by Wendy Bartlett / September 10, 2018

Population Health Management and More: Q&As with Beverly Barrett

Beverly Barrett, INTELICHART Enterprise Engagement Sales Executive, answers questions about industry trends, population health management solutions, and broken coffeemakers.

Q: Tell us about your background.
A: My educational background is Microbiology and I am a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) through the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). My work experience is mostly in healthcare Health Information Technology (HIT), managed care and hospital improvement. More specifically my business development experience focused on clinical and operational benchmarking solutions for hospital quality and operational improvement, provider practice variation, and cost containment. I also have experience with enterprise practice management solutions, managed-care contracting and transitional care-coordination for hospitals and healthcare systems. I have managed regional home health, infusion, and medical distribution operations.

Because of my managed care experience, I discovered that frontline providers – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, managers – needed better data to validate the conviction that they were delivering the best quality care, and if not, to determine opportunities for improvement. In short, providers needed better, and more current, patient data to deliver the best care. That part of my journey led me to work with EMR providers as this became the means to improve documentation and data collection. Ultimately, I spent most of my healthcare HIT life in data analytics designed to evaluate the operational and clinical effectiveness of healthcare organizations for Thompson Reuters/Truven Health Analytics, now part of IBM Watson.

Q: What motivates you professionally?
A: The fact that information technology can help providers deliver better care…knowing HIT can facilitate access to the most current clinical information and lead to more informed providers. Each of us – or someone we know or love – will be in the hospital at one point or another. Everyone deserves the very best care available and HIT can enable the goal of delivering the best quality care at the best price. I’m also energized by knowing that technology can facilitate better patient engagement and education and can keep people out of the hospital in the first place.

Q: You joined INTELICHART this past June. What drew you to INTELICHART?
A: INTELICHART’s integration experience and commitment to population health. There are a lot of companies that know they must expand their capabilities in this area and they are working on it, but INTELICHART has already committed the resources and time to build PopulationHEALTH, a very comprehensive, population health management solution that is capable of delivering value to heath care providers and patients today, not a year or two from now.

Q: What are some of the industry trends that you see, and how do you think that our platform helps customers capitalize on these trends?
A: The move from the fee-for-service or the volume-based paradigm to a value-based or accountable-care environment is a major industry trend, driven by the unsustainable rising costs of healthcare. New tools are necessary to navigate the transition and succeed under new payment and care models. It requires providers to look at patients with a different lens, one that gives a more holistic view and focuses on what is going on outside of a particular physician visit or inpatient stay.

In this environment, it is very important that healthcare organizations and providers are engaged with their patients between their visits and are enabled to do this. This is where INTELICHART can really help. Our population health platform automates patient engagement so that providers can be efficient at targeting the patients that are most at-risk and then effectively reaching them with targeted information based on their diagnoses or needs.

Another evolving area is the industry’s push for greater transparency. Whether its CMS’ physician or hospital compare initiatives or state-mandated programs or even Yelp, it’s becoming really important to understand and manage how patients feel about their interactions with their providers. Successful provider organizations realize that better engagement can help drive better outcomes and satisfaction scores. So good patient satisfaction scores are not only important for compliance, but also from a consumer engagement and reputation management standpoint.

Because it’s resource-intensive to manage patients across the continuum, INTELICHART has developed solutions to automate the functions associated with managing these patients efficiently and effectively outside of a stay or visit.

Q: In your opinion, who in the healthcare industry benefits most from our platform?
A: Our platform helps any provider organization that has adopted CMS or commercial risk agreements and is therefore responsible for both the cost and quality of their patient management.

Within these organizations, our tools are most useful to individuals who are responsible for managing patient populations in a way that improves overall health and outcomes to keep them out of the hospital. Depending on the organization, those roles could include a clinic’s CMO, Care Coordinator, or Health Management Director. At a hospital or health system, it could be the Population Health Officer/Manager, Care Navigators/Coordinators and Discharge Planners. CMS’ mandates around patient education mean that Compliance Officers are also interested in a solution that ensures they can demonstrate results around MIPS and patient satisfaction.

Q: Why is an advanced population health management tool important for healthcare providers?
A: I believe the importance is tied to the sheer volume of patients that must be managed. Rather than focusing on the 300 patients in a hospital or the 200 patients that will be seen in a clinic on any given day, Accountable Care Organizations are now ALSO responsible for managing the health of, let’s say, the 150,000-400,000 or more patients in the community that are part of their risk pool.

This task is overwhelming without a comprehensive solution like PopulationHEALTH to help organizations stratify those large numbers of patients into manageable groups at various stages of risk. Once patients are identified and prioritized, organizations can reach out to those patients in a timely manner with automated preventative interventions, targeted education and alerts or reminders. The advantages are two-fold: the data is current, making it possible to monitor the effectiveness of initiatives in near-real time, and the automation allows the organization to complete outreach and education across their patient populations on a regular basis with fewer personnel resources.

Q: What makes INTELICHART stand out from our competitors?
A: Our PopulationHEALTH solution is purpose-built to support a range of areas across the broad spectrum of population health: from patient standardization to target population analysis, value-based care initiative alignment, outreach automation, compliance/MIPS and the consumer experience. Other population health solutions offer some, but not all, of these capabilities.

Healthcare organizations have spent time and money on EMR solutions that allow them to collect critical clinical patient information. Our deep experience and ability to integrate with EMRs is important because we know how to effectively get the patient data organizations need to harvest in a way that gives them actionable insights tied to specific value-based initiatives. For example, they can identify patients who might be trending toward a diabetes diagnosis based on various clinical data points and be able to complete a custom, multi-modal intervention or educational campaign in under an hour with the ability to determine the effectiveness of that outreach in several weeks. Or if their goal is to keep COPD patients out of the ED, organizations can target these patients with educational material around control, alternate resources and urgent care or ambulatory sites in the areas.

Q: How does the culture at INTELICHART influence our products?
A: Our deep experience with over 10 years of developing patient portal solutions for EMR vendors has informed our team with the insights and experience to understand how to help healthcare providers improve patient engagement and step into the population health management space. We have a team that recognizes the impact of good patient engagement in a value-based world. They are committed to supporting providers so they can achieve the outcomes required to succeed in this new payment-model environment.

Q: What was your biggest challenge this week?
A: Well, this is not necessarily work-related, but my coffeemaker and dryer both broke this week. One thing is for sure…I could have coped a whole lot better with the dryer breaking down if the coffeemaker hadn’t!

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: A super-isolated place called Holbox Island off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. You have to take a two-hour ride through the jungle just to get to the ferry that takes you to the island. No one knows about it, so don’t tell anyone!