Meeting in 3D: A Reminder About Collaboration

Collaborate to Illuminate

Bob Abrahamson, Chief Marketing Officer

This week I attended my first live conference in over 2 years  – The Beryl Institute’s Elevate PX. It was a great meeting. This was not a “huge” event on the scale of the much reported about VIVE and HIMSS events.  There were approximately 500 attendees onsite at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis and I believe another 500 participated virtually.  (Disclaimer:  these are not official numbers).  The Beryl Institute is an international organization dedicated to “elevating the human experience in healthcare.”  Paraphrasing the mission in 50 words or less, the attendees, who included all flavors of providers, patients, care partners, solutions providers (vendors), strive to deliver the quadruple aim compassionately, equitably, efficiently, and cost-effectively for all stakeholders by embracing our shared humanity.

The keynotes were inspiring.  The sessions were illuminating.  The discussions across the exhibit area were lively.  Everything you want in a conference.  Hands down, however, what consistently energized the attendees was the opportunity to collaborate face-to-face. In our booth, while we had product demos queued up, it was the conversations that were flowing.  Being in person facilitates active listening in a manner that is difficult to replicate virtually. This prompted new ideas, new possibilities, and amongst the vendors new partnerships.

Seeing this activity, listening to the keynotes, and participating in concurrent sessions provided a great reminder on the power of collaboration. Collaboration – coming together –  is the foundation of human progress. We banded together in societies because humans couldn’t go it alone after we came down from the trees.  Collaboration is mankind’s saving grace; it’s an important counterbalance to what can be our baser, selfish nature.  When we are willing to think broadly, we thrive.

Looking at healthcare, this critical concept of collaboration is important on a couple of levels.  From a structural viewpoint – thinking broadly about what constitutes healthcare beyond the economic lens may be the best way to improve our system.  I’m not saying we ignore costs and how we pay for care but focus on building the bridges with what we have.  Instead of  banging our heads bemoaning the lack of a single-payer system, we are better served by creating  partnerships between traditional healthcare entities and community based social service organizations.  Successful collaborations are starting to flourish in this realm as a result of the attention given to the impact of the social determinants of health as evidenced  here and here.   By bringing social justice focused organizations into the mix, we may uncover new pathways toward creating health equity via innovative collaborations.

Looking at the technology side of health, collaboration is key.  TEFCA may seem to make the promise of interoperability a reality but I feel we’ve been down this road before.  The fact is we can do this if we have the fortitude.  We need to bury the false choice of Best of Breed v. Single Source solution.  We are already on this path, and it is silly to fight it.   For example, pCare has a virtual care solution. We think it’s great.  In the inpatient room, it leverages existing television infrastructure for easy access by patients without staff needing to manage additional devices.  Outside the four walls of the hospital, patients, providers and care partners can get one-click access to virtual care that will match existing workflows.  In creating this solution, we collaborated with BlueStream Health who has expertise in virtual care technology.  This gave us speed to market, quality, and a competitive price for our clients.  However, clients are not locked into to our VideoConnect solution.  Whether it’s to support prior investment or pursue a desired preference, the client is free to make the decision that best suits the needs of their unique workflows and patient populations.  We’ll make our pitch but at the end of the day, we will happily interface with another virtual care solution.  It’s not an either/or decision for the client and it hasn’t been for a while.  We just need to make it easy to collaborate.  And we do.  We are not alone, and we encourage others to join in.

The spirit of the participants at Elevate PX was a great reminder of the power of collaboration. Over the last few years, we have seen the consequences of what happens when people retreat to echo chambers that reinforce what they already know or feel – division and a lack of progress.  Let us pave the way of driving improvements in our world of healthcare by being open to new pathways via collaboration.

We look forward to working with you.

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