The Tsunami of Health Innovation: Katie Richardson, Colorado Permanente Medical Group: NOW #135


We are here at the Prime Health Summit.
It’s an honor to be with Dr. Katie Richardson, Director of Innovations at
the Colorado Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. Thank you for being here.
Sure, thanks for having me. I, you know, I’d love to start with a little bit
about your background. I always love talking to doctors.
We call them “doctorpreneurs” at StartUp Health. One of the great trends
we’re seeing is the wave of doctors that are starting to focus on innovation. Maybe talk a little bit about your background and how you got into healthcare. I
actually decided as a junior in highschool, of all things, that I wanted to be a pediatrician, and I was on that mission from then on, and I haven’t looked back.
So, I’m a practicing pediatrician. I’ve been in Colorado for all of my training.
You were at Children’s Hospital? Exactly. So, Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Went to CU for medical school and went to undergrad down at Colorado
College in the springs. So, I have been in this ecosystem for many years and it’s
been really exciting to see things grow and change, for sure. So, you really have
been leading it for many years now. Leading, helping, build the ecosystem here. I’d love to hear, you know, what’s your mission of what you’re you’re
trying to accomplish? So, Kaiser Permanente’s mission, really, is about
delivering high quality, affordable health care to, not only our members, but
the communities we serve. Me, personally, I am driven by the fact that being a
provider is, a physician, is not an easy job and, especially, with the addition of
the electronic medical record. I really feel like so much has landed in the laps
of physicians and in order to, kind of, turn things around I really feel like
technology and innovation are what we need to leverage to take better care of
our patients. Are you optimistic about what you’re seeing in terms of how
innovation is helping improve, or make some of the changes, or do you feel
like, geesh, we’ve got a long way to go still? I think we have a long way to
go and I’m very optimistic. I think it’ll be, the transformation, the turning of the
tide is coming. The tidal wave, really, is coming and I think it will really change
the way that I practice. I predict in the next five to ten years I’ll be
practicing very different from how I practice today. Which I’m really excited
about. One of the things that I hear a lot from physicians that are focusing on
innovation is the opportunity to get back working with with patients again,
instead of paperwork, and number crunching, and bill paying, and all those
things that seem to be taking so much of the time out. You know, Kaiser Permanente
has been a leader in this area. Really, we’re seeing the changing business
models, really, from fee-for-service to value-based care. Talk a little bit about
how is, have you seen that work for you all, and are you excited to see more of
the industry, sort of, follow your lead there? Absolutely. Working for Kaiser
Permanente I can do what’s right for the patient every time, because I’m not
incentivized to prescribe unnecessary medications, do unnecessary procedures,
those types of things. It’s really about, again, how do I deliver the highest
quality care at the most affordable price. And, that’s utilizing
evidence-based medicine to take the best care of my patients and I’m very excited.
I mean, I think our model is one that the rest of the nation certainly could
follow in the value-based care arena, and you know, I certainly believe as a
provider that it’s the right way to go. I’m incentivized only to do what’s right
for the patient. It’s fantastic. This change can’t happen fast enough. I know
it does take time. Let’s talk a little bit about Colorado. It’s an extraordinary
place for a variety of reasons. We’re seeing it become, really, a leader with
health innovation. Why is that? Why is Colorado such a great place? Why are more doctors, and doctorpreneurs, and entrepreneurs moving here?
Well, I think part of it is the culture and the people. It’s a very open,
welcoming state. So, I think that’s part of it. I think we attract a lot of young
people who are really excited about, you know, any kind of change in innovation,
healthcare, specifically. We have, you know, not only Kaiser Permanente, but
University of Colorado Health and many big hospital systems, payors, and
providers here in the state, which I think makes it a fantastic breeding
ground for digital health technology and a change that we want to see as well.
What would some of your advice or lessons learned be to entrepreneurs,
innovators, that are just getting started here in this ecosystem and trying to
work with Kaiser, or, I know you know many of the other organizations well.
What would, what would those lessons learn be and advice? You know, I think the
biggest thing, really, is engaging providers and care teams early. There are
some folks that go into digital health technology and health innovation that,
really, don’t know a lot about healthcare and I think, not only engaging providers
and care teams, but also patients in, in what are their needs? What are the
changes that would be beneficial? How could the technology that they are
building or creating, how could that change the way we deliver care? So, I
think it’s, really, engaging with both providers, care teams, and patients to
understand where the big pain points are and, you know, in partnership, in
collaboration. We can definitely build something to work towards alleviating
those pain points. Predictions. Predictions for the next few years. How,
how does health change? What changes for the patient? Where do you see things
going? Well, I would hope, one of Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s visions, is about
meeting people where they are. And, I really think that that means virtual
care is going to take center stage with how I deliver care for my patients. How
we all deliver care for our patients. And I also think it’s around, you know, where
are the places that you go on a regular basis and you would be able to get
healthcare at all of those places? So, meeting people where they are, both
virtually and in person. In the home, at their work. Absolutely. In the park, perhaps. Yes. Starbucks, you name it. Right. Wonderful.
If you could wave a magic wand and, sort of, enlist an army of entrepreneurs, a
Global Army of Health Transformers, as we call them, to help you on on your mission,
or Kaiser’s mission, what, what would you ask of them? To help you with? You know, I feel like there are often barriers to trying to move this work forward. We’re a
large organization. Many of these collaborators or health systems are
large organizations. So, one of the things would be, be patient with us. You know, don’t, just because it may not work out the first time or the first conversation, I
would say no is just a starting point. And, and have patience. I get as
frustrated internally as I know some of the entrepreneurs get frustrated
externally. And, like I said, we want to be involved, and we want to be engaged, and
so continue to reach out and ask for our advice and our assistance, and we’d love
to partner and collaborate. That’s wonderful. And Kaiser Permanente Ventures have been a great supporter of StartUp Health and our ecosystem. So, I want to
thank you all for for that. Last question. Personal health. What do you do to stay
healthy? Any tips for others? You know, I really am about healthy
eating. So, I think it starts there. I, you know, talk to kids in my exam room every
day about healthy eating, active living, and so I think family dinners and eating
healthy is at the core of that. And so, I try and help my daughter understand that
everyday. And then, we try and stay active. So, and really, it’s about she and I doing
things together. So, walking the dog, going on bike rides, all that kind of stuff.
Colorado is a great place to be outside, so we try and do that when the sun is
shining as much as possible. It’s a beautiful day out today. I’m ready to jump
outside myself. Well, thank you so much for everything you do and thank you for
for sharing your wisdom with us. Yeah. Thank you.

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