Putting the Patient at the Center of Healthcare Innovation

A conversation with David Cohen, FACHE, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Greenway Health

As Greenway Health’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, David Cohen’s mission is to help the organization become the leading software provider for doctors and other healthcare professionals in the ambulatory care market. That means changing how the entire company thinks about creating solutions for everything from virtual care to back-office operations. AWS spoke to David about Greenway’s new product development approach and how it helped them deliver a series of successful new products at breakneck speed.

Start with the customer in mind

How has Greenway’s approach to product development changed?

David Cohen: Like many companies, we’re making the shift from being a monolithic, packaged software company to delivering software in a more modern and iterative way. In our last three projects, we started by working backwards. Using the AWS Digital Innovation Program approach, we created a press release and FAQ document and pulled customers into the process to have an aligned definition of success. One thing we realized is that a lot of the off-the-shelf products don’t address our customers’ needs. That led us down the path of working with customers to design something new. We established a customer advisory board that was involved in every step of the way.

People think of innovation as something that happens in a lab. We think about innovation in the context of working with our customers to accelerate the delivery of new products and capabilities that will immediately impact their business needs and challenges.”

Learn. Iterate. Scale.

How did this help you meet your customer needs during COVID-19?

David Cohen: COVID created an explosion in demand for telehealth and virtual care. Before the pandemic, the projections were for 25 million healthcare responses in 2020, but we ended up with close to a billion. Our customers needed telehealth capability, and they needed it quickly. We started by defining what success would look like and what we could deliver in a short development cycle. We set our sights on a 12-week delivery with the expectation that we would build on it. And that’s exactly what we did. We built the product, got it to market quickly, and now we’re focused on delivering monthly iterations and incremental capabilities on top of that.


Accelerating the pace of innovation

What did you learn from working so quickly?

David Cohen: It was a new approach for us to know we might not get it perfect out of the gate, but it was essential to get the product into our customers’ hands to learn how they’d use it, what’s important to them, and how we could build on that. Not all patients are technically savvy, so the solution had to appeal to a wide range of people, from the elderly to those who don’t have easy access to healthcare or technology. We asked, “How can we make it seamless for them?” Patients want a direct, personal connection with their care provider. Technology has to take a backseat so providers can focus on managing their patients’ health and create a sense of intimacy. As we continue to innovate, we will look at how technology can further enable the patient-provider care experience instead of hinder it. It’s something that no one in the industry has figured out yet.

Five Steps for Digital Innovation

  1. Start with the customer in mind; What would success look like?
  2. Put it down on paper; articulate the future product or service and how this serves customers
  3. Involve customers in the process; create a customer advisory board that provides input throughout the process
  4. Get the minimum viable product (MVP) into the hands of customers quickly and get immediate feedback; Is it working? Does it meet their business goals and objective
  5. Iterate until customer data confirms you’ve hit the mark.

Working backwards means collaboration

How have the working backwards experiences changed your approach to innovation?

David Cohen: A lot of times, people think of innovation as something that happens in a lab. We think about innovation in the context of working with our customers to accelerate the delivery of new products and capabilities that will immediately impact their business needs and challenges. That’s a fundamental shift for us. By taking this approach, I think we’ll achieve a higher success rate.


So, what’s next on the innovation horizon?

David Cohen: If you look at other industries that have digitalized, you see massive waves of innovation. Health care is on the cusp of that. So we’re looking at how we can transform into a data and healthcare intelligence company. For example, much of healthcare has been driven by provider documentation requirements. We’re looking at how we can reenvision that experience, so there’s a lower documentation burden on the provider. There’s also the cognitive load of managing the breadth of patient data. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack for providers to sift through it. We need to help surface healthcare insights to guide them in treating patients. What gaps in care should they be looking for in the patient who’s in front of them? And for the panel of patients they’re managing? Those are the types of provider and patient experiences we’re focused on transforming.


About our guest

David Cohen, FACHE, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Greenway Health

David Cohen, FACHE
Chief Product and Technology Officer, Greenway Health

As Greenway’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, David Cohen brings more than 20 years of information technology leadership experience to the role, with the most recent 15 years focused on healthcare. Before joining Greenway, David was responsible for artificial intelligence and machine learning initiatives at Cerner. Before that, he developed custom software solutions as a senior consultant at ThoughtWorks. David is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society for business, and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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