Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

Four Pieces of Wisdom to Accelerate Digital Health Innovation 

Let’s start off with a dad joke.  

Knock, knock! 

Who’s there? 


HIPAA who? 

I can’t disclose that… 

What we can disclose or at least recap are four major takeaways from the webinar that Rhapsody CEO Sagnik Bhattacharya and Chief Product Officer Jitin Asnaani participated in with Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Blackmer moderating.  

  1. What’s the business problem you need to solve?  

Both Sagnik and Jitin emphasized multiple times the importance of starting with the business problem in mind. Healthcare providers are budget constrained and face downward pressure on technology investments. Often, CIOs must reduce budgets – while still spending more on AI. How do they – how do you – make that happen?  

Health tech companies are bringing a lot of innovation to market. The challenges they face – you face – are increasing speed to market and getting products or tools into clinicians’ and patients’ hands faster. There’s a tension between these two groups where integration needs to happen. One of the biggest barriers health tech builders need to solve is how to interoperate with the core systems that their customers (providers) are using. How does data flow in a seamless and scalable way?  

  1. Interoperability is not a problem unto itself to solve 

First, Sagnik shared that the definition of interoperability has expanded, encompassing how different systems all talk to each other and seamlessly fit into the right workflow. Today, there are more systems, more data, more people, and more connections to make.  

Point of care interoperability is already happening in the US and other markets, especially where the patient record has been digitized. The conversation must now be about how to enable digital transformation – and interoperability is a key piece of making that happen.  

Back to point #1, it’s vital to identify the real problem you’re trying to solve such as delivering better patient care, improving the patient experience, or building a copilot to assist physicians. Then, you start asking questions to dig into the steps you need to take to solve that problem – I need data; how do I get data from the right source? How do I make sense of the data? How do I, then, get my innovation whether it’s a product, algorithm, or insight to the right person?  

This is where a buy vs. build decision is usually made. From Sagnik’s perspective, health tech leaders should identify their core differentiators and determine what’s already been solved for. For example, there are vendors in the industry who gather, integrate, and clean data. It may not be the best idea to put your scarce resources toward solving that integration problem. Focus on your differentiation and “secret sauce.”  

  1. TEFCA is also not a problem unto itself to solve 

Jitin, having co-launched and led CommonWell Health Alliance, has an extensive background and incredible experience talking healthcare regulations. In fact, much of his work helped to inform the TEFCA regulations.  

Over the course of the 2010s, three national networks in the US took shape – eHealth Exchange, CommonWell Health Alliance, and Carequality. At the very least, these networks signaled to federal authorities that we need to create and regulate a data exchange framework nationally. The challenge with these networks – and with TEFCA today – is they are used for a very specific purpose. Really, only one sliver of the whole interoperability pie, specific to treating a patient and pulling data at the point of care.  

According to Jitin, “Our number one use case for data exchange is when a clinician is about to meet a patient they’ve never seen before. In this situation, any data is helpful. At least the clinician will know something. If you want to actually perform clinical care, we need to go beyond that to understand what happened to the person.” 

TEFCA, and most national, regional, or global regulations, do not address those tougher or deeper problems. Regulations at this level are intended to raise the floor for healthcare data exchange. They are limited to what they enforce based on the lowest common denominator – they’re designed in such a way to accommodate all healthcare organizations from the most resource-scarce to the most resource-abundant. Back to the first point, providers and health tech companies need to understand what their business problems are and realize regulations can support, likely not solve, these challenges.   

While much of the conversation focused on the US-specific regulation, Sagnik pointed out that Rhapsody has several customers outside the US. It’s just as crucial for these health tech builders and providers to identify their business needs and the different use cases they have for gathering and using data. There may be an existing or forthcoming regulation that will support these efforts. And, there may not be – in which case, having a global partner with flexible technology to help you solve for your needs is critical.  

  1. You can’t have a healthcare technology webinar without talking about AI  

So, the team talked about AI! Really, Jitin identified AI as two buckets of work for Rhapsody. There’s market work and product work.  

From a market work perspective, Rhapsody supports a number of AI companies and technology companies bringing AI into healthcare. We help these companies and enable them to do what they do best. The AI coming out is only as good as the data going into the models, algorithms, and tools. We take this seriously and build those connections, clean the data, and make it useful and usable.  

From a product perspective, we are looking at how we can bring AI into our products to enable better, faster, more intelligent workflows. As a forward-thinking company, Rhapsody consistently evolves and embraces the latest advancements, including AI. We’ve introduced Rhapsody Autopilot which uses machine learning neural networks to reduce the repetitive tasks a data steward performs. This enables these experts to focus on higher-value tasks.   

Sagnik summed up the AI conversation by noting we’re seeing a paradigm shift happen, and AI is moving at a rapid pace – one that healthcare isn’t typically used to. Rhapsody’s job, he explained, is to better enable innovations to come to market faster with the highest data quality. It’s about reducing the time data scientists spend on cleaning data so they can focus on the cool stuff.  

While no one knows where the world will end up, what we do know is healthcare will continue to evolve. Our industry needs innovators, thinkers, and builders – all of you and your peers. We need health tech companies and we need providers – most importantly, we need high quality usable data to flow between the two (and many more data sources).  

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