Breaking down healthcare’s information siloes has become a mission for Shaye Mandle, president and CEO of the Medical Alley Association in Minneapolis, one of the largest medical technology consortiums in the country. Under Mandle’s tenure, the consortium has evolved into a 650-member conversation on how to overcome technology barriers and meld the interests of all healthcare sectors. Unlike many industry groups, the Medical Alley deliberately courts members from across the spectrum of healthcare, including payers, providers and vendors.
Editor’s note: Why is the Medical Alley Association nicknamed the “Silicon Valley of the Midwest?” Read Healthcare Informatics’ profile of the innovation group in Part 1 of this two-part piece.
The cloud-based world and the dramatic rise in consumerism in healthcare seem to have stamped an expiration date on proprietary platforms, making cross-sector collaboration more important than ever. The best way to solve healthcare’s technology challenges and innovate, Mandle says, is to bring every aspect to the same table.
Healthcare Informatics recently spoke with Mandle about emerging innovations, industry trends and the surging impact of digital health.
How would you describe the culture change in healthcare IT these days?
Clearly, there are a lot of big healthcare players that have their own impact on the market. Until about three years ago, those proprietary lines drove almost everything. Part of the reason for the Medical Alley Association and its activities is to encourage that shift in the market. There's a real value shift happening now, and it involves some significant underlying cultural changes in perspective. We’re seeing a new emphasis on getting to know what the consumer needs and wants, and how to engage them in their own health.
How is the digital health movement changing the way companies need to think about consumers?
A lot of these larger, more established companies, particularly device companies, have been the major players in healthcare for a long time, but their relationship hasn’t traditionally been with the actual consumer. They’ve typically targeted the physician expert and clinical data/ IT sides of the equation.
But as consumers become more and more educated, these device companies are going to see a change to a more consumer-focused realm. We’ll see it happening with the payers, too. It's not just about convincing the hospital to buy your product anymore. It's also about who’s using it and what that experience is like.
What types of convergence do you see on the near horizon?
One of the things that will be interesting over the next few years is the convergence of what’s happening in Silicon Valley, which is known for great consumer service, and what’s been going on in the legacy healthcare space. I think we’ll see those worlds starting to come together.
From our vantage point, we're seeing a lot of interesting healthcare expertise migrating into higher tech and into the consumer interface realm. But while we consider the demands of consumers and their connection to healthcare, we also need to bring the healthcare expertise to get it all done in a way that is both compliant with legal and regulatory parameters and can produce results in a systematic shift.
How is the value-based purchasing world changing business intelligence?
The definition of business intelligence is really expanding now. The importance of data collection continues to grow, but we're definitely in a period now where it’s also about the ability to apply that data and create information that is actionable. Then there’s what I call the “soft business intelligence” side—it’s data-driven, but it’s more about what intelligence is relevant to the emerging definitions of value, and how that data translates across legacy platforms. There are still so many inhibitors to getting to where everybody ultimately needs to be.
What are some of the innovations heating up?
Personalized medicine is really hot. “Pharmacos” are working on clinical decision support tools that will allow for prescriptions that are based on your genetic makeup instead of guessing which medication will work best. Mental health is another place where we're seeing some interesting work. One company is developing wearables that can capture behavior patterns and what the body is doing during episodes of various mental health disorders to allow for better data collection. Then the therapist can use that when talking with the patient.
I’m also very interested in virtual reality and artificial intelligence, because I think the most important component of fixing healthcare ultimately will be about the ability to change behavior patterns. I think there are plenty of questions about where those applications are in development, but an AI/VR clinical support technology platform could get individual consumers to engage in better behavior, better adherence to their prescriptions and therapies and better manage their health through the life cycle. If we can make that happen, then I think most of the conversations we have today about healthcare challenges will be easily managed.
Learn more about technology innovation and digital health at the Healthcare Informatics IT Summit in Minneapolis, June 13-14, 2018.