Internet Health Management selected the 15 executives to be profiled in Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems from the Digital Hospital 500, the first-ever ranking of U.S. hospitals based on their advanced digital and mobile healthcare programs.

Their titles vary as does the size of their healthcare system or hospital. But the 15 executives profiled in Internet Health Management’s forth coming report—Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems—do have multiple traits in common.

Top among them: the ability to make digital healthcare a strategic priority at their organizations and the management expertise, people skills and business know-how necessary for changing how their hospital delivers care and conducts business in a new era of web-driven consumer healthcare. The healthcare leaders profiled in Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems include:

Internet Health Management selected the 15 executives to be profiled in Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems from the Digital Hospital 500, the first-ever ranking of U.S. hospitals based on their advanced digital and mobile healthcare programs. As a rule, U.S. hospitals have a long way to go in becoming fully digital with web-enabled features, functions and programs that enable patients to manage their health, wellness and healthcare business affairs online.

As a group, the Digital Hospital 500 have built the foundation for adding more digital and mobile healthcare capacity.

But compared to an industry like retail, which began embracing e-commerce and web technology more than 20 years ago, hospitals still have lots of catching up to do. For example, while some Digital Hospital 500 hospitals are closing in on having about three dozen consumer-driven web features the 500 biggest online retailers, which include such well-known brands as Amazon.com and Macys, have about 53 on average.

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It’s a similar story on social media. The 500 biggest web retailers ranked by Internet Retailer on their annual web sales have a median of 310,677 Likes and followers on Facebook and 25,658 on Twitter. In comparison, the median number of Likes on Facebook for the Digital Hospital 500 is 9,529 and 2,172 for Twitter followers.

Compared to retailers, which on average deploy about two dozen online customer service and customer satisfaction features, such as ratings and reviews, Digital Hospital 500 institutions deploy far less. For example, only 93, or 18.6%, Digital 500 Hospitals let patients go online to cancel an appointment or check emergency room wait times. In addition, just 70 hospitals—14%—let patients see physician notes.

But the executives profiled Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems are the change agents within their respective organizations and have founded, managed and expanded programs that today use the web and web technology to make consumer-driven healthcare a mainstream way their hospital treats patients and conducts business.

Some examples include:

Peter Fleischut

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Dr. Peter Fleischut. NewYork-Presbyterian has ambitious plans to convert as many as 20% of all annual patients visits—potentially as many as 200,000 visits or encounters—to telehealth from about 6,000 today. Fleischut built and manages the program that will make that happen for NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the nation’s biggest healthcare systems that sees more than 2 million patients annually. “All we are doing in telehealth and digital healthcare is with the patient in mind,” Fleischut says.

 

Tina Freese Decker

 

Tina Freese Decker. Spectrum Health was an early adopter of digital healthcare among hospitals in Michigan—including the first to offer a telehealth service for patients both inside and outside the hospital. Most recently Spectrum Spectrum introduced MedNow, a consumer telehealth program for online care for cold and flu, earache, pink eye, sprains and strains, sinus problems and other less serious conditions. MedNow also includes online consultations for cardiology, diabetes, infectious disease, wound care, vascular services, oncology and other follow-up care, and virtual tools that track and review patient heart rates and other important data. Freese Decker’s role as chief operations officer is finding and expanding new ways to make digital healthcare more relevant to patients. “When complete next spring, our system will be connected at every Spectrum Health location across 13 counties, from physician offices to our acute care hospitals to post-acute locations,” she says. “Most importantly, patient information will be readily accessible and up-to-date regardless of where they enter our system of care.”

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Randall Moore

Randall Moore. Mercy has invested more than $300 million in telehealth in 10 years, including $54 million in the last two years, to build Mercy Virtual as a “digital” hospital. As Mercy Virtual president Moore is charged with building a system to serve as a national model for virtual care delivery. “What we are doing at Mercy Virtual is meant to be a game changer,” Moore says. “We are building a new model of care.”

Deborah Gash

Deborah Gash. At St. Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, chief information officer Deborah Gash takes a universal approach when it comes to mobile healthcare. She also thinks giving patients more ways to connect with St. Luke’s hospitals and doctors on their smartphone or tablet is good for business—the prime reason St. Luke’s is overhauling its mobile healthcare program, consolidating multiple apps into a single updated version and rolling out more features and functions. Last summer St. Luke’s, a non-profit hospital network in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri that traces its history to 1882, will roll out a newly updated and comprehensive mobile app that will integrate the hospital’s multiple mobile apps into a single version which will connect patients, employees and visitors to the hospital’s core services and information they need when visiting a Saint Luke’s location, she says. “Consumers are used to convenience and easy access to information and healthcare should be no different,” she says.

Shafiq Rab

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Shafiq Rab. One of Chicago’s biggest health systems has a new chief information officer with a strong background in digital healthcare. Rush University has a diverse digital healthcare program in place that’s evolving in new directions. For example in recent months Rush rolled out a new digital healthcare feature that enables patients to see all doctors’ notes through a secure web link that is a part of MyChart, a digital healthcare portal linked to an electronic medical records system from Epic Systems Corp. In June Rush is conducted a pilot project involving “smart pills,” or a prescribed dose of medicine embedded with a small digestible biosensor the size of a grain of sand to help patients take pills on time. As CIO, Rab’s job is making sure new digital healthcare initiatives deliver faster, smarter and better healthcare to patients.

David Feinberg

David Feinberg. Geisinger Health System, which provides care to more than 2.6 million people in 44 counties in Pennsylvania, under Feinberg’s direction has made digital healthcare and consumer-focused healthcare the health system’s most fundamental priority. For example, Geisinger recently updated one of its most popular consumer digital healthcare programs—a mobile app and customer service program that gives patients some money back if they are unhappy with a recent hospital stay or office visit. Launched in November 2015, Geisinger’s ProvenExperience app for Android or Apple devices lets a consumer rate a hospital stay or office visit.

The new version of the app features nine screens that asks users to detail their complaints. For example, it offers a drop-down menu to determine if the cause of a complaint was administrative, related to a doctor or nurse, or if a recent episode of care “didn’t reduce or adequately adjust my pain.” Another series of screens lets patients request a refund and explain why they are asking for one. Since the program was launched, about 1,800 complaints have been received and resolved, and about $500,000 in refunds have been paid—an average of $546 for each situation that Geisinger determines merits a refund. “In the beginning, I talked to other health system CEOs and industry leaders about ProvenExperience and they all said, ‘Don’t do it.’ I really felt dejected,” Feinberg says. “Then I thought about Kodak executives discussing digital photography. And Blockbuster talking about online video options. Were they also told, ‘Don’t do it?’ That’s when I said to myself, ‘We’re doing it.’”

“Among the common traits change agents for digital healthcare have in common is a curiosity about how technology can be used to build better programs for clinical care and patient outcomes while at same time finding ways to use technology to reduce costs and build market share,” says Accenture managing director of virtual health services Frances Dare.  The diverse group of executives profiled in Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems also know how to build and execute big digital health initiatives on an enterprise level. “These executives know where the corners of healthcare technology and health business meet,” Dare says. “They also don’t get stuck in pilot programs that don’t lead to a wide-scale rollout.”

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Top Leaders in Digital Healthcare: Hospitals and Health Systems executive report will be published in October.