For more than a decade, the editors at Healthcare Informatics have honored teams of leaders at patient care organizations for their innovations in leveraging healthcare IT to improve patient outcomes, control costs, enhance the effectiveness of clinicians, and improve patient and community satisfaction. Every 2015 Innovator Awards winning team has acknowledged at least one partnership with a forward-thinking vendor partner.
So this year, for the first time, we, the editors at HCI have chosen to recognize healthcare IT vendor companies themselves, through a new program that we’ve named the Healthcare Informatics Leading Edge Awards. A number of healthcare IT vendor companies responded to our call for the submission of entries in the categories of clinician workflow improvement, interoperability, and cost savings.
And now, after a careful review by neutral judges drawn from the membership of Healthcare Informatics’ Editorial Advisory Board, we are able to announce the winners in each of the three categories: Imprivata, Inc. (workflow improvement), Loop360 (cost savings), and Splunk Inc. (interoperability).
In the following pieces, you will hear from senior executives at those companies articulating their sense of mission around what they do, and offering their perspectives on the future of vendor innovation in healthcare IT. Thank you to all the vendor companies that submitted entries this year, and congratulations to the winning organizations! We are delighted to honor these organizations, and look forward to sponsoring next year’s Leading Edge Awards as well.
--The Editors of Healthcare Informatics
The 2015 winner in the category of Workflow Enhancement is Imprivata, Inc., the healthcare IT security company, based in Lexington, Massachusetts. Omar Hussain, president and CEO of Imprivata, spoke with Healthcare Informatics about the importance of provider productivity, why Imprivata’s mission is to never lose a customer, and the challenges of creating meaningful systems in an ever-changing industry.
Healthcare Informatics: Tell me a little about Imprivata’s mission as a company.
Omar Hussain: Our mission is to improve provider productivity. At the end of the day, as healthcare continues to adopt technology, you see that productivity often takes a major hit. And that hit impacts patient care and patient outcomes. Think about it: when a hospital adopts a new technology, providers often become less productive. They spend less time with patients and more time with these new systems. And if you want to improve patient outcomes, you need to find ways to help providers spend more time with their patients.
The healthcare industry is going through a major transformation when it comes to technology. And while there are a lot of long-term benefits, you’ll see a lot of wasted time in the short term. Providers have to spend a lot of extra time with clinical systems, with accessing patient information they need, with communicating patient information with other providers. So addressing provider productivity challenges is a vital opportunity to improve patient care and patient outcomes—and by focusing on clinical workflow, we can help ensure that technology is helping instead of hindering the quality of care.
Healthcare Informatics: What are some of the biggest challenges that your clients face regarding clinical workflow?
Hussain: Traditionally, healthcare has been a paper-based industry. That’s changing now. But when you go from paper to an electronic system, one of the biggest pain points is accessing patient information, whether you are talking about adding information to a chart or looking up lab results. Because of regulations around patient privacy and safety, accessing patient information requires a username and a password. And you have to do that secure log-in every time you want to access any type of patient information. So if you’re a doctor or a nurse, you might have to do that log-in multiple times in a single hour—every time you move from room to room.
That one simple thing is getting in the way of giving care. So what Imprivata does is improve that entire clinical workflow. It allows providers to focus on care. Because all that physician has to do is walk up to the computer, swipe a badge or put a fingerprint down, and they can instantly access the data they need. They don’t have to go searching for it. They don’t have to find different applications. They can customize their desktop—even as they move from workstation to workstation. And they don’t have to worry about shutting their session down. Imprivata will do that for them. Taken together, that seamless workflow results in a huge savings of time. It improves productivity of the entire clinical staff tremendously—because they don’t have to spend 20, 40 minutes per shift just trying to adjust patient information.
Healthcare Informatics: What role did clinicians play in developing that workflow?
Hussain: Here is one thing that sets Imprivata apart as a company: We don’t want to just throw technology out there, we want to build great products. We do our best to make the right investments and really understand what the problems are. We work closely with our customers—directly with the users—to understand how, where and why they use these systems. What is it they want to see? What do they need to see? How would they like to see it?
It’s about taking a complicated problem and trying to simplify it so that physicians can get the information they want exactly the way they want it. And our goal is to never lose a customer. So we continue and will continue to work closely with our customers and do whatever it takes to allow them to be successful and reach their goals. That’s how we’ve managed to grow as a company so significantly—and how we developed a reputation for finding a way to make our products work the way they need to.
Healthcare Informatics: Often, care providers are told they can’t have an optimized workflow because of privacy and security issues. How do you give your customers the best of both worlds?
Hussain: We are focused on drawing a bridge between security and convenience. For example, one of the HIPAA regulations is to make sure you always know who accessed what system when—who changed what medical record. Because, if something goes awry, you need to know what doctor made the change to that prescription or ordered that extra procedure. Instead of convoluted usernames and passwords, or multi-step authentication, we have created a simply but fair biometrics solution. It says, “I know exactly who you are when you put your finger down.” It complies with all the regulations around authenticating a doctor or nurse. But it’s so simply that it doesn’t get in the way of providing care.
We have a new product, Imprivata Confirm ID™, to help manage electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. Doctors and patients want electronic prescriptions because they are so convenient. But there are strict requirements from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) around how to securely enroll people and to ensure providers use two-factor authentication when signing a prescription. But just because it’s secure doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Imprivata has developed a solution that is simple, easy and convenient for providers. Yet, it is secure and meets the DEA requirements. We show that convenient and bulletproof don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Healthcare Informatics: In your opinion, what sets you apart from your competitors?
Hussain: We at Imprivata are passionate about building great products. We make incredible investments in our technologies and products. We are committed to the healthcare space. We are committed to make our solutions work for our customers. Not many companies say, “We never want to lose a customer.” But we do—and we will do whatever we can to make sure our customers are successful.
Imprivata builds solutions that not only allow you to comply with government regulations but also help save you time. Our tagline is, “We enable healthcare securely.” And we do enable our customers to use our systems, solutions that are fast and easy, and do so in a secure manner. Today, over 3 million clinicians worldwide at over 1,000 hospitals are using our systems. And they do so because they understand we are providing technologies that make workflow efficient and intuitive for their users.
Healthcare Informatics: How can your focus on provider productivity assist in improved care and reduced costs?
Hussain: Any time you can give back to clinicians is huge—both in terms of improved care and cost savings. Today, the average nurse or doctor is spending less than 30 percent of their time on patients. So when you give them time back, you save by making sure their focus is on the patient—and you don’t need to hire more people to provide that necessary care.
Healthcare Informatics: With an ever-changing landscape, how can healthcare information technology vendors help foster innovation?
Hussain: When we first started Imprivata, our focus was all about accessing patient information. Because the challenge then was that doctors and nurses were wasting a lot of valuable time just trying to track down information. Our first product, Imprivata OneSign, provides fast, secure access to clinical applications, virtual desktops, and patient information. But the industry is always evolving. And the technology has to evolve with it. So we pay a lot of attention to what our customers are saying. We listen to them as they tell us about the challenges they are facing. We are finding new ways to improve productivity, and save our customers lots of time, by listening to what they need. And that’s how we stay ahead of the curve.
Imprivata Confirm ID came about because our customers told us they were struggling with dealing with upcoming DEA regulations around e-prescribing of controlled substances. They told us they wanted a solution that was easy, where doctors could be easily authenticated, and where they knew that they were complying with all DEA regulations. We went to work and built a solution that they didn’t need right at that moment—but that they knew, and we knew, they would need later. And so we had a product that could deal with the issues when those DEA regulations finally came down the pipeline.
By working closely with our customers and our design partners, we can try to stay ahead of the changes that are coming. And, in doing so, we can build quality solutions that are of high value to them. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past 10 years. And that’s what we’ll continue to do.