At Geisinger, Karen Murphy Maps Out Innovation Technique With a Vast Lens


The chief vice chairman and chief innovation officer for the Pennsylvania-based well being system helps to create new packages and pathways, all whereas specializing in the trail to value-based care.

Innovation in healthcare does not simply imply discovering a brand new strategy to do one thing. It is a “essentially totally different strategy to fixing an issue that has quantifiable outcomes.”

That is the mantra for Karen Murphy, MD, govt vice chairman and chief innovation officer for Geisinger and founding director of the Pennsylvania-based healthcare group’s four-year-old Steele Institute for Well being Innovation. As such, she’s main the best way in some of the aggressive healthcare markets within the nation to analysis and develop new applied sciences and techniques to take healthcare into the value-based care period.

She has her fingers full. The pandemic might have propelled telehealth and digital well being innovation ahead by roughly a decade, nevertheless it has additionally uncovered limitations in utilizing know-how to attach with underserved populations, in addition to inflicting a surge in stress, despair and nervousness, and exacerbating the burnout fee and workforce shortages in healthcare. Whereas giving Murphy and her colleagues good targets at which to direct innovation, these limitations may also be landmines, able to derailing an modern platform or idea if not addressed.

Karen Murphy, govt vice chairman and chief innovation officer at Geisinger. Photograph courtesy Geisinger.

Another caveat: healthcare innovation is not occurring in a vacuum. Healthcare organizations are anticipated to concurrently evolve and proceed to ship healthcare.

“We’re caring for sufferers each day, and it’s extremely, very troublesome to innovate and function on the identical time,” Murphy says. “We’re not a healthcare retailer. We have to combine innovation” into the continued care platform.

That is why innovation wants to point out worth, and have measurable outcomes that can be utilized to show sustainability, particularly on a timeline.

The concept that innovation is significant’ “is actually exhausting,” she provides. “We continuously anticipate short-term outcomes from long-term methods.”

One robust instance is the Contemporary Meals Farmacy, a program developed out of the Steele Institute that addresses a key problem to care administration for folks residing with diabetes: weight-reduction plan. Individuals residing with diabetes have to rigorously handle what meals they eat, together with when and the way a lot they eat. It is a social determinant of well being, an element not often included in scientific care, however which impacts a affected person’s well being and wellness as dramatically as medicine.

By this system, sufferers are screened in a major care setting for meals insecurity, and if they’ve these considerations and an A1C degree of better than 8.0 (an indicator that the affected person is not managing his or her diabetes properly), they’re given a “prescription” or a referral for the Contemporary Meals Farmacy, which provides them and their family the elements for 10 nutritious meals every week.

So far, this system, which additionally operates in satellite tv for pc areas in Kingston and on the Jersey Shore, has offered nearly 2 million kilos of meals, or roughly 1.5 million meals, to about 1,500 sufferers. Inside knowledge means that has helped sufferers scale back their A1C ranges as a lot as 2.4 factors. Geisinger is now trying to develop this system and is partnering with digital well being firm Season Well being to combine this system later this yr into the Geisinger Well being Plan.

Murphy says this system demonstrates two key aspects of innovation:

  1. It rethinks how care suppliers collaborate with sufferers to enhance scientific outcomes
  2. It is not all concerning the know-how.

“Digital permits us to speak with sufferers extra successfully,” she says. “And it permits us to intervene for [preventive health and wellness] in a way more cost-effective means than prior to now. It offers us the instruments we have to have interaction with sufferers … however we nonetheless have to discover ways to have interaction.”

“I am thrilled for the disruption that we’re seeing in healthcare,” Murphy provides. “It is forcing us to rethink how we have interaction with sufferers. It is not the identical as 20 years in the past.”

On this case, Geisinger can use know-how—e-mails, textual content messages, and digital care—to attach with sufferers on the time and place of their selecting, and thru these connections the well being system can collaborate to enhance not solely care, however well being and wellness. This shifts from the philosophy that delivers healthcare in episodes, to deal with quick must a steady mannequin that manages care over the long run. With persistent care sufferers, akin to these residing with diabetes, that would come with not solely entry to meals but in addition conferences with dietitians to assist handle weight-reduction plan and life-style.

“With value-based care, suppliers are reimbursed based mostly on outcomes, relatively than quantity,” Murphy says. “And we’re gathering proof, over the previous 10 years, that we have [created] constructive outcomes with high quality measurements.”

Murphy says these measurements and that knowledge are additionally wanted to draw payers and to reconfigure fee methodologies that, as of now, aren’t in sync with value-based care. If innovation will be confirmed to rework care, payers and suppliers might want to agree on how these packages are lined and sustained, in order that the incentives will likely be there to proceed them.

That is the place innovation is headed, into platforms and packages that improve the connection between affected person (or client) and care supplier (or group), notably outdoors the hospital, physician’s workplace or clinic, and in-between the scheduled appointments and coverings.

Murphy sees a number of areas through which innovation will play a component within the healthcare ecosystem. She sees AI and machine studying taking part in a component within the again finish, automating processes, analyzing knowledge, and decreasing workflow stresses that plague at present’s docs and nurses. These ideas can even be dropped at bear on the entrance finish, serving to to handle persistent care and different therapies whereas giving suppliers extra face-to-face time with their sufferers.

She’s additionally bullish on distant affected person monitoring, a fast-growing and evolving technique that took off in the course of the pandemic. She sees conventional care pathways enhanced with RPM platforms that use sensors and AI to observe and handle care at residence by means of wearables, sensible know-how, and different instruments.

“There will likely be different elements that we do not even learn about at present,” she says. “That is what’s thrilling.”

Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Know-how Editor for HealthLeaders.


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