In the pursuit of developing comprehensive, equitable, and integrated health care, the integration of technology has facilitated multiple functions to improve the patient journey. From monitoring the quality of care to capturing information about patients’ medications – technology has enhanced communication among care providers.
For this reason, “92% of health systems are considering digital capabilities as a pathway to improve their relationships with customers, establishing their trust and loyalty,” as per a Deloitte survey. Yet 60% of them were still midway through their journeys from an ideal digital state.
Kate Culter, the President, and CEO of Medinet, understands that change could be conflicting, especially in its initial stages with a lack of implementation management. Providing her support with a patient-centric approach, she encourages healthcare end-users to accelerate the adoption of new systems and implement them successfully.
Committed to her goal of making patient care faster, easier, and more convenient for clinicians, she leads Medinet, a secure e-Health solution provider that offers software and services for private physicians and health authorities, including secure email, access to the British Columbia (BC) PharmaNet database, and medical billing systems.
Let’s dive into Kate’s strategies for enhancing patient care. Below are the interview highlights.
What was your inspiration behind venturing into the healthcare sector?
I didn’t exactly venture into healthcare. Initially, I thought I would end up in the film business. When I started out, film was a burgeoning industry in BC, and I was seeking a creative pursuit.
As it turns out, healthcare is plenty creative. Government restrictions bind us. Our health authority and practitioner clients are constrained by extraordinary budget and resource challenges. It makes for an exciting environment. End-user support is key. I am very proud of the work we do to enable front-line healthcare workers access to vital patient medical information.
Please tell us about your journey, highlighting your contribution to Medinet’s success.
When I joined Medinet in 1990, we were pioneering Digital Lab Report Distribution in doctor’s offices and hospitals from BC Bio-Medical & Metro-McNair (now LifeLabs), and Vancouver Hospital. We brought on one medical office and hospital at a time until our network grew to include 75% of private practice physicians and 95% of hospitals receiving digital lab reports in the province from both private and public laboratories.
While many lab reports were still going to a printer in the 90s, we were able to improve the accuracy and speed of reporting patient results. Despite being early days for EMRs, we were also converting lab data to HL7 for a couple of big clinics, so they could see patient lab reports and trends in their digital charts.
By the 2000s, we pioneered Medinet Access to PharmaNet. The BC government did a very clever thing at that time. They created a specification for the use of provincial PharmaNet data in physician offices and hospitals and ran a Request for Proposal Qualification for vendors to build software applications for access to patient medication history information. I say it was clever because I am a big fan of government IT projects that leverage private technology firms to be responsible for systems, while the government maintains overall accountability through conformance activities and auditing.
We also operate the largest medical billing business in BC with Medinet Integrated Physician Billing Solutions. We understand our job is to reconcile accounts and earn maximum revenue for our hospitals and practitioners. That said, in this time of big data, we also focus on aggregating billing data for our clients and supplying it in a useful format for analytics purposes. Our clients use Medinet billing data to satisfy key performance indicators in the areas of physician compensation, patient safety, corporate finance, and more.
Can you elaborate upon the core values on which Medinet is built and the company’s mission?
Our team understands that front-line healthcare workers are the most important stakeholders in the medical system next to patients. Information technology and project management professionals exist only to enable the front line with technology and support. There’s that word again!
Tell us more about the services and immersive benefits that make Medinet stand out from the competition.
As you may have gleaned, our commitment to supporting clients is as profound as our commitment to technology. In our view, you can’t have one without the other. Doctors and nurses are simply too busy to spend time managing complex software applications or glitches. We train our clients to contact us immediately if they are having trouble. We endeavor to always respond in real-time. This sets us widely apart from our competitors. We end up supporting systems we don’t even provide because we answer our phones live–and that’s just fine with us! We love hearing from our clients. It is how we learn.
Please elaborate on the technological developments and the patent technologies that the company incorporates when catering to the dynamic needs of the healthcare sector.
We develop software that follows our client workflow. We don’t tell physicians, nurses, and their care teams what their process should be. We work hard to understand their situational challenges and create solutions that fit their unique circumstances. One size does not fit all because that’s not real world.
What are some of the change-management challenges you face and the most important lessons you have learned in your professional journey so far?
The biggest change management challenge is making sure our clients have budgeted for change management. Providing training and education opportunities for end-users who are expected to adopt new systems is key to a successful implementation.
Being an experienced leader, what is your intuitive advice for budding youngsters venturing into healthcare?
Remember who you are serving. Patients, nurses, and doctors are at the center of every IMIT healthcare project. Or they should be.
Apart from your journey, how do you envision further strengthening Medinet stronghold in 2022 and beyond?
Medinet’s future continues to center around data integration with other healthcare systems, aggregation, and analytics. We want to enable our health authority and physician clients to leverage the power of their medical data to improve patient safety, influence physician education, maximize revenue, and keep costs down.