Rapidly evolving health market creates opportunities for Stottlemyer and CNSI

The Health care market is in a period of transition, which is just the right environment for CNSI and its leadership team under Todd Stottlemyer.

Health care might be in a period of relative broad certainty compared to the past two years but it is also in a period of transition regarding technology, especially when it comes to the vast amount of patient and provider data.

As part of a recent wide-ranging conversation with CNSI CEO Todd Stottlemyer, he likened that shift to a baseball game in terms of how far the transition is in not just using technology as an enabler of outcomes but put the patient more at the center of care.

Those changes go beyond just the transition to electronic health care records by agencies such as the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, Stottlemyer said.

“Health care disruption is in the early innings,” he said. “Whether it’s the commercial provider side, whether it’s the VA, military health, DOD, that’s all within the last 10 years.”

“The digitization of health data, it’s really just an enabler to a more important transformation and disruption that’s coming," Stottlemyer said. "Electronic health records allow you to move information and data, that’s important. I would argue what’s more important is what do you do with that data that’s being moved.”

Consider the kinds of organizations that move that data and different types of data as well. Federal and state agencies, plus private sector organizations handle data including clinical, claims, payer, public health, and even social determinants of health such as economic status and place of residence.

Stottlemyer said the digitization of records and other health care information will eventually result in the patient or beneficiary being more at the center of care.

Whereas most health needs are met at a care provider today, he believes more of them will be fulfilled at the home of a patient or beneficiary that owns individual health information. The hospital for example is just one of the spokes in that setup, he said.

“You own your health information, you have the ability to permit any of the spokes to see what you want them to see,” Stottlemyer said. “That’s a different orientation from when you put the providers in the middle.”

Some of that is seen in how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other federal agencies are driving states to undertake more interoperability efforts and push more consumer engagement with technology as a lever to achieve better outcomes and manage population health.

Key to that is managing the vast amounts of data that agencies and care provider organizations handle and have to make actionable in order to make decisions.

Rockville, Maryland-based CNSI today is heavily involved in claims and payment processing data, where the company supplies a core product to state government agencies.

But CNSI also has its sights on growing the company’s footprint in the IT services and systems integration arena, including work with agencies on adopting cloud computing infrastructures to host that data.

As an example Stottlemyer described a recent project with the state of Washington to migrate to an Amazon Web Services infrastructure with CNSI as a helping hand.

“How does that help a state from a cost standpoint? They don’t have to invest in hardware,” Stottlemyer said. “Historically a lot of federal and state clients had their own data centers, own hardware, had their hardware refreshes and those are expensive. Now if you can move your system to the cloud and that data to the cloud, you the state are not having to re-invest in hardware when you have refreshes and things like that.”

AWS is far from the only cloud provider CNSI works with. Stottlemyer said CNSI takes a vendor-agnostic approach whether that be Microsoft’s Azure or infrastructures provided by Oracle, for example. The customer is the one who makes the decision on which infrastructure to adopt.

Regarding the general theme of decisions, Stottlemyer and CNSI’s majority investor Alvarez & Marshal are making on the direction of the 1,100-employee health care technology company since Stottlemyer came on board as CEO last year.

Hiring more talent and creating a culture of innovation are the top priorities, he said. One way CNSI works to achieve that is through a digital, cloud-based portal that lets employees put forth ideas for innovations that can be tried and tested before going out to clients.

“Part of building the right team and talent is getting the right mix of people, the brilliant developers and software engineers who can create effective solutions,” Stottlemyer said. “Intersecting with people who really understand health care, the clinical workflows and the whole clinical environment, intersecting with people who really understand the policy environment as it relates to CMS, to the states, Medicaid, or how that impacts providers.”

CNSI is also looking at markets and technologies adjacent to its core CMS and state health care business, including perhaps new customers like the Defense Health Agency or building a data analytics practice.

Part of that includes thinking about organic growth and acquisitions of companies that can get CNSI into those areas faster such as firms with new contract vehicles, Stottlemyer said.

“We have an important vehicle at CMS (SPARC), but we don’t have some of the vehicles that you would need to do work at Defense Health,” where Stottlemyer said a key vehicle is Alliant.

For work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CIO-SP3 is a critical vehicle that CNSI is not a prime contractor on.

“We have to take a look at those vehicles and potentially acquiring companies that have those vehicles to give us access as a prime contractor to those clients,” he said.