DVHIMSS Winter Symposium Brings Together Innovators Making the Connections in Health Information Technology

With a theme of “connecting with new ways to solve problems,” the daylong gathering emphasized the opportunity in the hands of all HIT professionals in 2018.  HSX President, Martin Lupinetti, DVHIMSS Board President, kicked off the occasion with fellow DVHIMSS Board Members and event co-chairs Nancy Chapman (Senior Director, Technology & Platform Based Solutions, Digital Health Consulting, Atos – North American Operations) and Suzanne Gack (IS Strategist, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).  Marty encouraged all attending to find connections, ideas, and resources from the wealth shared knowledge that presenters would be providing.

In the first keynote talk, Healthcare Innovation Trends: What’s Happening, Why, and What You Should be Doing About It, Steve Barsh, Chief Innovation Officer, at Dreamit:

  • described his company as a venture capital firm and technology/service/product accelerator that has helped to launch 90 some digital health and medical-device companies, and termed himself “a serial entrepreneur”
  • outlined how his firm works with potential start-ups to encourage best practices in the process of launch, including analyzing competition, checking and re-checking fundamental assumptions, defining KPI’s (key performance indicators), running trials and pilots, and proving out value as quickly as possible.
  • emphasized the need for new companies to “de-risk,” achieve major milestones, and exit the start-up phase using less capital.

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In morning’s second keynote address, Disruptive Technologies in Healthcare, or The Model T Redux, Don Levick MD, CMIO, Lehigh Valley Health Network:

  • gave examples of ever-more ubiquitous smart devices
  • raised the question: what will be done with so much data from devices widely available — mobile, automated, and producing high volumes of data uploaded to the cloud?
  • noted that with consumer-facing automated diagnosis directly available through devices or online/remote consultation — and the availability of social media epidemiology, including crowd diagnosing and behavior tracking — healthcare will undergo changes in how it is delivered and will be
  • pointed to the prospect of healthcare being less dependent on the healthcare industry and raised the question of how that will change the role of the provider.

All Track A’s for the day had the theme Innovation…Connecting with Consumers & Patients

All Track B’s for the day had the theme Innovation….Connecting behind the Scenes


In the morning Track A, Making an Impact Through Public Innovation: Critical National and State Health IT Policy Initiatives, Jeff Coughlin, Senior Director, Federal & State Affairs, HIMSS North America:

  • discussed HIMSS as a cause-based organization, aimed at ensuring that health information technology enables healthcare transformation
  • reviewed the objectives of quality, economic opportunities, and better community health to be achieved concurrently with a transformation to value-based care
  • discussed the design, and pros and cons, of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) tracks for providers — the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM)

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In the morning Track B, Operational Excellence to Support Innovation & Transformation, Deb Wells, Strategy Consultant, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP):

  • discussed this new work/idea/project management program at CHOP, which requires consulting support with good motivational skills for the staff and in this case uses consultants that are all Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
  • described the process of implementing the new workflow schema as a gradual one that will support manageable workloads and that has trained and supported eight teams at CHOP so far
  • characterized acceptance as generally good in this effort to modify the work culture and change behaviors
  • noted that the transition to the program has been natural for some staff members but not for others, that the initiative requires significant energy and leadership to sustain, and that both the teams and advisors report progress to the program, with this activity becoming part of performance appraisals as the program matures
  • indicated that the process was essential at an organization with budgetarily reduced staff and other resources that is working to lean out its capacity and deliver projects faster as it attempts to process innovative ideas from its medical staff

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Attendees networked at the sponsor trade show during the lunch break.


In the first Track A of the afternoon, Shiny Object Disease, Joe Crandall, Partner, Greencastle Associates Consulting, LLC:

  • discussed how to manage the temptation of new technology concepts and ideas
  • noted the perils of shifting projects too soon, before new initiatives have been properly vetted
  • warned about skipping the people and process steps of planning, in favor of technology
  • urged technology staffs to clearly define the problem they are trying to solve before initiating a work stream
  • cautioned against “scope creep” in new technology projects

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In the first Track B of the afternoon, Cybersecurity State of the Union, John Gomez, CEO, Sensato:

  • referred to the violence and speed with which cyberattacks can take place
  • noted that damage can be severe enough to destroy servers and work stations beyond beyond repair
  • indicated that hospitals need to band together to prepare defenses against cyber attacks
  • said that cyber munitions may not be in the form of ransomware, nor involve any data exfiltration, nor command and control functions
  • described Chinese commercial espionage “Unit 61398,” which comprises thousands of operatives in a 12 story facility
  • explained how Russians develop attacks and let criminal organizations test for them
  • characterized the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency as a strong organization
  • described cyber spies as very clever, and said that cyber criminals are highly organized and often seek to mine the data for value that they can blackmail with or publish
  • depicted the ramifications of turning off the Internet, should something on that scale every become necessary due to cyberattack or security

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In the second Track A of the afternoon, Healthcare – Portable, App-Driven and On-demand, Jeff Cutler, Chief Revenue Officer, TytoCare:

  • talked about healthcare’s difficulties in catching up with digital, online, and Internet-of-things developments
  • indicated that these developments, though, will force transparency of cost, of outcomes, and of volumes
  • described how many new public applications are becoming available to impact open visibility, including transparency tools such as HealthGrades and Yelplike rating platforms
  • asserted that putting tools in hands of patients to manage conditions could save money and lives
  • reviewed how his company has developed home-examination and diagnosis solutions that are helping to transform primary care

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In the second Track B of the afternoon, Can Innovation Improve Business Operations & Financial Outcomes? Lawrence Dillon, COO and Consulting Principal, ENKI, LLC:

  • said that “servant leadership” means each person feels he or she is running the project, but that healthcare runs better on a command and control basis; whereas, servant leadership can be more effective in the business world
  • noted that most success, however, comes from a balance of these two approaches, including in healthcare, which consists of both care and business activities
  • positioned big data and analytics as a way to not just measure but predict customer/patient needs
  • pointed to “role definition” in the service world as an important function for increasing focus and productivity

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The day concluded with a panel organized by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Healthcare Innovation Collaborative

Robert McGrath, PhD – Senior Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Technology Commercialization, Drexel University

  • endorsed technology targeted to highly specific applications and acknowledged that, along these lines, his institution appreciates a strong level of partner cooperation in the Delaware Valley
  • encouraged developers to figure out how to talk to the patient directly, not just by teasing out what’s apparent in the data
  • lauded federal incentives to break down barriers between patient information at different providers
  • applauded the way in which Greater Philadelphia regional collaboration has challenged healthcare organizations to declare their willingness to innovate and has advanced the goal of getting the right companies and scientists paired to partner in projects
  • opined that the Delaware Valley region has undersold what it has  accomplished in HIT-related development, with a culture of humility
  • noted the challenge and need to develop new innovations for an aging population that may not be technology enthusiasts

Randall Gaboriault, MS, Chief Information Officer; Senior Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Development, Christiana Care Health System

  • raised the question of how the the regional collaborative can catalyze the movement of more innovators into the region
  • declared that a consumer focus is key now, with a goal of making information easy to access and centralize
  • maintained that a substantive amount of needed connectivity is already in place and needs to orchestrated
  • asserted that managing the pace of innovation is part of the current challenge

Heather Rose, PhD, JD, Director of Technology Licensing, Thomas Jefferson University

  • urged reaching across the aisles to synergize among technology players, using the example of Jefferson University’s bring together students, engineers, researchers, and clinicians
  • marked a more collective, democratic view of needs rather than siloed snapshots of the past
  • maintained that the concept of a patient as a sick person will become outdated
  • cautioned that while companies have great technology-development ideas, they need to make sure that these directions are consistent with what clinicians agree is a need, so that clinical value can be realized

Claire Marrazzo Greenwood, Executive Director of the CEO Council for Growth & VP, Leadership Engagement at Chamber of Commerce Greater Philadelphia

  • discussed her organization’s efforts to build a geographic center of excellence for global next-generation healthcare businesses
  • acknowledged what a center of innovation the region has already become
  • endorsed the innovative partnerships springing up in the community around a variety of challenges
  • declared that the region in this sense needs to sell its story more effectively and tout its accomplishments

As a final bonus presentation for the day, staff members of HealthShare Exchange discussed their organization’s role for application development as a healthcare data repository.

Nathan Hecker, Technical Operations Lead, HSX, delivered an impassioned introductory talk about the need to give developers the application programming interfaces (APIs) that they need for [Text Box:] innovation to improve health and healthcare — with the goal of changing the quality of life and improving longevity and health of the population.

Rakesh Mathew, Program Manager, Innovation, Research, & Development, HSX, discussed steps needed to overcome legal, trust, and partnership barriers that will allow developers to get access to patient data.  He spoke of the limitations of leaving the process of moving data into an application to that which comes directly from the patient.  He reviewed the new Jeff Docs application as an example of how repositories of existing clinical data can enhance provider tools.  He outlined HSX’s MarketStreet initiative, now under development to give developers a well-designed platform in which to take advantage of patient data on a large-scale regional basis.  He graphically outlined how MarketStreet connects “Main Street” needs of consumers with the creativity and inventiveness of those who generate new products and services.

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