Solving the issue of 'too much data': HOPCo's cross-continent partnership to create world's largest MSK database

Practice Management

Phoenix-based Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company has acquired two applications from London-based Future Health Works and set its sights on creating the world's largest integrated musculoskeletal data platform.

David Jacofsky, MD, chair and CEO of HOPCo, and Dr. Thomas Harte, CEO and co-founder of FHW, spoke to Becker's about how the artificial intelligence-based applications can simplify the transition to value-based care and accelerate the ability to connect patients, providers and payers. 

Question: Specifically, in terms of evidence-based protocols and value-based care, how will HOPCo and its partners benefit from FHW's technology?

Dr. David Jacofsky: For those participating in [Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced] or value-based care programs, complications and readmissions are two of the largest cost drivers. The msk.ai and myrecovery applications utilize state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, motion capture, real-time patient feedback, remote patient monitoring and predictive analytics technologies to track and report outcomes. The data captured through the platform can identify patients at risk of complications or hospital readmissions and allow the physician or provider to intervene before this occurs.  

In more robust programs, such as population health risk models or condition-based bundles, this technology allows for multinodal algorithms within the patient management structure. For example, the instructions, recommendations, therapy or tracking questions that are pushed out to a patient will be updated in real time based on the performance and condition of the patient and the predictive analytics in the background, making it easy for providers or nurse navigators to approve.

When we couple this with HOPCo's existing claims analytics, hospital and clinical datasets, and outcomes data, we can increase physician, payer and patient engagement in value-based programs and drive improved outcomes and savings across the country. We also aim to continue to grow the use of these broader data sets for evidence-based decision making.

Q: What made FHW stand out from other U.S.-based companies in the same market?

DJ: The biggest differentiator was the FHW team had built technologies to encompass the entire spectrum of musculoskeletal care. There are companies with applications that can measure knee replacement outcomes or spine procedure outcomes, and they do that well. Some manage remote therapy very well. A few can help with care navigation or with patient-reported outcomes.  

However, many of our at-risk programs across the country cover over 26,000 ICD-10 codes related to musculoskeletal care. So, having a technology that was only applicable for select procedures or small slivers of the continuum was not what we needed. We wanted a comprehensive solution that was user-friendly and engaging that we could utilize across the country, and that is what the FHW team had developed. Additionally, the physician and patient engagement rates with their tools exceeded those we had seen in other platforms.

Q: How can FHW's success in the U.K. translate to the U.S. healthcare system?

Dr. Thomas Harte: Although much of the payer models may differ from the U.S., the imperatives remain the same. Both the U.K. and U.S. health systems have increasingly put pressure on physicians to improve outcomes and reduce costs. Therefore, the tools and analytics developed in the U.K. have the same application in the U.S. because they drive toward the same goal of pathway optimization and improved patient satisfaction. 

Q: How will the HOPCo-FHW partnership develop in the future? What are the next steps in the integration process?

TH: Our immediate plans are to utilize the investment from HOPCo to further accelerate our growth and significantly grow our team. London has become an epicenter for technology and AI and we have access to some of the best and brightest developers and programmers. We plan to continue to grow the platform's capabilities while utilizing HOPCo's subject matter expertise to help replicate the success we have had in the U.K. here in the U.S.

Q: What does HOPCo aim to achieve in the musculoskeletal data management space in the next five years? 

DJ: One of the biggest challenges we are trying to solve may seem counterintuitive, but it is the problem of too much data. The vast majority of data presented to providers today is fraught with inaccuracies and a lack of the standard definitions or data governance rules that anyone in other industries would consider acceptable practice. Data volume is important, but high-value and actionable data that is in near real time will ultimately win the day and drive change.  

In the U.S. specifically, we suffer from data that is often difficult to access and commonly lives in disparate systems that do not integrate easily. Many providers work within three or four different EMRs in a given week, and this doesn't even get into the various claims processing, operational and financial systems utilized today in healthcare. So, the problem is not a lack of data but rather a lack of ability to present it in a meaningful way, coupled with a lack of standardized benchmarks to add actionable meaning to the data points.

Our goal is to leverage FHW technologies and incorporate our own claims analytics, benchmarks, standard definitions and outcomes data from around the country to create a platform where physicians and health systems have real-time access to clinical decision-making and outcomes data support in a way that allows them to more meaningfully participate in the shift to value-based care.

Q: Can you share some of the hospitals/health systems and medical device companies FHW has partnered with in the U.K.? 

TH: We have been fortunate to work in many countries and on multiple continents. In the U.K., we have worked with large [National Health Service] hospitals and trusts throughout the country. We also work with several of the leading device and implant companies across much of the E.U. Collectively, these companies make up about 50 percent of the device, implant and surgical robotics volume in the E.U.

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