David Prendergast
David Prendergast is a principal at Enhanced Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm.

U.S. healthcare is undergoing a transformative shift driven by advancements in technology, pandemic influence and shifting economics. With more than 22 million healthcare practitioners, the use of technology is ramping up at an accelerated rate to transform the way healthcare is delivered, making it more efficient, cost-effective and patient-centric.

In addition, value-based care models are replacing fee-for-service models, focusing on delivering high-quality care that is measured by patient outcomes. This evolution is helping reshape the healthcare industry — and the providers and tech-forward organizations who can adapt and embrace innovation will thrive in this new landscape.

At Enhanced Healthcare Partners, we take a thoughtful approach when considering the numerous investment opportunities available in the broad field of healthcare. Our focus remains centered on the people, and we believe companies that prioritize improving patient care while simultaneously reducing costs should have a more significant impact on the industry.

We’re focusing our investment efforts on three targeted areas of healthcare we believe are ripe for disruption:

1) workforce optimization and administrative automation

2) improving training and development

3) technology-driven value-based care

Investing in Workforce Optimization and Administrative Automation to Maximize the Productivity of Healthcare Staff

Universally, today’s healthcare model reflects an overwhelmingly administrative complexity, which has resulted in an enormous burden on healthcare providers and payers, and most begrudgingly, patients as well. There are two main areas we can direct investment toward to help address this administrative burden: workforce optimization and administration automation.

Healthcare workforce management is facing a trifold challenge. First, there is an understaffing issue with demand expected to exceed the supply of talent by 275,000 nurses by 2030. Secondly, the healthcare labor market is highly inefficient, with complex labor sourcing, scheduling and deployment leading to rising labor costs. These challenges pose significant opportunities for investment in innovative solutions that can address these issues and help healthcare organizations operate more efficiently and effectively.

EHP’s portfolio company Hallmark Health Care Solutions — with its focus on solving the healthcare workforce crisis with a suite of solutions — believes that the key to providing quality healthcare sits at the intersection of talent and technology. Their technology is tailored to workforce analytics, talent sourcing and provider compensation, which combines traditional HR practices with healthcare-specific needs to create a nimble, specialized system. After partnering with EHP in 2020, the company has unlocked tremendous value for workplace engagement and quality.

Administration burden and complexity can be made more efficient through technology. Companies that provide machine-learning tools to help healthcare organizations improve and automate their processes can find new opportunities to make sure these organizations are getting the most out of the staff they currently have.

Janus, a platform portfolio investment made by EHP this year, is a high-growth company with a vision to infuse intelligence into healthcare operations by developing a groundbreaking end-to-end artificial intelligence platform to fundamentally transform the way revenue cycle work is performed. Janus integrates AI and automation for claims submissions, claims management, denial remediation, receivable propensity and prioritization and correspondence and payment management.

Prescribed Training, Digitally

Arguably, the introduction of online learning has been the largest transformation to education and training over the past 100 years. Staff onboarding and continuing education are crucial aspects of modern healthcare delivery, as each ensure healthcare providers have the most current skills and knowledge necessary to provide the best care the moment it is needed in the most convenient and effective manner.

With digital e-learning solutions grounded in the latest advancements in learning technology and design, healthcare participants can access training on-demand, enabling them to track key action items to complete their onboarding process. These solutions also drive tangible value by driving efficiencies across the training lifecycle of new and tenured employees. Through automated workflows, administrators can assign learning tasks, review performance and provide focused feedback to staff in a highly specific way, ultimately enabling employees to upskill and stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements. These solutions also reduce the costs associated with traditional continuing education training, which has usually been conducted off-site, making it more accessible to a wider range of healthcare providers at a much lower cost.

Companies that leverage technology and provider-specific performance analytics help ensure the proper training and learning content is being offered to the right provider at the correct time based on how they learn. E-healthcare organizations ensure employees truly understand the content, reflecting those lessons into real-life practice to provide better service and outcomes for patients.

In addition, the right continuing education solutions offer another critical benefit: employee retention. Optimized learning, empowered training and ongoing development encourage and uplift employee confidence and career development opportunities, indirectly leading to organization loyalty. Among other benefits, the digitalization of resources and processes ensures healthcare workers have the tools and training that are fundamental to providing high-quality care.

Scaling Value-Based Care with Technology

Increasing quality of care while being more efficient and proactive is nearly impossible without the right information and systems. Despite advances in technology, our country’s health data remains fragmented. More often than not, data is held hostage within proprietary medical record systems across hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, labs, health plans and, increasingly, within our own smartphones. The resulting information vacuum is a systemic weakness that leads to gaps in care, increased costs and suboptimal outcomes for patient healthcare.

Technology that can help aggregate these disparate silos of health data from each patient’s physicians, hospitals/ED and Medicare/insurance companies to gather all health information, including medications, procedures, allergies, diagnoses, lab results and appointments and display the longitudinal healthcare record of a patient will be instrumental in a successful transition to value-based care models by helping providers and payors identify high-risk patients and intervene before chronic conditions become more critical and costly to the health systems.

Value-based care technology platforms provide real-time data and analytics, enabling healthcare providers to track patient outcomes and adjust treatment plans accordingly. These platforms also enable providers to collaborate with other healthcare professionals, improving coordination and communication.

Working with Vytalize Health, an EHP portfolio company, has been fascinating to observe the potential power of useful data in healthcare. Vytalize provides an all-in-one solution including value-based incentives, smart technology and a virtual and in-home clinic that enables small and large independent practices to succeed in value-based care arrangements. Activating the tenets of value-based care in primary care and Medicare, the suite of services and technology empowers physicians with insights, clinical support, payment and network management. Vytalize’s goal is to be a facilitator of people’s healing through care that’s personalized, evidence-based and proactive, not reactive.

The intersection of value-based care and innovation has empowered all healthcare system stakeholders with sustainable solutions for healthcare delivery. EHP continues to be highly interested in innovators seeking to initiate value-based care via technology.

We Are All Patients

At EHP, as patients ourselves, we understand the critical pain points, gaps and unwieldiness of the industry. We recognize that change is needed across the entire healthcare spectrum, and our dedication continues to lie in partnership with the businesses driving this exact change.

Our investment theses are directed towards specific areas in healthcare that we believe are ready for disruption. These areas include enhancing workforce optimization and administrative automation, improving training and development and implementing technology-driven value-based care.

EHP’s investment efforts come back to one thing — creating advantages and ultimately best-in-class outcomes for customers of the healthcare system, the patient.

Contact Prendergast at [email protected].