Doctors are natural innovators, right?
We’ve worked really hard, are used to being the top of our class, and pull together (literally) lifesaving ideas day-in and day-out. Nurses and many other providers have the same storyline, with similar years of blood, sweat and tears, and a commitment to do the best by our patients, moving mountains on an hourly basis to make sure they are well taken care of and safe.
So why do I say that we have to up our innovation game?
Because the people who turn to us for care have the lowest confidence in a decade that we are putting them first.
Because two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial stresses (CNBC).
Because 4 in 10 physicians report feelings of burnout, according to a 2019 Medscape report.
And the physician suicide rate is more than double that of the general population.
As a young physician, I pledged an oath that I would, first, seek to do no harm. Despite the medical advances we have seen, the healthcare system that we are supporting does harm, to our clinicians, to our patients, to our communities.
How do we move to a human centered model of healthcare, for humans on all sides of the relationship?
As a physician-led innovation team, we’re looking at this problem at Atlantic Health System by pulling on a few key components:
- Getting reimbursed for how well we take care of our patients instead of getting paid “per widget” that physicians produce. This way we can get off the grind of thinking of care as something we just need to produce more of.
- Listening to the people who seek care from us and creating a system where we wrap our care around a person, instead of expecting the person to wrap their lives around us.
- Want to call, video, text, or chat with us? No problem.
- Don’t know who to talk to? We’ll help you find them.
- Worried about how much healthcare will cost? We’ll let you know as best as we can before you get care, provide a bill that’s easy to understand, and give you choices of ways to make payments fit in your life.
- Using technology to make robotic parts of our jobs automated. As clinicians we’re asked to be responsible for ever more data, and yet, we’re not given the tools to process it in an automated way. Robotic Process Automation for tasks like prior authorizations and Machine Learning tools for clinical decision support are two ways to use technology to take rote data checking off the plate of the clinician so they can focus less on processing data, and more on talking with their patients.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll break down each of these areas and talk about how we are building our Innovation Team; how we’re looking at these problems in a different way than traditional health system IT or marketing groups would look at them; and how we’re working toward care that is delivered in a human friendly way.
It’s not an easy task, and we have much to learn. But I’m inviting all those in my community to come forward with a specific call out to those that are in the front lines of patient care.
We’ve got to build trust in our communities again by providing human centered, high quality care and regain the humanity of our profession.
What’s your #InnovationRx?
This piece was written by Sylvia Romm, MD, MPH, who recently took on the role of Chief Innovation Officer at Atlantic Health System, a 7-hosptial organization based in northern New Jersey. A pediatric hospitalist, Dr. Romm previously served as VP of Clinical Transformation with American Well. To view the original post on LinkedIn, please click here.