Launching an innovative new health system with Scion Health
Rob Jay, ScionHealth CEO, sat down with Cadence Co-Founder & Board Member Kareem Zaki to discuss ScionHealth's recently launched partnership with Cadence, along with his vision for the future of telemedicine and the integral role that innovation will play in ScionHealth's roadmap and strategy.
The conversation took place as part of the newest episode of Cadence Conversations, a podcast from Cadence which features prominent physicians, healthcare leaders and tech entrepreneurs discussing their experiences driving innovation and progress. Previous episodes of the podcast include Peggy O'Kane, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Founder & President, discussing the origins of the NCQA, Dr. David Shulkin, 9th Secretary, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs discussing the future of remote patient monitoring (RPM), and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, former President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic and currently an Executive Advisor to a number of startups, discussing how to ensure effective partnerships between health systems and technology companies.
Jay began the conversation by describing the founding story of ScionHealth, which launched in December 2021, as well as the key tenets which drive the company's focus and strategy. "The basic premise behind the company was, is, and will continue to be growth, disruption, and innovation," he shared. "Growth is really important to me. [So is] disruption, [and] the opportunity to do some things differently. And then innovation, [we're] really focusing on innovation not just from a technology standpoint, but also what does innovation truly mean in building a culture around that."
ScionHealth is headquartered in Louisville and consists of 79 hospital campuses in 25 states. A key aspect of the healthcare system's model is technology, and being on the cutting edge of integrating new partnerships and innovation strategies to help improve the patient and provider experience across its entire footprint. According to Jay, "We like to think about it, people first, then the process and then the tech. The tech really needs to be the enabler of anything that we want to do. Really putting it through three priorities, how can it impact the employee experience, the provider experience, but then also the patient experience?"
ScionHealth recently announced a partnership with Cadence to implement a remote care management and responsive virtual care program across ScionHealth’s national footprint.
The partnership will initially be rolled out to support ambulatory patients across ScionHealth’s 18 community hospital campuses in 12 U.S. states, and additional work is planned to support ScionHealth's specialty hospitals and long-term acute patient populations. Cadence will be used to first support managing the following disease states: hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Speaking about why ScionHealth chose Cadence as a remote patient intervention technology partner, Jay discussed his own personal family experience and how RPM could have helped his own father when dealing with a heart issue.
"My dad had heart surgery some time ago. But for an active lifestyle where he recognized something was changing in his ability to do things, he may have had a different outcome. I know that if he had Cadence or some sort of remote patient monitoring, it would've picked up on that fact sooner than it did," he said.
Cadence delivers personalized care and intervention-as-needed from home by collecting, analyzing, and responding to patients’ vitals daily. Once a provider recommends the use of Cadence for their patients, a Cadence team member helps to onboard the patient and explain the use of the solution and technology. That in-person touch point was a key selling point for ScionHealth, according to Jay.
"Other solutions and remote patient monitoring are 100% virtual," he said. "[Cadence's] on-site deployment and day-to-day involvement is something that was really important to us and very consistent with our culture as a company."
Additionally, Jay talked about how much he appreciates Cadence's flexible mindset and how the company works hand-in-hand with its partners to customize its remote patient intervention solution around the core needs for each hospital system partner. "One of the things that we really liked about Cadence was the approach around a learner versus an expert mindset," Jay shared. "They wanted us to partner with them to continue to develop and create the product, create a better product, and we really embrace that."
Speaking to the future, Jay shared his enthusiasm for ensuring that Cadence continues to get rolled out across additional hospitals, as well as with new disease states. With Cadence's digital infrastructure, ScionHealth’s remote care platform will be able to support an increasing number of conditions, acuities, and devices over time. That is a key part of ScionHealth's technology roadmap, according to Jay. "I think the continued rollout and evolution of Cadence as a product to some more disease states … there's currently a plan to do that."
He also described the broader technology vision for ScionHealth and how the healthcare system can better connect with its patients. "Appointment reminders, nudges to get people back into the hospital, connectivity when you leave the emergency room, discharge, follow up … Those [are the] types of things that you get when you take your car in for service. When you come to see us at a hospital, we ought to have that same level of service and follow up."
Listen to the entire podcast episode above and be sure to subscribe to Cadence Conversations wherever you get your podcasts to listen to future episodes.
Read the full transcript of the conversation below:
Introduction: Welcome to Cadence Conversations, where we're talking with prominent physicians, healthcare leaders and tech entrepreneurs about their experiences driving innovation and progress. This week, Cadence Co-Founder and Board Member Kareem Zaki sits down with Rob Jay, ScionHealth's CEO, to discuss their recently launched partnership with Cadence. They also talk about the origins of ScionHealth and the role that innovation plays in the new health system strategy. So let's get to this week's Cadence Conversation.
Kareem Zaki (KZ): Rob, thanks so much for joining me today for this episode of Cadence Conversations.
Rob Jay (RJ): Thanks, Kareem. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm really looking forward to the conversation.
The Founding Story of ScionHealth
KZ: I'm uniquely excited about this conversation because I think you have such an interesting position right now, having been a long-time healthcare executive and having the chance now to found your own health system with ScionHealth and being the founding CEO. Can you just tell us a little bit about ScionHealth, how that initially got started, and then how things have been going in your first year?
RJ: Last summer, we began looking at a transaction with Kindred Health, and in doing so, we began to realize that there were groups of assets within LifePoint and within Kindred that we felt like could benefit from being pulled out into a smaller chassis where we could focus, maybe a little different type of focus just because of pulling out from a larger organization. And then also what was unique about the opportunity with Kindred is we performed diligence and got to know members of management and the leadership. So pulling out two different types of hospital assets, but at the end of the day still hospitals, we felt like we had some opportunities to do some things a little differently.
I've been a part of hospital companies practically or virtually my whole career and never had really spent that much time in the long-term side of the business. But as we began to learn more about that business, we felt like we had some real learnings that we could share on both sides. The basic premise behind the company was, is, and will continue to be growth, disruption, and innovation. Growth is really important to me. Disruption, the opportunity to do some things differently. And then innovation, which is part of the conversation today, and really focusing on innovation not just from a technology standpoint, but what does innovation truly mean in building a culture around that.
KZ: I guess taking us right before Scion, you mentioned being an executive at LifePoint. I'd be curious if you don't mind sharing some of the lessons that you take away from your time at LifePoint and how that's influencing your strategy, the trends you're focused on right now, the initiatives you're pushing forward.
RJ: Sure. LifePoint was the largest organization I had been a part of. LifePoint had done a really great job of leveraging scale, a lot of infrastructure, a lot of standard processes, so that was a real opportunity for me to learn how another company did that. The integration part of RCCH into LifePoint when I joined in November of 2018 was something that I had done previously, but different company, different set of issues. I'd been around all parts of the business, but two in particular, I was able to dig into a little bit more deeply than prior experiences. One was revenue and network management, which had all of our managed care and revenue cycle functions.
And then the strategy and innovation. I worked closely with Danny Brywczynski, who is our VP of Strategy and Innovation, and who is now on the team here at Scion. And I would say the integration process, probably right now at our stage of life, is something that's been really impactful to me. I've been a part of a couple of different integrations and I've been the one that's been asking people to make changes and then I've been asked to make changes, so I think I have a perspective as we're asking or looking to make changes to understand the emotion that people go through coming out of two strong cultures from Kindred and LifePoint.
Using Innovation and Technology to Help Patients and Providers at ScionHealth
KZ: You mentioned the pillars you're focused on at ScionHealth, innovation being one of them. Can you share a little bit about ScionHealth's technology and innovation strategy? What types of areas you're investing in and when it comes to onboarding new technologies to help in the delivery of care to patients, those things that you're focused on?
RJ: Philosophically, we like to think about it, the people first, then the process, and then the tech. The tech really needs to be the enabler of anything that we want to do. Really putting it through three priorities, how can it impact the employee experience, the provider experience, but then also the patient experience. Access for patients, whether it be through technology or the expansion of services is something that we really want to focus on. For our providers, are there ways that we can clear... and for providers and employees … can we clear some of those administrative tasks by first making sure that the technology works as designed?
It's not as sexy to talk about, but that is a key component of tech, is making sure we're using it to its highest and best use but also making it work as designed. And then enabling us just to strengthen our reach, keeping employees in our markets. I feel really obligated in our communities that people don't have to leave to receive care, so is there a technology solution that can allow us to do that? But trying to build a culture around innovation of really thinking about how we can incrementally improve processes. It doesn't have to be a big bang, but not just giving people a license within our 22,000 employees to seek those ideas, but also almost making an obligation to seek for better ways of doing things.
Interlude: At Cadence, we have a world-class care delivery team who serves as an extension of our hospital system partners and help manage patients' care on a daily basis. In care delivery stories, we'll hear from one of our team members about the impact Cadence is having on their patients.
April Clarin: I just received an alert for weight gain for a patient who admitted to having active chest pain. We advised the patient to go to the emergency room ASAP and stayed on the phone with them until EMS arrived. This is an excellent example of how our system is designed to intervene when necessary to save patients' lives.
Why ScionHealth Partnered With Cadence
KZ: I'd love to shift a little bit to Cadence. We're really thrilled about the new partnership with ScionHealth and we recently announced that and we've already begun working with physicians and patients. Do you mind sharing what's gotten you most excited about the partnership with Cadence?
RJ: It just makes sense to me from a patient perspective. I think it's really important for all of us to get further upstream and leverage technology where it makes sense to provide a better outcome. On a very personal level, my dad had heart surgery some time ago, but for an active lifestyle where he recognized something was changing in his ability to do things, he may have had a different outcome. I know that he had Cadence or some sort of remote patient monitoring, it would've picked up on that fact sooner than it did. So I know that there can be some real meaningful personal impacts, and we hear those stories, you hear them, we hear them all the time.
One of the things that we really liked about Cadence was the approach around a learner versus an expert mindset. They wanted us to partner with them to continue to develop and create the product, create a better product, and we really embrace that.
That's the way I like to think about culture in general. So just from an alignment perspective, knowing that they were going to always seek for a better outcome. Cadence specifically to the fact that they are on-site with us. Other solutions and remote patient monitoring are 100% virtual, that on-site deployment and day-to-day involvement is something that was really important to us and very consistent with our culture as a company. So as we looked at Cadence as a company, but also remote patient monitoring, we thought it was just an outstanding fit for what we needed in our markets.
KZ: We're thrilled about how the initial partnership is going. And while the initial reaction has been awesome and everyone's been excited on the ground, one, because they see the impact that it's going to have on patients ... thank you for sharing that story about your dad … but also they realize it's doing in a way that helps expand the capabilities of the provider or the clinic where it's a lot of times there's enough going on, it's hard to add new things, and so I think they see the combination of that that really helps extend the reaching care to the patients. But obviously with change, sometimes people are a little bit anxious or have some apprehension. Curious if you have words on why you're really excited about this change and why it's the right step long term for patients and for ScionHealth.
RJ: As I've thought about it, I'm sitting here with a watch that is monitoring my heart rate, tells me how well I slept last night or how stressed I am, whether I want to know that or not, so it's leveraging some of that technology and those capabilities that are out there, so it's really not new, but just a newer application of it. As I mentioned previously, Cadence as a company, that hands-on onboarding and support and that learner to an expert mindset for the physicians and our team members that are a part of it, we're helping write the Cadence playbook. We're helping put our stamp on it. So to me, it's a really unique opportunity with a company that's really open to that mindset of being aware that there's a lot of really smart people that do this every day and we need to listen to them and that's exactly the way that we like to think about the business here at Scion. And Cadence really does that and provides a unique opportunity for our patients and our physicians as well.
The Future Roadmap for ScionHealth for Physicians and Patients
KZ: I'd love to conclude, take a little bit of time to focus on the future. When you look ahead five years, where do you hope to be? And what technologies, if that's part of the plan, do you think will be most impactful for ScionHealth's physicians and patients?
RJ: So I think the continued rollout and evolution of Cadence as a product to some more disease states, which there's currently a plan to do that. We're looking at ways that we can connect better with patients. One of the things I like to think about technology and just our business in general is get out of this bubble of healthcare in hospitals that we've been in, but having access to people that come from outside of the healthcare industry, I think gets us to a better place. So we're looking at things that technology coming from some leaders in other companies that come from outside of healthcare but they're developing healthcare products. Appointment reminders, nudges to get people back into the hospital, connectivity when you leave the emergency room, discharge, follow up, those types of things that you get some of those things when you take your car in for service. When you come to see us at a hospital, we ought to have that same level of service and follow up.
So in five years, I think you'll see that at Scion we have a pretty established platform that does a number of those things. We've also looked at some telemedicine opportunities as we talk about extending service lines within our markets. We all know that we're headed toward, if we're not in, a provider shortage in the country. Leveraging technology, particularly in some of the markets in which we operate for those specialties that are desperately needed in our markets, it's our obligation in those communities to make sure that we provide that level of care.
KZ: Rob, thank you so much for joining me today. We really appreciate our partnership. We look forward to the continued collaboration and are excited about the impact that we'll have together on patient lives.
RJ: Thanks, Kareem. It's been a pleasure.
Conclusion: Thanks again to Rob for sitting down with Kareem this week. To make sure you get updates on our future conversations, please subscribe to Cadence Conversations wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more information about Cadence and how to get involved, visit Cadence.care. At Cadence, we believe that everyone deserves to receive the best care possible and we won't stop working until that vision becomes reality.