Novant Health uses a mix of digital technology and human care to better coordinate care for certain conditions, including for diabetes, CEO Carl Armato said today.

The CEO of Novant Health, one of the nation’s most advanced users of digital and mobile healthcare technology, has a message for patient care coordinators: Don’t forget the human touch.

“Technology can improve the patient encounter,” Novant CEO Carl Armato, told attendees Thursday in his keynote address at World Congress 2019 Care Coordination & Technology Conference in Atlanta.

The Novant Health network, which consists of more than 1,200 physicians and 25,000 employees at nearly 500 locations, including 14 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics, has used a mix of digital technology and human care to better coordinate care for certain conditions, including for diabetes, Armato told attendees.

For example, Novant has more than 1 million patients and their medical data housed in its enterprise electronic health records systems from Epic Systems Corp.

The health system used electronic medical records as a central building block in building a coordinated care center of excellence that in turn helped to build a new “search and rescue” program that identified and screened 6,000 patients for the type 1 diabetes. “Six of 10 patients have a chronic disease,” Armato says. “We have to put the patient first.”

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Novant, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a big user of digital healthcare technology. For example, in December 2017 Novant was among the first health systems to hire a chief digital officer when it named to that position Angela Yochem, formerly the chief information officer and executive vice president of digital channels at Rent-A-Center in Plano, Texas.

In December 2018, Novant also rolled out voice recognition technology to locate the nearest physician clinic, urgent care, emergency room or medical center using Amazon Echo and Google Home.

But for Norvant, the key to better coordinated care is using the right mix of technology and human interaction, Armato says.

“Technology is a part of everyday care,” he told attendees. “Our job is getting the road blocks out of the way.”

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