Creating Better Healthcare? First, Tackle the Status Quo

Transforming an industry that is resistant to change and innovation takes dedication and grit. Healthcare is notoriously slow to innovate, though for good reason: until a technology is proven time and again, even the slightest error in the revenue cycle can cost hospitals or health systems untold millions and expose them to liability or security concerns. And from a care determination standpoint, any complication or error can have profound or life-threatening effects for patients and create hurdles for providers and institutions. Additionally, for many hospitals and health systems, making large capital and operating investments in new technology is a risk – particularly given tight budgets and so many vendors who don’t live up to their promises.

Xsolis overcame this resistance by identifying visionaries within the sector who saw the potential in what we were doing and were willing to help test and validate our approach. Breaching the barrier of the status quo is the first test of any truly innovative product or solution.

When I started Xsolis in 2013, we began with a mission to provide a data-driven approach to the challenges hospitals face from compliance and regulatory issues. This period in the healthcare industry was characterized by hospitals across the nation incurring massive revenue loss due to unreimbursed or under-reimbursed services. Our initial service enabled healthcare providers to manage and arbitrate claims that had been denied by insurance payers or government entities like Medicare. However, we soon realized a huge gap in the market for a technology that could address and prevent revenue loss before it happened.

Standing up this technology was not an easy feat. In addition to creating an infrastructure that processes, normalizes and scores millions of patient data points a day and provides real-time output to empower clinicians to make informed decisions, we also had to learn to leverage our patient encounter data store to create sophisticated machine learning models (like how IBM’s Watson approaches population health) to help improve patient care decisions that impact revenue. We’ve now accumulated a foundation of data that includes twelve million clinical predictions generated by our proprietary machine learning, enabling us to refine, test and improve our current and future offerings. These machine learning and predictive analytics models form the underpinning of a technology suite that supports our mission now, and will pave the way for future innovation.

To all those who seek to disrupt and innovate, I share three themes that resonate throughout my experience to date: make the right investments in people, be clear about your vision, and create a culture where people aren’t afraid to “pull the rope.” While the first is straightforward, the second has proven to be tricky: since our technology has future potential to impact the healthcare sector in a much greater way, we’ve been very deliberate in ensuring that we do what we do well, now.

This means we can’t be all things to all people (yet) and we ground ourselves upon this tenet. For the latter point, “pull the rope” for us means creating an atmosphere where each of us is comfortable raising red flags to keep us centered when we might be inclined to stray from our vision: the flatter our hierarchy, the more effective we’ve been at staying true to our core.

While the journey will always be tough, the outcome – more effective, less siloed healthcare, supplemented by technology – remains within reach.