few years, and I will tell you that the initiatives, accomplishments and outcomes become more fascinating with each visit.
In this interview, we have the great fortune of learning from Dr. Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Geisinger. Karen brings a tremendous business, policy and innovation background to this role. Before joining Geisinger, she served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health addressing the most significant health issues facing the state, including the opioid epidemic. Dr. Murphy previously served as Director of the ‘State Innovation Models Initiative’ at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leading a $990 million CMS investment designed to accelerate health care innovation across the United States. Dr. Murphy earned her MBA from Marywood University; her doctorate in business administration from Temple University Fox School of Business; and she also holds a diploma in nursing from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing.
In this interview you’ll hear Karen’s take on:
How Geisinger has defined ‘innovation’, and the significant resources they’ve put into their innovation efforts.
The “4 pillars of Innovation” at Geisinger Health, and the specific initiatives within these pillars - including the virtual “Chronic Disease Management Command Center” and their highly successful “Hospital at Home” program.
How Geisinger is using artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to proactively prevent disease.
Why and how Geisginer is making heavy investments in Behavioral Economics and Behavior Change technologies.
What Karen believes to be two of the most significant challenges to innovation in healthcare.
There are few healthcare organizations across the country that have the long, broad and brilliant track record of healthcare delivery innovation synonymous with Geisinger. It’s a legacy that is a direct function of the visionary, patient-centered leadership they’ve had - beginning with Dr. Glenn Steele, then Dr. David Feinberg and now Dr. Jaewon Ryu. In this interview Karen Murphy gives us a vivid and comprehensive picture of the innovation landscape at Geisinger. She’s keen to point out that innovation is embedded in the DNA of the organization and exists well beyond the boundaries of the Steele Institute that she leads.
There are numerous lessons to be gleaned from this highly informative dialogue. Karen outlines a highly strategic and practical approach to large-system innovation. In the last few minutes of the interview Karen makes a strong case for why “accelerated innovation” is critical to healthcare these days. She reminds us, first, of the unsustainable costs of our current healthcare system. But she then also points out that while payment reform is critically important, without the advanced clinical models that can deliver value-based care, payment reform and other policy changes will not create the positive outcomes we’re all looking for - from the provider perspective, the payer perspective, and most importantly the patient perspective.
Until Next Time, Be Well.
A lot has been said about the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to healthcare. These discussions typically center on AI’s ability to improve diagnostic accuracy, reduce medical errors, lower healthcare costs, enhance productivity, and even replace providers. We will cover some of that ground as well, but our guest’s perspective takes the discussion far beyond those more familiar topics. His firm belief is that the major impact AI could have on healthcare delivery would be to restore “the human bond, the human touch, and the human factor that has been lost.”
This is a unique opinion, but not surprising, given the source. Dr. Eric Topol is a leading global authority on Precision & Personalized Medicine. He is also one of the most outspoken physicians I’ve ever encountered on the issue of patient advocacy, and in his own words, “patient activism.”
Dr. Topol is the Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. Prior to assuming his leadership role at Scripps in 2007, he led the Cleveland Clinic to become the #1 center for heart care in the country. He is a nationally renowned cardiologist and literally a superstar in the world of academic Medicine, being one of the top ten most cited medical researchers. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine and was voted the #1 most influential physician leader in the United States by Modern Healthcare. In 2016, Dr. Topol was awarded a $207M grant from the NIH to lead a significant part of the Precision Medicine (All of Us) Initiative - one of the largest NIH grants ever awarded. As if all of this wasn’t enough, he has published 2 bestseller books on the future of medicine: The Creative Destruction of Medicine & The Patient Will See You Now. His most recent book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again, was published this year.
The issues we’ll cover in this interview include:
Dr. Topol’s perspective on the “shallow medicine” being practiced today and how it harms patients as well as providers.
The various applications of AI to healthcare, and Dr. Topol’s take on the most mature and proven applications of AI in Medicine today.
The most significant benefit of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare - “the gift of time” and how it can revitalize and rehumanize medical care - for both patients and providers.
The challenges, hurdles, and risks we face in further developing and deploying AI-enabled healthcare.
Dr. Topol’s refreshing perspective on the characteristics of the ideal medical student, and the relational characteristics we should encourage and support in healthcare providers.
What you’ll come away with from this interview is an understanding of how Artificial Intelligence has the potential to elevate the profession of Medicine - not just through the enhancement of diagnostic accuracy, reduction of errors, lowering of costs and a literal leapfrog in efficiency. But, more importantly, through its ability to free up providers’ time and attention, so they can focus on being empathetic experts, guides & teachers. It is this that will restore the human bond that is so sought after in healthcare delivery today. Dr. Topol is keen to point out that this is as much a “gift” to providers as it is to patients.
If you listen carefully, you’ll also hear Dr. Topols ‘call-to-action’. He urges us all to become “patient activists” because the future of healthcare is by no means a certain or secure one. He believes that we collectively have the ability, and the responsibility, to assure that the future of healthcare is a hopeful and healing one.
I read Dr. Topol’s book, Deep Medicine, and I would urge you to as well. It’s an enlightening and important read. Listening to him speak in this interview, however, gave me an even deeper sense of his integrity, his vision and his humanism. Dr. Topol is, to my mind, one of the greatest physicians, medical researchers, scholars and healthcare leaders of our time. But, what makes him even more unique is the fierce and sustained sense of patient advocacy and humanitarianism that he brings to Medicine & healthcare delivery. This interview left me with a renewed sense of responsibility, purpose and hope, and a strong desire to reframe healthcare - from a shallow to a Deep Medicine.
Until next time, Be Well.
Zeev Neuwirth, MD
Colleagues & Friends,
This is the final episode of this exciting Spring 2019 podcast season. I can’t imagine a more engaging interview to conclude with - one that truly exemplifies the purpose of ‘Creating a New Healthcare’.
Our guest this week, Dr. Stephen Klasko, was recently ranked #6 in Modern Healthcare’s Top 50 ‘Most Influential Clinical Executives’. Last year, in 2018, he was ranked #2 in Modern Healthcare’s Top ‘100 Most Influential People in Healthcare’. In 2018 he was also recognized as #21 in Fast Company’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’, as well as being awarded Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Klasko, an obstetrician who has been the dean of two medical schools, is the President & CEO of Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. In this role, Dr. Klasko leads one of the nation’s fastest growing academic health institutions. His six year tenure has been based on a vision of re-imagining the future.
This interview was, by far, the most fast-paced I’ve experienced. It was a deluge of highly innovative initiatives and programs. A few of the items you’ll hear discussed include:
The consumer segmentation and customization approach that Jefferson Health is taking - moving away from a 'one-size-fits-all' model of medical care experience.
How Dr. Klasko radically introduced telehealth to Jefferson Health in 2013 - making it mandatory in every clinical division.
The innovative way that Jefferson Health is reducing inappropriate ED visits within its own self-insured workforce.
The “Healthcare with No Address” approach that is completely reframing where and how people will receive and experience healthcare at Jefferson.
The digitally-enabled, consumer-oriented initiatives such as the “match.com” app for young women seeking an obstetrician.
The ground-breaking partnerships Jefferson Health has made, including one with the third-leading ‘fashion & design’ university in the country.
Some of the entrepreneurial ventures Jefferson Health is engaged in, including a hemp-based wearable that Dr. Klasko believes will usurp Apple Watch’s biometric monitoring.
Dr. Klasko is one of those courageous leaders who understand that we need to quickly catch up with other industries in terms of treating people like valued customers and respected consumers. I say “courageous” because he not only understands it, he demands it. He also understands that we need to customize care, not by disease or payment, but by patient needs and preferred engagement. He and his colleagues are attempting to wrap healthcare around patients rather than forcing patients to wrap themselves around the healthcare system. He is unapologetic in repeatedly pointing out how the current system is grossly inadequate. And rather than demonize new entrants and disruptors, he embraces them - partnering, learning, emulating and synergizing.
From my perspective, Dr. Klasko is nothing less than a healthcare revolutionary. It is a bit ironic that he is the leader of a healthcare system whose namesake was an American revolutionary and one of the founding fathers - President Thomas Jefferson. I have to think that President Jefferson would have greatly appreciated and approved of the legacy that Klasko is creating. This moment in healthcare history is a revolutionary inflection. As Dr. Klasko states, “It’s important for CEO’s and others to recognize that when an industry is going through a once-in-a lifetime change, the absolute biggest risk is doing things the way you did them before.” I can’t think of a better note or more important call to action on which to end this season.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this remarkable Spring 2019 season of ‘Creating a New Healthcare’. From my perspective it’s been an extraordinary line-up. I would encourage you all to take the next couple of months to catch up on episodes that you might have missed. It’s essentially a Masters Class series in healthcare innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. We will resume the podcast in early September and have another amazing lineup in store for you!
Until then, Be Well!
Zeev Neuwirth, MD