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2019 HealthCare Executive Group Top 10 Challenges [PODCAST]

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The Hospital Finance Podcast

In this episode, we are joined by Ferris Taylor, Executive Director of the HealthCare Executive Group, to discuss the top 10 challenges, issues, and opportunities facing healthcare in 2019.

Learn how to listen to The Hospital Finance Podcast on your mobile device.


Highlights of this episode include:

  • Background on how the list was formed by executives from payer, provider, and technology organizations
  • What topics made the list and what, surprisingly, didn’t make the list
  • The important role technology plays in topics ranked at the top of the list
  • Why the national opioid crisis is a focus across the healthcare community
  • And more…

Mike Passanante: Hi, this is Mike Passanante. And welcome back to the Hospital Finance Podcast.

During the 30th anniversary forum of the Healthcare Executive Group, healthcare executives from payer, provider and healthcare technology organizations ranked the Top 10 challenges and opportunities that they believe healthcare organizations will face in 2019.

To talk us through these issues, I’m joined by Ferris Taylor, Executive Director of the HealthCare Executive Group. Ferris, welcome to the show!

Ferris Taylor: Thank you Mike. And thank you to the listeners for taking the time to let us discuss what our membership at least has viewed as the top issues.

We’re a national network of healthcare executives and thought leaders, as Mike said, celebrating our 30th year in working together to reshape healthcare. We interact regularly throughout the year across multiple channels including sessions like this—podcast, webinars, periodic executive roundtables and white papers and blogs and newsletters. And we just finished our 30th anniversary annual forum in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago.

But by facilitating these interactions, we provide a platform for networking and for industry-leading discussions. Obviously, you can get more of the history from HCEG.org at your convenience.

From this conversation, throughout the year, culminating in our annual forum, our members discuss and debate critical technology and innovation issues and priorities that we’re all facing. And then, at the end of our annual forum, we formally vote on an HCEG top #10 list for the next year. And we’ve been doing that for 10 or 12 years.

Today, for this conversation, we’ll focus on the recently published list of the 2019 issues. And we consider these to be critical factors for successful core system change and for technology improvements in moving healthcare forward.

So thank you Mike. And thank you to the listeners.

Mike Passanante: Oh, that’s a great segue, Ferris. And obviously, you’ve kind of put this together into a nice, tight list of 10 items. And so, let’s start at the very top issue that was identified. And that’s data and analytics. What did the group have to say about that? And why did they identify that as sort of #1 on the list?

Ferris Taylor: Thank you Mike. And it’s interesting to provide a little bit of historical perspective. Given the roots of our organization, going back to technology and innovation, obviously, data and analytics has been on the top of the list seven or eight times out of the last ten years. But it’s really been the last couple of three years that—last year, it was top of the list. And this year, it’s top of the list. Prior years, it was down in the middle or towards the bottom of the list.

I think that there’s a couple of three factors that are impacting.

Three years ago, value-based relationships, value-based payments—which we’ll talk about in a minute—were at the top of the list. And as I listened in on the conversations and the discussions with our membership, what’s really come clear is that without the data, and without the more sophisticated analytical capabilities around that data, we can’t get the value-based reimbursement.  We can’t get the total population health improvement.

And I think it’s also supported, Mike, by the fact that data has become much more readily available. It’s only been in the last seven or eight years, going back to the ARRA funding, creating the real emphasis on electronic medical records and the data sets from a clinical point of view as opposed to the administrative data that we have to be able to dig deeper into the data that’s available.

It’s also gotten more complex with the realization that we got to get beyond just the medical or the clinical data sets into what we commonly call those social determinants of health, the non-medical data sets.

And luckily, computer technology has expanded to make that more possible.

So, the last couple of years, this has been at the top of the list. And what we really hear our members saying is that leveraging that data, and especially the clinical data as it relates to a core of your membership, your listeners, that that data set will then lead us to an ability to better manage the health of our patients, our health plan members, and to drive individual and provider and payer decision-making in more effective ways across the industry.

That’s a lengthy response, but this is one of the core challenges. And it’s come clear to the top of the list the last couple of years for our membership at least.

Mike Passanante: That makes a lot of sense when you think about the enormous amount of healthcare data that’s generated daily. There’s so much to handle and so much in the way of getting all that data to talk. And interoperability is the term we’ve dealt with for a long time now. So I can see where that would be number one.

Ferris Taylor: Absolutely!

Mike Passanante: Ferris, number two on the list, total consumer health, which I think is a fascinating topic (and related to number three, which we’ll get to in a second). Tell us about total consumer health and what the group thought there.

Ferris Taylor: And I’m glad you pointed out that it was related to number three on population health. But also, we had a lot of discussion at our annual meeting, and I neglected to mention that it’s an annual process. All of our webinars lead up to this process.

But at our annual meeting, we had small group roundtables where six to eight people sat at a table with the list of 25 or 30 issues that we put in front of our membership to vote on. And they had these detailed discussions.

There was a lot of the interplay between number two and number five in terms of the digital healthcare organization. And I think that those two do merge together.

But again, back to the technology aspects of healthcare, there’s an opportunity to have more engaged, more technology-empowered and savvy consumers, patients and members to be able to better address at an individual level their medical and their social and their financial and their economic issues as it relates to their health in their population.

And of course we know the mobile technology is out there, the digital technology. We’ve all been exposed the last few weeks to the new Apple Watch and everything that it might do. There are pluses of that, and there are downsides of that in terms of over diagnoses or false positives that can come there.

But without a doubt, the healthcare industry has changed. And for my 30 years in healthcare, the primary purchase of healthcare was the employer. And you and I, and most of us, deferred to our employer the decisions about our health insurance plan, our network, our providers and those things.

I think precipitated by the technology and also by the Affordable Care Act, the consumer has moved center stage. And that is the heart of this total consumer health, not you as an individual, you’re a patient now and you’re a diabetic. It isn’t that you’re diabetic, you’re a consumer, you’re a human being. Your health is part of your life. And there’s a realization on the part of our members that our healthcare innovations need to fit into the life flow—which I think is a key term—of the consumer.

It isn’t that they’re diabetic. They’re a father. They’re a mother. They live in a community. They’re an employee of an organization. They want to have their life go forward. And there’s a medical condition that they may need to deal with. But that needs to fit seamlessly into their day-to-day activities.      And there’s a real opportunity with technology and with the data that we’ve discussed and the number one issue to be able to better meet the consumer health issues and their overall health and well-being. And that’s a real opportunity I think for all of us in healthcare—from the hospitals and the providers and the health plans and the consumers. We all need to get engaged in improving health and well-being.

Mike Passanante: And we talked a little bit about that interplay between total consumer health and what’s third on your list, population health services. So break that down for us. Tell us what the members were thinking about when they put population health services in there as number three and how that might differ a little bit from what you just talked about.

Ferris Taylor: You know, it differs quite dramatically, Mike. And I have some people I really need to thank who have helped us as an organization, thought leaders around the country. Really, the population health topic came on to the top ten list beginning last year. It’s been in the top three the last two years. And it started at our annual forum in Nashville a year ago when we had Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Secretary of Health and Human Services, at our forum. She related back to her experience with Hurricane Katrina in Houston. She was with the Department of Health there. And of course, when everything was wiped out with the hurricane, healthcare had to perform very differently. It became a total population question.

She started us thinking about something broader than that narrow definition of “Well, this is a medical condition. The other aspects don’t relate to healthcare.” In a disaster, everything relates and impacts healthcare.

So, we started thinking differently. We had an entire morning this year at our annual forum starting with Dan Buettner, the National Geographic photographer that’s traveled around the world. He’s written a book on blue zones of longevity, communities around the world where people dramatically different than most communities have a larger population that are over a hundred years of age. He started dissecting what it was about those communities that may contribute to the longevity of the health and well-being of those communities.

And as our members have listened and participated in that, I’ve seen a dramatic change in the thinking—and that is that it’s something more than a hospital or a physician or a health plan focusing on the medical conditions of their patients or their membership. It really needs to—from my action-oriented and operational point of view—start leaking out to community activities and services and approaches to lead to more healthy behaviors.

We had a session specifically entitled Health & Behavior Change at the Community Level. Simple things, infrastructure, bike lanes, trees along the street that encourage people to walk, to be out, once again feeding into the life flow of the population.

And if you step back and think about it, if we get upstream from the medical conditions and start making it easier and fit into the life flow of the general population, and they become more healthy, then our medical cost and the amount of medical intervention that we have to provide actually will go down.

So, this population health and services is an attempt on the part of our membership to start saying we need to broaden our perspective and work together with the provider community to identify what some of those other issues are that, if they’re addressed, will impact the health and well-being of our membership.

I think it’s one of the most exciting areas. But again, as we’ve already talked, it doesn’t happen if you don’t have the data in a very broad sense of the data, the financial data and the social economic data, and the transportation and housing and access to food, healthy foods and like that. You can bring all of that data together and put it into the hands of the provider when they have that opportunity to engage with the member. If the health plan isn’t actively being a voice for health and well-being, then these things aren’t going to happen.

So, you’re very correct. These three top issues (and this fourth one that we’ll talk about) all come together from a technology and a new way of thinking about health and well-being in healthcare.

I would also say, Mike, it was just a few months ago in a session that I had with an executive from DC that it clicked with me that we’re spending $3.6 trillion, in healthcare spend, and there’s another trillion or more dollars that are spent across 80 federal agencies, and then community groups and charity groups; trillions of dollars that are being spent on housing and transportation and food and those basic things. But it’s being spent totally without coordination.

The opportunity is to bring all of those resources together at the community level to improve the health of the population.

This is an exciting number three topic. And I think all of us need to work better together to make that more impactful in healthcare.

Mike Passanante: Yeah, there’s nothing on the list of the top 10 that’s an outlier that doesn’t interact with the other nine, I don’t think. They all have to work together for healthcare to move forward.

And you mentioned #4 which I think is something that a lot of people, particularly in the provider community, are concerned about. Some aren’t necessarily seeing the value or can’t envision what the value will be. And that’s value-based payments.

So, tell us what was on the mind of your members around that.

Ferris Taylor: In many of our discussions on this topic, Mike, we call it VBR, value-based reimbursements, a new model, a new business model, of reimbursement and like that.

But what I heard from our membership, and at the heart of this, is value-based relationships.

And I would say that that value-based relationship extends beyond the payer and the provider relationship that we don’t put the consumer in the middle of that relationship as well. We’re not going to move the needle.

The most interesting thing to me, Mike, is that starting in 2014—

You know, the history going back 10 to 15 years, we had paid for performance. And we had different incentive programs for providers and payers to work together.

But things changed back in 2014-2015 where I think we as an industry started saying, “There has to be a transition from the activity. The discounted fee-for-service business model needs to transition to something more related to value or outcomes or results.”

And for literally three years—2015 through 2017, VBR was the number one top 10 issue. And then, there was this realization that there’s a number of fundamentals that need to take place before we can, as payers and providers, make that transition to value-based business models. And it ties to the three that we’ve already talked about—the data and the analytics. And we have HEDIS measures at NCQA, and JCAHO and others have health plans and providers report and analyze. But there’s a very different set of majors that need to come together to really value and determine what the business relationship ought to be.

So, that transition to targeting more specific medical conditions and working together to actually address the crisis of continuing escalating medical costs, and really focusing on the result, not the medical intervention, but the total outcome of healthcare is a significant challenge.

And it’s been fascinating to me to see over the last 10 or 12 years that value-based reimbursement has been on the list every single year. It’s the one item that’s consistently been there. But for the first five years or so, it was down at the bottom of the list, something, yeah, we need to be working on. Over the last four or five years, it’s moved to the top of the list.

It’s not at the very top this year for the reasons we’ve discussed. But it’s still a very critical issue.

And it’s a transition that I think Medicare, Medicaid has at the federal level recognized has to take place. Now, we—as providers, as payers, as consumers—are saying, “We need to get onboard and come up with those new business models that makes this more again a win-win-win way.”

We still have a long way to go there. But again, technology, the computer capacity, and then the analytics (whether it’s artificial intelligence or machine learning more specifically), and then the other technologies will help us move the needle on value-based payments.

Mike Passanante: Ferris, number five on the list is what I would call a very big tent. It’s the digital health organization. Tell us about that.

Ferris Taylor: This is at least a new verbiage. It’s been a part of our discussion for all of the years that I’ve been involved with the Healthcare Executive Group (which is going back 13 or 14 years). Obviously, the orientation of HCEG is towards innovation and technology. And we all know the explosion that’s taken place in technology.

But I think this has been verbalized this year as a new issue. But it’s not new in terms of its components. It’s new in how we’re putting them together. And really, I think it’s a recognition that there’s a new world out there from a digital point of view and patient portals and cost transparency, pricing tools and wearables and all of the data that can be generated at the patient level.

More importantly, we’ve already mentioned the Apple Watch, but health monitoring devices and the fact that not every consumer, a patient, or every provider, or payer wants to use exactly the same channel. The digital world has opened up the possibility for what we call omni-channel access and communication and engagement where it becomes, in many ways, much more personalized.

It’s not on the top 10, I’ll mention it now, number 11 on our voted list this year is personalized medicine. And I know that’s in the future, but probably not in 2019. But the digital organization is there. And that big umbrella is a key component of what we need to be focused on as providers, as payers, and as consumers of healthcare and of health and well-being to improve our overall health, but also to start addressing the cost side of healthcare.

And it impacts to some degree access as well. Why can I not go online and schedule an appointment? As you and I were talking earlier, know whether that provider is in network or out of network and know where I’m at with my co-pay, why is that not real-time or close to real-time?

So, for our HCEG membership with the infrastructure challenges—many of our members are CIO’s or chief technology officers—they’re recognizing  now that the technology side, the infrastructure side needs to dramatically change to become a digitized digital health organization and an integrated delivery system or an inter-operable healthcare system as you mentioned earlier.

Mike Passanante: Ferris, number six is—well, it’s actually reasonably straight-forward—the concern over rising pharmacy costs. What were the thoughts there?

Ferris Taylor: Our challenge in pharmacy costs really just in the last three or four years is we’ve seen the escalation, especially drugs, the prices, the major and dramatic and wonderful impacts that pharmacy interventions are having with Harvoni coming onto the marketplace in not just treating a medical condition, but actually curing, doing away with the medical condition. But on other side, the cost is a major issue.

The discussions on this one, Mike, has been, really, there’s multiple components of this. And some of it is much more medical, medical interventions, getting PEM’s and drug manufacturers and purchasers, payers and providers to work more closely together.

But our discussions have been very constructive in looking at what needs to take place now underneath this issue to provide better decision-making tools. Again, the data is not integrated, or if it is integrated, it’s interpreted in very disparate ways and not well understood.

So, what is it that we need to do, our membership needs to do, to implement better strategies to address the growth of pharmacy costs. And at the same time, going back to the value-based payment, to recognize that there are benefits to quality of care and to the total cost of care.

We had a fascinating example presented at our annual forum this year. Jorie Soskin from Medtronic shared how their doing value-based pricing with some of the structures around the medical devices. And it really caused our group to start thinking differently about the data and the analytics that it’s going to take to address the growing pharmacy costs.

Obviously, pharmacy costs have moved into—depending on what date that you’re looking at—one of the major, if not the number one, cost component of overall healthcare.

So, our membership has recognized we need to work with the pharmacy companies with the data suppliers, with the providers and with the health plans to get underneath the pharmacy data and better understand how to optimize the use of drugs and pharmaceutical interventions to improve overall cost at a cost-reasonable level.

This one is a bit more of a challenge for our group. We had to recognize that we have a role there that we need to play. And that’s what our group is emphasizing with respect to the rising pharmacy cost.

Mike Passanante: Ferris, over definitely the past year, we’ve seen consumer brands or brands that the average individual is probably more familiar with in the healthcare space making some noise. And so number seven on your list was external market disruption. Tell us about that.

Ferris Taylor: Brand has never been on our list before, Mike. And I think part of it is, as a healthcare individual—and I’m pointing to myself as I say this along with everybody else—we’ve sort of said, “We own healthcare. Healthcare is our industry, and we own it.”

And I think this year, and over the course of the entire year as we’ve had our discussions, we’re starting to recognize that there are a lot of major companies with major resources at their disposal in terms of capital cash that is in the bank profitability that are on the outside of healthcare looking in and saying, “You know what? It can’t be all that complicated!”

Within healthcare, we look at it and say, “Oh, they don’t understand how complicated it is.” And we can joke about President Trump’s comment, “Who knew it was all that complicated?” And I’m not devaluing the complicated, the complex issues of healthcare. But we need to recognize that, first of all, at the consumer level, they’re using these other technology players—say they got Amazon Prime—they go online, they see something, and the next day, or the next two days, it’s on their door step. I have a question, I google it. And I get an answer to that question.

Why can’t that work the same way in healthcare?

Now, I would also say, because this is a new issue in the top 10, Mike, that all of us need to recognize, that this is not new. Ten or fifteen years ago, Microsoft—who probably should also be on this list—got into the healthcare space. We’re using their technology to integrate data and provide services. Google has been in and out of this space multiple times over the years.

Because I think our membership recognizes at this point that there are some serious and very capable technologies out there that could have major implications for healthcare. And we need to be looking at those, make a decision of whether we try to compete with those technologies or whether we partner with those technologies and move healthcare forward.

I think it’s very easy to discount the impact that some of these players could have. But I’ve been, for 25 years or more, a friend or a colleague of Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma, and actually participated with him in writing The Innovator’s Prescription which is his book on healthcare. And it’s very clear that major disruptions in any industry usually come from entities on the outside looking in, entities with their nose pressed to the window, as Clayton always says, looking in.

And they’re probably start with something that us in the industry would consider to be low quality or a low cost or technology that’s really not complete. Yeah, the Apple Watch may not do everything or may complicate healthcare. But in fact, it starts out there at that point, and at some point, could become a major change in healthcare. I think the disruption of these new entrants will not be disruption-oriented. They’re simply looking at the healthcare and saying, “It’s not that complicated. I can solve that problem.” It’s starting with Amazon just saying, “I know how to solve some of the supply chain things.” Their acquisition of PillPack, “You know, there’s something I can do a little bit better here.”

And as they do that a little bit better, then they will find other things they can do better. And we will be remiss as a payer and a provider community if we didn’t put these external market players onto a top issue and a top opportunity for all of us to look at. There’s opportunity there. There’s opportunity to partner if we want to approach that.

This list is not complete as it’s listed here at the top 10, Mike. We could add to that list. But we need to be looking at those external players in a different light than we’ve looked at them in the past. And that’s the message that I think is behind #7 on the top 10.

Mike Passanante: And number eight is a very internal-facing, probably another big tent topic. And that’s operational effectiveness.

Ferris Taylor: This is an interesting one, Mike. It’s gone for three or four years without being on the top 10, whereas in the early years of my involvement with HCEG and looking at the top 10 (it was actually back in 2012), it was the number issue on the top 10 list. And it was at the top in those early years, in the top half of the top 10.

I actually think there’s an interesting interplay here that I’ll share, just a personal insight as I’ve listened to the discussions over the last year. And that relates to an issue that’s not on the top 10 this year, but was on the top 10 last year. And that was more the health reform, and from a regulatory point of view, what might be impacting healthcare. That slipped off the top 10 which is interesting to me.

But I think part of it is that we as an industry—and I hope it’s the same with your typical listeners on the provider side, the hospital and the provider side, Mike—I think we’re coming to a conclusion that the disruptive political side of healthcare is not going to provide any solutions.

The facts are that we all know—and I think every single organization, every member discussion that we’ve had around this—we know that there are things that we can be and do, each one of us can do, to bring more administrative efficiency to healthcare. And rather than looking at the chaos of the regulatory side or the uncertainty and the inability to predict where that might be going, there’s something that we can all fundamentally be doing in terms of more process efficiency, new business models, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, revenue cycle management. The data and the technology, again, that was available that wasn’t available four or five years ago is there now for us to bring efficiency and effectiveness to healthcare.

Earlier, before we had started reporting, you had mentioned the need for real-time or near-time transactions in healthcare. The consumers expect it. The technology is there for us to be able to do that. And I think that’s the reason that, after many years, this has moved back. And even though it’s towards the bottom of the top 10, it’s there for a very good reason.

I think it’s almost a challenge that our membership has given themselves and has given to the industry that every single one of us need to look at our internal operation and ask that question: “What can we do more efficiently? What can we do more effectively? And what can we do together that might dramatically change the overall cost to healthcare?”

So, this is an interesting one. It was there for many at the top of the list. It fell off during the Healthcare Reform and the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records and like that. Then this year, it comes back onto the list, but I think with a new interest and a new perspective.

Mike Passanante: And number nine on the list is certainly not a strange topic for anyone who’s watching the news. It’s really a national crisis. And that’s opioid management.

Ferris Taylor: This is a personal crisis. I don’t know if there’s anyone across the country that hasn’t been personally affected with friends or close relatives for good reasons to start out with an injury or something like that but that have ended up being in a crisis mode.

Again, it has not been a brand new issue for our membership. And probably, primarily, because again, we don’t typically put on the HCEG top 10 things where there isn’t a technology or an infrastructure or a systems solution because of the orientation of our group.

But there is a real focus across the entire healthcare stakeholder community to work together to address the opioid crisis. And it came onto the list this year because of many discussions around different strategies for identifying and supporting individuals and to support the providers that are dealing in the moment with a patient that is in need of a medical intervention to be able to have at their fingertips a history and a perspective to be able to best meet that need, that individual’s need, and to provide early warning systems in terms of recognizing where this might be beginning to be a problem and creating interventions before it becomes an opioid issue—identifying substance of use addiction conditions before they become critical, or even those identifying those populations that are at risk for moving in the direction of addiction.

Again, a topic that typically would have more of a medical and a clinical component, but I think it’s a recognition that this is a national crisis. And from a technology, and from a data, and from an analytics, and from a general infrastructure point of view, we as an industry need to tap into the new resources that we have available to help contribute in some small way to opioid management.

Again, a little more difficult one I think for all of us to step back and say, “Here’s the silver bullet. Here’s how to address this,” and then work on an implementation. This is more one where strategies need to be identified and data sources brought together to help contribute to the solutions that need to come there.

Without a doubt, as you said, Mike, critical topic, one that needs to be addressed. And our membership perspective is, yes, we see a role that we need to play in that as well.

Mike Passanante: And Ferris, the last item on the top 10 to round it off is cyber-security—again, certainly not a minor issue for anyone that’s managing patient data particularly which is the provider/payer community we’re talking about here.

Ferris Taylor: We could probably have a podcast just on this topic alone, Mike. It is interesting to me that it was not on the list at all or totally off if it was on the list. One year, it was number ten in the top ten going back in 2012. But really, up until the last three or four years, it was not on the HCEG top 10 list at all.

I remember, last year, it was #6 on the top 10 list. And I had an interview with a reporter who was really upset at the Healthcare Executive Group because it was not the number one on the list, the number one issue on the top 10 list. I personally don’t create the top 10 list. It’s our membership that creates it.

But clearly, I think going back to the Anthem and Premera breaches where you had 80 million and 20 million medical records, membership records, that were breached, we see it every day now where data and information is being lost. We’re starting to see multimillion dollar fines. We’re starting to get a levee that gets to management teams that are not taking this seriously.

I think the conversations that I’ve heard is that this has been discussed around our forums, our executive roundtables, our webinars and like that—we have had webinars specific to cyber-security—is that healthcare needs to recognize that we are in a very different situation than the banking community. I’ve heard multiple kinds. The finance community doesn’t have a privacy and security, a cyber-security solution. They have a remuneration solution. If $1000 goes missing from your bank account, they put $1000 back into your account. No harm, no foul… and you’re secure!

We can’t put our medical information, our healthcare information back into the account. And if I look forward to things that I expect will come on to the top 10 list in the future with genetics, genomics and like that, if we don’t address, in a very different way, the cyber-security issues and do more than the rest of the industries that we deal with do with privacy and security, we’re going to have some real crisis.

I shared with our membership that here in Utah a few years ago, we had a baby born that was an opioid heroin-addicted baby. And of course, immediately, the Department of Health and Human Services within the home, the mother had three children in the home, those children were removed from the home, there was only one problem, Mike, and that is that the mother of those three children was not the mother of that heroin-addicted baby that was born in the hospital. It was medical identity theft. And for three months, those three children were not allowed in the home and the DNA test and everything proved that it was a medical insurance identity grab situation.

How do you calculate the cost of that? If there’s something, because of the lack of privacy and security, gets into my medical record that my blood type is somebody else’s blood test, and I’m in an accident and unconscious, and the medical record and the clinical data is all available going back to number one, and a blood transfusion is given, and it’s the wrong blood type, people’s lives are at stake.

So, I think this topic, and it’s been at the top the last three or four years, is one that we may be getting tired of. We heard from our membership this is just table stakes. We need to do it. But it’s more than table stakes. We’re putting our medical information in the hands of consumers, patients with our patient portals, and yet those portals may be secure from an enterprise point of view, but when you put those portals or that data out to the individuals sitting at home on their personal computer, 95% or 98% of those personal computers have malware operating on them, and that data is no longer secured.

So, it’s number 10. It could be number one. I think we had a great discussion of why the others are above it on the list. And I was quoted in a press release that everything seems important, everything seems critical. This has been a great conversation about 10 critical issues. It’s not to say that there are not other issues that are critical. I would put less emphasis on the ranking of these issues, and more emphasis on the fact that we need, in our organizations, to be sure that we talk about and have appropriate resources allocated and individuals and structure in place to be making actual progress on each of these 10 issues. And cybersecurity is definitely one of those that needs to be addressed.

As I said, we could spend a whole podcast on just this topic. And it might be interesting at some point in the future to do so. Thanks!

Mike Passanante: Yeah, these are some major issues. Very interesting conversation today. So first, Taylor, thank you very much for joining us today on the Hospital Finance Podcast.

Ferris Taylor: My delight! And thank you. And I thank each of your listeners for taking the time to let us discuss the future of healthcare. We all need to work together to make it better. And we know that. So upward and onward. Thanks Mike. Appreciate it!


 

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