When it comes to tech adoption, healthcare is “just ahead of hunting and agriculture,” jokes Daryl Tol, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division. But he is only half-kidding. “It’s a very long process that’s finally hit us. We’re well behind other industries.”
But Tol believes healthcare is poised to catch up and that AdventHealth, a faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare system in Orlando, will be a leader in the industry’s digital transformation. For starters, AdventHealth is investing in AI and machine learning technology to allow physicians and other staff to treat patients in a more targeted and holistic way, and gives patients more control over their medical care.
As Tol explains in the following interview, for a company seeking competitive advantage through digital transformation, it helps to be based within Orlando’s ecosystem of tech companies and startups doing advanced R&D. AdventHealth also benefits from proximity to higher learning centers, such as the University of Central Florida, that generates a large pool of highly skilled talent. That Orlando is one of the largest tourist destinations in the world doesn’t hurt, either. “It’s a natural draw,” he says. “Our ability to develop destination medicine and training programs is phenomenal.”
What was behind your recent rebranding from Florida Hospital to AdventHealth—and why now?
There were two reasons for the change – one, we’ve been a significant national company for decades but have branded all of our entities around the country under a local brand. We wanted to bring everything together with one brand promise and one approach to care for consumers.
We’re also at a pivot point in healthcare, a major time of transformation. The word “advent” means the coming of something of great significance. We think it’s a perfect signal—it combines our faith background and advent as a word about personal transformation and wholeness, and individuals, helping people thrive. But it also signals that as a national company we intend to be part of the transformation of healthcare.
In preparation for the launch of this system-wide brand, the company spent months working on culture and solidifying a consumer-centric approach to patient care. What cultural changes have you made?
We know that our team is where everything happens. We’ve invested a lot in our team and we’ve spent a lot of time together on something called “the whole care experience,” which is focused on our service standards, which are 1) keep me safe 2) love me 3) “make it simple” and 4) “own the problem.”
We’ve really worked with our team on those four concepts and how important those are to consumers based on the focus groups and insight we’ve gotten. Those concepts demand that we approach consumers with a certain kind of individual, high touch care.
What are some of the new technologies in the industry that are having the greatest impact on how your business operates?
I’ll touch on several, but they won’t be comprehensive because it’s an era of technology and we find so many opportunities. First, consumers want to be able to do as much as they can on their own. They want an app that allows them to self-schedule, video chat with a doctor, text a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, keep track of their care plan, access health records. The technology is a mobile health platform that allows consumers to connect, all day, all night, rather than just during physical business hours.
Second, the implementation of a to start connecting our locations. Picture a NASA-style control room where we understand where people are, if physicians are available, the kinds of services individual consumers need and want, all tied to call centers and customer relationship management. That technology is something we think has incredible potential.
Third, the Center for Genomic Health. This involves the really significant leaps happening in our understanding of the human genome. Everything from pharmacogenetics that allow me to know which drugs work best for my personal makeup, so my doctor can prescribe just those, to my own genetic profile that allows me to know my risk factors, to tailor my cancer care or prime disease care for my very specific individual profile. We think that’s a burgeoning space.
Are you working with any tech providers or companies that are researching this kind of stuff to influence it or be in on the ground floor?
Yes, and I can touch on a couple. We were one of the small number of health systems that worked with Apple to connect the Apple Health app with electronic medical records. We worked with them so our consumers can pull those records into the Apple Health app. We’re working with GE on the command center, building that together and testing a lot of concepts there. A company called RDA is helping us with our consumer technology and our app and they’ve worked with a lot of large companies in the digital transformation. It’s a consumer era and I’m excited about that, too.