Jay Compton is CTO of Medicity.
Tell me about yourself and the company.
I have a fairly long-standing technology background. I started working for IBM out of high school in one of their innovation centers, which was called Web Ahead at the time. It is part of the CIO’s office, where we built large-scale distribution solutions for a number of different collaboration platforms and information platforms that were ultimately rolled out to the rest of the company. I came to Aetna in 2007. I worked on a part of the Web engineering practice within Aetna’s core technology organization, and joined Healthagen in 2013. At the time, we were highly focused on how we were building new products and start-up businesses using different techniques than you see in the enterprise, and getting products up and running and out to market quickly in a very cost-effective manner.
I joined Medicity in late December to look at how we focus on data and technology within Medicity specifically. Looking at how we build clinically connected communities by focusing on making our data more usable, smarter, and available, and really leveraging it as a core strategic asset. Medicity has had tremendous growth over the last several years and has a vast network of well over a thousand hospitals at this point. It’s really poised to provide the foundational technology, support, data, aggregation, and integration for enabling population health management through the existing and very engaged network base that’s employed today. Over that time, Medicity has also really stayed true to its roots. We’re looking at creating more connective networks through the technology and increasing patient/provider engagement and at how we really enable providers to focus on data-driven decision making. Making decisions at the point of care where it matters with the most information possible. The leadership team is great and enables that innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that really makes Medicity what it is. That’s what really enticed me to join the team.
What are you looking to do specifically at Medicity with your talents?
There are two things that really got me amped to focus full time on the needs of Medicity. One is taking the technology skills I built up over the last several years and really being able to employ them on making sure the technology strategy supports the businesses strategy, and that the business strategy from is highly focused on growth. Exponential growth at that. Looking at how you grow a company and unify the businesses and technology strategy is an awesome opportunity.
It’s not often that you look at a pivotal intersection at the history of a company.Technology has drastically evolved even over the last couple of years. I’m excited that we’re looking at how we can bring new perspectives, new methods, new technologies, and experiences and really push the envelope in driving innovative solutions and advancements to enable population health management capabilities and build on the ones already used today.
How have you seen the concept of population health management evolve, and how would you define it today?
I’d like to flip it a bit and think about what population health is and then look at the evolution. Medicity was effectively doing a lot already in population health management sector in terms of how you can proactively manage the outcomes of a particular group of individuals based on evidence – even before it became a buzzword. We were providing that capability for making data-driven decisions, and we had statistics around the group or those individuals as they traverse the health system or health network. The goal it to to provide better outcomes at a better cost. That sort of sums up what population health means to me. Again, you can ask five people and you can get five variants of the same answers still.
You also need to look at how that’s evolved to the point where you can at least formulate a definition even person by person … I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of different technologies as they’ve evolved and looked at lots of different problems across how you manage technology to support different initiatives and in a distributed manner such as managing networks with different populations. In some cases they’re systems and in some cases they’re people, but they’re all very different.
The concept of population health has really evolved to look at health systems: How’s traffic behaving? What do you need to do to make things better at the point of care and how do we make data more available? How do we create an integration strategy that is going to break down data and enable interoperability between health systems, health networks, payers, and so on to really be able to bring all that together. The confluence of all those different types of data that people interact with throughout their lives is really going to enable the best and most robust set of solutions to manage populations or cohorts of patients traversing the network. That was kind of long winded but hopefully it made sense.
Much of that same behavior, which we’ve seen in every industry that has popped up, has a buzzword related to it: Cloud, big data, population health management, artificial intelligence, etc. There are exactly as you mentioned – companies that will purport to do it, and companies that will flip their business model to focus on it. When you really look at how to be successful, and this is what is interesting about Medicity, having the data to support the concept of population health management is the number-one priority. Number two is the ability to integrate that data strategy across a vast array of other sources – to be able to normalize it, bring it together, and present it in a meaningful way. The business model can support that if you have the foundation to build on it. That’s really where Medicity is today.
What is a provider’s biggest barrier when it comes to adopting population health management technology?
Number one is understanding and having a clear definition of what population health means to them or to the solutions that they are looking to employ. Number two is the complexity of the environment that we just mentioned – having the data available and accessible in a secure and compliant manner. And finally, being able to integrate across a number of different data sources. The often overlooked portion is usability – how is a provider using that data? How is it accessible to them? Is it through an experience that they will come back to? Is it visible?
Where have you seen adoption and implementation of population health management already taking place? What does that look like from a clinical outcomes perspective?
Medicity has seen some of the benefits of the application of population health management principles already through harnessing the power of the data that’s available and creating a clinically connected community across providers. The information on a group of individuals doesn’t have to be manually compiled, and the shared data sources vary, typically vary in availability, structure, and accuracy. They can be brought together and aggregated, normalized, and provided in real time so we can accurately identify the individuals and cohorts that make up and are the population. We can have statistics and reporting around the lineage of the use of the health system and provide that in a meaningful way that allows health systems and providers to make decisions driven by data. We are making decisions based on real time, evidence-based data for an individual or a particular cohort, which describes a bit of the clinical outcome that can affect an individual or population. Medicity has been able to effectively see success in that area, which is very early in the adoption of population health management and is extremely exciting.
What’s ahead for Medicity in 2016?
This year looks like a super exciting year. We’ve got new product deployment like smart networks and smart transitions that are poised to provide systems with some of the capabilities that we just mentioned. We’re going to be looking at how networks can have greater insight into the traffic patterns within their system, and the ability to suggest improvements and therefore provide more effective and affordable care through the use of those products. That will benefit not only the individual but a cohort and the entire network overall from a risk management perspective, providing better care management, and affordable care at the same time. Other themes will include self-service, interoperability, and data visualization – all areas that we’re highly focused on. The KLAS award was a direct effect of Medicity’s super-focused work in getting out to clients, understanding what they need, and how we can use technology to enable them in a more effective and diverse manner.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Without waxing and waning too poetically, I think that HIMSS is going to be very exciting this year. FHIR, for example, is an upcoming and growing standard that is garnering support in a variety of places. How do we take technology and effectively enable it so that the focus is really centered on consumers, what they need out of the healthcare system and how providers actually deliver that care through the use of technology? What gets them more engaged and drives continuous improvement? What more can we do with the data we have and what additional data can we add to further enrich the types of decision support that providers need? Healthcare, to me, altruistically speaking, is one of, if not the most, important and impactful services a person takes advantage of in the course of their life. Looking at how we can create that enriched experience through data is going to be a key thing that you will see resonate not just from Medicity, but from the industry overall.