Revolutionizing Healthcare Delivery: An Interview with Scott Millar
Healthcare institutions are grappling with significant challenges, including workforce and staff shortages, ever more technical processes and practices, and rising costs. As a result, the healthcare system is struggling to increase its capacity to deliver services and keep up with the demand for care.
The impact of these challenges on healthcare professionals and health systems is immense. Healthcare professionals are facing burnout and increased stress due to demanding circumstances, while health systems are struggling to maintain quality care, manage resources efficiently, and address the growing healthcare needs of the population.
Scott Millar is MHS’ Healthcare Solutions and Implementations Manager. Scott is passionate about creating powerful solutions in healthcare and has spent years studying how technology can better serve practitioners, care teams, and patients, ultimately leading to better outcomes for everyone.
In the interview below, we chat with Scott about the major problems currently faced globally by hospitals and clinics, including the impact of workforce shortages, rising healthcare costs, and the need for technological advancements. We also explore how integrating technology and innovative solutions can help healthcare institutions overcome these challenges, improve patient care, and achieve better outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The healthcare industry has undergone tumultuous change over the past two decades, and hospitals and clinics were facing major challenges pre-pandemic. What are some of the biggest problems facing these institutions right now?
SCOTT: There have been and continue to be significant challenges facing the healthcare system. Ultimately, the healthcare system’s capacity to deliver care can’t increase fast enough to meet demand. There are many reasons for this, but a few critical ones include:
- Siloed Data: Hospitals and clinics generate enormous amounts of health data about patients, but as much as 97% of it goes unused because it lives in many different, disconnected systems. When a clinician is with the patient or at the point of concluding how to best provide care, it’s not practical to log in to all these different systems to get disparate bits of information.
- Discontinuous Workflows: This siloed data means practitioners are constantly switching between systems. They spend upwards of four hours weekly on manual, redundant tasks like cutting and pasting or re-typing information from one system to another to try and get a more fulsome picture of their patient’s health.
- Barriers to Innovation: There are some powerful examples of how technology can automate workflows and take some of the burden from healthcare workers. But as many as 2/3 of automation projects are stalled because of challenges with data – data is siloed, it’s not in an interoperable format, it’s incomplete. Unfortunately, it adds more work to an already overburdened workforce.
Underlying all these challenges is managing identity and data security. There isn’t a universally adopted identifier for patients. If a practitioner uses ten different systems to document and track patients’ health information, each patient might have a unique ID in each of those systems. So, in some ways, a caseload of 500 patients is like having a caseload of 5000 patients. This siloed data exposes organizations to increased data security risks. Those risks are costly. Last year, the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. was around $10 million.
How can integrating technology help solve some of these issues?
SCOTT: Bringing technologies together is having a positive impact already. For example, generative AI and Ambient Listening systems integrated directly into an Electronic Health Record (EHR) mean a practitioner’s conversation with a patient can be passively transcribed, parsed, and documented. A conversation summary is presented to the practitioner for approval or changes, and then added to the patient’s record. Traditionally, every 20–30-minute encounter with a patient has resulted in 16 minutes of admin work. Solutions like these are massively reducing that administrative burden and reducing feelings of burnout among 70% of physicians. It’s just one of many, examples of what is possible.
What barriers have been in the way of implementing solutions like this?
SCOTT: In the past, the tools and processes for safely and securely exchanging health data between systems needed to evolve. But today, we have FHIR R4, a near-universally adopted standard that has made huge strides in making data interoperable.
Another challenge has been the lack of a standard way to ensure third-party applications could be safely integrated into an Organization’s Electronic Health Record system. However, we now have a considerably evolved SMART standard, which assuages many of the concerns that used to exist.
Putting these together, we have the SMART on FHIR framework, which allows healthcare organizations to confidently integrate apps, systems, and data to achieve their organizational goals and create the best possible patient outcomes.
What would an ideal future state look like for these organizations?
SCOTT: Our vision is that all participants in the care plan development and delivery have access to the data, insights, and processes they need and that the care team can bring their unique knowledge, insight, and experience together to achieve the best outcomes for every patient. It’s a future where patients, rather than seeing their practitioners struggling with capacity, technology, and an incomplete picture of data, know they are getting the best, most holistic care unconstrained by these challenges.
How can MHS help with bringing these solutions to the forefront for healthcare institutions?
SCOTT: MHS can integrate the entire lifecycle of administering our world-class mental and behavioral health measures directly into EHR systems like EPIC and dozens of others. It means the scored data resulting from these measures are integrated right into the patient’s health record, not siloed off in a separate system. That integration means there aren’t any manual tasks for clinicians to bring that data into the EHR. It’s done automatically for them. It also means the organization’s data security policies manage the patient and provider identities, making things safer for everyone.
We take the insights already trusted by healthcare practitioners and put them directly into the systems they use every day. The result is much more than a measure of mental and behavioral health – it means trusted insights can help drive automation, for example, in intake workflows, diagnosis support for practitioners, and much more.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us.