Q&A: Thorough Imaging Assessments Help Healthcare Providers Achieve Maximum Results

Change Healthcare is primarily known for its state-of-the-art technology and business solutions, but the company also provides consulting services, including overall assessments of an organization’s overall business health. Sometimes, healthcare providers know they need help keeping up with the rest of the industry, but need to be pointed in the right direction before they can get started; that’s where Change Healthcare enters the equation. 

Navesh Kandiyil, MD, MBA, a Physician Executive at Change Healthcare with years of healthcare and consulting experience, spoke with imagingBiz about the process and benefits. Read the full interview below:

Why do clients typically reach out to Change Healthcare for consulting services? What primary questions are they hoping to answer/address?

Navesh Kandiyil, MD, MBA: Common challenges for organizations include: value-based care initiatives, decreased reimbursement, internal cost constraints, and enterprise imaging strategy as an overall part of their organization.

Most of the time, the individuals we work with are overwhelmed. They’re drinking from a fire hose, so to speak. They don’t know who can help them tackle all their challenges, or even where to start. That’s where we come in. 

What are the Change Healthcare consultant’s goals when he or she begins the consultation process?

The first step is always to listen to the client and find out what they believe to be their biggest challenges. Then, we assess where they are in terms of what the rest of the market is doing and talk to them about their vision and their direction. 

We also help them align their goals with the industry’s best practices and standards. Sometimes those things line up and sometimes they don’t. We’ve encountered situations where someone says, “That’s great for the industry, but it doesn’t apply to us.” But, like a former colleague of mine used to say: “sometimes, you have to tell the client their baby is ugly.” It’s a radically honest approach, but if they had the answers themselves, they wouldn’t need our help. So it’s important to be upfront with them about where their perceived challenges fall in terms of industry norms. 

Do you have an example of a time when there was a disconnect between what the client thought the problem was and what you, after your research, found the problem to be?  

One of our recent clients wanted help with some imaging-specific products. But throughout the assessment, we looked closely at their entire organization from a clinical, financial, and technical perspective. We discovered that there were many more critical factors they needed to address. They believed imaging products were the root cause of their problems, but there were a lot of big-picture issues they weren’t seeing.

It happens a lot—it’s the silo effect. Large health systems have challenges in so many different areas, but they lack the bandwidth to connect the dots. For this particular client, we started the process by examining their imaging-related issue, but we also showed them the outside factors that were affecting their organization. That’s what separates us from a lot of our competitors; we know imaging, and we also have expertise that extends well beyond the department.

What is the actual consultation like? Can you take me through that process from beginning to end? 

Generally we connect with the client over a few phone calls and learn about their specific situation. During these calls, we listen, but we also give the stakeholders a kind of overview of what’s coming during the one-day assessment. We’re very cognizant of how important time is to these organizations, so we let them know upfront what we need. From the very beginning, we’re engaging people across the entire organization - from the C-suite down. We’re there to look beyond their departmental challenges or problems and see what’s happening at the strategic level across the organization.

We also work to be “vendor agnostic”, and work with every health system regardless of the equipment they use. Our goal is always to help them get the most value out of the people they have and the technology they’re currently using. 

After the introductory interviews, our team comes on-site and conducts individual meetings with key stakeholders from within the organization. A typical list includes the director of radiology, the PACS administrator, the radiologists, the cardiologists and so on—and we go talk and engage with each of them to get a comprehensive view of what’s happening within that organization. Then, at the end of the day, we have a wrap-up meeting and present a high-level overview of what we’ve observed. 

The final step in the process is to create our report, which usually takes about two weeks. That report covers the challenges we identified - clinical, operational, technical and financial. We share these findings with them, let them review the findings internally, and offer them the option to enlist our services to address one or many of these challenges. 

What are some common issues uncovered by Change Healthcare’s consultations?

One of the biggest issues we see is the disconnect between how organizations purchase and procure technology, and what they expect from it. If you spend a tremendous amount of money on a solution, you’re looking for a measurable ROI. Another is the change management process, adoption (or lack thereof) of new technology or work flows and how to overcome this.

But, the first common issue we uncover is related to governance structure, or the lack thereof. Departments can buy everything under the sun, but if there’s is a fragmented strategy guiding these purchases, there is often no accountability for how the solutions are used or how they fit into the overall enterprise imaging and IT strategy. The other problem we frequently see is related to new technology adoption. A lot of organizations struggle to onboard and train so they can get the most out of their purchase. Organizations invest so much money in IT, but they don’t always have a clearly defined strategy or plan for ongoing governance or sustainability. And that’s where we come in - to help them address these challenges.