Partnerships in health care: Experts discuss leveraging relationships at the Health IT Expo in New Orleans


As the medical industry shifts from volume to value, health IT is playing a greater role in hospital operations and the delivery of care.

Address complex technological needs by leveraging partnerships in health care.

Strategic partnerships grow from a shared willingness to learn and test products and services with the goals of improving patient care, lowering costs, and increasing efficiencies, according to experts who spoke on a panel at the Health IT Expo in New Orleans in June.

“When we think about the partnerships we have with many clinical institutions, the reason why that is so important is because excellent technology, and excellent data science doesn’t mean anything if it’s not actually solving the actual problems at hand,” Karley Yoder, Director of Product Management, AI Analyticss at GE Healthcare said. “The only way to build excellent technology and excellent products is by being in the hospital with both providers and patients and understanding what is really broken.”

CCM partners discuss collaboration

Ms. Yoder was one of three speakers on the panel discussing partnerships, which was organized by the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) and moderated by Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA, chief innovation officer of UPMC and executive vice president of UPMC Enterprises. The other speakers were Karl Bream, vice president and head of Internet of Things strategy at Nokia, and Aimee Quirk, CEO of innovationOchsner.

GE Healthcare, Nokia and UPMC are partners of the CCM, which convenes thought leaders to explore top issues in health care.

The CCM was a sponsor of the Health IT Expo, which focused on building a community of health care leaders, innovators, and patient advocates to break down silos and collaborate on shifting the paradigm of health care. All attendees, speaker and sponsors were encouraged to share trials, triumphs, and vulnerabilities.

Tackling pain points

At the CCM panel on partnerships, speakers discussed how health IT companies globally are working to address various pain points across the continuum of care by developing products and solutions that aid in solving the challenge of disconnected medicine. Health systems can make the most of this work by taking a tactical approach in identifying what they are good at and where a strategic partnership will enhance their service offerings.

“From a hospital perspective, there are best practices that may have worked better for certain organizations that we can learn from each other,” Dr. Shrestha said. “It’s not just about any one vendor, it’s about how you connect all of these solutions together.”

Identify the problem first

To have a successful partnership, the first step is to identify the problem that needs to be solved.

“We see a lot of partnerships concerned about what they get out of the partnership,” Mr. Bream said. “You have to remind yourself that you have to slay the dragon before you divide up the dragon. Identify the problem you are trying to solve first, and then you’ll have a successful partnership.”

Across the board, successful partnerships are developed through open communication and candor between a health system and a vendor. Listening, a shared sense of what the objectives are, and clear milestones to stay on track all play a key role in improving patient outcomes.

It’s a two-way street

“For Ochsner, it’s much more about the action. We want to see the outcome and that’s a priority,” Ms. Quirk said. “Those are the partnerships that tend to be the most successful, those aligned around action with a shared sense of urgency.”

The bottom line: When seeking out successful partnerships, remember that it’s a two-way street. It’s imperative to listen, share, connect, and engage from both ends of the spectrum. Support for a common goal will bring forth the best result.

Follow the CCM on Twitter for the latest thought leadership in health care IT and innovation.

Read about “healthcare hacks” that were discussed at HIT Expo.

Watch a video interview with Karley Yoder from the CCM’s Top of Mind conference last year.

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