EHRs will eliminate ‘incredible inefficiency’ in healthcare delivery

October 25, 2013

Greenway Medical Technology's Wyche T. Green, III, talks about clinical transactions, healthcare system inefficiency, and how mobile technology is the next leap.

Editor’s Note: Wyche T. Green, III, president and CEO of Greenway Medical Technologies, spoke with Medical Economics about the present and future of health information technology. Here is the full interview. Excerpts of this interview were published in the October 25, 2013 issue as part of the publication’s Top 100 EHR ranking.

Medical Economics: In what ways is technology transforming medicine?

Green:  I think there has been foundational work over the last decade, and it’s all been around this concept of electronification. It’s the first step in making information liquid, meaning making information flow from one system to another efficiently.

We are also more able to process clinical transactions. That concept is different than processing administrative and financial transactions. If you think about a financial transaction, regardless of which language, regardless of what country, regardless of really what standard you use, you are processing something that’s black and white. It’s a debit or a credit in its simplest form.

In healthcare, when I talk about processing clinical transactions, we have to process much more than a yes/no answer. For example, while we have codes for every diagnosis, you still may need to document the fact that the patient’s blood pressure was greatly elevated after, say, doing 25 jumping jacks and standing on one foot. In a financial transaction, the jumping jacks and standing on one foot is irrelevant. But in a clinical transaction, it’s critical. Today we are able to process clinical transactions, and that’s never been possible before. I think that’s what’s going to change the face of medicine.

Medical Economics: If you could think about the delivery of medicine in the next 5 years, how will it change? How important will technology be in helping to guide this evolution?

Green:  We are eliminating an incredible amount of inefficiency in the system. A lot of my primary care is going to be done from a desk. I am going to interact with my providers electronically, whether it’s through smart enabled survey information, working from a mobile platform, or from a video using a mobile platform. All of this will be driven by consumers in the next 5 years.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t gone inside a bank in many years. Banking has become mostly digital. Most patients interact with our healthcare system around common ailments that many patients recognize or have experienced before, like allergies or sinusitis. Many of these cases, patients are looking for validation or medication refills from the provider. I think technology is going to help eliminate incredible inefficiency we have in the delivery of healthcare.

Also, today, a physician may be looking at 30 patients, and the future of medicine is the primary care provider seeing those 30 patients today, and managing 5,000 patients in his or her network. We are moving from this very transactional model to a system that better manages cases the physician hasn’t seen in years.

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Medical Economics: Will we see more consolidation? What happens in the HIT market when the government incentives to adopt EHRs run out?

Green:  I think the whole industry has continued to consolidate over the last several years. The real test is if you look at how many vendors are certified for MU1 and compare it to those certified for MU2. How many vendors are there? Do the math and then you will have your answer.

Medical Economics: How important is mobile technology to the future of medical delivery and how important it is to Greenway?

Green: Mobile is just a next leap as a technology platform. I think we are going to run mobile platforms on our desktops, if we even still use desktops. So for us, mobile is actually a platform. We think it’s the future of our entire platform frankly. We will all be utilizing these mobile platforms whether it’s OS, Android, or Windows 8-it’s going to be a combination of all three.

So being able to deliver applications to your mobile devices and be able to work inside those user interfaces is going to be critical. I think as provider, everything I do is from my mobile platform. I rarely use a desktop. In fact, I don’t have a desktop. I have a mobile platform and a laptop. I think one day, the laptop will go away and I will just a have a mobile platform. So that’s from my standpoint. You think about it from a provider’s standpoint, very little of what they do sitting at their desk. The key with mobile though is it has been able to deliver the right information at the right time to the right device on the right patient. I think that’s the future what mobility gives you.

Medical Economics: What are some of the most exciting technological developments for physicians?

Green: I think the processing of clinical transactions is probably one of the most exciting technological developments, because now we are able to communicate across systems and understand the data coming from different systems. In the end, the sophistication that Greenway has because of our cloud platform, being able to deliver that information to the point of care in the same format.

Wyche T. Green, III, is president and CEO of Greenway Medical Technologies. He has served in leadership roles since its founding in 1998. Green started his career in bank operations in 1994. Greenway completed a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012. Last month the company announced a definitive agreement that would combine Greenway Medical Solutions with Vitera Healthcare Solutions.

Click here for more interviews with EHR company leaders about the future of technology.

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