The Evolution of Secure Healthcare Communication – A HIMSS19 Talk with Healthcare IT Today

The Evolution of Secure Healthcare Communication - A HIMSS19 Talk with Healthcare IT Today

Dr. Will O’Connor on the importance of providing clinicians healthcare communication tools to collaborate vs. EHR clicking and coding

At HIMSS 2019 Dr. Will O’Connor, MD, CMIO at TigerConnect, sat down for a conversation with John Lynn, the Sr. Editor at They talked about physician burnout, EHR clicking and coding, the evolution of healthcare communication tools, and the move toward patient-facing communication. Enjoy the conversation:

Key Takeaways:

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are all about clicking and coding – that’s not what patients need, and it’s not what physicians need.
  • Healthcare communication tools should allow physicians to collaborate and communicate in real time with patients, making physicians more effective and making their jobs easier, not harder.
  • We have seen patient portals largely fail. Instead of requiring patients to pull information out of a portal, why not push information and messages via SMS — the way the rest of the world communicates.

John Lynn: You guys announced an interesting group video solution for healthcare organizations, tell us a little more about it?

Dr. Will O’Connor: We had a lot of feedback from clinicians that they wanted better collaboration tools that would allow them to collaborate in real time, and more quickly. Our new group video capability allows for up to 10 providers at a time to collaborate in real time about a patient.

Lynn: Are they using it for individual one-off conversations or will we see a variety of use cases?

O’Connor: There is a wide variety of use cases, certainly there is the ability to have video conversations one-on-one, but as patient cases become more complex and care teams grow, it is nice to be able to add additional care team members into that conversation in real time to improve patient care.

Lynn: One of the big themes coming out of HIMSS is physician burnout, they blame the EHR; what are some of the things you are doing and the things you are seeing where doctors are really benefiting from the solutions you provide.

O’Connor: We see a tremendous amount of burnout in the physician community. We know now that physicians are spending up to two hours on EHR clerical work for every hour they spend on direct patient care. Technology has moved the industry in the wrong direction, EHRs are all about clicking, coding, and billing, that’s not what patients need, and it’s not what physicians need. EHRs are really designed to drop a bill. What we are trying to do is provide technology that is improving patient care and improving the lives of clinicians that are using it. Through TigerConnect we’re able to provide tools that allow physicians to collaborate and communicate in real time with patients. Instead of worrying about what code they are putting in the EHR and dropping a bill, and having to go home at night and provide more documentation. We are providing them tools simply to make their jobs easier and make them more effective.

TWEET THIS: #EHR systems are all about clicking, coding and dropping a bill – that’s not what patients need, and it’s not what physicians need.


How to Unlock Massive Value from Your EHR



Lynn: Are there specific use cases where doctors say, “Wow you have saved me so much time because I was able to communicate more effectively or efficiently?”

O’Connor: There have been some amazing stories of patient lives being saved by the use of our tools, in addition to much better care being provided. We are working with a lot of value-based customers that have a vested interest in moving away from fee for service by looking for opportunities to keep patients at home if they don’t need to come into the hospital for treatment. Our tools have been very effective in helping here, allowing clinicians to communicate synchronously and asynchronously in order to allow for the exchange of information for the best interest of the patient. We are really focusing on the end result of delivering great care to the patient. Quite frankly we are able to provide some things that a lot of the EHR companies have not been able to provide. We are all about open communication and open channels vs. siloed data and lack of data sharing that we see from a lot of the EHR companies.

Lynn: So is that where you see secure healthcare communication really moving — toward the patient?

O’Connor: We actually just launched our patient-facing initiative here at HIMSS. We are very seriously looking at how we can successfully engage patients in their care. We have seen patient portals largely fail. There have been some pockets of success, and I have talked to some providers who feel they are getting 30 percent to 40 percent adoption, but most of the nation-wide studies peg patient portal adoption somewhere less than 10 percent. Instead of trying to require patients to pull information out of a portal, we are pushing information and messages to them so clinicians, nurses, doctors offices, hospitalists, emergency room physicians have the ability to go out and communicate directly with patients over SMS — the way everyone else on the planet communicates.

Thank you to our friends at Healthcare Scene and Healthcare IT Today – Colin Hung and John Lynn for the opportunity to talk about some important topics in healthcare technology. We’d like to encourage our readers to follow them on social media: @techguy, @Colin_Hung, and @HealthcareScene.

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