Shashi Tripathi is Chief Technology Officer at ImpediMed, a global provider of medical technology to non-invasively measure, monitor, and manage tissue composition and fluid status using bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS), including its FDA-cleared SOZO® Digital Health Platform, used in hospitals and clinics. Shashi has worked in healthcare his entire career, including for healthcare systems, payers, and within the life sciences market. At ImpediMed, he manages the company’s family of products as well as customer experience. Shashi has been associated with HIMSS for more than ten years and recently became a member of the HIMSS Innovation Committee.
HIMSS: What are the most important new innovations in digital health?
Shashi: In U.S. healthcare we are all trying to achieve the Triple Aim: reducing cost, deliver quality of care and improve the patient experience. So much of this revolves around consumer engagement. Several new technologies are emerging, from analytics to predictive analytics, that help predict which patients might be hospitalized.
For example, ImpediMed is exploring innovations that can detect lymphedema and prevent hospitalization from heart failure by very accurately measuring a patient’s fluid level within cells, outside, and between the cells. That data can be used to creatively connect the dots with other disease conditions. Sudden changes can show that something is going on in the body – so disease conditions can be predicted and prevented before they ever happen. This is an ideal place to be as it really hits all three of the Triple Aim goals to reduce cost, improve quality and improve the patient experience.
HIMSS: What do you see as the most pressing needs on the healthcare horizon?
Shashi: The annual cost of U.S. healthcare spending is more than $3.5 trillion and represents nearly 18% of our gross domestic product (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Something needs to be done. New care delivery and payment models can reduce cost – but we also need to address quality of care and patient experience.
According to the Institute of Medicine, there is nearly $800 billion in waste in the U.S. healthcare system. This waste is due to lack of coordinated care, unnecessary tests, lack of medication compliance and other issues. To manage these challenges, new technologies are being developed around analytics and predictive analytics. Healthcare systems are looking at ways to merge data and use machine learning to predict likelihood of hospitalization, as we’ve done with ImpediMed’s SOZO Digital Health Platform. That kind of information will enable case management to be considered as an option rather than just a 15-minute office visit. Predicting likelihood of hospitalization could impact both clinical and socioeconomic aspects and thereby provide better care for the patient.
HIMSS: How do you benefit from being on the HIMSS Innovation Committee?
Shashi: It’s useful to hear what others are doing. As a team with diverse backgrounds, we consider challenges in healthcare – and how we can collectively solve them.
I’ve noticed that the HIMSS Innovation Committee doesn’t just look at technology, but also considers what’s happening in local communities in creating products and services to improve healthcare. I love being part of this committee and hearing about new ideas and seeing what HIMSS is doing – at the macro level yes, but also locally because that’s important, too.
HIMSS: Anything else on your mind?
Shashi: With all the different challenges facing the healthcare industry today, don’t worry about big things. Even if you take a small piece of the puzzle and provide a solution – please do so. That small piece can make a huge difference.
Consider how you can help patients behaviorally to better engage in their healthcare, or how you can reduce chronic care which makes up 80% of costs.
Pick one area you feel passionately about, whether it’s big or small. In my life, I’ve found that the healthcare community is very strong, and people are willing to help. Reach out to people you might not know. Collaborate with others in the industry who may be trying to solve the same problem.