Kevin Daly is president of Zynx Health of Los Angeles, CA.
Tell me about yourself and the company.
I’ve been in healthcare for about 25 years in different segments. I started my career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts. I spent a number of years at McKesson, both on their payor focus and then their hospital focus in software. I was a partner at Milliman for about 10 years, working on their Milliman Care Guidelines. I joined Hearst about four years ago. In January 2016, I was offered the opportunity to lead the Zynx group, which is one of the foundational companies of Hearst Health.
What’s the level of maturity among health systems in using evidence-based order sets and guidance?
I always represent that I’m not a clinician. My joke is I play one at work, but we can’t say that in the media. [laughs] Maybe the adoption is there, but what’s the use? Have hospital systems and post-acute organizations received the full benefit of evidence-based medicine and what it can actually do? I think the data shows that we still have a lot of opportunity to do some work in that area.
The core foundation of how Zynx started X number of year ago out of Cedars-Sinai was standardization and variation of care. That led to that evidence-based medicine and how it can be rolled through systems.
Now that health systems have in most cases implemented EHRs, are they still using ZynxOrder to maintain order sets and assemble external evidence?
ZynxOrder and ZynxCare are the foundational content or product offerings that help manage patients across the continuum. They’re actually still quite relevant. The question becomes, what next? Now that we have this solution, how can we continue to enhance it, build upon it, and then ultimately get to that nirvana of using clinical decision support in the optimal way?
As you think about where Zynx has been, we’ve been tremendously successful in pivoting in different ways around that concept of standardization and variations of care. Those two product offerings, order sets and plans of care, were extremely helpful. They’re still very helpful and relevant, but we’re looking at how can we continue to grow with some other offerings that the market needs.
Companies are taking guidelines from professional societies, like the American College of Radiology, and creating real-time decision support ordering guidelines. Are they competitors to Zynx or will you incorporate that kind of guidance into your products?
As you think about what Zynx does, it’s clinical content at the core. It’s how we look at the evidence and different types of data. We synthesize it and we bring it forward.
Some of that technical functionality that some of these standalone organizations are bringing actually resides within the existing EMRs. Is it as perfect? Is it as strong? Is the graphical user interface as nice? Maybe not, but that functionality still rests within most of the EMR vendors. We’re partnering pretty tightly with them to continue to keep our content in that forefront.
What’s the overlap in products or strategies among Zynx and the other Hearst Health offerings?
Greg Dorn is the president of Hearst Health. He was one of the co-founders of Zynx along with Scott Weingarten. There’s Zynx. There’s First Databank, or FDB. MCG, previously Milliman Care Guidelines, which is the group that I was originally associated with. Most recently, we have Homecare Homebase, which focuses in that post-acute homecare setting. Then MedHOK, which is a platform that focuses around payor interactions.
The umbrella of Hearst Health gives an organization like Zynx an opportunity to leverage a lot of different domain expertise and experience. One of the comments that was on HIStalk was about some of the changes that were going on at Zynx. We have made some changes in some structures and some reorganization within Zynx, but what’s enabled us to continue to grow and innovate is that we have some resources from Hearst Health. Not just our sister companies, but the actual broader Hearst Health.
It’s pretty nice to be able to pick up the phone and speak with Anil Kotoor, the founder of MedHOK, and talk about, what are you seeing as the risk model is moving around within this particular space? It’s actually quite useful.
You’re on the sharp end of technology changes that involve things incorporating pharmacogenomics into decision support, but also changes that involve the structure of how healthcare works, such as continuity of care. How do you incorporate those changes into your products?
I always like to say the folks on the sharp end of that stick are the clinicians and the administrators trying to get it done. I just happen to be the guy who shows up with what I think is the solution that’s best for them.
When you look at all those changes, everybody likes to think that their product or their offering is the total solution. We’re a component of a lot of bigger problems. That’s where being able to leverage, for example, the strengths of FDB is helpful. We do a lot of synergistic work, particularly with our order sets and their pharmacy data. As they’re spending a significant amount of time and effort in this pharmacogenomics area, we’re able to leverage that work as well.
I’m seeing that synergy with our sister company for sure. Care teams, care management, and how our tools or our content support all the changes that are coming as the risk models change. It’s kind of interesting because from a legacy perspective, Zynx was very much focused in the acute hospital setting. We had tremendous success, that’s where all the opportunities were, that’s where a lot of the mechanisms existed to deliver our solution, namely the legacy EHRs.
Now as you think about this post-acute space and some of the opportunities that are happening there, we’re still partnering with the legacy EHRs — the standard-bearers, if you will — but there’s some new, interesting players in this space. Hopefully there will be a press release about somebody we’re working with at HIMSS that will talk about what’s a longitudinal care plan and how can you execute on it utilizing someone’s technological platform and Zynx’s content that spans the continuum. Things like that are what’s exciting to me.
What’s the future look like for Zynx?
In my view of what we need to accomplish as an organization, you have to stick with what your core competency is. Then, not be afraid to stretch and expand. But when you think about standardization and variation of care, Zynx has been extremely successful in supporting and helping the standardization and limiting that variation.
How do we take that concept and continue to apply it, across not just the acute setting, but the post-acute setting? That’s why we are thinking about the different technological mechanisms by which to deliver this content in different places along that continuum. Is that a component of partnering with an organization that’s doing alerting versus us creating a technological platform or buying someone that does alerting? It’s those facets of sticking with what our core competencies are, understanding it, and then expanding it in a way that’s responsible and reflects our continued support of our existing customers.
We have a very significant install base of users who are still looking for what Zynx has always done, which we will continue to do, but we need to make advancements. We were just recognized again by KLAS for our order sets, which is important and valuable, but where are we going in the future? There’s a product called Knowledge Analyzer where we are seeing a significant amount of opportunity to help organizations who are merging, who are trying to understand their variations in their order sets and their plans of care and other documentation, and getting back to standardization and clinical variation. How can we, Zynx, continue to support that?
Do you have any final thoughts?
Zynx products are foundational to managing patients across the continuum. We’re going to continue to support our legacy products, but we’re going to continue to grow and evolve through additional product offerings and technological innovations that the industry needs and continue to support the mission that has mattered for 20-plus years. I thank you and I thank all of our customers and everybody who’s reading HIStalk.