Saxony COO Lindy Thomas Discusses Healthcare Innovation and Technology

Saxony Partners COO Lindy Thomas joined executives from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Synzi for a webinar to discuss emerging technology and innovation in healthcare.

The panel – which also featured Jason Peoples (Director of Technology and Innovation at Mary Free Bed), Mark Knudsen (Chief Experience Officer at Synzi), and Edward Morales (Client Partner at Synzi) – covered a wide range of topics. Here are some of the highlights.

How have innovative technologies helped providers and patients amid pandemic?

“It took the pandemic to really catapult virtual care as mainstream healthcare delivery, simply because we had to,” Peoples said. “We had patients that we needed to continue treatment with. We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to provide some reassurance, continue that treatment?’”

“Technology is not the limiting factor here,” Peoples said. “It’s how the healthcare systems and the regulations embrace where we are now and really open up the flood gates in the spirit of moving forward.”

Peoples give examples of how Mary Free Bed shifted some patient care online. For instance, their psychology department was able to deliver nearly 100 percent of patient care virtually, a huge win considering the mental health toll the pandemic was taking.

Thomas, who joined Saxony from the Healthcare sector, added more perspective.

“I think taking the correct steps involves, of course, following guidelines,” she said. “But more importantly, it’s about really listening to consumers, patients and providers.

“From a patient/consumer perspective, it’s how do they want to access care? Do they want to communicate via their Alexa online? Those types of technologies have proliferated during the pandemic. The rate of adoption of new technologies by healthcare providers over the last 12 months has been incredible.”

Why are consumer devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, Alexa, etc.) the new “points of care” and “points of connection” vs. traditional offices, clinics, and hospitals?

“From an acute care perspective, I would say the biggest benefit is that we’re continuing to see patients in different ways, meeting consumers where their expectations are,” Peoples said. “I think that that’s why we’re in healthcare – to help people.”

“At Mary Free Bed, we’re seeing the use of technology prior to the clinical visit and that’s helping determine what is the right level of care,” Thomas said. “This is relieving some of those constraints that we all know that providers had been experiencing.”

Thomas picked up on the theme of relieving constraints, as one of the goals of Saxony’s healthcare practice is to help providers leverage technology to integrate systems and data.

“It’s not only being able to deliver care to patients through different types of technology, but also delivering key information to providers,” Thomas said. “Whether it’s via their tablet, their smartphone, their laptop, whatever the case may be. And then, more importantly, it’s about integration ­– integration of data, of systems, with the EMR, so that they can see the entire patient picture.”

Synzi’s Knudson agreed and marveled that this rapid scaling of healthcare technology took so long to achieve.

“I think part of what’s so interesting about what we’ve all been living through this last year is that the technology was there,” Knudsen said. “Sometimes the technology comes as an innovation for need, and certainly from a scientific point of view, we’re all for the vaccine being innovated so quickly. But if we think about the care delivery, that technology was there. It was just not being embraced or utilized as effectively as it might be. Lindy, I think rightly pointed out the data aspect.”

What is your vision for the future of healthcare in the “new normal” (now) vs. the “next normal” (post-pandemic)?

“I think that really, again, truly walking that talk of putting the person first and what you do in healthcare, that’s the key to the change,” Peoples said. “I would recommend we be bold – be the change. See what’s on the horizon. Think about what you and your family experience in a traditional health experience today and about where it’s lacking. Where are those gaps? Recognize where the gaps are and look to fill in those holes.”

Thomas agreed and doubled down on the idea that data and advanced technology can help fill those gaps now and into the future.

“We collect a lot of data in healthcare,” Thomas said. “We can use those data points to drive our behaviors going forward, responding and reacting to the community and consumers.”

“Patients and consumers are looking for efficiency,” Thomas said. “Data and technology can help deliver that, and the outcome is going to be patient engagement. It’s going to be better satisfaction. That’s what we’re all looking for to ensure success with patient outcomes.”