In the News

The Case for Building “Centers of Confidence”

Patrick Quinlan, MD, MHA
CEO and Co-Founder, Hippo Technologies, Inc.

Conventional healthcare tactics and practices have been on the wrong path for a very long time. At Hippo Technologies, we understand the current system’s inherent defects and how to fix them.

Our model of care has been broken for decades.

Every year, we say it’s unsustainable; yet every year, we continue with variations of the same theme. And every year, it gets worse.

But we can change it. We must change it.

At Hippo Technologies, we believe the problem and solution reside in how the patient encounter is designed and executed.

Today, clinicians, patients and families are increasingly isolated. Healthcare is fragmented. Good people work hard in a failing system that’s driving increased costs, suffering, and delays that are mushrooming out of control.

We want to restore the basic relationships in medical care among patients, families, and their clinicians in a way that renews them rather than frustrates them. We want to restore quality, safety, and efficiency based on a simple change in healthcare that can revolutionize medicine.

We need a system with a standard based on a simple and compelling philosophy: Get it right the first time, every time.

In short, we need a new model of care.


A Broken System

Our current healthcare system is like old Detroit: A huge factory that produced massive numbers of defective vehicles. Picture that factory with an even larger parking lot filled with broken cars. That’s our healthcare model today.

The solution is not more complexity to solve the parking lot problem, but simplicity to solve the manufacturing one. We need to go back to basics and fix it.

At its core, the practice of medicine exists to care for patients, and clinicians exist to care for them — to give them the services and human support they need and deserve.

But is this purpose at the forefront of what we actually do? Do patients like what they get? Do the services and support fulfill their needs or leave them frustrated and disappointed? Are they pleased with the current system and believe it’s getting even better? Is anyone in that circle happy with it? Is anyone proud of it?

If you go beyond medical centers, with their own deficiencies — into where people live – to see if we serve them well, you’ll find the answers.

Patient flow across facilities is not integrated successfully to maximize the value of our resources. This includes nursing homes and all forms of post-acute care, home health, clinics, regional hospitals, and major medical centers. They are currently connected largely through financial models and not through car models that meet the needs and preferences of patients and their clinicians.

Go to rural America, urban America, or a tribal reservation to talk with families who are struggling to afford healthcare and find timely, trustworthy access to healthcare. Go to nursing homes to see if we’re proud of what we deliver.

The people who get and give the care are the canaries in the coal mine. They don’t like our system for very sound reasons and we don’t listen. We give them variations on the same theme, and it’s not working. It’s unaffordable, increasingly unusable, and clearly not the answer.

The conventional care solutions of today (and probably tomorrow) require more money, more people, and more complexity. We know that is not the answer, yet we double down on our current system year after year. 

We believe that the country has sufficient assets — people, money, expertise, and programs — to solve our problems, but only if the solutions address the root cause of failure.

Today, our best minds are “brilliant in retreat” and, ultimately, in defeat. We need to win the battle with a new strategy grounded in a fundamental understanding of the root cause of our system’s failure — and the way out.

The Solution

Rural care is among the most broken segments of our current healthcare system.

Rural Americans face numerous challenges when it comes to accessing healthcare. On average, they live twice as far away from the nearest hospital as those in urban or suburban areas. In addition, recent data shows that more than 40% of rural hospitals in the country are either at immediate risk or high risk of closing due to financial losses.

Coactive Care™ anchored by Hippo Virtual Care™ — an augmented reality platform purpose-built for clinicians — can help rural hospitals around the country avoid this fate.

The term “Coactive Care” refers to a collaborative care model involving the active participation of multiple healthcare providers and patients. Professionals from different disciplines, including caregivers and family, form a “circle of care” to work together delivering comprehensive care for patients based on their needs, wants and preferences. This is what’s missing with conventional telehealth – the “human support” desired in the remote patient encounter.

This method improves accountability in point-of-care decision-making by providing immediate remote support and including the care circle in patients’ care plans, goals, activities, and outcomes. Strong caregiver relationships and in-person support encourage patient commitment and adherence.

Outpatient services are the modern life blood of medicine. They financially support hospitals to subsidize the more complex and often unprofitable acute care services that communities need. The new entrants to healthcare — like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Unum — will take these outpatient profit centers, and convert our leading medical centers into struggling safety-net hospitals.

That is not the future that individuals or the nation wants or needs. We can prevent it. It’s not an either-or choice. This is an ”and” choice where we can give patients what they really want — care close to home on their terms — and, at the same time, give them what they medically need to preserve and deliver the capabilities of our world’s leading health institutions.

Today, there’s a false dichotomy that needs to be addressed: That you can’t have both expert, high-level care and personal, locally-based care. That fallacy is the root cause of the failure of our current healthcare model.

Hippo can fix that.

How care is received and given does not need to occur at the expense of people’s innate preferences. At Hippo, we believe the results of our efforts should be measured by those who give and get the care. The determining question should be, “Does it work for them?”

Let’s take another look at rural healthcare.

Rural populations are older with heavier disease loads. Rural healthcare lacks the wherewithal to deal with them. Our task is to improve their health, improve their access, and improve the economic models of the facilities that serve them.

People bypass rural care facilities because they don’t trust their quality or the availability of the services they need. They can’t trust them with their health. We believe that we can reverse this by building “Centers of Confidence.”

These aren’t Centers of Excellence, per se, but they’ll be connected with Centers of Excellence as an extension to give people legitimate confidence in their local facility.

A good example is wound care. Patients who’ve been seen at these Centers of Excellence can be followed and monitored with confidence locally or in the home via Clinician Extenders using Hippo Virtual Care.

That’s how we build Centers of Confidence: by combining more distant Centers of Excellence and giving them access to patients who reside in more remote communities. We can build them one service and one patient at a time with preference to those services that can scale.

Many smaller facilities in rural areas could — and should — be converted into more complete outpatient clinics with emergency capabilities. People are admitted to a hospital an average of one or two times in their life. What they need is high-quality outpatient care close to home.

Hippo’s solution can deliver that.

The Hippo Virtual Care platform combines the latest in hands-free, voice-enabled wearable computing with medical-grade software to provide a “through the eyes of the clinician” viewpoint – enabling remote specialists to collaborate virtually with local Clinician Extenders wearing the headset to diagnose and treat patients, as if they were physically in the room.

Coactive Care powered by Hippo puts them at the center of care and at the center of the solution. Our platform makes any patient encounter better, and can be adapted constructively by the people who use it. They know the work and they know what they need.

That is the future that draws from the strength of the past — what people prefer — and into the future to what people need.

We believe that simplicity is the answer to complexity. We have a simple solution to a complex problem, which is the best answer to intractable problems.


Dr. Patrick Quinlan has an extensive history in healthcare delivery, medical administration, governance, governmental relations, international business development, and business transactions. He is CEO emeritus of the Ochsner Health System and Board Director for the PanAmerican Life insurance Group. He has received national recognition from “Healthcare” magazine as “the most powerful physician executive in the US” and one of the 50 most influential leaders in US healthcare.

Read our white paper for a deeper look at How Coactive Care Delivers Better Patient Outcomes.

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