USC EMHA Online | Telemedicine in Today’s Health Care Landscape Webinar

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Hear more on the value of telemedicine in today’s health care landscape from Professor of the Practice, Michael Harris and EMHA Adjunct Instructor, Joseph Sierra.

Transcript

Phil Soloria:

Good evening and welcome to the Executive Master of Health Administration’s webinar on the value of telemedicine in today’s healthcare landscape presented by the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. My name is Phil Soloria, I’m a graduate admissions advisor for the online program. I will be your host for today’s webinar.

Phil Soloria:

So I’d like to thank you for taking your time out of your busy schedule, just to join us today. Before we begin, I would like to review what you can expect during the presentation. And then in order to cut down on background noise, everyone is on listen only mode. And if you’re experiencing any technical difficulties, please be sure to refresh your browser. And if you have any questions for any of our speakers, please type them in the Q&A box in the lower right-hand corner of your screen and hit send. Feel free to enter any questions as you think of them, and we’ll be sure to answer as many questions as time allows at the end of the presentation. Also a copy of the presentation and recording will be available soon.

Phil Soloria:

Now here’s a quick look at what we will be covering. First, I will be introducing Michael Harris, professor of practice who will share some information about the program. And then pass along to Joseph Sierra, adjunct instructor for the program who will talk more about telemedicine and its placement in today’s healthcare landscape. I will go over the next steps and admissions requirements. Then lastly, we will end the presentation with a brief Q&A session. I am going to now pass things over to Michael Harris, an EMHA professor of practice. Thank you, Michael, for being with us today.

Michael Harris:

Thank you for having me. Welcome to all of our prospective students, welcome to this program. Let me start by telling you a little bit about myself. I am a professor of practice, I come to the Sol Price School with about 35 years of healthcare professional experience working in a great deal of different modalities from IPA’s, Independent Practice Associations, to medical groups, to some hospital systems and in various different types of positions from vice president to president of several organizations. In addition to that I bring to you roughly about 20 years of academic experience as an instructor for the Sol Price School in healthcare administration.

Michael Harris:

Currently I am one of the lead instructors for our executive programs. So I get a chance to meet each and every student pretty much that those who are program. I want to talk to you a little bit today about what you’ll be required to do in this program and just kind of give you an insight as to what you may be signing up for. I’m really very enthusiastic about this new journey that you may decide to take with our program. So I want you to make sure that you take all of this information in and as we proceed forward certainly begin to ask questions about the program itself. First of all, let me just talk about Sol Price School, we are one of the top ranked policy schools in the country. In 2021, we were ranked number three in terms of health policy and management schools.

Michael Harris:

So it’s a pretty remarkable and important achievement for us at the school. I will tell you that we’ve been around for about 90 years, so we’ve got a long outstanding history in healthcare and public policy. So that’s something that you want to make sure that you consider as you make a selection to the school in what we have to offer. In addition to that, we are affiliated with the Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, as well as the Brookings Institute. And both of those organizations are well-known in the healthcare industry and in Washington DC for the work that they do for organizations like CMS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid programs. So again, we bring to you all of that information as you go through the program. So I will tell you that we want to create strong leaders in our program.

Michael Harris:

And again, as you journey through the healthcare experience in this program, should you decide to come here, you have some exposure to that through many of our instructors. I will also add that given my experience and given the experience of our professors who teach in the program, you are going to get a combination of individuals who have the life work experience in many of these organizations, as well as the academic experience. And I think that should be pretty important to you as you start to make this decision. Next, I would want to talk to you about our goal, what’s the goal? As you consider the challenge of entering in this program, should you be selected to enter into the program? What’s our goals? One of the goals that we have here is that we want to improve healthcare from an executive level.

Michael Harris:

And so again, you’ll be entering into an executive manager program. Now I will say this is that many of you may decide or say, well, I’m not wanting to go into a strong leadership role. I don’t want to go into the C suite, but again, our program is designed such that we want to give you the depth and breadth of knowledge, so that even if you are involved in some way the C-suite, we want you to be able to sit at that table and be able to be intellectually competent about the discussions that are going on. So we want to expose you to all of the information that you’re going to need in healthcare. So just keep that in mind is that it’s not just going to be just executives, you may decide you want to be a vice president of a telemedicine.

Michael Harris:

You want to be a vice president of population health. We’re going to prepare you to assume that kind of role. So keep that in mind as you consider this program. The other thing I want to say about our goal is that, and keep in mind in the back of your head is that healthcare continues to be a very promising career. As we look at some of the data that’s coming out, it shows that in healthcare alone at the executive level, we’re looking at probably about an 18% growth rate. And of course, we’ll see any of the other corresponding positions available probably in that same range. So again as you think about what our goal is we want to make sure we prepare you to go into and meet that challenge of filling some of those positions.

Michael Harris:

Also I would say to you we know that in the coming future, healthcare is becoming much more complex, it’s transforming, and we want to make sure that our graduates are ready for that transformation. We want to make sure that our graduates are able to make a contribution to how healthcare is changing. As you know, from a political scene we know that healthcare is always the topic of choice. And so we want to make sure that our graduates are able to, again, sit at that table of discussion and really think in innovative ways about how they are going to contribute to healthcare and be able to contribute to healthcare scene. So keep that in mind as you select the program, and if you think about coming to our particular program.

Michael Harris:

The next thing I want to say you is that what are some of our expectations? Again, I say to you over the next five to 10 years, we’re going to see healthcare delivery system kind of face some new structural and clinical challenges and demands that we want to educate our students to meet that demand. We want you to be well-rounded in terms of your depth of knowledge, whether it be talking about healthcare disparities, or how do we improve quality of care? How do we improve outcomes? We want you to be able to see how all of those pieces of the puzzle fit together. Ultimately, we’ll be talking to you about value. How do you create value in healthcare? That’s what we’re looking for in this new transformation.

Michael Harris:

We want you to understand conceptually how you do that. We’ll do that by exposing you to different healthcare models, we’ll do that by exposing you to different processes that you can take to get there. I have often said in many of our classes, that if you are going to be a leader in healthcare, you’ve got to be ready to take the individuals who are following you somewhere. And we want to give you the knowledge, we want to help you understand what the vision is for healthcare, so that you can take that group of employees to that new destination, to this new transformation. So our goal is to get you there. Now, I will say this in our program, our intent it is to reinvent you.

Michael Harris:

We want to make sure we take the base knowledge that you have and reinvent you so that you can actually make that contribution. Again, what is that reinvention process? That reinvention process is over the next two years, educating you, teaching you about Triple Aim, teaching you about innovations in healthcare, teaching you about population health, teaching you about health disparities and outcomes and quality and what all those concepts mean and how they all fit together. That’s our goal as we go through the program. Let me finish up and talk about expectations and the focus. In our program, we want to transform you into this individual who has a high level of intellect. We want you to be able to look at health care issues and look at those issues from several different perspectives.

Michael Harris:

I often say to my students is that when you’re talking about a subject matter, we want you to be able to look at it from a patient perspective. We want you to look at it from a quality perspective, a financial perspective, an innovation perspective, an IT perspective. We want to be able to take that crystal ball of healthcare, spin it around, and look at it from several different perspectives. That is going to give you a depth of knowledge about how healthcare affects everyone who is accessing it. We want you to look at it from a health disparities perspective, from a social perspective. So again, we’re looking to increase your depth of intellect as it relates to healthcare.

Michael Harris:

Also let me talk about another subject and that is professionalism and your conduct. We designed a rigorous program and we are looking for individuals who are ready to meet that challenge in terms of how they conduct themselves with integrity. We want to look at them from a professionalism, from an idea of professionalism. There’s no excuses why you can’t get your work done, we hold you to a higher standard. So we’re looking for that. We’re looking for how you interact with one another, that’s important. If you’re going to be successful in healthcare, you’ve got to learn how to interact with everybody that’s in the transformation process. Also, we want to instill in you a renewed sense of responsibility. You’re going to come out of this program as a masters in health administration.

Michael Harris:

And I want you to be able to be a responsible healthcare leader. And in that responsibility, it means you have got to make sure that you understand the vision of where we’re trying to go in healthcare. You’ve got to be ready to be a leader, a strong leader in our transformation process. You’ve got to be creative, you got to be innovative. So we’re looking for you to pull together in this journey, that entire package of who you are. We want you to have clear problem solving and decision making abilities. I often say to our students in our population health classes that you look at the data and let the data tell you where you need to go. So we want you to be able to make decisions based on data, make decisions based on information that is coming to you from very reliable sources, whether they’re scholarly articles that you’re reading.

Michael Harris:

We want you to be able to do that and decipher that information, use it to lead your staff, use it to lead the decisions that you’re making. So again, I will close with this and saying, we’re trying to reinvent you, and we want to reinvent every single part of you in this program, from your intellect to your professional conduct, to your integrity, to your renewed sense of responsibility, to your discipline. And again, I’m not saying that you don’t have that, but as we try to educate you in healthcare administration, we’re going to see that we can actually improve upon what you have. So with that, I will leave the conversation there. I will turn it over to professor Sierra to talk about an innovative concept that we’ve seen in healthcare right now, and that is that concept of telemedicine. Professor Sierra.

Joseph Sierra:

Yes. Well thank you, professor Harris, appreciate the introduction and thank you so much for that great overview of the program. And I echo what professor Harris has said about kind of what are the values that we’re hoping to instill and incorporate and amplify amongst our students and our cohorts. And so what I wanted to do now is just kind of walk through the main topic of the webinar, which is a telemedicine. And in my role here at USC as the adjunct instructor, I teach one of the courses on healthcare quality and what I’m going to show you is kind of how that’s changing right now with the different places of service and how telemedicine is impacting that.

Joseph Sierra:

Now a little bit about myself. I joined the Price School just a few years ago now, although it seems like it was just yesterday and have been teaching the healthcare quality class for quite some time now. Prior to joining USC, I was at Medtronic for eight years working on reimbursement, health, economics, and revenue cycle quality. We had a big amount of business in the United States, and I was also responsible for that outside of the United States as well. Most recently, I’m the director of sales and reimbursement at Neofect Rehabilitation and teaching quite a few courses in healthcare quality.

Joseph Sierra:

So we’ll jump right into how healthcare quality and telemedicine kind of crossover in this new environment that we’re working in. So some of you may be familiar with telemedicine, and some of you may not, but just a little bit of a primer here that when we’re talking about telemedicine, just to get us all thinking about the same definition, it’s where we are interacting and providing care to a consumer or a customer through a remote means whether it’s a phone, the internet or whatever other media it might be. And typically it’s done in a secure and private way.

Joseph Sierra:

And prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency, there was a lot of debate and distinction about the ways that telemedicine could be allowed to be instituted in different ways. So for example, there was a lot of debate around is asynchronous, meaning somebody would send a video or a doctor would send a video to an individual with some advice or another way that it was being debated was, should it be reserved for specialists who are outside of an area that is underserved with physicians? So for example, a rural area that may not have certain specialists within a certain group of medicine. And so you would have telemedicine happening from provider to provider. Now with the advent of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, telemedicine has changed quite a bit very rapidly.

Joseph Sierra:

Prior to COVID-19, like I mentioned, remote patient monitoring, so keeping track of patient vital signs and healthcare outcomes and healthcare metrics and tele-health, which is the actual practice of doing the care, was pretty limited and specific for both the government payers, as well as the private payers. There was specific instances and with concerns regarding access to care, consumers, providers and payers have really shifted long standing policies, has changed in a very big way. And that rapid evolution has kicked off and it is continuing, and we’re continuing to see the use of this expanded role of telehealth and remote patient monitoring throughout the industry now. And that presents both risks and opportunities and from a health care quality perspective, there’s a lot of things that need to be considered. So let me tell you just a quick introduction to healthcare quality, and then why it’s so important for that to blend with telemedicine in a supporting way.

Joseph Sierra:

So first of all, healthcare quality is a set of values and practices that help to sustain and improve continuously activities in healthcare delivery. So for example, are patients happy with the delivery of care at a hospital? That’s considered an element of quality. What are the outcomes for a particular procedure? Is it improving over time? Is it lagging behind a little bit? Those are the sorts of quality measures that are common in healthcare. Now healthcare systems and providers have spent many years building up their processes on how to deliver quality care in an efficient way. And with the advent of the public health emergency with COVID-19, I think that it’s pretty easy to say that all of those processes have been put into a challenge state.

Joseph Sierra:

So for example, you are doing something a certain way for many years, you have these processes in place that keep those improvements moving and keep those improvements sustained. And then all of a sudden you have this big external factor that happens, and all those processes that were put in place get challenged. And then on top of that, you have the environmental factors from regulations in government and state and local level policies. So quality plays a pivotal role, and we talk about quality throughout all of our courses here. It will be a key part of what you learn, and it is instilled in all of the processes in healthcare administration. And in order to ensure that that value to stakeholders is sustained, that that societal impact is sustained, that the provider is making a strong healthcare quality process and continuous improvement process and program and strategy, will help to prevent adverse action, even in the face of challenges like the public health emergency. It will help providers to ensure that outcomes for their patients and consumers are sustained.

Joseph Sierra:

And if it is set up properly, these sort of environmental and high-level changes that occur in the space, with the correct processes in place, the processes will adapt accordingly. So you will learn about all those things. Maybe you already are doing quality programs now, but we’ll talk about how to do that from beginning to end in at least my course, and many of the other ones as well. And so what makes our approach a little bit different here at Price EMHA program is that we instill the fact that quality should be human centered, it should be a cultural and experiential approach for organizations, whether it’s a small organization or a large one.

Joseph Sierra:

And so how do these organizations actually implement these quality initiatives? Well, what you’ll learn here is that you start with quality as a cultural value. So again, approaching with a human centered design for stakeholders and adding that into the existing processes, stacking that with a way to replicate and continually improve the delivery of healthcare using Lean and Six Sigma, and then measuring outcomes and implementing countermeasures. And this stack of procedures becomes your continuous improvement cycle. And so, as changes has happened with regard to the inevitable changes of different processes and procedures being subject to changes in telemedicine policy, those processes will help to make sure that the actual services being conducted are up-to-date and it’s being done in the most efficient way possible, making sure that the patient and the provider are at the center of attention in terms of ensuring that they have good outcomes, and we have acceptable efficiency.

Joseph Sierra:

These things help to increase patient access and have societal impact as well, because the healthcare systems and the healthcare solution providers and service providers that are out there who institute these sorts of practices are looked at as an example in the industry and helps to also differentiate these providers from both a government and insurer perspective. So it has a lot of impacts and in the face of challenges like the pandemic that’s when you know that your system either needs to be changed or that the system that you have is working, but you may have to do a little bit of tweaks, but the stronger the system and the more ingrained it is into the culture, the more it will be like muscle memory for the organization. I’ll show you what I mean by that last, and I promise this is my last slide.

Joseph Sierra:

Quality is now more important than ever in terms terms of how it integrates with everyday procedures, especially with telemedicine. Your quality strategy for your organization, that you will learn how to implement here at USC can be the vehicle for ensuring that these processes are implemented appropriately. And here’s what I mean by this strategy, you have organizational values and your strategy follows those. You have operating mechanisms like what they call them at general electric operating mechanisms and controls that are the every day or monthly or bi-weekly processes that ensure that things happen and things are addressed, and that problems don’t fall through the cracks, so to speak. It’s customized to the organization, it’s relevant to both internal and as professor Harris was saying earlier, external stakeholders as well, not only internal but external stakeholders as well.

Joseph Sierra:

And we’ll talk about how to map that out. What I like to focus on in the course that I help to teach is the measurement piece, because in healthcare it’s important that you measure things, the outcomes that you have in an appropriate way. And we see a lot of examples out in the field of measurement being kind of haphazard and less than the standard that many stakeholders would like to see. And so we talk about how to structure your quality programs to meet that in an adaptable and agile way. And then from a communication standpoint, you need to have an easy to understand strategy. So when it comes to telemedicine, if you have these core values in place, you can start to measure what I think are like the top four telemedicine specific quality metrics. Many of these have not been implemented, but if you’re thinking about how to apply these in your organization, here’s some advice right away.

Joseph Sierra:

Privacy and security, how many privacy and security episodes or events have occurred? You should design systems to set that to zero. You should have processes in place to make sure that the privacy and security of patient data is taken care of. Compliance and surveillance, what are the preventative measures that are in place and what are some of the compliance controls that are in place? How many events from regulators are occurring. And outcome replication, if you see success in a particular procedure for telemedicine specifically that procedure, if it’s of course, subject to medical practice and scope of practice should be replicable in other settings as well. So the great thing about telemedicine is that of course, subject to state laws and federal laws, it is scalable. So you have success in one line of business, it can be perhaps extended to another line of business with some success.

Joseph Sierra:

And then process optimization, so a way for organizations to see what is our cycle time, what are the number of steps that are happening in the organization? So this can help to develop your platform for quality healthcare and continuous improvement, while thinking about how telemedicine comes into play, because I can tell you that, and I’m sure that professor Harris would agree, and many of the other people on this call would agree that telemedicine is something that in its current form may change, but it is a strong part of our healthcare system now.

Joseph Sierra:

And it’s probably not going to go back to how it was before let’s put it that way, it’ll continue to be ubiquitous. And so again, I teach the health care quality class here in the EMHA program, so I hope that we’ll have a chance to work together in the future with some of you that are here or all of you that are here rather. And we’d welcome any questions at the end once we discuss some of the updates from the school. And I want to thank you all for your time. And again, thanks to Michael for the introduction, and I will pass it back over to the team. Thanks.

Michael Harris:

If you’re on with us right now, we’re having a little bit of technical difficulty. So just hang in there, and-

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Joseph-

Michael Harris:

Okay, there we go.

Phil Soloria:

Now regarding our admissions requirements just so everyone knows, the entire application is available online and you just want to make sure you request all your official transcripts from every school that you’ve attended. Another part of the application process is to complete a statement of purpose. All students will need to submit a resume showcasing all professional work experience, along with three letters of recommendation. We are looking for candidates with at least three to five years of professional experience in the healthcare field. I do want to share some admissions tips, so communication with your enrollment advisor is an important first step. We are here to support you throughout the application process all the way into your first week of classes. Now, another good tip is to make sure that you’re following the deadlines and the due dates to submit your application in a timely fashion, and as always make sure to reach out to one of us with any questions that you might have.

Phil Soloria:

Next, I really wanted to just take some time to go over any questions that anyone might have. We did receive a few already, so if you have any questions, please be sure to share them in our Q&A box so I can make sure that we are able to address those, and we’ll get to as many as we can. We did have a question here, it says I’m currently working on my Lean Six Sigma certificate, does the EMHA program give credit to those who have it before they start the program?

Michael Harris:

I can chip with the answer to that, I don’t believe that we give credit for it, but I will say that when you take one of our classes, operations classes, it is probably something that will come in handy in terms of the depth of the work that you do on assignments and really understanding how it applies to healthcare. But I don’t know that there is a requirement for a Lean Six Sigma or that we give a credit for it.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Michael. We do have another question here, and this could be for either of you guys, what do you think is the biggest issue facing the future of healthcare and how can gaining an EMHA help be a solution to this issue?

Michael Harris:

I’ll go first. I think the biggest issue that we face in healthcare is something that I think every potential student and who has been in healthcare should be aware of. And that is we are running out of financial resources to take care of the populations that we serve. CMS has sounded that alarm many times, I think the latest alarm says by 2026 we’ll start to see a serious depletion in our financial resources to take care of a population. Part of this is driven by the fact that we are seeing many more elderly people are living longer, despite what we’ve seen with COVID when you take that out of the equation, people are living longer and as you live longer, you have chronic diseases and so those chronic diseases are using up a massive amount of our resources. So that’s probably the biggest issue that we’re facing is how are we going to take care of our growing population?

Michael Harris:

How are we going to compensate for more technology that costs money? What do we do with that? How do we handle that? When you think about that in the context of our program, that’s one of the things that we focus in on, we focus in on Triple Aim, Triple Aim essentially says, let’s deliver the right care at the right price for the right time. We also focus on value. So what is value? Value is looking at the outcomes, the quality of medicine, which is equivalent to outcomes for the costs. So how do we deliver the best cost to this patient population at the best possible pricing point? So the EMHS examines all of those concepts as you go through the program. And it really does challenge you to think about that from the context of where you work.

Michael Harris:

Are you as efficient as you could be? We have an HMGT 601 course that talks about the Lean Six Sigma, and how do we look at processes so that we’re delivering those processes in a much more efficient way. And then lastly, if you go to some of our other classes in the program, we start to talk about what’s going to happen with our healthcare delivery system. Do we have the ideal healthcare delivery system to deal with the cost factors that are at play right now? And so let’s think innovatively where we are going to go in healthcare. So again, I know it was a long answer to that question, but I tried to pair that answer up with the courses that we teach in our program. So again, we try to attack that program, attack that question, rather, in every single class that we teach in this program. I hope that answered that person’s question.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you Michael. Looks like we have a question here for Joe. Can you tell us more how the EMHA program focuses on a human centered cultural and experiential approach to healthcare quality for organization?

Joseph Sierra:

Yeah, absolutely. So it happens both at the organizational level, it starts at the organizational level. So the way that it becomes an experiential process is that quality has to be part of the everyday almost muscle memory of the people working in an organization. So they have to be immersed in it, there has to be a rule of thumb or a heuristic that people go by, whether it’s a simple acronym or slogan or something like that, so that people understand exactly what the aims are of the organization from a high level perspective. And people need to be encouraged, taught, led to incorporate those things into their everyday work. And so it’s about setting the philosophy and the culture within an organization. And it can’t be the second priority or the third priority, the quality values of an organization have to be the first priority and they must be everyone’s responsibility and accountability.

Joseph Sierra:

There was a saying at an organization that I was with previously that, it’s not about how quality begins with you saying, you have to do stuff and you have to do it this way and I’m just the person telling you what to do. The slogan that we all had in our mind, and it became part of a multi-layered strategy throughout the organization was quality begins with me. And so that’s the sort of resounding cultural shifts that you need in an organization. And it’s up to us as leaders, the people that are in this program to ensure that we hold our organizations accountable for it becoming part of the culture. So it gets implemented in all of the processes, people know what the goals are, they know how much the goals are to be improved by and by when.

Joseph Sierra:

And that sort of understanding makes it more automatic. So that’s what I mean by a cultural and experiential shift for quality. It has to be part of the… You have to define as an organization, what your strategy is for quality, what your metrics are for quality. And then you must build your culture around that, the cultural shift is the only way to do it. You cannot manage what every single person is doing, even if you have one manager for each person working. So there has to be that automatic culture of accountability and quality and it has to be serious.

Joseph Sierra:

And it has to be something that you have to get buy-in from, whether it’s a small organization or a large one. And we talk about that, not only just specifically in my course, but as professor Harris said, it’s across the board, that sort of accountability and culture of quality is something that we talk about. The last piece on human centered design, just a little bit of a preview on that. It’s about starting with the patient or consumer and the provider as the ultimate definer of quality, because quality means something different to every stakeholder. And if you put the patient and provider in the driver’s seat and you enable that and bake that into your processes and your culture, then you really have all three things. You have experiential, you have human centered and you have something that’s accountable and cultural.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Joe. It looks like we have a question for Michael. Can you tell us more about the demands placed on the next generation of industry leaders, more on issues on escalating costs, measuring quality of care?

Michael Harris:

Sure. Well I think first of all let me say this, when we go through HMGT 520, one of our initial courses in this program, it’s our leadership course. And so we start out from the [inaudible 00:41:27] saying to our students, listen, you are going to be a leader and you’re going to be responsible. Speaking of culture, you’re going to be responsible for setting the culture and the priorities inside your organization. You’re the one that is going to have to look at that mission and the vision of the organization, and make sure that that is disseminated throughout the entire organization and reinvent the culture that’s going to take you where you need to go. And if that culture is looking at quality and understanding what value means and how we translate that into every aspect of what we do from healthcare to contracting, to coordination of care, all of those different aspects and that organization, that’s going to be your job.

Michael Harris:

And so that responsibility, it lies on the current generation, but even more so on the next generation, because we’re running out of money. It’s also going to be on the next generation because we need to make sure that we have the best healthcare delivery structure to deliver on all of these different concepts of health disparities, and quality and value and Triple Aim. You’re going to be responsible for having that on your shoulders and making sure that it’s implemented. And so that’s a responsibility that we have. I’ve often said at many of my classes that we as a country are going to go into the next generation of healthcare, the next transformation of healthcare, probably kicking and screaming because we don’t want to change. And now, again, I’m a little biased, I believe that healthcare delivery models are going to have to change given the issues that we have on finance and delivery and quality.

Michael Harris:

And we haven’t made that change, we went kicking and screaming into the Affordable Care Act. And I think this next generation is going to be the generation that has to provide the strong leadership, has to look at the data, has to understand the populations, has to understand the finance and say, this is where we need to be. This is how we need to deliver healthcare. This is how we need to collaborate with communities. This is how we need to look at population health and be able to deliver on a sustainable health care delivery model. That in itself is going to be the next generation’s challenge, developing and implementing a sustainable healthcare delivery model and dealing with all the issues that I’ve talked about from health disparities to chronic care illness, to the aging population, to the next pandemic or whatever else comes our way. They’re going to have to be able to have a delivery model that is going to be effective at dealing with that. I hope I answered that question.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Michael. It looks like we have another question for Joe. Joe, what is the future of telemedicine? What does that look like Post COVID?

Joseph Sierra:

Wow. That’s a tough question. I might lean on and get professor Harris opinion on this as well. But one thing I will say is that, like I had mentioned before in the short term future, I don’t think that you’re going to see a lot of change from the policies that are set now, meaning the equivalence of in-person versus telemedicine. I think that’s going to continue to move forward perhaps even after the public health emergency is completed. I think that you’re going to see a lot more consolidation and BAA arrangements, meaning that organizations are going to end up working with a common set of providers who handle certain services in a certain way. So I think that telemedicine is going to continue to drive that trend because many consumers are choosing to go with the telemedicine model versus in person when possible.

Joseph Sierra:

So I think that that’s an element that needs to be explored in research in order for us to say exactly where it’s going to go. But the key factor is that the payer who has historically been in my opinion, slightly opposed to the current way that we’re doing telemedicine, if you had asked the payer five years ago, “Hey, what do you think about doing things this way?” Some payers may say, “Well, it’s still not as good as seeing a doctor in person.” So that’s a key part, and then of course the reimbursement is going to be another part as well. What is the impact of tele-medicine on reimbursement and how does that change business models? So it’s tough to do a crystal ball on that until we kind of see what happens after the public health emergency, but the key factors there are consumer choice, payer policy and the continued consolidation of providers. Professor Harris, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that, or you have a different take, but I’d love to hear your thoughts too.

Michael Harris:

I agree with you. And I would just say to our students who are pondering this question is something I said to you earlier, let’s let the data tell us where it’s going. I think telemedicine has been a game changer, I think 10 years ago many of us even in this room would not have even considered having our care rendered in that format. And now with the pandemic it has been a mode of care that wasn’t all that bad, and people are embracing it even for the future, and that includes many of the payers. So I think it’s going to be something that we’re going to seriously consider and enhance in the future. And by the way, I don’t think it’ll just be telemedicine by itself, I think it’s going to be telemedicine along with some other modalities to monitor what’s going on with our health.

Michael Harris:

So there’ll be other kinds of innovative technology that’s going to say between tele-health and this other monitoring, we know that you’re doing well, your healthcare is right on track. So I think it’s going to be, it’s here to stay and it’s here to be enhanced and I think that’s what we’re going to see happen with it. But we got to let the data, let’s get through this pandemic. And as I would say to all of our EMHAs, let’s look at the data and we’ll probably do that in one of our classes, let’s look at the data and let’s see what the outcomes were. Did healthcare get any worse? How did healthcare fair via telemedicine? What were the negatives or positive? Let’s see where that data leads us, because it will ultimately lead us to an answer about whether we continue with, whether we enhance it or make any other changes to it.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Joe. Thank you, Michael. We do have another question here. It’s a common question that I have with students is what are some of the differences between the online and campus program?

Michael Harris:

Okay. I’ll tackle it first, I guess. I taught in both programs, so there’s a great deal of responsibility in the online program. It is not an easier program, it is just as rigorous. We expect for our EMHA students to be involved, I frankly require that they come to class. I will make sure that you are engaged in the process. I will call on you and ask you to give me your perspective on a particular topic, and I will wait for an answer. So I want our students to understand that this program is really not different from the on ground program, other than I will say this, they typically require fewer years of experience. So they’re not as seasoned as our executives, which goes by the name Executive EMHA Program.

Michael Harris:

But I want to dispel the fact that, hey, it’s an online program and I can just kind of whiz through it and I can be in the shadows. You’re not going to be in the shadows in professor Sierra’s class or my class, you’re going to have to rise to the occasion and you’re going to have to get the work done. And this program you may say is not for me, because I didn’t know if I was going to have to work this hard. We’re going to work you hard, you’re going to have to do the work so that when you walk across that stage and you are conferred the degree of EMHA, I feel comfortable that you’ve earned it. I don’t know, I always ask the question of whether or not I’ve answered the question because I know I can veer off. So make sure that-

Phil Soloria:

Not at all, thank you. Yeah. And kind of just to piggyback on that, another common question is do online students have the same access to the campus resources as an on-campus student?

Joseph Sierra:

Yes. I’ll answer that. Yes, in terms of the research capabilities which is something that you are expected to do. So I can tell you that for both my course and all of professor Harris’s courses and interactions that when you’re contributing in the class, when you’re presenting an opinion or debating, and yes, there’s debate between your colleagues in these courses you must utilize the resources that USC affords you. USC is a, it is a privilege to have the resources that USC affords to all of the students and faculty. The access to just the library alone, the library resources at USC, the access to all the academic journals and databases. And the incredible, it is probably second to none. And you will need that as you work through our courses, because all discussion posts, even responses to people’s discussion posts which are the media by which you communicate with your colleagues and with me, and a way to present your analysis and point of view and opinion on different topics require you to back that up with data.

Joseph Sierra:

And the reason why we do that is because whether you plan to move to a degree after your EMHA, or even while you have your EMHA as a healthcare administrator, you will be called upon to publish things. You will be called upon to develop white papers and all these different things require that you be a good researcher. So you’re applying the capabilities that USC affords you, just from a purely research standpoint and that will enhance your understanding of the subject matter. And in your debate with your colleagues, you’ll also see perhaps opposing viewpoints and you can utilize data in order to continue that dialogue. Professor Harris, do you have anything else to add to that as far as the resources go? It’s pretty great what you-

Michael Harris:

Yeah, I think it was well said I don’t have anything else to add to that, but I do want to say one other thing that I at least say to our students. So I’m going to ask Joe, is that okay to talk at this point or you have other-

Joseph Sierra:

No, please-

Michael Harris:

Okay. All right. So one of the things that I say to our students is that when you come out of this program, or as you journey through this program, I want you to hear me, there ought to be a perceptible difference about who you are as a USC EMHA student. You ought to think differently about healthcare. There ought to be a framework of how you present your information, or when you’re asked questions about health care. Now, the framework that I have typically given our students is to say, look at it from many different perspectives. I’ve mentioned this earlier, look at it from a quality perspective, look at it from a patient perspective, look at it from a finance perspective.

Michael Harris:

Now, let me retreat for a minute and say this, if you as a student are asked, what do you think is going to happen in healthcare in 2025? And you’re asked that question, or is telemedicine going to be around for the next 20 years, how will it… I want you to tackle that topic as an EMHA graduate from the university of Southern California, from all of those different perspectives, that ought to be your framework. And then on top of that, because of the work that you have done in this program, you ought to be able to back it up with some research that research ought to come to your remembrance about work that you’ve done on telemedicine or Affordable Care Act, or a quality care, you ought to be able to back it up.

Michael Harris:

Now, all of a sudden there is something remarkably different about you when you open your mouth, is that you’ve got a framework of how you address a topic from different perspectives. And you can back it up with information that you have read about from some scholarly article. That’s what we’re looking for from our students. If you want to add your opinion later on, go at it, but we want to see some structure to how you address information.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Joe. We do have some time for a couple more questions, it looks like there are a couple more in here. Do your courses discuss or address how we can influence public health, healthcare policies at the state and national legislative level, specifically those policies, if enacted, which will directly impact the functioning of our own healthcare systems, payers, providers, patients?

Joseph Sierra:

Yeah. I’ll go first and then pass it to professor Harris. The answer is yes. And I wouldn’t say it’s entirely the point of this program because it’s absolutely not, first and foremost, you’re a leader and someone that understands the key elements of being a successful healthcare administration professional. But we talk about in addition to the internal stakeholders within the healthcare system, the importance of the perception of external stakeholders, and that is not just the payer down the street, it’s also the government, it’s also society. I’ve had the opportunity to work on the [inaudible 00:57:24] and work on legislation in the past at the federal level and at the state level.

Joseph Sierra:

And all of the elements that you learn from the EMHA program are key to developing the point of view to gain the support that you need to make changes from a lawmaking standpoint. And I will leave it at that and just say that you will partner with your instructors and see exactly along your journey through the courses where that comes into play, because all these programs that you learn to stand up and set up in your organization are great. Something that is always talked about is how to communicate the success of it, using it as an example, and who are the different stakeholders to partner with when you develop the key stakeholder mapping for your organization and your strategy. What do you think professor Harris?

Michael Harris:

Yeah, I agree with everything you said. I think I would just add one other statement and that is, and I’m pretty biased about this, I want to mentioned that upfront, and it may not become obvious at this point, but when I look at the private industry and healthcare and I look at the public health component of it, I just see a woefully broken healthcare delivery model that at some point that next generation has to deal with. And so I would say that we certainly give you the tools to examine that. But somebody at a policy level will have to address that. Now, I will also say that we are a policy school, and so we’re a health administration, but we also look at policy. And so it is something that if that’s your angle, if that’s your level of expertise and where you want to kind of hang your hat, your administration hat, it’s a fragmented system that needs to be addressed. We’re both delivering different kinds of care. I’m not sure how a public health system define quality, I’m just not sure. So it’s something we need to address in healthcare.

Phil Soloria:

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Joseph. Perfect, it looks like we’re almost out of time. So if we didn’t get to your specific question, we’ll be sure to reach out to you on a one-on-one situation. And we’ll be sure to answer any questions that you might have. So at this time, I’d like to thank Michael and Joseph for sharing all of this information on the program. It really does mean a lot to us. We’d like to thank everyone for taking their time out of your busy workday to hear more about today’s topic. And as a reminder for next steps here is my contact information with my email address included. If you have any other questions or if there were any that we did not get to today, we’ll be sure to send you a quick follow-up email to get these answered. And again, a copy of this presentation will be sent to you post-call today. And we welcome you to follow us on our social media channels listed here. Thank you again, and we hope you have a great rest of your week.

Michael Harris:

Thank you for attending everyone.