While we’ve seen health systems integrating digital into their models for years, COVID radically accelerated this trend as systems were forced to quickly scale up their ability to engage, assess, triage, and treat patients virtually. Coupled with the need to reduce contact during in-person visits, even previously slow adopters gained experience with virtual care, launched elements of a digital front door, and tested hospital at home models to expand capacity.
What happens next is of critical importance. “In the past year, health systems have come to accept that their digital journey is just beginning. Weaving these new capabilities into integrated care models, effective growth strategies, and workforce enablers will be critical to health systems’ success, and for many hospitals, survival,” says Linda Finkel, CEO of AVIA. “Retail-first entrants, digital-first behemoths, private equity-backed disruptors, and aggressive payers seeking to provide care themselves moved faster than health systems, many with far deeper pockets.”
The risk for health systems is real and the stakes for their communities are high. As health systems get serious about digital transformation, Linda has been at the forefront of helping them shift to digital-first operations through her work as the leader of AVIA. The company was founded on the simple belief that healthcare must benefit from the digital renaissance that other industries have experienced. “AVIA understood that simply implementing standalone digital solutions isn’t enough,” says Linda. “Digital isn’t a strategy. Digital should accelerate a health system’s most important strategies and must be tightly linked to those. Further, they need to be integrated into cohesive platforms that actually have real impact on patients and providers, and move key metrics that matter—not just sound innovative. AVIA was built to do just that.”
Linda has led the team at AVIA for over seven years, first as President and then as CEO, inspiring action and helping health systems integrate digital into their DNA. “What keeps me inspired and passionate about the work we’re doing at AVIA is our clear commitment to making health and care better in the country,” says Linda. “I believe digital is one of the fastest, most enduring routes to drive change, improve care, and reduce health disparities. AVIA believes that health systems have a critical and central role to play in their communities and in the future of healthcare, even if that future looks different than today.” AVIA’s industry presence is the result of this clear mission, an unwavering commitment to results, and an innovative business model, and their partnership with over 50 health systems across the country shows the value and impact of their work.
Transforming From Doing Digital to Being Digital
When COVID-19 made digital a necessary part of success for health systems, AVIA was perfectly positioned to guide organizations from “doing digital” to “being digital”. “In the past, we found that only more innovative health systems were doing this strategic digital work,” says Linda. “COVID-19 changed that – now, every health system and hospital needs to be thinking about digital, and the broad applicability of our work has sparked significant interest in AVIA’s expertise from health systems across the country.”
In order to drive their digital transformation work at health systems, AVIA has developed a unique model that best serves the individual needs of each health system, working where strategy meets execution. The various teams within AVIA are all designed to connect their clients to the digital expertise they need, when they need it, and across all areas of healthcare.
“The teams in our Centers of Excellence include the country’s leading experts on digital impact on healthcare and the opportunities within consumerism, care, and operational transformation,” says Linda. “The Centers work closely with our Members in collaboration with our Consulting team, who marries traditional health system strategy with our unique understanding of how digital capabilities can support that strategy. Our Client Engagement team partners with each health system along their journey, serving as a digital transformation guide and building enduring relationships with our clients. AVIA Connect, our on-demand digital insights platform, further enables health system leaders to efficiently educate themselves on a digital space, find solutions and understand the experiences of other leaders with those companies.”
AVIA helped the health network align leadership around a vision and provided a high-level roadmap for implementing and scaling digital solutions to address the health system’s operational and consumer-facing opportunities and challenges.
Spearheading Change with Membership and Consulting
Underscoring their commitment to being true partners to health systems is AVIA’s unique Membership model. Member health systems gain access to the industry’s leading experts in digital transformation, unlocking digital insights, targeted advisory support, and peer connections to inform how they leverage people, processes, and technology to become a digital-first organization. “The AVIA Network helps our Members understand where to place their bets in digital for the greatest potential impact,” says Finkel, “and allows health systems to face down disruptors.”
Membership isn’t the only way that AVIA partners with health systems to drive digital change. “Our consulting team partners with health systems to build digital strategies that accelerate their enterprise goals, drive alignment on that vision, create tangible roadmaps, and structure governance to drive impact,” says Linda. “Our Membership services, in turn, allow them to build out those digital capabilities at an accelerated pace with more speed and less risk. Each offering powers up the other.”
AVIA’s impact is clear when put into action. One AVIA Member, a leading regional health network based in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, leveraged AVIA’s expertise to help them think about digital more broadly, spurred by COVID-19. The client engaged with AVIA on an enterprise digital strategy project following a strategy presentation to the health network’s board in January 2020. AVIA helped the health network align leadership around a vision and provided a high-level roadmap for implementing and scaling digital solutions to address the health system’s operational and consumer-facing opportunities and challenges.
Driving Digital Transformation with Leading Experts
AVIA’s work with Members and consulting clients are driven by their Centers of Excellence, which gives the health systems access to healthcare’s leading experts on digital transformation. “The Centers of Excellence have deep knowledge of the digital capabilities that accelerate digital strategies, where systems should be making their bets, and how to organize a system to execute,” says Linda.
The Center for Consumerism, Center for Operational Transformation, and Center for Care Transformation address the most pressing challenges related to digital transformations. The Center for Consumerism is focused on driving strategies that drive growth, improve access, and deliver unique consumer and patient experiences, while the Center for Operational Transformation helps health systems integrate automation across clinical, financial, and business areas to enhance efficiencies. The Center for Care Transformation is committed to rethinking key aspects of patient care delivery using digital solutions, improving care for underserved populations, and implementing value-based care models across the industry.
Enabling Innovation with AVIA Connect, Healthcare’s Digital Marketplace
Underpinning AVIA’s offerings is AVIA Connect, a flagship platform and free marketplace that brings together digital health companies and health system buyers to streamline the vendor selection process. It delivers industry insights and research, vendor and product profiles, technology landscapes, and vendor experiences from health system peers. The platform showcases the digital company landscape for a wide variety of different capabilities, ranging from remote patient monitoring to virtual visits. “AVIA Connect helps health systems find the right digital solutions for their needs and hear directly from peers about their experiences with the tools,” says Linda. “For digital health companies, it provides a means to gain visibility with their target audience and help their next customer find them.”
Looking to the Digital Future
As we move into 2022, Linda sees no signs of healthcare’s digital renaissance slowing down, and AVIA plans to increase their impact across the industry. In the first half of 2021 alone, six new health systems joined AVIA as Members, tapping into the company’s network to aid them in driving digital transformation.
Looking to the future, AVIA expects a continued growth in the demand for digital transformation services. “There’s no way around it – digital transformation is hard,” says Linda. “It’s more important than ever for health systems to reassess everything from their capital investments and digital governance to the depth of talent in key areas requiring digital innovation. Like other industries before them, they have an advantage as incumbents—until they don’t. Now is the time to act.”