On this episode of The Modern Practice Podcast, presented by Rectangle Health, host Gary Tiratsuyan is joined by Senior Vice President of Product at Rectangle Health, Kim Howland to discuss how healthcare providers can simplify their:
- Patient payment
- Engagement processes
AND manage their HIPAA, OSHA, and PCI compliance from a single platform. Kim shares the importance of onboarding a solution that can manage all these tasks and integrates with practice management systems seamlessly to reduce friction and enhance the user experience for both staff and patients.
Learn more about Rectangle Health’s powerful Practice Management Bridge® platform to see how we simplify the business side of healthcare, here>>
Kim brings over 20 years of experience developing and commercializing new technologies in healthcare. Kim leads the product organization to ensure that Rectangle Health brings ongoing value to healthcare practices so that practitioners can focus on keeping patients healthy and happy. Most recently, Kim served as Vice President, Product Management at EnlivenHealth, where she built a product organization and implemented practices that enabled more rapid delivery of value to retail pharmacy customers using EnlivenHealth’s portfolio of clinical workflow, patient engagement, and financial solutions. Kim led the product and engineering organizations through the integration of two acquisitions, creating the roadmap toward a unified product offering and streamlining the portfolio.
Previously, as Chief Product Officer at Diameter Health, Kim worked closely with customers to create the product roadmap, envisioning and developing new solutions that improved data interoperability for HIEs, health plans, and health systems. Prior to Diameter Health, Kim was Vice President of Product Development at Omnicell, overseeing product development and commercialization and portfolio management of hardware and software solutions aimed at improving provider efficiency and patient outcomes in the acute care environment. Prior to joining Omnicell, Kim opened and led the San Francisco office of Health Advances, a healthcare management consultancy. While at Health Advances, Kim helped biotech, diagnostic, and med-tech clients develop new technologies, grow existing product lines, prioritize portfolios, and find strategic partners.
Kim holds a B.S. in Biology from Bates College, a Masters in Medical Sciences from Harvard Medical School, and a Ph.D in Immunology from Harvard University.
Connect with Kim on LinkedIn >>
Gary Tiratsuyan 00:19
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Modern Practice Podcast presented by Rectangle Health. I’m really excited for today’s episode as we will be joined by Kimberly Howland, Senior Vice President of Product at Rectangle Health. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology, a master’s in medical sciences from Harvard Medical School, and a PhD in immunology from Harvard University. Kim brings over 20 years of experience developing and commercializing new technologies and healthcare. She has experience in unifying product offerings, creating development roadmaps, and implementing those enhancements to enable smoother, more efficient and elevated experiences for users. Kim has a deep understanding of the needs of the industry and has been an integral player in the advancements in Rectangle Health solutions and offerings. Kim, thrilled to have you as a guest on the show, and I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Thanks so much for taking the time.
Kimberly Howland 01:15
Thank you so much for having me. I’m delighted to be here.
Gary Tiratsuyan 01:19
The pleasure is all mine. And I know I gave you an intro, but I’d love to hear from you about your career path and what led you to Rectangle Health.
Kimberly Howland 01:27
Yeah, well, it was a convoluted and unplanned pathway for sure. But after graduate school, I spent 10 years consulting largely to biotech and pharma companies on developing targeted therapies and companion diagnostics. And that was fantastic. But part of my work also involves doing strategic planning, portfolio planning, and M&A. And one of the companies I did a lot of M&A work for brought me on full time with their strategy business development group. And I created some strategic plans for them, thinking about what products to develop what to sunset, how to enhance, and quickly found myself leading product. So that’s really where I learned the ins and outs of software and hardware product development. It was fantastic.
Well, I loved software and I ended up working with a friend of mine from consulting at Diameter Health. We worked on software solution for data interoperability, and that was SaaS. So that’s really where I learned the ins and outs of SaaS. I went back to Omnicell in the SaaS division, and worked on integrating a number of different companies and solutions into a single platform and a single-user experience for pharmacy. And some of those solutions involve omnichannel communication solutions scheduling, helping pharmacies bill and get paid for clinical services by payers. And a recruiter reached out talk to me about Rectangle Health. And while I knew nothing about patient payments, some of that healthcare experience, SaaS and those solutions I already had experience with were relevant. So here I am.
Gary Tiratsuyan 03:07
Amazing journey. And as I mentioned before, the reason why I’m excited to have the opportunity to chat on the show, is because of all that the knowledge. Where I really want to start is getting your take on the Rectangle Health Practice Management Bridge platform, and where it fits into the day-to-day operations of a practice.
Kimberly Howland 03:27
Yeah, of course. So, Practice Management Bridge aims to be everything that the PMS or the EHR is not. When you talk to healthcare providers, most of them didn’t go to school to run a business. They really want to focus on patient care. But healthcare is a business, and there’s a lot of things you need to do that don’t involve patient care. So, you need to hire and train staff, you need to make sure your staff is up to date on regulations, you have to bill and get paid both by payers and by patients. And you have to have good ways to engage with your patients. And some PMSs or EHRs are doing some of those things. But there’s still a lot of gaps. And that’s where we really want to sit and really help providers fill in the gaps and be everything else to them that their PMS or EHR is not.
Gary Tiratsuyan 04:17
You mentioned filling in the gaps. And I want to discuss that for a minute if we can. Well, first, can you talk to me a little bit more in depth about what those gaps are? And second, as far as the development from the Rectangle Health side, what’s been done to fill them?
Kimberly Howland 04:34
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, if we think about our day-to-day lives, there are so many things we can do with these handheld computers we’re all carrying around, or other digital ways to engage. And unfortunately, healthcare is pretty far behind on that. So, we think about the patient perspective. If I want to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist, I have to call the office during business hours, wait on hold, wait through the messaging, and find a time that works. And that would be much easier if I could go online and schedule at my convenience and not need to interact with another human to do that. So, then I scheduled an appointment and I forget that I scheduled that appointment, those reminders that you get, “Hey, you’ve got an appointment tomorrow,” are very, very helpful for making sure patients show up for the appointments that they have scheduled. We can solve some of those problems; our Practice Management Bridge engagement solution helps automate scheduling and those reminders.
Now I receive care, and often a month later, two months later, you get a paper bill in the mail, right? How much do you owe after your health insurance didn’t pay for all of it. And then I either have to find my credit card and write my credit card information in there or go get my checkbook and mail that piece of paper back to the provider. How much easier is it if I can just get a text or get an email, click a link and pay digitally again? So much easier. I can do it when and where I want to do it. So, Practice Management Bridge payments really helps patients pay their providers and helps providers get paid for the work they’re doing.
And then finally, from a compliance perspective, HIPAA and OSHA, it’s a lot to keep up with. And so, being able to have templates and help practices get those policies in place and keep their staff trained, really helps them. It takes away all that mental labor of keeping up. So, we really try to save the providers time, let them focus on patient care. Their patients getting good care and happier; everybody wins.
Gary Tiratsuyan 06:43
I love that. And we know every practice has a unique set of needs. On the administrative side, you just covered a range from the payments to the financing to compliance… all the above. And we also know that not everyone is on a single practice management system. There are multiple players in the space. So how is Rectangle Health building and developing Practice Management Bridge to meet the needs of the practice? And does it seamlessly sync with any practice management solution?
Kimberly Howland 07:15
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, we’re not in a unique position; this happens a lot. But we’re dependent on getting information from the practice managers; they are providing information back to really provide that seamless experience. And we want to be as open as we can. So, some PMS maybe have some parts of our solution, or they have it on their roadmap. And it doesn’t matter to us; we just want to fill what gaps are there. So, providers can take bits of our solution or all of our solution. And we want to be as deeply integrated as they will let us we’ve also developed ways to have files imported in a less integrated fashion. But with a very few exceptions of some scheduling functionality that requires a two way interface. We can have our entire platform available. However, the PMs wants to work with us.
Gary Tiratsuyan 08:05
And so, with all that, how are you and your team, keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry and the needs of the providers? And how important has that communication been in enhancing Rectangle Health’s solutions?
Kimberly Howland 08:20
Yeah, communication is key. So our product team, we want to be talking to customers as often as we can. It really helps to hear firsthand the needs or the problems that those customers still face. So, that’s one mechanism of getting feedback. We meet regularly with sales or delivery, and our customer success managers. So, all of the information that they’re learning from customers is feeding into product. We go to conferences, which is a great place to talk to a whole lot of customers in a short amount of time, and also to see what other companies are doing to help solve these problems. And we have a place on the software where customers can leave feedback right in the application. And we read through that. So, we take all of that information and try to solve the biggest problems first for the customers and prioritize our roadmap that way.
Gary Tiratsuyan 09:15
I think that’s a perfect segue, speaking of the roadmap, into yet another component of Practice Management Bridge that you mentioned earlier, which is Patient Financing. Originally launched last year, there have been some big changes. And those changes now give providers the ability to increase their case acceptance, and patients the ability to easily manage that cost of care. Can you get into what some of those big changes are and how it’s going to impact a provider’s revenue cycle? And did that come from hearing from the teams that you’re speaking to and the feedback inside of that system?
Kimberly Howland 09:55
Yes, absolutely. So, we released Patient Financing last year. And it was really a pilot in that we had one plan commercially available, but you could access that financing and have patients be invited to apply. And that went over very well with providers. But what we found was, we didn’t have the breadth of financing options that some of our provider segments or patients needed. So, we worked with our partner, and we created a wide variety of new plans that have higher financing limits and are more tailored to specific types of care that a patient many need. And we’ve made that available through Practice Management Bridge payments, and we’re very excited for our providers to take advantage of that and really be able to offer their patients more options. We’ve become far more competitive with the market leaders in financing. And so, we’re pretty excited about this.
Gary Tiratsuyan 10:51
Yeah, that’s incredible; it really speaks to something we’ve really heard a lot on this show, which is Rectangle Health’s consultative approach, listening, adjusting and adapting to the needs of the industry. So, I think those changes speak to that, that approach that Rectangle Health takes for sure.
So, during this last segment, before we wrap up, I want to get into a partnership that stemmed from identifying a huge opportunity to save providers time and effort: straight-through processing with Zelis. A while back, I had Joshua Cooper from the Rectangle Health’s integrations team on the show, and he said this was groundbreaking. So, from your perspective, why is it groundbreaking?
Kimberly Howland 11:35
Great question. So, obviously providers need to get paid by the different health insurers that are out there. And shockingly, a fair amount of that still happens with paper checks, particularly in dentistry. Well, there are a lot of electronic or digital ways that that those payments can flow. Virtual credit cards is one of them. And how that works is, the payer provides to the provider a virtual credit card, and that credit card can contains payment for many patients. And with every patient, multiple procedures, the provider looks to see if they have one of those payments available, and keys it in and that payment is available next day. What straight-through processing does is, it automatically catches the payment and processes it so the provider doesn’t have to think about going and looking for the payment. It saves the time of keying that in. So, that’s the first bit of value.
Now, different payers may provide different sets of information. And what we’ve done is make a standardized explanation of payment. The provider goes under Practice Management Bridge and looks at the transaction, and we’ve broken it down so you can easily see what patients you were paid for what services. So that’s the second bit of value there; making that standard.
And then the final bit of value is, with one click of a button, you can post that information back to the PMS. So that’s massive labor savings for the practice. So, we really tried to make it easy and provide more value to the practices by taking that digital form of payment.
Gary Tiratsuyan 13:24
It’s amazing stuff and a huge partnership providing a ton of value. For our listeners tuning in, if you’d like to learn more about that Zelis partnership with Rectangle Health, you can learn more here. And Kim, I’d love to also give our audience a chance to connect with you and ask any questions they may have and learn more about the innovation coming out of Rectangle Health. Where can they do that?
Kimberly Howland 13:53
Yeah, you can connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a message there and I’d be delighted to chat.
Gary Tiratsuyan 13:59
Perfect, I’ll be sure to drop a link to your profile in this episode’s description as well, as well as a link to Rectangle Health’s site where all our listeners can find a ton more information about Practice Management Bridge. This has been highly, highly insightful and fun. Thanks so much for taking the time to join me.
Kimberly Howland 14:18
Thank you for having me. It’s been great. These questions really help our customers in the market stay up to date with some of the technical technological innovation. So that’s fantastic.
Gary Tiratsuyan 14:28
Absolutely, the pleasure is all mine. And I’m looking forward to having you on again real soon. For our listeners tuning in today, if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, hit that subscribe button on your favorite streaming channel. Leave us a review. Let us know how we’re doing. And as always be on the lookout for a new episode of the Modern Practice Podcast coming your way soon. Thanks for tuning in. Till next time, everyone.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.