Even before COVID-19, many CEOs had their teams focusing on implementing a digital front door for their patients. The pandemic has rapidly accelerated that quest—and also expanded it. They’re now looking beyond digital front door solutions toward fully integrated experiences. Companies need solutions that allow for scalable and flexible care-from-anywhere capabilities. The market is reshaping around these new models and the digitization of healthcare.
NTT DATA Services, a recognized leader in global technology services, has teamed up with Teladoc Health, R1 RCM, Enli, and VisitPay to build a cutting-edge healthcare digitization solution: Nucleus for Healthcare. This framework is equipped to provide assistance to health systems around the country as the industry continues to digitize. It’s an initiative designed to increase value and provide improved patient and caregiver journeys.
VisitPay talked with Mary Edwards, president of the healthcare provider business from NTT DATA Services about Nucleus for Healthcare and what it will mean to the healthcare industry.
1. What is Nucleus for Healthcare?
EDWARDS: Nucleus for Healthcare incorporates best-in-class solutions to help accelerate health systems’ digital transformation journeys. The integrated portal, or digital front door, gives patients more access and control in their healthcare experience. By working with technology companies—including VisitPay—the integration allows for seamless single sign-on; enhanced security, cloud, analytics; orchestration between patient and caregiver journeys; and capabilities that allow for work and care from anywhere in an industrialized and secure environment.
2. How are health systems currently operating and how did the need for a solution come to be?
EDWARDS: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most large health systems had either completed or were in the process of building a digital front door strategy. The majority of large health plans had components of digital health already implemented—some form of virtual care, telehealth, or digital scheduling, for example. However, very few had roadmaps for a fully digital health system. Very few had implemented a cohesive solution that connected the end-to-end digital patient journey with the end-to-end digital caregiver journey. Before the pandemic, most large health systems were struggling to move virtual care above the low single digits.
COVID-19 changed that overnight; providers around the world suddenly had to scramble to adapt to a virtual care rate of over 40%. Immediately there was a need for industrializing and orchestrating the virtual care portion of the patient experience across the entire value chain—from scheduling to care plan coordination to virtual care to payments. Both health systems and patients alike are recognizing this necessary shift. The industry has been going this way—the COVID-19 pandemic simply accelerated it.
Acceleration is key and the value proposition is clear. With CMS increasing the emphasis on patient satisfaction in STARS reimbursement from 30% to 60% by 2023, there can be no mistaking the value of an integrated and market-leading patient experience capability. Healthcare will be better for it as more engaged patients have better outcomes. And health systems with higher patient satisfaction are more profitable.
3. How were the companies selected to be part of Nucleus for Healthcare?
EDWARDS: NTT Data looked at organizations that were recognized as “Best in KLAS” (from KLAS Research, a healthcare IT data and insights company). Next, they examined what unique value proposition and scope a company could provide within the end-to-end value chain. Each company plays a unique role in the overall solution. Finally, NTT Data focused on finding companies who would be actively engaged in the concept and goal, and who had a strong commitment by leadership. What was their level of willingness to collaborate on defining a digital health journey that went beyond what each individual solution delivered? Establishing these high standards has been crucial in building the right team of dedicated partners.
4. How would daily life be different for a patient and for a provider with Nucleus for Healthcare?
EDWARDS: The experience for the patient is completely transformed. Nucleus for Healthcare aims to turn patients into empowered consumers of healthcare—giving them transparency, choice, and ease of self-service where it matters the most. It gives them scheduling choices and flexibility. It changes how preventative and follow-up care is delivered and monitored. It gives patients a new level of transparency, control, and flexibility within their healthcare billing—something that has been a pain point for consumers for so long. Everything is housed in an intuitive user interface, simplifying the process at every step. With Nucleus for Healthcare, patients can have ease and power over their total healthcare experience.
On the other side, providers are experiencing just as significant a transformation by getting the best technology and security practices across the healthcare value chain. From virtual visits to digital care plans to online workflows, the platform provides a set of well-integrated tools with open architecture to support the exchange of data accurately and securely. The data-driven insights providers have access to allow them to manage healthcare across hundreds of locations and thousands of users.
Hospital administrators are able to automate and centralize patient data to proactively schedule preventative care and enable virtual care across a broad spectrum of clinical specialties and care settings. Health systems will see reimbursements from payer contracts rise along with the collection of out-of-pocket patient payments. Using contract intelligence tools, health systems are able to forecast financial outcomes and identify the greatest financial impact scenarios while tracking total cost of care and creating automatic reports in real-time.
5. Why did you want to include patient payments as part of Nucleus of Healthcare? What role does it play? Why did you choose VisitPay to fill the gap?
EDWARDS: VisitPay has such a unique perspective on consumers’ needs in the financing of healthcare. More patients are payers, due to the rise in high deductible plans. And this patient obligation will only increase in the future.
VisitPay enables patients to manage their healthcare financial obligations with a click, which leads to better outcomes on all sides. Patients are more apt to get the care they need, and health systems experience higher rates of payment. In addition, more and more consumers are turning to digital forms of payment in all verticals—from Venmo to PayPal to Apple Pay—each focusing on making it easy for consumers to transact. VisitPay gives that same ease of use by creating that digital experience for healthcare payments. In an industry that is far behind in terms of consumer convenience and simplicity, this is a big step up.
In all, Nucleus for Healthcare provides a roadmap for the digitization of healthcare, templates to accelerate its realization, and journey maps for new patient and caregiver experiences. Whether a health system is building its own solution or buying into a managed services model, Nucleus for Healthcare can enable a faster path with early returns. As more health systems work together on the digitization of healthcare, Nucleus for Healthcare is well-positioned to accelerate the transformation, providing speed to value and through improved patient and caregiver journeys.