[Larry Dobrow] How is Outcome Health doing at this time and how have things changed over the last couple weeks?
[Matt McNally] While everything has changed – at the same time in healthcare – nothing has changed. We’re maintaining an organization that is continuing to work and support stakeholders at the point of care. The part that has changed is that we are now doing that 100% remotely. We can operate an organization that’s grounded on technology, distributing content experiences from a remote experience. There is a heightened need for point of care by our 3 key stakeholders – patients and caregivers, healthcare professional community, industry and agency partners. We are fielding questions about how can we leverage the point of care now more than ever. In this time of uncertainty and chronic conditions, how do we deliver accurate and credible information that supports people at that moment. For us it is navigating a new way of “working” remote, but also ensuring that we continue to deliver because patients, doctors, and all clinical staff need us now more than ever.
[LD] How tough was the remote adjustment for the Outcome Health team?
[MM] One of our big office locations is down in Tampa. Several months ago in the wake of hurricane season, we practiced some rolling office closures so that if something like this happened and we were all working remotely, we could ensure that we could deliver. We have been doing rolling office closures for the past several months where we would close each office for a day and understand the trade-offs. As we started to prepare for COVID-19, we did a full all office closure test to ensure that we can work remote. We are a technology company so we are very used to and accustomed to using video conferencing since we work across three distinct geographies with very different needs. Once we had to go remote, everyone was ready. We’ve done it without a glitch and it is a testament to our preparedness for something like this.
[LD] How are conversations going with each of your different stakeholders (providers, patients, industry partners) given this new state that we’re in?
[MM] Everyone is trying to separate fact from fiction. One of the things we are hearing loud and clear from our stakeholders is that they want credible, accurate, and timely information regarding COVID-19 and what it means for them. From a patient perspective, we are servicing a lot of chronically ill and at-risk patients and their needs are very different than those flowing through our primary care offices. For our provider group, we deployed a lot of COVID-19 content last week and a lot of it was custom content that we built at Outcome Health. We are taking approved content from the WHO and the CDC and augmenting it with graphics and visuals to make it easy to understand. Our provider group is so impressed that we have seen an all-time high in the requests for customized content related to COVID-19. On the industry, pharmaceutical and manufacturers side, they’ve been asking us: how do we stay the course? We understand that now more than ever, patients can’t halt treatments for chronic conditions. They are asking us for supportive materials and supportive content to reinforce that message to patients and providers.
[LD] What is the role of point of care now?
[MM] Point of care is essential. There are traffic decreases in this time because they are recommending that you stay home if you are not critically ill. But there are still patients that need a lot of help right now to manage their current disease states and their current treatment protocols. We believe that now there is a bigger need for point of care, specifically for what’s happening within the clinical setting. We are seeing in major urban areas the reconfiguration of hospitals to ward off COVID-19 in certain wings so they can ensure that the rest of the hospital can still manage with all the other service lines that they deliver on every single day. People are still having children, going to oncology treatments and managing chronic illnesses. We are trying to be as best of an advocate we can be right now during a very critical and challenging time.
[LD] How difficult is it to balance the demand for COVID-specific content and Outcome Health’s typical health related/condition-specific content?
[MM] Our content team is working around the clock. We have pivoted from a content curator, aggregator, to a news room. We have folks watching in real time, what are the latest headlines and news coming from the CDC and WHO and how do we deploy that content quickly to all of our hospital systems and doctors offices around the United States. We rely on working really closely with our content partners right now. We work with Healthination, Verywell, Headspace and are maintaining a balance of delivering the main COVID-19 news right now along with all of the other content that we need to continue to deliver for folks that are coming in and out of the hospital systems and clinical settings.
[LD] How are conversations with your content partners?
[MM] Our conversations with content partners have been nothing but constructive and successful and really supportive. How can we deliver collectively what patients and providers really need. We are pleased by sheer volume and quantity we are getting out of partnerships.
[LD] Can you give examples of how Outcome Health has pivoted in the last few weeks?
[MM] There have been smaller pivots: as a society, a lot of business happens over email. At a time like this, you need to pick up the phone or fire up a video conference. We can’t beat having a conversation and a dialogue. For us it wasn’t about mass communication to our stakeholders, it was doing it phone call by phone call, offering white glove service to understand what people’s challenges are right now and what can Outcome Health and the entire point-of-care space can do to support them. As for the bigger pivots: Outcome Health has aggressively been looking at a shift from the point of care to moments of care. As you see things like telemedicine and remote monitoring become the status quo, the point of care industry needs to figure out a way to transcend the four physical walls and support patients in the clinical setting, when that setting may be at my home having a video conference with my dermatologist. We have been aggressively expediting the telemedicine conversations we have been having with potential partners, specifically around how we can support them through some of the content we are developing with others. We are doing content releases more frequently. There is now a need for more content in real time like a news room.
[LD] Is this now proving the value of POC?
[MM] The COVID-19 pandemic is going to skyrocket the value of POC. Reps now cannot get in to see clinicians – they may not be able to for the foreseeable future. What are strategic ways that we can leverage the point of care for non-personal promotion to our physician bases? CDC projects a surge in office/hospital visits as this settles in. Patients who were warehoused for treatments and patients that have put off elective surgeries will get back into the hospital systems. That is why you are seeing the need to double down on funding for hospital systems — all of that is going to be a benefit for point of care. We as an industry need to figure out how we can support that onset of patients into the clinical settings in new and different ways.
[LD] Is POC ready? Is Outcome Health ready?
[MM] When you look at the current arsenal that OH, and other POC companies have in our tool belts, absolutely. We have devices and experiences that reach both patients and back office staff. I think we are ready. The challenging part is the new content that has to be created along with the need for new device features and functionality. As an industry, we need to consider how that can scale together over time.
[LD] How do you prepare for technological changes while monitoring this incredibly urgent and unprecedented situation?
[MM] You need to understand your business at hand and what you see that’s within arms reach. The best companies are the ones looking where the puck is going and how they are going to pivot. We have had our product team working on the pivots to make to our roadmap based on the things that we’re seeing – telemedicine, surge of patients and send to home features.
[LD] Six months from now: where will we be?
[MM] I feel pharma marketers are now going to look at “moments of care,” including telemedicine, as one of the first levers they pull in considering their marketing mix. If you are not prepared as a marketer to support a patient in the moment where it matters most, (physician interaction either in person or over video) it’s a huge missed opportunity. We’ll see a balance between how we augment clinical visit with telemedicine – it is not a complete surrogate but it is a complement. With telemedicine you are going to see a huge jump in tele-psychiatry, tele-dermatology, tele-rehabilitation, oncology support, and ways to keep at-risk patients healthy.
At Outcome Health, we are focused on what can we do to make this right? As a point-of-care industry, we have a responsibility to support people at these moments and we take that responsibility very seriously. We’re trying to navigate one day at a time while understanding that we have a job to do – to support patients and providers in the moments when they need us most, and that’s at the point of care right now.
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