Embracing change: Perspectives from Becker’s Healthcare roundtable

December 7, 2023 Providence News Team


In this article:

  • Providence leaders recently joined health care leaders from across the nation for the annual Becker’s Healthcare CEO/CFO roundtable.

  • This year’s roundtable focused on embracing change in health care to better serve patients and support caregivers.

  • Providence leaders shared valuable insight on best practices and new tools with a focus on providing value-based care through personalized digital experiences for patients and streamlined processes for caregivers.  

Embracing change for those we serve: Perspectives from the Becker’s Healthcare CEO/CFO roundtable

To overcome the challenges of the past few years and make the most of future opportunities, health care organizations such as Providence are embracing change to better serve patients and support caregivers.

Recently, several Providence leaders joined the annual Becker's Healthcare CEO/CFO roundtable to discuss the most pressing issues facing health care.

Providence speakers focused on three main themes:

  • Supporting patients and caregivers by addressing industrywide challenges and removing barriers to care.
  • Transforming care to meet future needs.
  • Embracing technology to augment how work is done.

Supporting patients and caregivers by addressing industrywide challenges and removing barriers to care

As the country's population ages, health care faces a rapidly diminishing supply of providers, exacerbated by unprecedented levels of burnout and a dramatic rise in demand for health care services.

Providence chief operating officer Erik Wexler discussed how Providence is responding. “We are pursuing new models of care like virtual nursing that offer flexibility for caregivers to work where and when they want while actually improving patient outcomes and experience,” Wexler said. “In addition, Providence has built a number of AI-powered solutions that are reducing the strain on our caregivers by minimizing administrative burdens and allowing caregivers to practice at the top of their ability.”

It's estimated that nurses and physicians currently spend up to 40% of their time each day focusing on administrative work. Tools like MedPearl are making referrals quicker and more intuitive for providers, and internally built AI tools at Providence can direct administrative messages headed toward the clinical EMR inbox to the appropriate endpoint.

Wexler also talked about No One Cares Alone (NOCA), a program staffed by licensed behavioral health providers, offering focused coaching and support to Providence caregivers.

Providence’s South Division chief medical officer, Susan Huang, M.D., also stressed the importance of solutions that don’t rely on additional human labor. “The seismic shift taking place in health care presents an opportunity for transformative change,” Dr. Huang said. “It is essential to identify opportunities that lead to scalable solutions that can help address the current labor imbalance and improve health outcomes for patients.”

Transforming care to meet future needs

Financial sustainability is critical to ensuring health systems can continue their missions of service far into the future. Progressive health systems such as Providence are transforming care models by seeking out partnerships that bring knowledge or operational capabilities that traditional health systems don’t typically have.

Diversification and innovation benefit both patients and caregivers.

As one example, Wexler mentioned Providence's pharmacy business, Credena Health, which opened its 22nd pharmacy in Portland, Ore. earlier this year. Operating within the Providence health system, Credena Health pharmacies partner with health care providers and a network of delivery services to transport medications directly to patients’ homes, alleviating the burden of an in-person pharmacy visit.

Value-based care is another way Providence is approaching transformation.

The traditional fee-for-service model — where most patients pay for every service they receive — has been the norm for decades. This often creates a fragmented experience for patients. According to Don Antonucci, president and CEO at Providence Health Plan, investments in primary care and the shift toward value-based care are crucial to improving individual outcomes and keeping communities healthy.

“We are now moving in the right direction, with up to 50% of all health care payments now having some form of value-based component to them. This approach ensures that health care systems and health plans are closely connected, resulting in a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to care,” Antonucci said. “We need to accelerate this shift towards value-based care as it is a win-win for patients, providers and communities at large.”

Embracing technology to augment how work is done

“Providence operates at the intersection of compassion and innovation,” said Sara Vaezy, Providence executive vice president, chief strategy and digital officer, during her session. “As the health care industry evolves, care coordination is becoming increasingly complex. Access to care is becoming more fragmented and decentralized. To address this challenge, Providence is creating personalized digital experiences for patients utilizing identity-driven engagement and utilizing AI to augment the care model for patients.”

“Digital transformation must touch every corner of an organization,” Vaezy said. “Ultimately, by embracing innovation, partnerships and transformative change, Providence is building a more effective health care system that meets the needs of patients and caregivers.”

According to Wasif Rasheed, chief revenue and growth officer at Providence, implementation of technology within health care has been slower than other industries, but Providence has been leading the charge.

In 2014, Providence established the Digital Innovation Group, which under the direction of Vaezy, explores how technology and innovation can improve health care and create net-new solutions for the health care market. 

More recently, Providence launched Tegria, a consulting and technology services company created by health care for health care, and was a founding member of Truveta, a collective of more than 30 health systems that is saving lives and improving outcomes with data.

These and other actions reflect Rasheed’s belief that technology and AI will play a major role in transforming health care – and that health systems must collaborate effectively across the country and convene the rest of the industry rather than face challenges alone. “At Providence, we know we are better together when pursuing bold goals,” Rasheed said. “Especially with respect to technology and AI, engaging our peers ensures more thoughtful and responsible implementation that can transform access and affordability.”

Moving into the future with optimism

Looking ahead to the coming year, it's important to acknowledge the momentum that has been built. Although health care will continue to face challenges in the future, plans are being set to continue building upon the progress made to ensure long-term success.

By remaining focused on innovation, collaboration and continuous learning, Providence will help build a more effective and sustainable health care system for all.

Embracing change is key.

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Related resources

Digital in action: Bringing your health care into the digital age

Growing from within: Why Providence incubates tech companies

Driving value: A pivotal moment for digital health

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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