The winning companies described some of the challenges they have faced and what they gain from the recognition.
July 30—Providing an indication of where the healthcare finance industry is headed, stakeholders recently selected a patient revenue cycle system and a telemonitoring company as leading innovators.
The technology and company, respectively, were voted innovation winners by paid attendees at HFMA’s Annual Conference in June. Voters chose among selected companies and products at the meeting’s new Innovation Hub. The candidates included 12 start-ups and seven new products that were selected from HFMA’s first Virtual Pitch Contest.
The start-ups showcased products that were geared toward reducing the cost of care delivery, enhancing the healthcare consumer experience, and improving population health management through analytics.
Transitional Cardiac Care (TCC) was voted the Innovative Start-up winner. The national company, based in Modesto, Calif., and founded by cardiac nurse Terra Goodrich, provides telehealth, cardiac education, and home-based monitoring. TCC uses proprietary CardioTrack monitoring and an online education portal to monitor patients’ vital signs and immediately identify and address factors that contribute to readmissions.
The company offers 30-day post-discharge home monitoring of cardiac failure patients through a program that provides blue tooth-enabled durable medical equipment, such as scales and blood pressure cuffs. The CardioTrack program collects real-time vital-sign data from the equipment and forwards it to provider-clients to use to manage patients and identify early signs of health problems.
The Patient Experience solution, produced by R1 RCM Inc., was voted the Innovative New Product. The Chicago-based company’s product aims to improve patient satisfaction by easing the preregistration process and allowing consumers to submit personal insurance information and make payments online from a mobile device or an in-office kiosk or tablet.
“The biggest challenge we were trying to address for providers was improving the patient experience from where it is today to where a consumer—that is, the patient—expects it to be,” said Gary Johnson, senior vice president of marketing for R1 RCM.
The patient-facing product was developed based on company research that found patients’ views of optimal financial interactions frequently are formed by their experiences with airlines, which allow them to check in for flights through kiosks and use in-app boarding passes.
The company used a similar approach in its effort to improve patient satisfaction and the resulting scoring of providers.
“The touches during the revenue cycle, specifically, are outside of the care, but from a consumer’s point of view, they don’t distinguish it,” Johnson said in an interview. “Even if you have a great experience in terms of quality-of-care outcomes, if the touchpoints in the experience in the mind of the patient are not to the level they wanted them to be, that can have a disproportionate impact on the overall rating and with their satisfaction level with that provider.”
Executives of the companies appreciated the recognition from healthcare financial professionals.
“Winning has put tremendous value and validation behind my company,” Goodrich said. “It’s opened so many doors of opportunity, it’s broadened our horizons, and shown us the possibilities are truly endless in our effort to change thousands of people’s lives.”
Meanwhile, Johnson cited the vote win as “validation that we’re on the right track.”
Innovation Hub Appeal
R1 RCM had previously obtained insights from the Ascension health system, where it piloted the revenue cycle product, but the wider Annual Conference audience allowed the company to gather input from providers that were not involved with the product’s development.
Goodrich said TCC looked at participation in the Innovation Hub as an opportunity to gain exposure that start-ups struggle to find in the healthcare field.
“The networking opportunities were endless for me, and the amount of decision makers that I was able to shake hands with and face-to-face explain what my company has to offer to them is groundbreaking for my company,” Goodrich said. “But it also was an efficient opportunity to grow my contact list.
Johnson said the Innovation Hub helped to “shine a light on innovation and new solutions” for provider-attendees who may be distracted by numerous events and obligations at large events like the Annual Conference.
“We wanted to have that focal point not only for the awareness, impact, and visibility but also to gain feedback as to what was most unique, what was most attractive, what was missing, and what else they would want to have as part of it,” Johnson said.
Next steps for TCC include expanding its national footprint to help lead transitional care and preventive medicine in cardiology.
“We really want to change the way of thinking about telehealth and transitional care, and show the true value behind it for everyone—not so much the reimbursement for insurance, but the true value it has to these people who are really sick,” Goodrich said.
The company is focused on licensing its product for healthcare organizations to ease access and extend its outreachg.
Rich Daly is a senior writer/editor in HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office. Follow Rich on Twitter: @rdalyhealthcare