November 6: Today on the Conference channel, it’s an Interview in Action live from HLTH with Frank Harvey, CEO of Surescripts. They discuss the challenges of physician burnout and the role of data collection in healthcare. The conversation highlights the need for solutions to reduce administrative tasks for physicians and the potential of expanding the care team to include pharmacists. They also explore the integration of AI in healthcare and emphasize the importance of careful implementation. Can data collection and AI help alleviate physician burnout? How can expanding the care team improve patient care?
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Welcome to This Week Health Conference. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of This Week Health, a set of channels and events dedicated to leveraging the power of community to propel healthcare forward. Today we have an interview in action from the Fall Conferences on the West Coast.
Here we go.
Here we are from Health 2023, and we are on the floor. We are joined by Frank Harvey, CEO for Shorescripts. Looking forward to the conversation. Shorescripts probably collects more information than most. Outside of, like, the EHR, you collect a ton of data over there.
Yeah, well, I'd say 22 billion transactions last year.
We're collecting all that data connected to all of the EHRs. Pharmacies, all the health systems. So, again, a lot of data collected with a lot of insights. Insights that are showing us, unfortunately, some troubling trends. Clinician burnout that we know. A lot of studies that we've done looking at our data and talking to the physicians have said, their burnout, the administrative tasks that are being asked of physicians are just tremendous.
And... We can play a role with our clinical direct messaging, regulatory exchange, or just overall how we help and refine the overall prescribing process, and moving the clinical data process, helping clinicians.
It's interesting you talk about that. I mean, are there solutions to this?
Is the data revealing any insights that says, Hey, if we did this a little different, if we looked at this or approached this differently, we would reduce the physician burnout, which is one of the... But just the amount of wasted time.
Physicians are spending far too much time working on administrative tasks rather than focusing on the patient.
So I think the critical thing is, across all of our solutions, they're really focused on taking out this administrative making sure authorizations go through smoother and quicker. Make sure where it's not needed, we can automatically pull the data into the record so that it doesn't even have to go into a authorization standard.
Make sure that there's clinical direct messaging between pharmacists and physicians. Rather than having to do faxes or calls, you can move this data electronically to really help in the burnout of a workflow. When you
take this data to your clients, The provider clients. kind of response do you get and how do you work with them to implement
provider clients are telling us that they really are burnt out. I mean, 25 percent our latest survey showed. In the next three years, 25 percent of family practice physicians, OBs and Peds said, listen, we're ready to retire. We're burnt out. We're not sure we can do it anymore. We want to get back to working with the patient, not working with the administrative part.
that's got to scare people to death, I don't think. We don't have that many coming in, do we?
Well, we don't, and there's a big gap. So we have to look at what is the care team, and how do we have an evolution of the care team? Collaborative care agreements, letting pharmacists play at that lower level of primary care, helping the physician.
Patients are in the pharmacy an average of 13 times a year if they have a chronic condition. So, let's look at the opportunities to expand the care team, have pharmacists as a part of that collaborative care with physicians, relieving some of that burden, relieving some of that lower level sort of, monitoring of of diabetes medications and how we
in our pharmacy a lot more than that.
Our pharmacy is obviously one of the big box retailers. And that's the grocery store as well. from an access standpoint, that's, I mean, and obviously all those, all those big boxes are starting to get into primary care. How does that mesh? They're getting into primary care, but they also, what you're saying is, hey, the pharmacist could take on some of that.
Well, I think more and more of that role, even in the locations they're setting up within their stores, the pharmacists are going to be providing more and more of that, that first level of primary care service, whether it's immunizations, test to treat, the things that we've shown during the pandemic that pharmacists were well equipped to do.
Well within the scope of their training, it's so valuable to saving time for the physician's office while the pharmacist is taking on this other additional role.
I'm curious how Shorescripts and you are looking at AI. AI is, I keep telling people, it's the cloud over this entire room.
How is AI going to, help us gain more insights or help us
to... I think a couple of important things. First of all, we've been using machine learning or sort of basis for a lot of years within our solution to help us direct information to help get the right information to the physician or the pharmacist.
But if you look at evidence based protocols and things that can be utilized, that the AI can be utilized to really define the treatment or direct the right treatment to the physician. And then how it can be utilized to take some of, again, additional administrative burden out by making sure the right information is available at the right time.
A patient's record, clinical record, may be 300 pages. A physician doesn't have time to read through that. So AI can help boil that down to sort of a summary of what's needed for that particular patient visit. Now, you've got to proceed cautiously, you've got to make sure that the data is secure, and you're doing everything you need to protect that.
So we're proceeding cautiously down that path, but it's certainly a part of our future that we'll be integrating as well. 📍
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Is there anything that's holding us back or slowing us down? Is there policy? Is there, culture? Is there what's slowing us down? No
I think what's slowing us down right now is wisdom.
You don't wanna rush into this. There's still too much unknown around the heavy, heavy ai, or we're seeing hallucinations, if you will. What comes out of AI when you're dealing with a patient's health record or patient's health, you can't have a hallucination. Yeah. Especially in the, so we've gotta be, we've gotta be careful.
We've gotta be deliberate. And utilize it where it makes sense to utilize, where there can be checks, where there are human checks in the process as well.
So I want to rephrase the question around the physician burnout, the challenges that they're facing. Is there something culturally at work?
Is there something from a policy standpoint we could change? Obviously you talked about it. Allowing the pharmacists to take on more of the tasks. Is there anything else in that area?
Well, there are two things that are occurring. First of all, is the population ages. Right now we have 58 million people, 65 and over.
By 2030, it will be 70 million people. Once you hit 65, you have an 80 percent likelihood of having one chronic condition. 60 percent likelihood of having two chronic conditions. So just the needs among patients are increasing. And then the number of physicians that are aging into that age group as well to retire is more.
So we don't have enough physicians graduating from medical school. That's one thing we can do. We get more nurses going to, applying to programs, more people becoming physicians, more pharmacists. We need more of these as our population is aging. So systemically, that's one thing that can be done to help with physician burnout, to help eliminate some of that physician burnout.
The other thing is just be innovative about how the care team evolves, how we utilize each member, whether it's the PA or the NP or the pharmacist or the physician, and set up those collaborative care agreements to allow each to practice among the most important things that they can do within that overall health care
If I brought you into I'll close with this question. I know your time is tight. If I brought you into an executive room or a boardroom today at a health system, 16 hospital system you're in that room,, and you're having a conversation, what would you be telling them in terms of uh, utilizing the tools that they have in order to address the problems that they're facing?
Well, I would say that they have to work closely with their EHR to make sure that As much of the administrative burden is being pulled out of that, particularly when the clinician is in front of that software, and in front of the patient. You don't want them to spend more time focused on the software than on the patient.
So I would say work hand in hand, don't just assume that your electronic medical record is as good as it can get. Work hand in hand with that provider to make sure that it's streamlined and efficient for your physicians to be able to utilize the technology.
And that would be a bad assumption to make for many.
Frank, thank you for your time. Thanks so much. It's good to see you. Appreciate it.
Another great interview. I want to thank everybody who spent time with us at the conference. I love hearing from people on the front lines. It is phenomenal that you shared your wisdom and experience with the community and we greatly appreciate it. We also want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.
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