You could say that the work Complia Health CEO Rich Berner is doing is in his blood.
His mother became a nurse at 40 years old, while also raising five kids. It’s something that has stuck with him his entire professional career – but means more now that he’s at the helm of a company that develops products to help caregivers with their daily tasks, while also driving better patient outcomes.
“I saw firsthand what it takes to become a nurse. For these care team members, it's a vocation more than a job,” he says.
For nearly 25 years, Chicago-area-based Complia Health has been providing industry-leading EMR and other technology solutions to its clients. Berner has a computer science background and has held leadership positions at several healthcare tech companies, like MDLIVE Inc. and Allscripts (now Veradigm).
“I would often be told: ‘Hey Rich, this is broken. Fix it,” he says. In the home health care industry, there’s plenty to fix.
The industry is complex, and there’s a lack of alignment between end-users and incentive models, making change difficult. Additionally, the in-home, post-acute setting was for years overlooked in terms of tech advancements. However, with the government now recognizing the value of delivering care in the home to optimize both outcomes and cost-effectiveness – with various tech helping that along – the future is bright for providers, Berner says.
“There is a growing emphasis on consumer demands in the home health care industry, and a shift towards more risk-based contracts,” Berner says. “To succeed in the future, diversification of service lines is crucial.”
Complia Health’s focus is on providing a single Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system across all service lines and care settings outside of the hospital, accompanied by a business intelligence platform that predicts and helps prevent adverse medical events.
“This shift allows us to move from reactive care to proactive and predictive health management,” Berner says.
Three key areas set his company apart from other players in the industry, Berner says:
- Prioritization of technology that helps clients drive greater ROI today. Beyond just solving technology needs, Complia Health focuses on how agencies can increase profitability in the near term, while improving clinical outcomes and the consumer experience.
- Embracing automation as having a central role in their business approach. By understanding the challenges of staff retention and automating routine tasks, the company helps operators create capacity to focus on providing care rather than administrative duties. “Automation not only benefits staff retention but also aligns with consumer expectations. Patients desire an experience similar to what they receive in other industries, such as the convenience of shopping on Amazon,” Berner says. “Just as Amazon suggests reordering dog food when it predicts a shortage, our system can alert congestive heart failure patients if their weight has increased significantly, initiating a question-and-answer session to identify potential underlying issues.”
- A commitment to innovation and thought leadership in navigating the future of healthcare. The industry is undergoing significant change driven by increasing population demands and evolving reimbursement models. To stay ahead, Complia collaborates with their clients, assisting them in becoming pioneers in this transformation. “Our goal is to help our clients become the healthcare equivalent of Netflix rather than being left behind like Blockbuster,” Berner says.
From a product standpoint, Complia Health takes a user-centered approach, employing experts in human-centered design to enhance the user experience. A main focus in their products is on reducing clicks, automating workflows, and creating a seamless experience for patients and employees alike.
Complia Health’s EMRs include ContinuLink, a single-solution for home health and personal care services agencies, and Suncoast, which is specialized to meet the needs of hospice and palliative care providers.
One product Berner boasts about is EMMA (Electronic Medical Management Assistant), an AI-based chatbot and the core of their SmartAge platform. EMMA acts as the brains behind the system, gathering data from their EMR systems and other sources to create a personal health record. EMMA constantly monitors the data and intervenes proactively and predictively, aiming to prevent issues rather than react to them.
EMMA is also able to ‘Uber-ize’ staffing challenges. For example, if a caregiver cancels a shift, EMMA will automatically post the open shift to a provider’s caregiver network, notifying the team that an opening is available.
“Today, if there's a canceled shift, it takes two or three people in the office and numerous phone calls. In 45 minutes they're high-fiving when they say ‘Hey, we filled that shift,’” Berner says. “It takes about four seconds to order an Uber. After communicating the opening, EMMA handles the matching and communication back and forth to ensure you can get that shift filled as soon as possible.”
Complia is also exploring the use of Chat GPT within EMMA, feeding the AI generative language tool de-identified medical records. Once fully developed, it can eliminate the need for interoperability standards by normalizing language across different EMRs, Berner says.
“The transformative potential of AI in health care is immense,” Berner says. “It opens up new avenues for improving patient outcomes and overall care delivery we’ve never seen before. Chatbots will play a significant role in health care delivery in the future.”
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