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The mother of all healthcare conferences, HIMSS Annual, went down this week at the Venetian in Las Vegas. At least 40,000 people descended upon the Sands Expo Center to network, learn and probably do a bit of gambling.

  • We learned more about eConsult and Care Coordination Connect System.
  • Chris shared his biggest takeaway from HIMSS18.
  • Chris participated in our signature Paubox Lightening Round.


Chris Cruttenden, Safety Net Connect President

We setup an impromptu interview center outside Palazzo Ballroom L. My friend Chris Cruttenden, President of Safety Net Connect, stopped by to catch up.

Here’s the transcript from our conversation:

Hoala Greevy: Howzit! This is Hoala Greevy, Founder CEO of Paubox. We're here at HIMSS18, in Las Vegas and I'm here with my friend Chris Cruttenden, President of Safety Net Connect. Without further ado, let's get started. Chris, can you tell me more about what your company does and what problems you guys solve?

Chris Cruttenden: We solve two problems in healthcare. One is the communication problem between primary care physicians and specialists. We've created a system we refer to as eConsult and it helps coordinate the care and do away with the need for inappropriate referrals. The second system that we provide is what we call Care Coordination Connect System, where we help deal with patients that when they're discharged from a hospital, [we] get them the appropriate care and transitions of care through our systems.

Hoala Greevy: What would be an example of an inappropriate referral?

Chris Cruttenden: Typically in some of the systems, the physician is fairly busy, they still use some archaic systems like a fax. Somebody would come in and be complaining about a rash on their arm and he's like, "Oh I don't know, you need to see the dermatologist." He'd give it to the nurse, the nurse would fax it over, get an auth, they would go have to see the dermatologist. In our system, they would take a picture, ask a question, "Can I resolve this here or do I need to send them to the dermatologist?" We ask them questions like, "Have they changed the soap, have they been hiking in a place where maybe they got poison oak?" Through the process of education elimination, probably that patient would get help and not need to do an extra visit at the dermatologist.

Hoala Greevy: For the second set of services you folks provide, can you tell us more about this safety net concept, because I was very unfamiliar with it.

Chris Cruttenden: When we first got into the business, we found there was so much low-hanging fruit and county health systems where we could do a lot of good. We've basically focused on just the safety net population, which is in California, Medi-Cal or indigent programs which is basically county-run programs that deal with people that are uninsured, homeless people, and whatnot. We created basically everything that high-tier people get with private insurance, we created an electronic system that allows them to have appropriate care coordination, services, efficient referrals, and when they show up at the myriad of different places, their information follows them. Which is really nice.

Hoala Greevy: That's cool man. So what does your ideal customer look like, is it a county?

Chris Cruttenden: Yes, we we love county health programs, public health programs, we like working with those systems. Typically, we love to go into a system where they have a backlog of referrals. We can bring in eConsult and change the workflow. We reduce inappropriate referrals by around 50% on some of the specialties. We reduce the backlog sometimes for a GI visit, it's it's you know, 180 days. We get access to the specialist down to two days and then we actually turn it into a system where they actually schedule the appointment within the appropriate time, whether it's 30 days or 45 days. We've eliminated basically backlogs for specialty visits.

Hoala Greevy: How big is your team and where you guys located?

Chris Cruttenden: We're 20 plus people, we're located in Newport Beach. We also have an office in Texas and then we have some affiliate offices. [We have] partners, one in Chicago and one in Connecticut.

Hoala Greevy: Wow. All over. That's cool. So what's your what's your biggest takeaway from HIMSS18 so far?

Chris Cruttenden: It seems to be a lot of hype about AI and blockchain. The takeaway on blockchain is it is not ready for primetime, at least in healthcare. It is far, far, far from ready. The AI stuff was extremely interesting and I think it's going to create some efficiencies, especially in specialty care- radiology, dermatology, anything in a visual aspect where you can, retinopathy, where you can basically look at the images and have it learn which is a bad image versus a good image.

Hoala Greevy: Chris, where do you see the industry going in the future?

Chris Cruttenden: I don't want to give away too many secrets! I'm just kidding. But basically there's gonna be some consolidation as far as what we're seeing with the EMRs, smaller healthcare software plays. Seems like care coordination is evolving and I think analytics supporting the real-time care coordination is really going to change how people get healthcare and interact with it. All these mobile devices are really doing big change too. Patients are more hooked in than they've ever been before. Hoala Greevy: Yeah. Optimistic for the future?

Chris Cruttenden: Oh yeah! I do think technology is gonna solve some of the issues that are facing us that politicians cannot solve. But we can solve it.

Hoala Greevy: Okay we're gonna do the lightning round with Chris Cruttenden. Ready?

Chris Cruttenden: Yeah.

Hoala Greevy: Favorite Hawaiian food?

Chris Cruttenden: Poke.

Hoala Greevy: Yeah! Right on. How many times have you seen the movie, The Big Lebowski?

Chris Cruttenden: Two times.

Hoala Greevy: Two times!? I thought you gonna say too many. You ever been kayak fishing?

Chris Cruttenden:I have not been kayak fishing, no.

Hoala Greevy: Okay we gotta get that going. What book or books are you reading now?

Chris Cruttenden: One of my favorite books is the Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. He has an updated version and I always print out some of the pages and tape them on my desk.

Hoala Greevy: No kidding!

Chris Cruttenden: Love it. Because I do a lot of presentations. Love it.

Hoala Greevy: I know someone who knows him. I will make sure he hears about that.

Chris Cruttenden: OK.

Hoala Greevy: That's cool. I don't know I'm directly though, but I can get to him. When's the last time you sent a fax?

Chris Cruttenden: Believe it or not, I had to send one a couple weeks ago for, like a soccer thing. Nothing to do with healthcare.

Hoala Greevy: favorite karaoke jam, go-to song?

Chris Cruttenden: Stone Temple Pilots, Vaseline.

Hoala Greevy: Oh that's a good one. Okay last question, who would win in the Octagon- a silverback gorilla or a polar bear?

Chris Cruttenden: I'm gonna go with polar bear.

Hoala Greevy:Team Polar Bear all the way! I mean c'mon, it's not even a question. Right on Chris, thanks a lot man!



The HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition brings together 40,000+ health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world. Exceptional education, world-class speakers, cutting-edge health IT products and powerful networking are hallmarks of this industry-leading conference.


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