Healthcare Technology

4 Key Learnings From Our L.A. FQHC Executive Roundtable

This May, we kicked off the first of a series of events we’re hosting across the country in key markets. We’re bringing together local leaders in the healthcare community dedicated to serving underserved populations - from FQHCs, free clinics, other health care providers, PCAs, foundations and partners - for knowledge sharing and discussions on patient engagement strategies and technology solutions.

For our first event, we co-hosted an Executive Roundtable Lunch in Los Angeles, California, a county that serves over 1 million underserved patients across nearly 50 FQHCs, with California Community Foundation. We partnered with Jackie Provost, former COO of the UMMA Community Clinic and Senior Director at Greg Facktor & Associates, to moderate a discussion on the importance of finding the best technology solutions and how to extract long term value for the benefit of health center staff, providers and ultimately patients. Participants include AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, ChapCare, Northeast Valley, CCALAC and L.A. Care Foundation among others.  


Here are Our 4 Key Takeaways:

1. Establish What Patient Engagement Means to Your Organization and Use as a Guiding Philosophy for What Technologies to Invest In

  • One FQHC discussed the importance of developing a technology strategy for each of their health center initiatives. When determining what patient communication tool might be right for their organization, their CIO spoke about how they defined “patient engagement” and developed a set of goals that addressed their short term and long term needs. By hosting these internal discussions, the CIO reported that they realized that their patient engagement use cases would evolve over time and that they had to identify a solution that could adapt to those use cases.

  • For example, if Spanish translations are a priority for your organization and patient population, then identify how that might shape your patient engagement goals beyond knowing what method of communication you might use.

2. Learn How to Evaluate Software Committed to Underserved Patient Populations

  • With new technologies entering the healthcare software market, it’s easy to believe that newer is better, particularly with buzzwords such as “AI” and “Machine Learning” easily being used to describe why one technology is more impactful than another.

  • Use your time with technology vendors to rigorously understand how the technology works. Share your own use cases rather than defaulting to the vendor’s use cases, especially during a demo, or else you’ll only see the vendor’s strengths and not gain a comprehensive understanding of whether of not that tool can adapt to your evolving needs.

3. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Tech Vendor and Align Your Successes

  • Few solutions come ready out of the box. Most require true partnership with your technology vendor to find the right configurations and user workflows.

  • One COO in attendance helpfully shared that they communicated their intention to collaborate with- not replace- their technology vendors, in order to ensure long term success. One CIO reported that this ultimately led to finding a tech partner that allowed them to be a part of product feedback sessions. The health center tested new technology, and while that might have posed some risk, the organization found that the vendor was supportive and open to feedback and provided constant support. FQHC leaders encouraged themselves and each other to open up communication lines as early as the first sales call by sharing their challenges and goals, thereby allowing for better implementation planning, staff training, patient introductions to technologies and patient health outcomes.

  • As a part of relationship building, one CEO also discussed the importance of engaging internal stakeholders early in an evaluation and bringing them to the table to discuss each vendor’s values. The CEO emphasized that by doing so, they could later optimize their rollout because other leaders were already familiar with the solution. Another CEO at the event suggested using the vendor relationship to drive change and to encourage individual care team, staff and providers on using the new solution and defining individualized success.

4. Continue to Learn From Your Patients

  • Take the time to learn from your patients, understand what technologies they already use and what they have access to.

  • One EVP discussed the hard learnings of setting up an email address sign-up station in their waiting rooms. While patients were able to sign up for an account with the guidance of a patient access team member, upon leaving the health center, they never logged in again and subsequently, never used email to communicate with their providers.

  • That said, don’t underestimate your patients. Health center CEOs spoke about how they continuously seek feedback from their patients to learn what technologies they do have at home and what they like to use, particularly social media and texting. One in particular set a personal goal to talk to a minimum of 3 patients per week who were in the clinic.

LA roundtable pic

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