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MGMA & AMA Partner in Yet Another Sign of the Collaborative Spirit Sweeping Healthcare

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and American Medical Association (AMA) held a joint conference at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs this week. Entitled Collaborate in Practice, the conference brought together administrators and physicians to explore ways of collaborating that could “effect positive change in medical organizations.”

While Collaborate in Practice featured sessions on building strong teams and navigating the evolving patient-provider relationship, the role of technology innovation in transforming medical practices was also a common theme. Mike Biselli, president of the upcoming digital health hub Catalyst HTI, gave a keynote speech on Monday intended to address the fears that providers felt at the prospect of disruptive technology.

“Innovation and disruption can be scary and threatening to all of us,” Biselli explained. “But we must embrace the inevitability of it all so that we can excel in the new reality that is coming.”

Biselli had been invited to speak at the conference by MGMA, which had recently announced its intentions to become a tenant of Catalyst HTI when the building opens its doors in early 2018. MGMA’s decision to join the health-tech campus reflected the 90-year-old organization’s desire to serve as a bridge between innovators and medical practices.

“We don’t see ourselves as leading innovation,” Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, the CEO of MGMA, told CyberMed News. “We see ourselves as the curator of innovation for the marketplace. That’s where we think our strength is – representing the marketplace.”

The conference was the product of a new partnership between MGMA and the AMA.

The conference was the product of a new partnership between MGMA and the AMA.

The joint conference at the Broadmoor provided yet another example of the growing interest of major healthcare organizations in the burgeoning digital health movement. MGMA’s decision to join Catalyst HTI was paralleled by AMA’s partnerships with the healthcare-focused co-working space MATTER in Chicago and the healthcare innovation studio Health2047 in San Francisco.

“The explosion of technology is only going to accelerate, and it’s going to infiltrate every part of the healthcare ecosystem,” said Michael Tutty, group vice president of professional satisfaction and practice sustainability at AMA. “We’re excited to get involved so that the voice of the physician can be heard.”

Several attendees at the conference described their own willingness to collaborate with innovators as being driven by both the promise of digital health technology and the importance of developing solutions that meet the needs of the market.

“We need to hear the voices of the patients, the providers, and the payers,” said Elizabeth Cummings, executive director of Vascular and Interventional Professionals. “Everyone in the healthcare system has to work together to make sure that solutions fit the needs of the system’s various constituents.”

But while hopes for collaboration between providers and innovators were high at Collaborate in Practice, they were also tempered by the challenges that had been encountered in previous implementations of healthcare technology.

The conference's exhibition hall featured demonstrations of new healthcare innovations.

The conference’s exhibition hall featured demonstrations of new healthcare innovations.

“We have been participants in initiatives trying to get one single medical record in Colorado,” explained Rena Bach, the CEO of SurgOne. “It just never seems to come through. Do I think it’s an amazing idea? I do. But I don’t know that it’s possible.”

Yet both past challenges and current failures seemed to be galvanizing healthcare providers and innovators alike to try harder. During his keynote speech, Biselli hinted at the greater level of collaboration that would soon be possible at Catalyst HTI, depicting the digital health hub as the key to unlocking the true potential of healthcare innovation.

“Can you imagine one of the largest tech giants on the face of the planet taking space at Catalyst,” said Biselli, “and launching a health data exchange for all of us to plug into – startups, associations, payers, and providers?”

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