Validic’s CEO Talks How mHealth Data Integration Can Empower Health IT

Validic’s CEO Talks How mHealth Data Integration Can Empower Health IT

Validic CEO, Ryan Beckland talks how mHealth data integration can transform the healthcare ecosystem.

There may be a groundswell of end users tapping into mobile healthcare technologies these days, but a disconnect remains when it comes making the most of all that vital information. Thanks to patient devices, wearables, and healthcare apps, insightful healthcare data is emerging in abundance. A means to extract that data to make swift, meaningful progress is not, however— until now.

Validic, a pioneer of the first inclusive mobile-health marketplace, announced last month that its latest innovation would start tackling the data dissonance that exists between mHealth data producers and healthcare companies with its Validic Labs.  The data-leveraging platform will help app and device developers deliver data more readily to healthcare companies and health organizations to ensure they are meeting their consumer’s needs.

The solution promises to have a profound impact by eliminating the costs, testing, and updating associated with health organizations connecting to new apps, eliminating the wary and worry that previously had made it difficult for such applications to be readily adopted. With the expensive evaluation and integration process removed, health organizations will now have greater access to actionable data, and app developers will have the ability to gain visibility in a marketplace with tens of millions of users eager to connect with health-related apps.

It’s win-win for both sides that could lead to better care delivery down the line. Providing healthcare companies with the ability to leverage such data from well-known mobile apps and devices holds the promise to empower Healthcare IT to more accurately track patient habits, vitals, and progress, which could powerfully transform the healthcare ecosystem, according to Validic’s CEO Ryan Beckland.

With that bold promise in mind, we at HIT Consultant sat down with Beckland to gather more information to learn why and how this next move for Validic is such an important one for the future of health IT and mobile technology in healthcare.

HITC: What is driving the need for mHealth data integration in healthcare and how is Validic addressing this need? 

Ryan Beckland: The healthcare industry is undergoing an undeniable and significant transformation. Healthcare reform, value-based reimbursement models, big data, population health management, patient engagement, care analytics, telehealth, patient health device usage, and additional factors have contributed to a major shift in the dynamics of the healthcare landscape. Furthermore, this has led to significant pressures on the industry’s key stakeholders: physicians, hospitals, health systems, payers, pharmaceutical companies, wellness companies, employers, health technology vendors, government entities, etc.  As this dramatic shift is occurring, stakeholders are looking for the most efficient way to focus on the “triple aim” of healthcare: 1) improving the experience of care 2) improving the health of populations 3) reducing per capita costs of health care.

As healthcare stakeholders move toward value-based care and try to accomplish their key strategic business imperatives, they are struggling to find ways to handle the integration of these patient health devices, wearables and healthcare apps. There are over 100,000 mHealth apps and devices currently on the market, and this number is expected to explode to over 1,000,000 apps and devices by 2020.

Healthcare organizations are trying to figure out ways to obtain and integrate this data into their health information systems, as a means to emphasize wellness and prevention within their patient populations. This data needs to be standardized, clean, complete, normalized, secure and actionable. Then, the data can be analyzed to provide better insights into care treatment plans, monitor patient behavior, improve financial management of their patient populations and provide better connectivity across the entire continuum of care in their communities.

Simply put, Validic addresses this need and helps these healthcare organizations get to where they are trying to go.  Today, Validic clients have the access to key information empowering them to deliver more accountable and affordable care. Validic brings the healthcare organizations and the technology developers into a mutually beneficial ecosystem.  As mentioned above, healthcare organizations (including EHR vendors) are trying to handle a multitude of initiatives simultaneously with limited resources. Our sole focus is to help healthcare organizations manage a world of mobile health data with one easy connection so that it can be accessible and actionable.

HITC: Why do you feel that there is still a strong disconnect between health IT and mobile health technology?

Ryan Beckland: There is a problem of interoperability in healthcare that has plagued the industry for decades. But there are two fundamental differences between in-hospital technology and mobile technology. First, is the speed of proliferation of mobile health apps and devices. Gone are the days when a couple new devices came to market each year. The growth rate in mHealth is astronomical; literally, thousands of new apps and devices coming to the market every month. Second, the simple fact that the devices are mobile and inexpensive means that consumers are driving the adoption of health devices in a way we have not seen before in healthcare. This is the “bring your own device” concept, and something that health organizations are going to have to figure out a way to deal with.

HITC: What are some of the key trends driving this disconnect?

Ryan Beckland: Five things, and likely more:

1. The proliferation of mHealth devices on the market.

2. BYOD [bring your own device] policies driven by the fact that we are all walking around with high-powered computers in our pockets all the time.

3. Outpatient care is now 40% of hospital revenue, and growing.

4. The PPACA legislation that is putting more risk for outcomes back on providers.

5. The trend of “Patient Engagement;” every healthcare organization knows they need to better connect, understand and engage their patient population to deliver better and more affordable care.

HITC: How can we connect these two critical areas within the healthcare ecosystem to improve overall population health and the patient experience?

Ryan Beckland: The first step is data access. We believe that in the future, a patient’s primary healthcare experience will be outside of the context of the hospital or clinic. Mobile health is changing the provision of care by providing new models of condition management. But for that vision to manifest itself, there has to be a way to deliver the data from all the siloed  mHealth apps/devices back to the healthcare system. That is where Validic comes in.  As the healthcare industry’s premier technology platform, it’s important for us to deliver convenient, easy data access to a world of mobile health and in-home devices, wearables and patient healthcare applications. We connect the devices and our customers — including providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, wellness companies and health systems — can access this data to better coordinate care across their communities, improve their patient engagement strategies and more efficiently manage their patient populations.

HITC: How is Validic working to speed up the pace of healthcare innovation?

Ryan Beckland: Validic provides healthcare companies immediate access to data from mHealth apps/devices. Without Validic, these organizations would have to spend 12-18 months just building API integrations. We can deliver the same result in a few hours. We give healthcare companies immediate access to the best innovations on the market by eliminating the technical hurdles to deployment.

HITC: It seems that the healthcare industry is slowly starting to embrace APIs, what do role do you think APIs will play in the transformation of healthcare?

Ryan Beckland: At the end of the day an API is just infrastructure that allows software to talk to other software. Validic, as an API platform, provides access to a variety of APIs with a single connection. In that sense, we are just like any other infrastructure – a road, a water line, an electric cable, etc. Mobile Health is the future of healthcare, and Validic is empowering that change to take place by providing the technological infrastructure the will power an mHealth-focused healthcare system.

HITC: How many devices and apps has Validic integrated as of March 2014?

Ryan Beckland: 86 deployed, with about 40 new integrations forthcoming this quarter.

HITC: What makes Validic a great partner for helping EHR vendors achieve interoperability?

Ryan Beckland: We help EHR vendors help their clients, which ultimately helps in the transformation of the industry.  Today, hospitals, health systems, physician groups and post-acute care organizations are trying to more effectively coordinate care across their communities, analyze and more efficiently manage their patient populations.  EHR vendors are trying to help them get there.  The leading EHR vendors are enhancing their mobile strategies to enable healthcare professionals access to information on-the-go, and they are attempting to pull in data from wearable devices.  Validic’s solution becomes a perfect compliment to what the EHR vendors are trying to do for their clients.  We take a huge development burden and reduce it by 90%, allowing the EHR vendor to focus on other core parts of their business and servicing their clients.

HITC: What are some key issues that should be addressed in healthcare technology & data integration that you feel is largely overlooked by the health tech industry?

Ryan Beckland: Mobile health’s application to the provision of clinical care is not very well understood today. We need more experimentation to create new models of care that focus on getting and keeping people well.

Beckland appears to be onto something. Having a one-stop shop to mobile data access could greatly improve the way healthcare organizations use all that data now disseminating from many a mobile device. But will Validic Labs really have a profound impact when it comes to improving our healthcare ecosystem? It looks like we will have to wait to tap in to find out.

Related: Could Validic be Essential to the mHealth Apps and Devices Market?