How healthcare markets are solving labor shortages and connecting data silos

Photo: APX Laboratories

Sicker patients, higher expenses and fewer outpatient visits: Hospitals are still grappling with many of the issues caused by the pandemic, not to mention caring for people with COVID-19. These challenges add to ongoing efforts to meet the triple goal of health care: improving patient care, improving people’s health and reducing costs.

Two tech companies think a market-based approach could help achieve all of these goals. CareRev is addressing the staffing challenge, while Particle Health wants to connect all the separate data sources across all health systems.

Here’s a look at how these companies are building these systems and helping everyone who works and deals with the healthcare industry.

Helping nurses find the job they want

The CareRev Marketplace creates an alternative to the traveling nurse system that has been widely used during the pandemic. Hospitals are offering signing bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 to attract enough nurses to keep facilities running. This approach bridges a short-term change but can create a longer-term problem with staff members not making as much money.

Prior to joining CareRev, Craig Aherns helped hospitals manage financial turnarounds, which often involved laying off staff only to be rehired a few months later when demand for care increased. He served as CareRev’s senior vice president of growth and strategy for just over two years until February. People were frustrated and angry before COVID-19, according to Aherns, and the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in this approach to managing the healthcare workforce.

“Using casual labor in health care is expensive and unsustainable and causes friction with your full-time workforce,” he said.

CareRev has built a staffing service designed for nurses who want to work part-time on a semi-regular basis.

“We give people a way they want to work,” he said. “Plus, we’re saving a hospital $30 million this year by eliminating travel contracts.”

CareRev partners with hospitals to fill open shifts and manage the onboarding process. Once CareRev confirms a new user’s credentials, he or she can view available shifts and register to work one through the company app. CareRev also pays nurses when a shift is completed.

He also sees benefits for nurses who don’t want to work full-time and aren’t looking for full-time health insurance.

“This flexible mechanism activates a latent supply that wants to work three or four times a month but does not want to travel because it is exhausting and she feels uncomfortable because she was on the other side” , did he declare.

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The CareRev platform also targets young professionals who need to pay off debt to graduate as well as more experienced nurses who don’t want to work full-time but aren’t ready to retire.

He sees this market model as particularly useful for certified practical nurses who keep RNs from burning out but earn fast food salaries.

“There’s also an education ladder built into our app, so a CNA can work a second job at a hospital and gain experience,” he said. “We can also help with transportation logistics to get people to their shifts if they need transportation.”

CareRev hires RNs, CNAs, Physician Assistants, X-ray and Surgical Technicians in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Powering the next phase of healthcare evolution

After being able to see a doctor or nurse from the comfort of their own home during the worst months of the pandemic, many people want this option to be permanent. Healthcare providers will need to accommodate this expectation in addition to the demands of their workforce. This could include a new option that offers more personalized attention than a telemedicine visit without needing to visit a doctor’s office. Aherns sees the need for this style of on-demand, in-person health care and predicts that there will soon be the ability to bring a nurse or other health care provider into the home to provide care beyond the home health services that are common today for older adults.

This home-based, on-demand care will cover all types of populations, Ahern predicts, from high-risk patients who need specialist care to primary care visits.

“The market model is what makes it work, and payers will start going straight to market,” he said. “It’s probably in two or three years.”

Facilitate the exchange of health data

Work isn’t the only market powered by technology and designed to make life easier for doctors, patients and nurses. Particle Health is interested in health markets that deal with data, not labor. Dan Horbatt, CTO and co-founder of Particle Health, said his own chronic illness introduced him to the challenge of health data interoperability.

“I couldn’t get my medical records back because I was sick,” he said.

Her journey to collect her own information revealed how many data silos there are in a healthcare system that is not designed to share information or facilitate patient access.

Particle Health uses a federated network and grants certificates to allow users to participate. The network currently includes 20,000 terminals that cover regional health information networks and healthcare providers. The platform is SOC 2 certified, HIPAA and OAuth 2.0 compliant.

Horbatt describes the Particle platform as the pipes between all the data lakes scattered throughout the healthcare system. The idea is to make it easier for healthcare providers of all types to find and share patient data and for patients to manage information.

SEE: Chicago Hospital uses Amazon’s HealthLake to break down data silos and create a consistent patient history

Healthcare providers and insurance companies can use the Particle Health platform to manage and view data. A user can query the data based on demographic information and map the data to the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard.

Horbatt said Particle Health wants to provide a platform that healthcare providers and others can build on, instead of specializing in a certain way to present data or track trends.

“In my experience with years of processing big data, the situations where you get the best results are when you have human intuition paired with systems that can help process lots of data,” he said. declared.

Horbatt said the platform facilitates patient discovery and access to records, while improving the overall clinical document architecture.

“We can take very old XML-based data transfer formats and convert them to the latest industry standards: graphics-based, JSON, and restful,” he said. “It makes the data much easier to use because users can slice and dice the data and extract only the information they want.”

Users can write narrow queries such as retrieving Medicare-only patient data and drugs prescribed for a specific time period. Horbatt said Particle and its partners could use this capability in the future to automate patient workflows or suggest an intervention for a specific condition. Customers can use the platform to extract patient data and make the data available to the wider network.

Horbatt said the platform is useful for telemedicine providers who can use it to import patient data.

“Data transfer has become a big thing and now they don’t have to spend the first 15 minutes doing the patient history, which is good for the bottom line,” he said.

Easier access to patient data also means it is easier to identify problems with prescriptions.

“Sometimes patients have been prescribed the same drug by two providers and are taking a double dose,” he said.

Improve access to data for patients

Horbatt said the company is supporting the broader health data ecosystem by helping partners understand the FHIR standard and creating a working group to share more data, including medical images, genomics and even services. notification.

He described a permanent query that a doctor could use to collect all the data on a particular patient and send an alert if the person is admitted to hospital.

“There will be many application possibilities for providing this ongoing care outside of provider treatment, especially for chronic conditions.

This future functionality could also allow a person to provide and revoke access to medical records and request a correction.

“As far as we’ve evolved with technology, it’s mind-boggling that our health is still in our hands,” he said. “We want to expand patient access requests so that patients can exercise all of their rights under HIPAA.”

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