6 Questions with Rich Walsh, who is delivering digital health for Ortho, PT and Sports Medicine care delivery settings
This is the twelfth in a series of 6-Question interviews with leaders who are challenging conventional thinking in Orthopedics (read other interviews here).
I recently took the time to visit with Rich Walsh, Chief Revenue Officer at AMP Recover, in order to learn more about their emergent health intelligence platform that is finding its way into some of the country’s most respected orthopedic settings. As with many disruptive startups, the product wasn’t built for the market, but rather to scratch an itch for providers and patients who were experiencing pain.
Pivots have always been intriguing to me. What most impressed me was AMP’s fearlessness to pivot from athlete management technology, to patient injury software, to a health intelligence platform framed by the new healthcare economy pillars of prevention, recovery and performance.
A common theme emerged from the conversation; in order to compete in Orthopedic, Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine care delivery settings, providers must be dialed in to mobile health, patient-consumers, aggregated data, business intelligence, and most importantly—outcomes, the ultimate power currency in todays’ competitive marketplace.
Digital health is no longer innovative, disruptive and consumer oriented, it is essential for high-performing Orthopedic care.
1 – What are the challenges inside orthopedic, sports medicine, and physical therapy settings today?
It’s a competitive bunch in general and they are looking for an edge, a differential value to elevate their practice in a marketplace that is demanding more in terms of cost, quality, and transparency. Patients are behaving like consumers now, shopping around for their medical providers and they expect a modern, convenient experience in addition to great care. New payment models, risk mitigation and effective data management all pose new challenges as well. All of this adds up to a rapidly changing ecosystem that can be tough for both clinicians and patients to navigate as they are also focused on caregiving and getting healthy.
2 – How does digital health and technology solve some of these challenges? Give us some specific examples.
Well the electronic record was the first wave of digitization in healthcare. It’s the initial layer of data gathering for these settings and it serves its current role fairly well; documenting the demographic information of the patient and the medical event. That being said, most EHR’s are not that dynamic. The second wave of digital adoption in healthcare will be more consumer facing and will leverage technology to engage patients and collect valuable data throughout the episode of care. That data will ultimately lead to machine learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities that will again transform diagnostic and treatment processes.
Before we can even get to AI though, we just need to deal with digitization. Many of our clients were still using paper handouts and 3-ring binders to deliver rehabilitation protocols to patients when we started out. The only communication occurred when the patient and provider met face to face and there was no insight into a patient’s progress, or lack thereof, until a clinical re-evaluation. That is often too late for a successful intervention. A platform like AMP improves both the patient experience as well as the level of care that clinicians can provide. Rehab Protocols, including video-based home exercise programs and subjective questionnaires are delivered to the patients’ mobile device. Reminders help them remain compliant, a resource library provides education content about their procedure and home transition and HIPAA secure direct messaging allows them to ping their provider with any questions or concerns. Providers monitor the progress of their patients throughout the episode, are alerted when an intervention might be necessary and have documented outcomes
3 – What are the best practices you have found in creating a digital model of care delivery?
This starts with all the clinical, financial and operational stakeholders being on the same page with regard to the ultimate goal of the technology, it takes a total team buy in. We know that the process of deploying new technology can be overwhelming and we promote a methodical crawl, walk, run approach to roll outs. The crawl stage consists of standardizing clinical pathways within the organization and digitizing protocols for mobile delivery to patients. Walking is about aggregating data into a central database so that it can be put to use. This includes demographic data from the EMR, clinical data from providers and subjective data from patients. The run stage is focused on leveraging that data, whether it be for improving the efficacy of protocols, negotiating with payers or research purposes.
4 – How is AMP Recover empowering the orthopedic setting? Give me a specific example.
We are empowering providers with the tools necessary to succeed in the new healthcare economy. Digital care delivery, remote patient monitoring and the ability to make evidence-based decisions on relevant data combine to lead to better outcomes for individual patients. From an organizational standpoint, outcomes data over time can be used for BPCI, physician benchmarking and payer negotiations. Overall we strive to improve care and reduce costs.
One of our partners, a leading destination orthopedic care facility in Colorado, delivered their extensive hip rehabilitation protocol to patients as paper printouts in a 3 ring binder. This got the patients the information they needed but provided no insight into whether the patients were adhering to the programs as assigned. It also allowed the protocol to be easily replicated and reused by other providers. By digitizing the protocol with AMP Recover, they are protecting their IP, gaining valuable insights into the progress of their patients and managing their referral network. Patient compliance rates have been very high. Over a one year period, 542 patients were invited to the AMP Recover platform, of those 86% activated their profiles and 63% were active on a weekly basis.
5 – What are three tactics that AMP Recover is using to help your customers?
#1 – Service as a Software – As an emergent product and company we are very service oriented and deeply committed to building strong relationships with our clients and partners. Our early partnerships with true subject matter experts is a real competitive advantage for our company. Their direction and feedback ensures that we are developing tools that solve real problems and are efficient for clinical deployment.
#2 – Education – We are constantly learning and always share the lessons and insights that we gain. Education and access to information is critical to making good decisions, but in a market that is evolving as quickly as healthcare technology it is difficult to stay abreast of everything. We want to build trust by sharing openly what we know as well as what we don’t.
#3 – Patience & Pivots – The transition from current workflows to a modern, data-driven approach does not happen overnight and technology can often be intimidating. Our team works hard to remove apprehension and barriers to adoption by promoting a series of digital pivots that result in digital transformation without overwhelming staff or interrupting care.
6 – Where do you see AMP Recover in 5 years?
In 5 years AMP Recover will be further ingrained into the workflows of leading orthopedic and sports medicine practitioners. Data will be incorporated directly into the platform from all possible sources including EHR’s, clinical devices and wearables. Our partners will have compiled extensive datasets that will enable true machine learning and AI to customize care and ensure positive outcomes in ways never thought possible.
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