Episode 69 - Full Force Ahead - The Thriving Health System of the Future
Health Choice Network President and CEO Alex Romillo joins Greenway Health President Kimberly O'Loughlin to discuss Greenway's partnership with HCN — part of our commitment to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), plus what we have in store to fuel the success of health centers in the years ahead.
Joe: On this episode of "Putting Possibility into Practice", we are talking with Health Choice Network. They're a family of health centers in their 25th anniversary year, how they partner with Greenway Health, and what lies ahead in innovation and technology as they strive to offer quality healthcare at their centers nationwide. This is "Putting Possibility into Practice" and it starts right now.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, social media manager at Greenway Health and welcome to this episode of our podcast "Putting Possibility into Practice". If you're a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice and we'll go into those platforms a little later on and how you can subscribe to our podcast and get notifications each week when new episodes are uploaded. And if you're a returning listener, thanks once again for joining us.
On this episode, as I mentioned, we're talking with Alex Romillo, he is the president and CEO of Health Choice Network, and also joining us is the president of Greenway Health, Kimberly O'Loughlin. And I welcome both of you to this episode and Alex, first, from all of us at Greenway, we want to wish you and your entire team a happy 25th anniversary. And talk a little bit about your partnership with Greenway Health now as we enter the 25th year for Health Choice Network, and a little bit about the network, and how you guys operate in these centers that you have nationwide.
Alex: Sure, Joe. It's a great partnership. It's interesting and these days it's hard to pinpoint a partnership that spans two decades. We've been with Greenway from day one. We were working on appointment schedulers and billing 25 years ago and we had selected Greenway at the time because they were the state of the art infrastructure. As a matter of fact, Greenway, I think, earmarked practice management. There was nothing called practice management back then. So, it's been a great partnership. We've been able to grow with our partnership. We've learned together. As in any good partnerships, there's always ups and downs, but there's been so many more ups than downs. And we're looking forward to the future, the next 25 years, working along side our partners, specifically Greenway.
Joe: Kimberly, talk a little bit about this partnership from the Greenway Health side as we continue to pave the way for the health system in the future with HCN.
Kimberly: Sure. It's great to be here with Alex and the HCN team. We're really looking at how do we change the game for the future for healthcare and help to deliver on the promise of expanding access to the services and solutions for his centers, and what does that look like, and how can we powerfully bring more integrated, purposeful, impactful capability to his customers.
Joe: So, Alex, the theme of your recent 25th Annual Board of Directors Educational Conference, talked about the future of the health system and pointing towards 2025. What do you see as the future of the health system as we head towards 2025 and beyond?
Alex: Well, it's important, as you highlight, health system. We're a network of FQHCs, health centers, not-for-profit organizations, safety-net providers, and we are operating as a system. We understand that there are a lot of moving parts in healthcare. As Kimberly always points out, you have to look at the entire system and how to fix the entire system. You just can't pick one part of the system and try to fix that. So, we're really excited.
The reason why our conference was themed after 2025 was the HRSA and the Bureau of Primary Health Care has challenged us. How are we going to change? How are we going to innovate for not just the future but the patient requirements? Patients are asking more of their clinicians, more access, home care, in-home, virtual, telehealth, prescribing Uber, Lyft, everything coming back to them.
So, with food being delivered to your home and Amazon dropping packages via Skybots, well it's time for the providers to meet the patients where they are. So, we're really excited about the future. It's important that we stick together, managed-care contracting is going to be critical. So, we're really excited about the partnership with Greenway and our other partners that are recognizing the change that needs to occur, not only to the health system, but in the platforms that we use.
Joe: And, Kimberly, talk a little bit about the technology and innovation as we go towards 2025 and how that assist with HC and its mission and goal of delivering quality care.
Kimberly: Sure. In addition to kind of partnership being a cornerstone to how we move forward, bringing leading-edge innovation and technology to the table is a core part of it. There are a lot of disparate solutions available today, we bring a lot of them to the table, but what's not okay is how they work together to really efficiently work at all the unmet needs of the practices. So, what we see in the future is technology actually fading to the background. And it's not about the technology, but rather it's about restoring the relationship between the provider and their patient and having technology actually be the enabler that works across contexts, across settings, in the home, in the clinic setting, and the provider is more about the engagement with the patient.
Joe: Alex, what makes Health Centers so unique?
Alex: Well, a lot of moving parts in Health Centers but I think the biggest quality that Health Centers have is they turn no one away. So, if you are a patient with insurance, you are welcome to the Health Center. I you lose your insurance, you're still welcome at the Health Center. Our mission at Health Centers is to look at the population as a whole and make them healthy. And so, if you walk into any Health Center, you'll realize the passion, the mission, they have the highest quality standards they have to follow. Most of the providers in the community, don't have to follow these stringent quality patterns, and they've been doing it for over 45 years.
So, it's really exciting what Health Centers are innovating. They were the first to adopt the electronic health record system. They were the first to meet the ONC requirements. So, we're really proud of the FQHC movement. It really is a movement and we're just proud to be part of that.
I'd like to comment on Kimberly's last mention because it's so powerful, so visionary, for a president of a technology firm to say that technology is moving to the background...fading to the background, while providers and patients are the most important. That's what makes Kimberly and Greenway innovative today, is they recognize the relationship between the providers and the patients, the most important things.
Yes, technology is important, and the tools are critical to our success, but recognizing the workflows, what's driving the patients in and out of the system, the redundancy in healthcare, and as Kimberly always points out, the quadruple aim, it's very important. It's what it's all about, population, cost, drivers, care. And so, we're really excited to hear and work with such a visionary leader at Greenway.
Joe: And, what are some of the challenges facing Health Centers today?
Alex: Well, I mean from a Health Center perspective, you hear all the time from D.C. about the fiscal cliff. Heath Centers' funding is always very well supported across bi-partisan lines, but when it comes to healthcare, it's tough. I mean, when the healthcare percentage is almost reaching 18% of GDP, you start asking yourself if we're spending so much money why is the quality not at the top? I mean, we're rarely top 10 in the world.
So, it's important for us to look at the challenges FQHCs face, such as funding, understanding that we are mission based, and that sometimes the partnerships that we carry have to meet those criteria, those values, and provider recruitment. We try to keep providers in the community. Healthcare happens in the local community and working with our payers, and our hospital systems, and our technology partners, our specialists, dentists, cardiologists, OB-GYNs, podiatrists, endocrinologists. I mean, you're talking about so many moving parts that have to work well for an FQHC to carry their mission but they always do it with a smile, they work very long hours. Funding, you look at the providers in an FQHC, they're not driving, you know, a Mercedes Benz, they're driving their Honda Accord or efficient Prius to work and it's because they recognize that why they went into healthcare is to help others and save lives, and I think they have the biggest impact at a Health Center.
Joe: And, Kimberly, how can Greenway Health continue to partner with HCN to help those challenges and meet those challenges that Alex laid out?
Kimberly: That's a great questions. We're really working on how we come to work every day much more focused on our customers. So, we're rolling out leaders across the company in areas to focus on the FQHCs. So, we've named an FQHC leader in our customer success area, in our product and innovation area, and in our revenue cycle area because, as we work and partner with Alex and HCN, we understand what those needs are and we can strive to deliver them and accelerate the speed with which we do so.
Joe: And, Alex, where to from here? I mean, obviously, with the rest of...it's hard to believe we're talking about the second half of 2019 already, but, I mean, you've talked a little bit about quality and the quality awards on our previous episode that we had you on and those I understand are coming up again for this year already.
Alex: Yeah. I stay up all night waiting for those quality awards to go out. Every year we've doubled up. We started with under a $1,000,000 in quality awards, we were over $3.6 million in '18, we expect to exceed that. We have Health Centers that have doubled down on quality, so their numbers are in doubled-digit improvement for the year over year. So we've always had national quality meters, we have the highest quality in our network across FQHCs, and we're really excited to share that win again with all our partners, Greenway Health being a critical partner to that.
And we're also so excited about the new technology coming out, so that way next year we'll be talking about $4 million or $5 million dollars in quality awards, and I know Kimberly and the and the whole team at Greenway will celebrate alongside us.
And I also like to point out, the team that Kimberly just highlighted are some of the top-notch folks. I'm so pleased to see some folks take those roles of the FQHC leadership at Greenway that have been with us for years and one of them actually was an employee of one of our FQHCs. So it's great to see a vendor recognize that they need the subject-matter experts coming straight from the field and not having to try and train these folks. I've been in the FQHC movement for 20 years. I learn things every day. So, it's great to cut corners and speed up the timeline with bringing subject-matter experts from the field into a technology partner.
Joe: And something you spoke about at the recent conference that really struck a chord as I was listening in and sharing some of the thoughts on social media is quality. And you really highlighted quality healthcare and talked about the new logo being a Q and how important is that to be recognized for quality healthcare throughout the country?
Alex: Well, about three years ago, our board of directors said, "We can't be the provider of last resort." A safety-net provider will never turn a patient away as I mentioned, but usually they're looked upon as, "Well, we need to see a doctor, we have no other choice, let's go to see our PCP at the FQHC." Three years ago, we made it a concerted effort to focus on quality and let quality drive everything, our technology decisions, our data decisions, our partnerships. And so, it's critical to us and having partners at the Bureau of Primary Health Care, HRSA, CMS, ONC, with our shared savings, ACO, and recognizing the fact that we can really compete in this quality space and provide, not only the highest quality, which every patient deserves, but also consistent. And that's, I think, that's important.
Kimberly: Well, I think one of the things that is so exciting for me is we have a new mission, which is to be a trusted advisor to our customers and be responsible for fueling their success or be a partner in doing that. So, when Alex and the team win these quality awards, we're celebrating right along with them and then energized about what else we can do so that we could integrate better analytics, and better benchmarks, and better understanding of how to drive against that quadrupling. So, we're thrilled to be the partner and delighted to be here celebrating the 25th anniversary.
Alex: Don't worry, Kimberly, I'll send you an email at 2:00 in the morning when they come out.
Joe: When do the awards usually come out?
Alex: Well, you know, Jim and the great group at the Bureau of Primary Health Care like to surprise us. But we always see it right at the middle of July, end of July, so, you know, I have my tricks on how to figure it out. So, I always get the data, I have a template that I've created that I can import the data, and one of the things we do at Health Choice Network is we're very competitive, so not only do we look at our awards, we look at all the other awards because we just like to be top box.
Joe: And if you want to see exactly how top box they are, you can visit their website at www.hcnetwork.org and you will see the graphic right on top that highlight all the awards that they won from last year and all the great statistics, and I'm sure that graphic may change in another month or so and we can highlight all the awards from this year and we'll be sure to share that across our social media networks. I want to thank Alex and Kimberly for taking time out of their extremely busy days to join me on this episode of "Putting Possibility into Practice". I know, Alex, we will probably have you on much more in some of your centers throughout the year to share in your successes and celebrate the awards and the accomplishments as we move forward here towards that health system of the future in 2025. And once again, happy 25h anniversary to everybody over at Health Choice Network.
Alex: Thank you, Joe.
Joe: For more information on some of the products and services that we talked about on this episode of "Putting Possibility into Practice", I invite you to visit our website at www.greenwayhealth.com. And if you have not yet so, we invite you to subscribe to our podcast and you can find our podcast on all of the national platforms. Now we're on iTunes, Google Play, Podcast Stitcher, fm.player, SoundCloud, Libsyn, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and new, we're also on iHeartRADIO. And look for more platforms coming soon.
I'm Joe Agostinelli for Alex Romillo, the president and CEO of Health Choice Network, and Greenway Health president, Kimberly O'Loughlin. Thanks for listening to this episode of our podcast, "Putting Possibility into Practice".