Our recent podcast guest was Steve Miff, PhD, President and CEO of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. Steve spoke about how important it is to have a connected community of care during a pandemic like COVID. He also emphasized that while technology is a critical enabler for connected communities of care, there is a need to invest in robust backend data management infrastructure with Paddy Padmanabhan, CEO of Damo Consulting on the Big Unlock Podcast.
Listen to the full conversation
“At PCCI our focus is to try to innovate. We are called pioneers in new ways to health. We started the department of health and hospital system and spun out as an independent nonprofit organization in 2012 to not only serve the needs of Parkland but to also pursue additional transformative initiatives that could have a broader impact.”
– Dr. Steve Miff @ The Big Unlock, Episode #54
Data if done right, can galvanize communities, inform leaders, and empower people
PCCI is a mission-driven organization with expertise in practical application of both advanced data science and social determinants of health. According to Steve, PCCI is a place where you can innovate and use next-generation analytics and technology to help serve the most vulnerable and underserved residents across the communities.
“At PCCI, we believe data if done right, has the power to galvanize communities, inform leaders, and empower people. We also believe that clinical data only paints a partial picture of an individual and his or her specific needs. Our business model focuses on cutting edge uses of data science, social determinants of health, and clinical expertise across both clinical and community settings.”
– Dr. Miff
Having a connected community of care during a pandemic is important
Steve believes that a connected community of care improves health, safety, as well as the well-being of the community’s most vulnerable residents in a coordinated, cost-effective, and sustainable manner. According to him there are three key themes through which a connected community of care can be leveraged to better manage the pandemic:
- Better targeting of COVID hotspots
- Effective and efficient communication between healthcare providers and community-based organizations
- Connected services through referral directories
“A connected community of care is a local ecosystem that is comprised of health systems, payers, community-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, and municipality officials. They are all connected by digital technology and centered around the need of an individual to address his or her social determinants of health. We realized that having a connected community of care during a pandemic is more important than ever.” – Dr. Miff
Need of investment in robust backend data management infrastructure
Steve shares several challenges to overcome while building the community of care. He states that while technology is a critical enabler by itself, it cannot solve everything in the healthcare ecosystem. One of the most important components is to have governance about how the data is being shared. Community workflow is the other component to help community-based organizations. Next comes building your own capacity to provide community-based organizations with full effectiveness on how to use technology and constantly train them. Finally, there is also the need to invest in robust backend data management infrastructure.
“While technology is a critical enabler by itself, it cannot solve for everything. One of the most important is the governance upfront to be able to establish some of those specific areas of how data is being shared. Then some of the other factors, one being the community workflow is so important. So, we can help those community-based organizations figure out how do they weave this in within the processes that already have. And then one of the other things is, it’s not just funding the technology itself, but that backend digital data environment.” – Dr. Steve Miff
Healthcare is a complex, multi-year journey
According to Steve, healthcare is a complex, multi-year journey. One should not wait for the pandemic to hit us, rather focus on how to manage things beyond it. Currently with COVID, the new challenge is how to manage everything virtually. So, there is a need to rely on the broad technology compared to past. He further states that things that have been relevant during this pandemic are not only the front-end technology itself, but also the integration with EMRs.
“There is the need to really start with a readiness assessment, to build a plan before you even jump both feet in and to build a connected community of care. You cannot stand up a fully functional and deploy the connected community overnight. Each market is different and there are likely elements that can be leveraged. There are many things that I would say define a market maturity, things such as access to the social economic data, the willingness, and ability of organizations to collaborate, what and how the local incentives are structured.” – Dr. Steve Miff