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Vision to Action: Highlights from the State Healthcare IT Connect Summit

A large group of Gainwell Technologies employees in front of the company's booth at the 2024 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit

What. A. Week.
The State Healthcare IT Connect Summit has come and gone, but the energy of a whirlwind four days spent with clients, colleagues and partners changing healthcare for the better continues to reverberate here at Gainwell. 

From leading discussions on generative AI and MES modernization to listening intently to the ideas, innovations, challenges and opportunities impacting the public healthcare sector, we heard clearly the call for strong collaboration across the health and human services ecosystem as we navigate exciting, yet unprecedented territory. 

Here are some of the main themes we’re taking back as a team to advance the priorities that emerged from the Summit. 

Generative AI: Wielding It Effectively, but Responsibly

We counted 90-plus sessions and roundtables at the Summit, and we’re willing to bet the term “AI” was uttered at least once in every room. It certainly was in the sessions we attended, starting at the AI Governance, Safety and Ethics Bootcamp — a full day preceding the Summit dedicated to the pressing ideas, questions and concerns around implementing generative AI in state programs.    
In a joint session with Databricks, Gainwell’s Sanjeev Kumar and Balaji Parameswaran tackled the topic head on, demonstrating applications of GenAI in practice through our GainwellGenius™ analytics platform. 

With a deep dive into various use cases, how they’re developed and the real-world problems they’re solving, the discussion was brimming with possibilities. Sanjeev, however, was careful to reiterate a critical point throughout: That we must bridge the responsible AI gap now, building equity, fairness and transparency into our frameworks and documenting exactly how that’s being accomplished. (Read more on this in Sanjeev’s new blog, “Harnessing the Value of AI in Health & Human Services: Early Strategies for Long-Term Success.”)

We also heard from Sanjeev, along with industry peers, in a state-facilitated panel on procuring trustworthy AI in the public sector. While it’s clear states are taking diverse approaches to harnessing GenAI in their programs, a common trend and recommendation was to do so in a measured, outcomes-driven manner. From Sanjeev: “Define what you’re looking for, understand the outcomes of your impact and [execute] in a responsible way.”

MES Modernization: A Mosaic, not a Monolith

With a theme of “Harnessing Innovation and Accelerating HHS Ecosystem Transformation,” it’s no surprise that modernization was a major topic of conversation, from the opening keynote through closing remarks.  

Discussions centered on the various ways states are upgrading and adapting their systems for the future — prioritizing flexibility, configurability and the capability to take in and exchange the vast breadth of data necessary for interconnected, whole person care. 

In our session, “Embracing the Future of Medicaid Systems: Practical Approaches to Modernization,” Wisconsin DHS’ Nick Havens joined Gainwell’s Oscar Montes and Jeff Reid for a discussion on low-risk, high-impact and outcomes-based strategies for modernizing Medicaid enterprise systems. 

The large turnout and the interactive dialogue that ensued highlighted a shared eagerness to navigate this change together — co-creating solutions and applying human-centered design principles to create the MES of the future, carving the right path forward for each state.

Connecting Beyond Systems

Interoperability aptly underscored the dialogue across various sessions, as so many of the advancements discussed would not be possible without the ability to seamlessly share and utilize data across different platforms and stakeholders. 

An interoperable healthcare system is a vision we’re all marching toward; the Summit cast a light on the strides we're making and the opportunities for further collaboration toward enhancing patient outcomes and streamlining healthcare delivery. With the recent finalization of the CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization Rule, states and industry must continue to work together to operationalize policy not just for the sake of compliance but for the greater benefit that interoperability brings to all healthcare stakeholders. 

Beyond system-to-system connections, the Summit reaffirmed the value of getting together in person. It's human interaction that fuels innovation and grounds us in our commitment to improving healthcare for the people who most rely on it. We’re feeling reinvigorated and ready to put ideas and insight into practice, strengthening partnerships with our clients and colleagues to drive meaningful HHS transformation. Until next year!