…Most importantly, I believe we need to align the way we pay for healthcare with the results we desire. I believe the movement away from a pure fee-for-service model that has already begun is on the right track. If there is one universal truth, it’s that we all know our own compensation plans and what we need to do to get the most out of them. Only with proper alignment will we get the results we want for our healthcare system.
As a part of my interview series with leaders in healthcare, I had the pleasure to interview Dave Wortman. Dave Wortman is an experienced tech executive and entrepreneur focusing on early stage technology and life science companies. He is Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Diagnotes, a digital health leader providing a clinical communication and collaboration platform that connects doctors, patients and their care teams. Dave also serves as a director of SonarMed, a medical device company, a director of InfraWare, a health IT company, and a venture partner with Spring Mill Ventures.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was growing up, my family would often take driving vacations. During many of the trips, my Dad would take me to tour a nearby factory. I saw how cars, cereal and even beer were made. I thought these places were fascinating, not because of the product but rather the complex and highly coordinated process that had been put in place to make them. I found the operations fascinating. My career has been driven by my passion for streamlining and automating critical business processes. Those experiences growing up were the catalyst for my future career interests.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Early on, as we were working on the product and determining the applications that would bring the highest value, we entered a Health IT Innovation contest. The nature of the contest was to see which team could best solve a challenging problem brought forward by one of our local health systems. We won, even getting one of those giant cardboard checks. That’s how I knew we were on the right track.
Can you tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the healthcare field?
I certainly don’t consider myself an authority in healthcare. That said, I have studied care delivery processes for some time and spoken to a wide variety of clinicians, staff, patients and caregivers throughout the care continuum. With that data in hand, my systems approach to problem solving and experience in a variety of industries, I bring a unique perspective to the challenges of improving, even transforming, healthcare.
What makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We made it our mission to make the lives of healthcare professionals easier and the delivery and communication of healthcare more natural for them and for patients. We have deep respect and admiration for clinicians. They are all stretched to the max and carry more stress than is healthy. And despite all of that, they deliver excellent care for patients. A client, who is a physician executive, once told me that doctors don’t go to medical school to learn how to take care of computers, but that is what is expected of them now. We take that to heart and continually find ways that Diagnotes can help doctors spend less time interacting with technology and more time interacting with patients.
Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to and/or see in the healthcare industry? How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo? Which “pain point” is this trying to address?
As healthcare becomes more consumer-driven, organizations are looking for ways to be more responsive and connected with their customers to ensure continuity of care is achieved and communication happens when it is most needed. We offer everyone — doctors, nurses, non-clinical staff, patients, and patient caregivers, a way to connect on the same platform. We view this as democratizing healthcare. By offering one place for everyone to communicate, we are creating a truly patient-centric model of clinical collaboration.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Perhaps the most important was the magnitude of the impact our reimbursement system was having. It affects decision-making throughout the industry, sometimes reducing the willingness to consider and implement innovative approaches to lowering the cost of healthcare. Another important one is how dominant the EHR has become. Having experience in other industries, I have seen how important the enterprise system is to the successful operation of a business. And the data housed in the systems are certainly vital in healthcare. That said, there are many big problems that EHR systems were not designed to solve. Communication is one of those, and we are out to solve it.
Let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this study cited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?
In my view, the biggest reason is that we haven’t approached healthcare with the kind of systems-thinking that we have applied in other industries. Streamlining and automating critical business processes hold the key to both reducing cost and improving the quality of care. Thoroughly and dispassionately studying the way work gets done, finding and eliminating unnecessary steps, coordinating people’s activities more effectively and bringing modern technology to bear where it can be most beneficial is the best way I know to accomplish the transformation we need.
You are a “healthcare insider”. If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.
Most importantly, I believe we need to align the way we pay for healthcare with the results we desire. I believe the movement away from a pure fee-for-service model that has already begun is on the right track. If there is one universal truth, it’s that we all know our own compensation plans and what we need to do to get the most out of them. Only with proper alignment will we get the results we want for our healthcare system.
Thank you! It’s great to suggest changes, but what specific steps would need to be taken to implement your ideas? What can individuals, corporations, communities and leaders do to help?
The healthcare consumer needs to take charge of their healthcare and the spending of their healthcare dollars. It’s the consumer that has driven improved performance in other industries. It’s time for that to happen in healthcare. Whether it’s through our tax dollars, or increasingly, our direct spending, we have the power to drive the changes needed to lower cost and improve quality. It won’t happen overnight but it can, must, and will happen. We need to make it a priority.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them?
I am inspired every day by the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals I get to meet and serve. They face tremendous obstacles in their effort to deliver the best possible care to all of us. Organizational, process and technological obstacles that they get over through hard work and perseverance. And they do it because they truly care about taking care of us. We can and must eliminate those obstacles.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I always enjoy connecting on LinkedIn. You can find me at linkedin.com/in/davewortman.
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!