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Our Perspectives



Lincoln Popp


Jun 18, 2019

Bringing Healthcare Operations into the 21st Century to Benefit Patients

If you’ve been to the doctor in the past few years, you’ve likely seen evidence of the many ways data and digital technology are transforming healthcare. Physicians carry computers into patient consults, test results are delivered via websites, and everything from heart rate to medication schedules are tracked on smartphones and watches.

These trends are transforming the clinical side of healthcare and making new and more effective treatments possible.

But as hopeful as that sounds, it’s only half the story.

We also need to bring the power of data to the operational side, where so much of the paperwork lives.

In a keynote address this week in Boston at the HIMSS conference on Machine Learning and AI for Healthcare, Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, a Lumedic board member and the executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH), explained how the proliferation of data, and the smart use of data, has enabled an abundance of improvements in patient outcomes.

At PSJH, for instance, collecting and analyzing data on everything from handwashing to room cleaning and environmental health has yielded big gains in patient safety and quality improvement.

The key, as Amy noted, is to not only gather the right data, but also to use that data to tell stories that enable positive changes.

PSJH believes it is equally important to leverage data and digital technology to improve the operational side of healthcare.

Operations is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of healthcare, and the most outdated. It’s where people spend their days filling out forms with pen and paper, faxing those forms to others and waiting for fax replies, manually cross-checking approval codes, and waiting endlessly on hold for small pieces of information.

All of this inefficiency generates huge costs for healthcare providers. It also can cause physical and emotional distress for patients who are waiting for care and want to make sure their insurers will cover it.

PSJH is committed to simplifying administrative processes to push “fast-forward” on healthcare operations and create new systems that belong in the 21st century.

As part of this commitment, PSJH purchased Lumedic, as announced in February, and we are excited to be helping PSJH leverage blockchain and other technologies to modernize and streamline its revenue cycle management.

By looking at vast arrays of data sources and putting them together to aid decision making, these technologies simplify healthcare providers’ ability to implement knowledge, accelerate new ways to have more meaningful conversations with patients, and make life better.

To accomplish these ambitious goals, we can’t simply automate existing, inefficient processes.

We have to start fresh, from the ground up, with the patient at the center, and privacy and security at the core.

We are doing just that for PSJH, across its vast system of 51 hospitals and more than 800 clinics. Our first mission is to create an entirely new process for managing the revenue cycle based on technologies that are both new and tested, to remove the financial, emotional and physical burdens imposed by healthcare operations today.

As my colleague Mike Nash described in a recent blog post, we are beginning by tackling the critical but cumbersome process of securing prior authorizations before providing treatment.

Because these projects are complex and it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture, we have to make sure we, so to speak, keep the main thing the main thing. Patients must be at the center.

And the next-wave technologies — distributed ledger technologies from blockchain, machine learning algorithms from the AI community, data analytics and more — are there to support the patient journey each step of the way.

We are excited to have Amy on our board as Lumedic applies our expertise to benefit PSJH and the millions of patients it treats each year.

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