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Right now, it's hard not to live day-to-day because of COVID-19. But Mark Bini, Express Scripts' Chief Patient Experience Officer, recently asked, "What will the history books say when they look back on 2020?" He suspected that our future selves would view this year as a tremendous challenge for both the United States and the world but also "a catalyst moment for digital technology and health technology."

Mark offered this reflection during a recent Modern Healthcare webinar alongside Zipnosis CEO and founder Jon Pearce, and Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton. Among other things, the panelists discussed the digital transformation in healthcare and how the needs of patients and providers are shifting.  

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"I've been around for a while, so I've seen a lot of this journey over an extended period of time," Tom pointed out. "And during what is obviously an extremely painful, challenging and unique time, we were still able to move through the enablement, adoption and utilization phases of healthcare technology in a rapid fashion."

Throughout the conversation, the panelists shared multiple examples of healthcare's acceleration in interoperability and information sharing.

In some ways, acceleration occurred because of innovation. Tom pointed to health systems’ creative use of Surescripts Clinical Direct Messaging solution to facilitate connectivity with public health agencies to report COVID-19 cases. Now, almost four million COVID-19 electronic initial case reports have been sent by over 30 healthcare organizations to more than 60 jurisdictions nationwide.

In other ways, acceleration occurred because health IT—like telehealth—was waiting in the wings, ready to help. "When we look at it from the virtual care perspective, we start at the vanguard of virtual care and digital adoption for years and years and years, and 2020, we just jumped in," Jon shared. "It's tremendously exciting to see sort of the false barriers, regulation and reimbursement just come crumbling down. It's enabled us to integrate digital tools into care delivery, providers' workflow and consumers' experiences in ways that we have just dreamed about and anticipated for years."

Finally, acceleration occurred because providers increasingly have access to health IT tools that provide them with actionable information. "A few years ago, physicians that had real-time benefit information were in the thousands, Mark said. “Now there's been an exponential growth in the acceptance and adoption of this information at the point of care. A lot of that has to do with the ability to present that information in providers' workflow. Hundreds of thousands of physicians now see real-time information aligned with benefits, whether it's formulary compliance or pharmacy networks. This makes the lives of everyone easier, drives affordability and helps with simplicity."

Watch the webinar to learn more about how our partners across the Surescripts Network Alliance are working together to enhance the provider and patient experience during COVID-19. And read our recent report about the 2020 milestones reached in the use and adoption of interoperable healthcare technology.