2018 Keynote Speakers

Joel Hackney

Chief Executive Officer

What is the most innovative thing you’ve seen in technology, healthcare, or innovation?
The pace of discovery and change in health care is astonishing. Personalized medicine is a reality with targeted medicines, gene therapy, including reprogramming, and nano-robots and viruses used as stealth carriers for treatment medications.
But, I think it is technology itself that is the most exciting and which is having the most revolutionary impact on health care. Would anyone have thought that a life could be saved because a watch alerted the wearer that their heart rate was too high? Yet, that just happened. And, 3-D printing of prosthetic limbs is already underway.
Today, we are also seeing increased use of robotic process management (RPA) in back office and operations to perform repeatable processes in revenue cycle operations. We’ve only just begun to think about all of the possible applications and I think we will see a rapid rise of this technology.
But, I think the greatest impact is on the Electronic Health Record (EHR), considered the key to ensuring that health care is safe – the right treatment for the right person at the right time – because it should contain all of the known information about a person’s health and medical history. But, the catch has always been interoperability – how does that information get shared across disparate IT systems and health care enterprises? The answer we’re learning could be blockchain technology -- software originally developed to help manage bitcoin currency. That’s the innovation that surprises me and impresses the most. Application of blockchain technology could solve – finally – the challenge of sharing the EHR across disparate IT systems and health care enterprises. Using this concept, private blockchains allow health care providers to share data, regardless of its origin. The data is also not stored in single database so it is more secure and less likely to cyberattack. The EHR data in the blockchain concept is owned by the patient which is unique and aligns with the rise of consumerism in health care.

Where you think healthcare is going in 5-10 years?
The forces shaping health care today, from medical and technological and societal perspectives, will render it unrecognizable within ten years. The patient as consumer will be the driving force and health care enterprises and systems will change to meet new demands. This will be partially driven by the fact that patients are bearing more financial responsibility for the cost of care. Because of this, patients will demand greater efficiency in how care is delivered and that, in turn, will drive competition, transparency and new innovations in how care is delivered.
Additionally, with patients becoming more engaged in their care, we’ll see a greater focus on population health management and wellness and less demand for acute care. The sphere of health care will move to ambulatory and concierge settings and we will continue to see people living longer, healthier lives.
I think we will also see technology continuing to lead in health care transformation, with artificial intelligence and robotic process management as key drivers for that efficiency that the patient/consumer demands and that health care organizations will need in order to operate effectively and compete in the new environment.
Health care will see extraordinary change over the next five-to-ten years and we at nThrive will have a pivotal role in it.

Sloan Clardy

President of Technology Solutions

Where you think healthcare is going in 5-10 years?
We are living in an exciting time. The pace of change in our industry is on the verge of exploding. My belief is that during the next 10 years the healthcare industry will experience more disruption and more advancement than during any period in history. This disruption will be pervasive, both in clinical and administrative functions. Even the structural nature of our industry is rapidly transforming with meaningful vertical integration now taking shape between payors, providers, and retailers. Large employer groups and technology giants are also now determined to influence our space.

Change is not a new concept in the healthcare industry. Government and regulatory forces as well as technological advancements have played an important role historically. So what’s special about this moment in time? A key driving factor is the exponentially increasing digitization of inputs into healthcare. The volume of healthcare data is now increasing at a rate of 48% annually. By 2020, IDC projects we’ll be producing over 2,314 exabytes of healthcare data. Yet the vast majority of healthcare organizations don’t yet have effective data management strategies or governance models in place.

With that as a backdrop, AI may be the single biggest disruptor for our industry over the next 10 years. Think about the potential from AI virtual assistants to free up time for care givers to focus on the most complex cases, or the potential from in home robotics and wearables leveraging AI to generate provider alerts in real time and to shift settings of care away from hospitals. Telemedicine and remote monitoring is poised to not only enable more home care, esp. for chronic conditions, but also to redefine business models for both tertiary acute care hospitals and critical access hospitals alike. Take a minute to consider how our current model for disease management could be completely transformed with real-time provider alerts stemming from wearables and remote in home monitoring. Or how about the impact to healthcare administrative functions? By combining machine learning with robotics and other automation tools our current notion of the revenue cycle will be reengineered and become highly automated. It’s not unreasonable to expect that upwards of 75% of current revenue cycle management functions could become fully automated. Much like care givers being freed up to focus on the most complicated cases, revenue cycle professionals will leverage virtual assistants and attended automation to accomplish more activity, at a higher accuracy, while freeing up time for analytical work and problem solving. Also, how we interface with patients across the revenue cycle will look markedly different in the next 10 years. The maturation and adoption of intelligent chatbots and patient self-service tools, powered by AI and the applied industry knowledge of companies like nThrive, will help drive a better patient consumer experience.


Benard Gay

Chief Information Officer

What is the most innovative thing you’ve seen in technology, healthcare, or innovation?
The technology solution that I would deem as one of the more innovative recently would be the launch of the Amazon Go store. The concept was designed to redefine the brick and mortar experience for consumers as it pertains to retail and food / beverage. In an effort to address key concerns we all face when shopping the model was built on the premise dubbed “just walk out technology “, where you could walk into a store, pick up what you want and walk out. I was fortunate to be part of a team from a very small group of companies selected to participate in a pilot to test and refine the model. What makes this solution(s) stand out for me were the many point solutions that were integrated to manage efficiently and accurately the both the customer order processing, supply chain and financials with the intent that scale would not be an issue. The concept comprised use of cameras, proximity sensors, facial recognition, RPA, AI, BI along with your order processing and ERP application.

Where you think healthcare is going in 5-10 years?
It is my belief that dramatic advancements in both BI, RPA and AI will drive increased efficiencies in overall delivery of health care as a service. We are at the early stages of how the combination of these solutions can work in unison to deliver effectively. However, with that success it is also my belief that HIPAA privacy challenges will be at the forefront and debated upon vigorously. The results will be a clear determinant of how progressive we can be.

Guest Speaker

Brad Cook, MBA, CHFP
Vice President, Revenue Cycle Management
Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Brad Cook is the Vice President of Revenue Cycle for Presbyterian Healthcare Services. He has been with Presbyterian for 13 years and has served in a variety of roles within the Revenue Cycle during that time. He obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from the University of New Mexico.


Panelist Roundtable - "The Adjacent Possible"



Andrew Woughter

SVP - Product Strategy, Solutions Group 

Andrew Woughter

What is the most innovative thing you’ve seen in technology, healthcare, or innovation?
The most innovative technologies I have seen all have common enablement. Artificial Intelligence and Automation. I have driven in Autonomous vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes, and Google and while initially nervous was impressed with the technology. I am especially impressed with the autonomous landing capability of the SpaceX rockets. These are all big leaps in technology, but also little things like the Nest thermostat that learns your habits and automates your home’s climate is an example of impressive A.I. and automation.

Where you think healthcare is going in 5-10 years?
Healthcare is often a lagging industry, however I do see autonomous capability being expanded into healthcare. Some health systems already have secure medication delivery robots. It is time for nThrive to bring automation and Artificial Intelligence to the Revenue Cycle.




Panelist Info

Brett Bertz
I’ve spent more than 24 years in the Information Technology Services arena with most of my career being in the Communications industry. I joined MedAssets in 2014 to lead our Revenue Cycle Technology Implementation Services organization. As nThrive launched in 2016, the Implementation Services organization has transformed over time with the vision to become the single integrated technology and service on-boarding function for the company. With the most recent organizational shift toward a business unit focus, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to lead our Technology Support organization reporting to Sloan Clardy, President of the Technology Solutions Group. In addition to the operational responsibility in the new role, I see success for my new position as partnering across nThrive’s operating functions to define and execute the strategy to differentiate us in the service that we provide to our Technology clients. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the new team and to be a part of nThrive.

Steve Kolski
Chief Engineer for The Solutions Group. In that role, I work with colleagues in The Solutions Group, IT, Product Support and Client Success organizations on various definition, architecture, and lifecycle aspects of technology products and infrastructure.  This includes technical definition and planning, software development methodology, system integration, scalability, robustness and reliability.  My areas of special interest include system architecture & engineering, performance, capacity and scalability.

Joe Peduto
Joe Peduto has been with the company for 14+ years and has worked in such areas as Software and Support, Client Strategy, Process Improvement, and is formally a Business Excellence Black Belt from nThrive’s Wave 1 team. Joe is currently working on the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) initiative as well as standing up the RPA Center of Excellence. Throughout Joe’s career he has been heavily involved with the teams in AR Services and has partnered with clients to streamline inefficient processes.

Scott Briercheck
Scott Briercheck is Chief Scientist at nThrive where he is dedicated to leading the inception, development, creation and deployment of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Solutions for all phases of the revenue cycle. Scott’s team is comprised of Data Scientists, Engineers, and Domain Experts who perform the analysis, modeling, and engineering required to develop and deliver Machine Learning and AI solutions. Scott has twenty-five years of experience successfully leading Healthcare and Industry organizations in AI, Machine Learning, Software Engineering, and Scalable Architectures.


George Ortiz - @grgortiz
George Ortiz is VP Product at nThrive where he leads strategy formation and technical execution for nThrive’s analytics product portfolio, working towards empowering health care for every one in every community. Ortiz drives the product roadmaps and strategic investments for nThrive's analytics SaaS platform and all product offerings including Revenue Cycle, Physician, Hospital, and Value-based Care analytics. In addition, Ortiz coordinates the technical execution of the nThrive Analytics micro-service architecture currently deployed in Azure utilizing Kubernetes. Previously, Ortiz lead product and engineering at two venture-backed startups with successful exits in the platform analytics space.

Merrill Fratkin
Merf was introduced to health care in his work as a strategic and operations consultant at Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Merf was the former CIO (twice) of Adreima. Merf has had several other roles at Adreima while the company grew from 23 employees in 2003 to just under 1,000. In fact, he has most of those business cards (8 total) still on the shelf in his office. As the Senior Vice President of Software Development, Merf has led and is leading several interdisciplinary teams across the enterprise in strategic platform integration.

Bill Knox
Bill Knox is a Vice President of Product Management for nThrive Collections Management. He has worked for nThrive for 25 years and served many roles supporting our clients and solving problems in the Claims and Collections Management space. Bill has spent a tremendous amount of time in hospital business offices to identify problems in the billing and collections process that require innovative technology solutions to solve. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University.