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School’s Expertise in Health Sector Management on Display as Industry Leaders, Entrepreneurs and Investors Meet in South Florida for eMerge Americas Techweek

May 07, 2014
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Steven G. Ullmann (right), director of the School‘s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy, moderated a discussion on innovation in healthcare with UM President Donna E. Shalala (left) and Patrick Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue.

From telemedicine to "big data" analysis, innovative uses of technology are helping transform the nation's health care system from a focus on patient volume to delivering value, according to Steven G. Ullmann, director of the School‘s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy. 

"Technology allows providers to operate more efficiently, as well as improve patient safety and outcomes," said Ullmann on one of the topics taking center stage May 5 during the inaugural eMerge Americas Techweek in Miami Beach. "In our school's undergraduate, graduate and executive healthcare programs, we showcase technology and discuss how these tools can improve business and clinical models," added Ullmann, who moderated a panel discussion on "Driving Transformation and Innovation in Healthcare" during  the conference, which brought together more than 100 speakers, policymakers, academic leaders, executives and entrepreneurs from throughout South Florida and Latin America.

Panelists Donna E. Shalala, UM’s president, and Patrick Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue, provided their perspectives on the importance of health information technology (health IT). "We need to make better use of patient data to improve outcomes and prevent disease," said Shalala. "In addition to patient privacy concerns, the players who control the data, such as providers and insurers, may have different economic interests."

It's also difficult to gather all the patient information into one database, particularly in a state like Florida with millions of part-time residents, added Geraghty. "People travel and get services outside of their network," he said. "You have to bring all that data together in order to get a 360-degree view of a patient."

Ullmann asked the panelists about the use of smartphones and remote monitoring devices to engage patients and help them become more responsible for their own care.  "I have an app on my phone that sends me an alert if my 103-year-old mother gets up at night," Shalala said. "I can then look and see if she's all right." But it's not just smartphone tools that will be making a difference in patient care. "We will have robots going from room to room at night in the hospital checking on patients," Shalala said. 

Other recent UM health care innovations include "smart" mattresses that reduce patient bedsores, robotic prostate surgical procedures, and telemedicine services for passengers and crews on cruise ships, Ullmann said.

However, Geraghty cautioned that deploying new technology puts cost pressures on hospitals, since more care can be delivered in office and home settings. "The payment model is going to have to change," he said. "But as we move from a fee-for-service system to a value-oriented system, there will be a growing number of opportunities for collaboration and finding innovative approaches to improving the delivery of health care."

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