Article originally published in Healthcare Tech Outlook 05-28-2020

by Robbie Hughes, founder and CEO, Lumeon 

2020 was a defining year in healthcare. For all the harm that Covid did, the upside was that we saw innovation spread faster than ever before in the form of virtual care and new ways of engaging patientsBut now the cloud is starting to lift, and some real cracks are starting to emerge. 

Making virtual care sustainable   

First of all, we’ve lept to introduce virtual care, but we’ve not really thought about how to make it safe and sustainable.Questions around reimbursement aside, virtual is undoubtedly great for some forms of care where the patient is well known to us and low risk, but that isn’t the case for every form of visit, and we need a way to reliably ensure that we’re applying the right intervention for the right patient at the right time – patients aren’t all equal and so our care delivery shouldn’t be either. 

Delivering a competitive patient experience 

Secondly, care delivery has become much more competitive both from a consumer choice point of view and also from an employer funding point of view.Neither consumers nor payors are willing to go back to the old ways of unpredictable bills and unpredictable outcomes. With budgets constrained on the funding side, consumers of care are now going to be driven to care delivery organizations that have thought holistically about transformation and aren’t just applying a ‘digital veneer’ over the waste and fragmentation of yesterday.  

Addressing cost optimization 

Finally, and partly in reaction to what I’ve just described, the conversation has shifted in earnest from revenue optimization to one of cost optimization.Where 24 months ago, all our customers were looking for solutions to drive revenue, we are now inundated with conversations around how to eliminate waste. This isn’t just about costsaving, this is about helping our care teams –the chaotic way in which care has been delivered historically not only destroys the consumer experience but also burns out our valued staff and that can’t be allowed to continue.  

The lack of ability to drive predictable and personalized care operations is impeding digital transformation. When it comes to eliminating waste and improving care team efficiency the real issue is less about variability of decision making, though that is, of course, critical, but more about variability of execution.

Healthcare is grappling with a huge execution gap – A good decision executed poorly or not at all ultimately destroys all the good work done to get to that point and is the root cause of the consumer experience issues we see time and time again in our industry. So, when we think about improving the consumer experience, it isn’t about increasing the volume of digital engagement, it’s about increasing the value of every engagement. Put these things together – reliable decisioning, reliable execution, and reliable engagement – and what you’ve got is an orchestration problem.  

Benefits of well-orchestrated care   

Care Journey Orchestration is the key to reliable, predictable care delivery and our aim should be to eliminate the waste that frustrates the experience of consumers and caregivers every single day.  

When we embrace this approach, care orchestration is a game-changer for those organizations that get it right, setting themselves years apart from their competitors, and accelerating their ability to deliver efficient, scalable care.    

And the truth is that efficiently delivered, wellorchestrated care is what patients and payors want, and this is the care that they will come back for, again and again.  

How to address the need for Care Journey Orchestration 

Lumeon started on the path to care orchestration over a decade ago, helping providers deliver efficient ambulatory care at full risk – Our aim was to help providers deliver the right care for every patient, no matter how complex, and to do this with the prices set in advance.   

The way we were able to do this involved 3 things: 

  • Using rich and powerful clinical and operational automation to ensure that wherever there was a default action that should take place in a predictable way, we should make sure it happened, every time for every patient that needed it. This wasn’t the same as delivering the same care to every patient, but crucially defining a standard of care and making sure that it was applied uniformly, resulting in personalized care for every patient.
  • To go with that, we recognized early on that every customer is different, with their own identity and their own way of delivering care, so we developed a capability to allow our team to design care journeys around the way our customers work, not the other way around. This meant that we weren’t trying to tell providers how to practice medicine, but instead working with their experts to ensure they were able to ensure that the standard of care that they wanted to deliver scaled to every patient, no matter who was providing the care. This meant that we got rid of the internal variability in practice that caused so many of the operational waste and patient experience challenges.
  • Finally, we developed a transformation methodology that used these unique capabilities to make sure that when we deploy, we do so in a way that actually delivers value out of the gate, starting small and building over time. We found that our customers had little patience with initiatives that took 2 years to bring value, we wanted to implement tactical interventions that would deliver quickly and could then be the basis for further growth. This makes it easier for customers to deploy, delivers results faster, and crucially scales across the whole organization.  

Care journey orchestration is about more than just software, it’s about a longterm strategic partnership grounded in over a decade of experience in delivering real change quickly that sticks, it isn’t just about another point solution sitting on top of a broken process.