This Week Health

The Federally Qualified Health Clinic is on the front lines of health equities and access to underserved communities. Today we caught up with Ray Lowe, CIO of Alta Med to discuss reaching this community.

Transcript

t, here we are from him. It's:

So what happened is pandemic hit all these CIO's started calling me and saying, Hey, what is everybody doing? And then I just put the word out to everybody saying, Hey, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to do a bunch of episodes. Right. And you guys can tell each other what you're doing. Right. And you were kind enough to come on and you came on with somebody, , my dyad partner, Dr.

Eric Lee. Okay. We have talked about federally, federally qualified health centers and what our pandemic response was. It's a different view and a Medicaid market. And how do you serve the serve and how to reach out to them? Wow. You know, I, I have the most respect for you and what you do. I, it's one thing to be, it's just the.

You know, it's it's riches or embarrassment, you know, I have 700 people at St Joe's and, , you know, to be honest with you, I have the same, , cybersecurity requirements that you have at the same regulatory requirements that you had. I had the same state requirements that you had. I mean, you have all those things that I had, except I had 700 people when you have, I have, , just under a hundred, just under a hundred and center a hundred and that's running the EHR.

Yeah, we, cause we actually have a managed services organization or for-profit we have, but we actually have a new Medicaid insurance, chronic line as well. And then of course, all the EMR CRM, we're doing an ERP this year as well. So it's a lot of the same things that you would do. So ultimate Los Angeles market, correct?

, is it, I mean, is it Los Angeles city? It's Los Angeles and orange county. Oh, it is. Yeah. So we're, we're in both the two counties again, , lower income, underserved community. So kind of that east LA. Santa Ana going way through there. We're, we're actually spread across almost 50 sites across 40 miles and it's all, it's pretty close together.

Right. But there's a lot of, it's very dense and in our markets. So what's top of mind for you as a CIO right now, you know, what I'm really working on is, , it's on the value-based care and it's interesting because we're really more like a larger provider. So I'm looking at it from the perspective of bringing the hospital information and would I do it from Commonwealth care quality without bringing it through lanes or other areas so that when we look at, , our capita to market, our capital providers, et cetera, and we have the right alerts, right?

Our mentions not only, , in the EMR, but also from the health plans. Right. And how do we best serve the patients with the best quality outcomes? Is your population pretty static or. Pretty dynamic change. , you know, Medicaid can change every month so people can register or the change starts every month.

So it's, it's a little bit dynamic, right. You know, , in there, but we do, , within the last job of growing through the pandemic of the last year, our patient population has actually grown by about 10%. So that population is hard to population health. My gosh, they're, I mean, they're hard to, , keep track.

They're hard to, , cause they'll show up at different locations and those kinds of things. , it's also a hard group to get, to be disciplined to come in. Right. So to remind them, Hey, your appointment is now committed to that. Cause right. Am I generalizing here? I mean, this is a, this is a challenging group to use technology to in some ways, no, you're spot on it's.

, when people talk about the health equity, And who's in the health equity divide. And when we ended the pandemic and we, we looked at, you know, the essential workers, you know, the folks that could not social Iceland in their home, right. They had to go to work, they couldn't have other place. So that's the patient population we serve.

And then the brown and the black, , you know, families really were so adversely affect. So when you look at how do you create not just access, but how do you great quality as well? Cause it was a lot of, , FQ is, can give you access, right. But we're really focusing on quality and raising it. So I think the good thing to the pandemic is it, , it forced our technology shop, right?

Rambo. So, , you know, April,:

Versus them having to take off from work or take multiple buses and wait in the clinic for three hours to try to get an appointment. Most of your telehealth, , telephone, or is it video? And is both it's both. Yeah. We find that on these communities that, , sometimes you don't have good cellular coverage, you know, that we all talk about the, the digital deserts that are out there and, you know, w working pretty diligently.

If we can't instantiate the tele-health, we can make a telephonic. Right. So the is still provided. Interesting. So, , so top of mind, population health, the tool set. So again, from a budgeting standpoint, You're using epic. I assume you try to leverage epic everywhere you possibly can. Absolutely. And then you augment that, , access you went to Doximity right.

, what about, , you know, what are some of your other tools that you're using maybe for, I mean, do you worry about a digital front door? Oh yeah. You know, I, the poll patient engagement and patient experience, it's, it's, it's so important. Right? So it's, aren't you number? So we have about 350,000 lives that we have.

Okay. And of that, we have like 98,000 actually in our portal that used our, my chart. And that's not enough for us. We want even more, that's almost 30%, which is a pretty good number of that. So we're looking, how do we continue to leverage it? And then it's also the patient engagement. So we have our CRM product is Microsoft.

Ahmat where we now put in the ability for our outreach folks to launch a visit or, you know, schedule a visit as well. So it's that interoperability at tying the different systems together so that the patient gets. How do you, how do you get the voice of the patient? How do you hear from them in terms of what's working for them and what's not working?

Yeah, that's a great question. , and it's interesting. Cause when you look at the Latino market and you there's so many differences, if somebody from El Salvador or snippets of Mexico and Nicaragua, the languages and the phrases that are used, they, they can, they can mean different things around there. So we have a community board that we work with.

As well. And also we very passionate leadership and costly. I wrote Jenna's wife, sort of like Escobar to making sure that we always deliver the courtside competent care and have that voice. And they all stress that we are dealing, , with not a highly educated patient population. So we have to make it easy for them.

And so that they understand it because we don't want them, the patients get lost right. In the, in the chapel. How easy is your tele-health visit? I mean, if I were a paid. , I I've heard people go all the way down to look. We, we just text them a link. They click on that link and it opens everything up. And that's, I mean, have you gotten to that level of sophistication or is it, is it as easy right now as you can make it?

No. W we can improve it, you know, w what you just said, it's what we do. We do send out a, , a text line, you know, click here around there. It doesn't always work smoothly as you would, as designed around there, you know, and we're, , We're trying to figure out how to make it even more easily understood for the patients.

Because again, when there's bad background noise or they can't really have a patient visit and, and quiet location, cause they're in a score or they're, you know, at work or so on and so forth, it's, it's a lot of challenges for us, but we, we have more work to do on the patient engagement side of things. , we're looking at doing more kind of a chat bot more around the, my chart application and extending that and keeping more, , focused through.

What do you, , what are you looking for here at abs? You know, I always come to him looking for the new innovators, , that are kind of coming out. , I'm definitely looking a data cause we need to do more predictive analytics on data and AI. Right. You know, we, , signed an agreement with an ERP vendor that's here that I can just spend some time with as well.

So it's going to be some alignment. It's going to be some discovery. It's gonna be networking, seeing great friends as well, which is wonderful. Are you doing a lot of automation in this. We will be. Yeah, we will be. We're looking for that as well. ???? Oh, that's interesting. Well, Ray, I want to thank you, bill.

Thank you. That's great to say it. I appreciate it.

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