Exploring the State of Digital Health with AVIA Members


Digital is a vital enabler of the transformation of the healthcare industry. Digital can address the challenges our industry faces right now — from supply chain disruption to wage inflation, health equity, and burnout — with solutions including virtual health, hospital at home, automation, and the digital front door. That’s why, earlier this year, we asked 40 health system leaders for their opinions about the state of digital health in 2022.

From our discussions, we distilled six key digital priorities for health systems in the coming year:

  1. Managing the current crisis while creating the new workforce
  2. Moving toward a future focused on care at home
  3. Embracing emerging business models
  4. Personalizing the consumer experience to increase engagement
  5. Creating an insight-powered business with data and analytics
  6. Becoming accountable for health equity

Cynthia Perazzo, Executive Vice President, Insights and Advisory at AVIA, recently discussed four of these key trends during a webinar with our Members, which included leaders from OSF HealthCare, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Boston Medical Center, and INTEGRIS Health.  During The State of Digital: Trends in 2022, they walked through how their health systems are adopting digital to drive transformation in the patient and consumer experience, care models, and core operations. To whet your appetite for the full discussion, here are some highlights.

Managing the current crisis and creating the new workforce

Chad Brisendine, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at St. Luke University Health Network, addressed how his leadership team is using digital to address the health system’s pain points, including workforce shortages with a focus on employee retention. His objective is to figure out ways to make work better by eliminating administrative barriers and headaches using technology. “It’s not just retaining staff for the money,” he said, “but all the other components of making their jobs more satisfying. His advice to other health systems beginning their digital transformation is to look for quick wins. He suggested, “Create quick wins and synergies to get momentum. Then bigger things will catch up. Adopt an innovation, ‘fail fast’ mentality. That’s the way we’ll tackle workforce productivity and related issues across the industry.”

Listen to more of what Brisendine said here.

Moving toward a future-focused on care at home

Aric Sharp, Senior Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer at INTEGRIS Health, discussed his health system’s implementation of its care at home program. For INTEGRIS, care at home is the “stepping off point.” Sharp explained, “We’re envisioning a virtual continuum of care. It will include hospital at home but also remote patient monitoring, urgent care delivered in the home to avoid hospitalizations, virtual care visits, behavioral health, all of those pieces along the continuum.”

He advised other hospitals looking at care at home to focus on change management. INTEGRIS, he said, engaged physician leaders every step of the way. “We pulled over 100 subject-matter experts into the design-build phase to make sure we’re thinking about this from a workflow standpoint. You’ve got to get into the workflows and involve people who are doing the work today to design, build, and buy in and be part of creating what it is that you’re trying to build.”

Listen to more of what Sharp said here.

Personalizing the consumer experience to increase engagement

Jennifer Junis, Senior Vice President, Digital Health at OSF OnCall, OSF Health’s digital healthcare entity, is looking for ways to meet patient expectations for personalization. Her health system is building a foundation for personalization using data from multiple sources. She explained, “We’re building what I call the interactive layer that makes data actionable. For example, we have a mammography campaign where we use data to determine who is due for screening. We send a personalized text message to them to connect and encourage them to schedule online. We’re meeting them where they are and connecting them with the right resources.”

For health systems looking to embark on a personalization journey, Junis advised the key is just to get started. “Start somewhere. Even if you start with a pilot, there are always lessons learned. Our work in remote patient monitoring during COVID set the stage for our chronic disease management remote patient monitoring work. Had we not tried to think of a way to digitally monitor patients at home with COVID, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today as quickly.”

Listen to more of what Junis said here.

Becoming accountable for health equity

Dr. Rebecca Mishuris, Chief Medical Information Officer at Boston Medical Center (BMC), reflected that the last few years have shone a light on the importance of being more intentional around what health systems do to address health equity. At BMC, the motto is “exceptional care without exception.” So, as the health system dealt with the pandemic, health inequities that have always been there became more visible. 

As a result, BMC launched a health equity accelerator, which Mishuris described as “an incubator for health equity interventions that cross clinical areas and patient populations.” The accelerator includes three pillars designed to close gaps: data-driven clinical insights, research, and community-based partnerships.

None of BMC’s efforts will be as effective, Mishuris commented, without measurement that holds health systems accountable for results. For 2022 and beyond, Mishuris anticipates a level-setting period. “We have to start identifying data, metrics, and outcomes. We’re at different places in terms of how health systems have looked at health equity historically, and we need to come to a place where we’re all starting at the same spot. Once everyone is at the starting point, we can start to see interventions put in place…. So, coming to a place where we have standards around data collection and measurement will be the focus for the next couple of years.”

Listen to more of what Mishuris said here.

Keep the conversation going

To learn more about our predictions for the state of digital health in 2022 and advice from health system leaders, watch the webinar. If you have questions about how AVIA can help you think through and tackle your digital transformation efforts this year and beyond, get in touch.