How AI will drive up the value of “soft actions”

September 23, 2019 Joule Inc.

Care planning. Communication. Collaboration. Every one of these actions is essential to the delivery of care. Without them, patients fall through the cracks. Yet, they’re often a lower priority than “hard” actions. What if there was a solution to make them easier?

On this episode of Boldly, Dr. Mark Dermer from the Joule Innovation Council interviews a true health care changemaker, Dr. Alexandra Greenhill. Working on the front lines, Dr. Greenhill couldn’t help but notice communication gaps within the health care system that needed to be fixed. These gaps led her to co-found Careteam Technologies.

Not only does it strive to connect patients and their doctors, but Careteam Technologies allows other tools and apps to be connected as well. Their goal is for patients and doctors to limit time spent using technology—helping to improve health care professionals’ quality of life and the quality of doctor-patient face time.

One concept central to Careteam Technologies is that of the patients’ ecosystem. Find out what that means—and more.

tweetable: “[Careteam helps] the average patient [know] what they’re supposed to do today to maintain their optimal possible health.”

Key takeaways

What experiences led Dr. Greenhill to co-found Careteam Technologies?

  • A combination of all her past experiences coming together.
  • She noticed many gaps in the health care system.
  • The only way she saw to fix some of these gaps was to build a technology platform.
tweetable: “The problems that people faced were often between chairs. They were falling in the gaps in our system.”

How does the Careteam platform work?

  • It’s a collaboration tool that allows patients and their family members to become part of the medical team.
  • The medical team grants access to relevant information.
  • The patient is also able to contribute their insights and goals.
  • There’s even a section that feels like a family room in the hospital.
  • Health care professionals also have an area where they can collaborate.
tweetable: “The tool that we created allows patients and their family members to become true members of the medical team.”

Where is Careteam now? Where is it heading?

  • At the moment, they’re trying to streamline everything into one digital solution.
  • Dr. Greenhill and her team are working with others who have content, but no solution.
  • With this solution, medical teams can support many more patients. And, they’re happier as a result—it adds to the health professional’s quality of life.
  • Their goal is to connect different apps to better assist patients.
tweetable: “What are you doing right now by pen and paper that should be digitized?”

What challenges is Careteam facing?

  • It is challenging to balance every single patient need. For example, patients with dementia often have about six other health issues.
  • They want to increase adoption of the platform, so everyone is on the same page for each patient.
  • It takes time―and hard work―for information systems to reach their potential.

What insights can Dr. Greenhill share based on her experience?

  • Medical associations must support physicians who do more than just clinical medicine. All of these unique areas require training.
  • Networking is very valuable. Start with reaching out to a colleague who can share experience or advice. Social networks like LinkedIn and participating in hackathons, like Hacking Health Hackathon, are good too.
  • Ask yourself: Is this a symptom I’m trying to remedy, or is this the real problem? Is this the solution or a temporary fix?
  • Dream big!
tweetable: “We need to have our voices heard by all of the decision-makers who are creating and building these technologies.”

What recognition has she has received for Careteam?

  • She reached out to different programs internationally and received a fantastic response.
  • She won Western Canada’s 2018 - Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
  • Everywhere her team goes, they are recognized. The most rewarding part is that their idea seems to resonate with everyone they meet.
tweetable: “What made us most proud was the fact that this is an idea that resonated everywhere.”

Careteam focuses on so-called “soft actions.” What are they?

  • Hard actions: very black-and-white, technical things.
  • Soft actions: more nuanced aspects that contribute to the art of medicine.
  • Soft actions can be much more important than hard skills.
  • For example, soft skills can include patient preparation before surgery, support during the procedure and rehab after.
  • Careteam helps doctors to see what goes on in-between visits. Does the patient have enough food in the house? Do they have someone to drive them to appointments for rehab?
  • Understanding the patients’ support ecosystem is critical.
tweetable: “Study after study in the business world has shown that soft skills are much more important than hard skills.”

How does Careteam help physicians return to the softer-touch aspects of care?

  • Administrative tasks burden many physicians.
  • The platform streamlines this so clinicians have more valuable time with the patients for meaningful conversation and follow-up.
  • Next-step instructions are given to patients as action items through the platform. Physicians can easily see whether they have done a required task or not.
  • They’ve seen an increased level of satisfaction among physicians.
tweetable: “The ideal goal is that patients and doctors spend the least amount of time using technology—but it’s the most effective use.”

 

Recommended resources

 

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Are you making waves in innovation or have a bold idea to share? We would love to hear your story. Connect with us at jouleinquiries@cma.ca to have your thoughts featured in a future podcast.

The opinions stated by podcast participants are made in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries, including Joule. Joule does not endorse any views, product, service, association, company or industry mentioned in this podcast.

About the author

Joule Inc.

Joule, a CMA subsidiary, is at the hub of Canada’s health care innovation eco-system. Having brokered key relationships amongst system players, we are able to identify, curate and create digital solutions. We empower the adoption of digital innovations that have the potential to improve access to health care for all Canadians.

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