Tee Green is CEO of Greenway Health.
Tell me about yourself and the company, which seems to have gone through a rebranding.
We’re certainly in the midst of an evolution. Now that we’re over a year and a half past the Vitera acquisition, we’re looking back out externally to tell the industry and our customers, “Here’s where we’re at now.” If you look at our original business plan, it was written around the concept of electronification, consumerism, and a thirst to improve health. Those were the guiderails behind Greenway. As we looked into the next decade, we asked, “How do you take that and build a brand?” We looked at three things and asked ourselves, “What is the mission behind our organization?” Greenway Health is about three things. It’s to serve and it’s to connect and it’s to care.
What you’ll see with our rebranding is an evolved logo and our three pillars, which really build off the three tenets of that original business plan. The branding has evolved into three specific words – serve, connect, care. That’s what you’ll see in the new logo as it rolls out.
How will this evolution impact the company’s investment strategies?
You’re seeing an industry, certainly Greenway, taking the lead and moving away from being just a software provider to being a services provider. We’re building one of the most innovative platforms that our customers can use, especially our enterprise customers. I think this is the fundamentally key difference in Greenway and some of the other companies out there. We don’t operate under the Hotel California model where you can come but you can’t leave. What we recognize is that to truly improve health in this country, we have to be an open platform, and so we’re building technology like Greenway Practice, Greenway Exchange, Greenway Clearing Services, Greenway Patient, and Greenway Community. This is an innovation platform that we use to deliver clinically driven revenue cycle services to our customers.
This is especially vital to that 10-doc practice that wans to remain independent, doesn’t want to build a care coordination team because they don’t have the expertise or the know-how, realizes that managing a billing team internally doesn’t create a lot of scale, and is always having to deal with HR issues and turnover, not to mention that ICD-10 is coming down the pipe …. You can outsource that to us, because we’re experts at it. We’ve designed the technology to do it. We also have larger customers, or enterprise-like environments, where they do have their care coordination teams. They do have professionalism, or experts, in the revenue cycle business. What they don’t have is the platform. Greenway Health gives physicians the ability to use the same platform to drive those services, or outsource them to us. We know that the business models are changing so fast in this industry, that the Hotel California model just doesn’t work anymore. If I want to use your innovation, I have to use all of your services. That just doesn’t make any sense in the next decade.
Given Greenway’s experience with enterprise environments, does the company have any plans to get into acute care?
If you look at our chronic care management service, those will be services that’ll be offered to the acute side, especially in managing discharge patients. What does the CFO of an enterprise most care about right now? Those bounce-backs. The services that we’re introducing are able to act as air traffic controllers for patients after discharge. Enroll him in our chronic care service and we’ll make sure that patient gets into the right provider’s office. We can eliminate those bounce backs to the hospital system. Will we build an HIS system like a Cerner or Epic? Probably not. Will we offer services on top of our platform to acute settings? I think absolutely.
What was the impetus for getting into population health management with your Community solution?
That goes back to one of the core tenets when we talk about care, or improving health. We can’t offer some of the services that we’re offering without that Greenway Community, without the population health technology platform.
You mentioned openness, and the necessity for that to drive healthcare forward. Update us on what Greenway is doing with CommonWell and how that alliance is moving interoperability forward.
From day one we have believed that, with our Greenway Exchange platform, it was about creating liquid data that flowed across the healthcare ecosystem. We’ve been a leader in every interoperability project that I can think of in the United States, with CommonWell being one of the frontrunners. We are participating in a number of different pilot sites with CommonWell. We’re also part of the group that’s making the Greenway-CommonWell exchange free to our customers. We’re announcing that at our user conference coming up.
If you go back to Reagan when he stood in front of the Berlin Wall and said, “Tear down these walls,’ that’s a very serious time in our nation’s history, and I’m not saying this is equivalent, but when you talk about lives, I think it is equivalent. Greenway’s been at the forefront of saying, “Tear down these walls.” I think we’ve shown that through our leadership in CommonWell, Carequality, and Healtheways. We just launched Greenway Interoperability University, probably one of the first interoperability university courses in the country, where we’re taking people that didn’t know anything about interoperability and they’re going through our university program, graduating, and contributing to tearing down these walls.
Do you have any plans to open up that program to the greater community?
We’re actually discussing that right now. We’re looking at opening it up to our business partners and customers, especially our enterprise customers that have staff. We’re asking ourselves, “How do we make them champions of this tear-down-the-wall mentality?”
What are you hearing from physician practices right now with regard to challenges? What’s keeping them up at night? What are they clamoring for?
Two things: care coordination or managing chronic care; and how does that drive their financial processes, these risk-based programs. I think those are the two biggest things right now, outside of ICD-10. You can always throw ICD-10 at the top, but that’s just too easy. I think it’s really around, “How do I manage a patient inside of a community, and move that patient in and out of different environments?” I think that’s one of the fundamental issues we’re going to wrestle with, and it really comes down to how providers are going to manage consumers.
I think people miss that sometimes. The consumer is what’s having the biggest impact on this industry right now, more so than anything else. And the consumer is not only the patient, but also the employer. If you look at the number of employers that have gone self-insured and introduced high-deductible health plans since 2013, it has skyrocketed, and it’s only going to continue to do so. We are creating this consumer movement, which I think is just awesome, but healthcare, as a system, has never dealt with the consumer. They’ve never dealt with somebody like Tee Green who’s not only a patient, but he’s a CEO that has 1,900 team members. Every dollar we don’t spend at Greenway Health on healthcare drops to our bottom line. Am I interested in negotiating directly with the health system? Absolutely. Those are new days, because the CEO of the health system, or the ACO, is not necessarily used to negotiating with me. They’re used to negotiating with a group of payers. Well, I am the payer. That’s this fundamental shift that providers are struggling with. Most of them don’t recognize that it’s happening, but that’s where Greenway becomes a real value proposition for our customers.
I know you mentioned ICD-10 as an easy area to pick on. What are your thoughts on the work that CMS and the AMA has done to give physicians a year of transition?
I applaud it. We have to see if Medicaid and the commercial payers are going to follow suit, or is it just Medicare? If it’s just Medicare, then what does it really mean? Does it mean anything different for our customers or Greenway? No. Everybody’s got to be ready. Everybody’s got to be prepared. Everybody’s got to have fallback plans if payers can’t process this information in a timely and efficient manner. I think the headlines read well. I’m not sure it fundamentally changes anything for us or our customers unless all payers participate.
Do you have any final thoughts?
I think as we usher in this next decade, we can look at Greenway as being a leader in helping providers really effectively manage chronic disease and wellness. As we extend our platforms all the way into the home, we’ll certainly be increasing our footprint in the United States. We’re able to create liquid data across our platforms, and we’re able to introduce services that truly enable our providers to thrive clinically and financially.