AOC Expert Opinion: An Insider’s View on Digital Health

Dwight Raum

Chief Digital Officer, Quil Johns Hopkins Former CTO & Interim CIO

Like many of you in the AOC community, I’ve devoted a good portion of my professional career to service within an academic institution. I learned – and benefitted – a great deal over the twenty years I spent leading technology initiatives at Johns Hopkins. For much of my time at Hopkins, I served as Chief Technology Officer, and I ended my tenure there as the interim CIO. Throughout this time, I tried to ignite tech-driven change across the institution. These efforts were always inspiring, often rewarding, and invariably instructive.

One highlight at Hopkins was helping to create the Johns Hopkins Medicine Technology Innovation Center (TIC). A small team of about 40 designers, data wonks and engineers, the TIC tackled tough problems within the clinical space, including efforts for secure communications, mobile applications for research, workflow and visualization tools. The single largest initiative the TIC addressed was creating the Precision Medicine Analytics Platform (PMAP), which became the underpinning for the precision medicine program called InHealth. Now, with more than 20 centers of excellence, the InHealth program is systematically transforming how research is conducted using advanced data and algorithmic techniques, and bringing learning into the practice of the centers.

This work was incredibly rewarding and inspiring; it was also instructive in terms of understanding the gap between what medicine knows about treatment and what kind of care patients actually receive. This gap exists across all conditions and disease, with chronic conditions probably the most well-known. We identified the clear need to bridge this gap.

This need sparked our conception of the Digital Experience Platform, which is essentially a digital health approach intended to unify patient experiences. This “digital front door” vision provides direct access to scheduling and messaging tailored in timing, tone, and content to prompt action. It also provides data fusion for “bedside” analytics and insights, and much more.

As you might suspect, the technology lift to develop this platform was daunting. That challenge paled to the push required to drive organizational change in a storied academic medical center. After multiple attempts, it became clear that effecting such transformational change top-down would be incredibly time-consuming – I wanted to go faster.

Drawn to Quil Health by their approach, I saw the potential for speed and reach. Quil starts small in a department and proves value, but always with an eye towards the needs of the entire health system. At their core, Quil’s Assure and Engage products connect with patients and their families, driving deep engagement, insights and meaningfully linking them to their providers. Quil’s approach is also focused on the whole patient and ultimately the whole health system, not limited to one diagnosis or service line, critical to bridging the knowledge-practice gap.

Using Quil Engage, clinicians can direct ortho and other patients to the pane-of-glass that works best, whether it’s a TV, mobile phone or website. Engage uses personalized nudges for each patient, personalizing their “journey” with timely content and feedback. This includes instructional step-by-step videos, interactive quizzes and checklists, links to schedule necessary appointments, and FAQs, among other helpful tools and resources. Nudges and notifications are carefully timed to meet the patient at the exact point in their health care journey when they will need the information and are most receptive.

Quil Assure is our new connected home platform that helps seniors enjoy greater independence while exercising their preference for aging in place and strengthening support from family and friends serving as caregivers. The Quil Assure platform functions by utilizing ambient sensors placed strategically around a senior’s living space. The Assure solution discreetly monitors daily routines and notifies a senior’s ‘Care Circle’ of any unusual developments. Seniors decide how much or how little monitoring to allow, ensuring both independence and privacy. Through integration with smart watches and speakers, the Quil Assure app delivers real-time wellness data about a care recipient to their Care Circle and activates safety protocols when needed. This monitoring and real-time data keeps seniors in control of their Care Circle while providing broader peace of mind for all.

Recognizing the complexity of the digital health space, Quil has partnered with the AOC to help all clinicians – in every department – bridge the gaps between technology tools and providing care. Currently, we are working with several institutions to pilot Engage. I have joined several of my Quil colleagues to serve as members of the digital platform subcommittee.

On behalf of the entire Quil team, I can say we are excited by the work we’re doing in partnership with the AOC. I believe these efforts will help departments accelerate their adoption of digital tools, align departmental and institutional priorities, and improve patient outcomes.