EVOQ Medical, Inc.
May 15, 2017 Issue
Solving the Interoperability conundrum through a mobile Point-of-Care App enabling Physicians to review and interact with a Longitudinal Patient Record assembled from a community of providers
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
EVOQ Medical, Inc.
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – May 15, 2017
CEOCFO: Mr. Buckareff, according your site, www.evoqmd.com, EVOQ is leveraging technology to improve healthcare. How so?
Mr. Buckareff: Healthcare in America is in crisis because the cost of delivering care has grown to be greater than what the population is willing or able to pay. At EVOQ we recognized that one major issue has been created with the rush for more data collection from providers which in itself is a good idea but the information systems being used were not designed for a physician’s normal workflow. We have now created a healthcare access problem as physicians are forced to be data entry clerks using a keyboard as their primary tool during a patient encounter. At EVOQ our data architecture is completely patient-centric and we leverage robust mobile technology with proven Artificial Intelligence like Speech Understanding to give physicians not only access to a more complete patient chart but the ability to document patient encounters efficiently. Our blynq platform is a good example of human and machine cognition working together to deliver optimum patient care and gather vital information that can be used to build predictive and preventive healthcare solutions.
CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of how a doctor would use blynq?
Mr. Buckareff: Physicians primarily use our blynq app on a mobile device and can view their entire daily schedule regardless of where they need to see a patient. It’s not uncommon for a specialists to see patients in a clinic for part of the day then go to a hospital or ambulatory surgery center to perform procedures the same day. We pull data from all of the various information systems, consolidate and normalize it so a physician only needs one tool to access their entire daily schedule. This is feature alone gives a physician a major productivity boost especially in environments where today the various locations are using systems that do not integrate data well. When the doctor selects a patient on the blynq schedule they also are able to access patient data from every system that is used in one of their practice locations, plus we add data from the referring providers which helps create what the industry refers to as a Longitudinal Patient Record combining vital information from all the providers involved with a patients care allowing physicians to make better care decisions. We have recently added another tool to our mobile app that allows a physician to consult with another provider while sharing the patient’s record via our secure cloud environment.
CEOCFO: How are you able to make or insure ease of use?
Mr. Buckareff: The user experience is a major focus at EVOQ and we are constantly working on optimizing the number of ‘clicks’ a physicians needs to make in order to access patient information. Time is the most valuable resource a physician has so seconds count and once a user selects a patient we want to present the most current information in less than 3 seconds. As I mentioned before, presenting the physicians a consolidated patient schedule is critical to ensure ease of use as we know a query function would not be very efficient and therefore not user friendly. By leveraging robust data technology like Amazon’s DynomoDB (R) we are able to aggregate and consolidate enormous amounts of patient data from multiple sources to present relevant data in an easy to view format on a mobile device.
CEOCFO: Who is using blynq today? Is there a typical customer?
Mr. Buckareff: Today blynq is available to physicians and other providers preferably in a community model. Sharing patient data efficiently and at Point-of-Care among a community providers is where our blynq app really shines. We normally start with a hospital or a large specialty clinic. Our typical users in the first phase of launching in a new market are high productivity physicians as they are mostly concerned with efficiency and access to relevant patient information at point-of-care. Once we get the early adopter online the product takes on an almost viral growth in a market as the referring physician community wants to get real time access to data on the patients they are referring. With our ability to create closed-loop referral processes we can track a patient as they move through the system from a primary care provider to a specialists then for a procedure at a hospital or surgery center, then back to their primary care for follow up. All the providers in this care cycle are kept informed of the patients status and if there are any problems they can be much more proactive with access to current data. We have learned a lot about how well this continuity of care process works in the markets we have launched including SE Alabama and NW Florida. A large percentage of these physicians operate independent clinics and have implemented their own information systems to manage their records.
CEOCFO: There is so much noise in the industry. How do you gain attention so that doctors will even look at what you offer?
Mr. Buckareff: You are correct with industry noise and mostly today its about interoperability and what needs to happen but is not happening and another topic that is getting louder is the problem with physician burnout. Doctors have become so frustrated with learning how to become data entry clerks that it has created the access problem I mentioned before. We are not having issues with gaining attention with physicians and healthcare administrator but rather they find it hard to believe we have solved a problem that has been talked about for so long and not fixed by the large vendors. Our biggest challenge today is much more political as the large vendors don’t really want interoperability as it could change their business models. They have kept themselves relevant by controlling the data flow within a client site. We try to keep ourselves out of the political fray and focus our messaging on physician productivity. Our ability to interface with nearly any EMR or EHR system should actually be a welcome addition to the large vendors who can use our tool as an enhancement. We are not in the business of managing billing processes or being the client sites source of record rather we contribute information to these systems and provide a very smart tool for physician users. I am confident that if we stay focused on the physician as our primary user and keep enhancing our blynq app to allow a doctor to be more efficient with their patient care process than they will be our best advocates. Hospitals, health systems, carriers and all the other stakeholders in healthcare have their own goals and agendas but the reality is that today nothing happens, not a single bill, order, prescription or surgery gets done without a physician. Hospitals are just expensive hotels with expensive equipment but if a physician does not authorize an admission than hospitals can’t bill for the bed. If a physician does not order a procedure than the expensive equipment does not get used. If a physician does not write a prescription the drug company and pharmacy do not get provide the medication. If physicians are stuck entering data into a computer system than they don’t see many patients and the whole system slows down.
CEOCFO: Where will the consumers come into play in the future of accessing information?
The patient consumer is obviously at the core healthcare and
also ultimately the end user. Each one of us regardless of where we work
have at one time or another been a consumer of healthcare. Patient consumer
engagement has been talked about and the Affordable Care Act even legislated
the criteria for clinical information systems to have a “Patient Portal” as
part of any approved software system. The problem has been that since there
are so many different systems a patient consumer is forced to use several
“Patient Portals” if they are seeing providers that are not part of a single
health system. Even the single health systems have seen very little use of
their Patient Portals because the data available has been limited. Looking
at your lab results on a portal provided to you by your physicians office is
not that interesting unless there are some actionable tools including the
ability to interact with your provider. We can do all kinds of things on our
mobile phones like order a coffee before we get to the coffee shop or having
our lunch ready and waiting for us when we stop into our favorite fast food
restaurant. But today I can’t schedule a doctors visit via my mobile phone
or verify what my deductible or co-pay will be for the upcoming visit. We
are getting better with this information and a patient app is on our
roadmap. We felt that in order to release something that would be useful to
consumers we needed to first engage the providers. You may recall the Google
Health initiative several year ago where Google offered a free portal for
consumers to add relevant health information and link up to your healthcare
providers. Great idea but the problem was that the providers could not get
on board mostly because the software they were using did not have the
capability to interface with Google’s platform. That is still a major
problem even for us today as we are able to pull data from nearly every
health information system but very few have the capability of accepting data
back in. Today we continue to add new data sources from more of the
stakeholders and we are getting close to an opportunity in launching a
patient app that will have enough value to engage patient consumers. I think
the first version of this will be launched in early 2018.
CEOCFO: There are many companies in your industry and many companies in your segment. Why should people pay attention to EVOQ Medical and blynq?
Mr. Buckareff: Because we are positively disrupting the industry! Our goal is to change healthcare so that the consumer benefits and those that provide healthcare especially physicians, are able to deliver good healthcare efficiently. It’s not easy to disrupt an industry that seems to be stuck in a technology time warp but with perseverance we have seen it is possible. I have been at this for more than two decades and I am not giving up. I am encouraged every time I speak with one of our physician users who says thank you for giving them a tool that has made their life a little easier and improved their ability to provide good healthcare. I also believe we have turned a major corner the last few years as nearly everyone who has ears to hear has heard about healthcare issues. Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option and new solutions are being welcomed.
“Our goal is to change healthcare so that the consumer benefits and those that provide healthcare especially physicians, are able to deliver good healthcare efficiently.”- Reuben Buckareff
EVOQ Medical, Inc.
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