The feature “Start me up” highlighted the investments that health systems are making in digital startups and apps. As a chief innovation officer for a large integrated system, I experience the value that these tools bring to providers, patients and members every day.
Yet, I also experience the difficulties of contracting, security reviews and integration with every new app or tool added to our system’s digital ecosystem. Our investments in the newest apps and tools has resulted in an increasing digital debt due to a fragmented and cumbersome digital ecosystem that often increases provider workloads, fragments the patient experience and adds IT expense.
Despite these hurdles, health systems must digitally transform by investing in apps to improve care delivery, access and engagement. However, we need a more sophisticated digital ecosystem where apps can live, similar to an Android or iOS of healthcare.
A standardized ecosystem would create common requirements around security, privacy, data-sharing and contracting which would dramatically alter the speed of integration and adoption of tools developed via venture investment. Simply put: Health systems essentially are buying today’s apps and putting them on a flip phone.
No single health system can viably fund their own iOS operating system and app store. Thus, we have a digital transformation problem that exceeds the capacity of any single system. It’s a problem that feels about as insurmountable as high pharmaceutical costs. Yet, Civica Rx shows us what can happen when health systems come together to address a problem. What Civica is doing for prescription costs and manufacturing, like-minded systems can do for digital transformation.
Dr. Ries Robinson
Chief innovation officer
Presbyterian Healthcare Services