Podcast Michael Shabkie founder and treasurer of

Podcast: Michael Shabkie, Founder and Treasurer of NEMTAC

January 6, 2021
The VectorCare Team

The Patient's Journey podcast was able to interview Michael Shabkie, the Founder of NEMTAC (The Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Accreditation Commission) on value-based care and its effects on NEMT, adopting and implementing new technologies, and more. Below are a few highlights from our interview, but be sure to listen and subscribe to The Patient's Journey podcast, linked at the bottom of the page.

Why do you think healthcare still relies so heavily on older solutions like the telephone and fax machine? As an industry, when do you think we’re going to jump that chasm?

It’s so interesting- the way that we keep best technology practices from being implemented in healthcare.

For hospital systems, the two major barriers are cost and the fact that technology changes so quickly. Oftentimes once a hospital system decides on a new tech solution, it’s already outdated, which can be a huge barrier to innovation. We know we need innovation; every hospital CEO I’ve ever interacted with understands the importance of streamlining technology and creating a central patient-hub of information. The dream is out there. But the time and resources it takes to train staff can be extremely daunting. Some hospital systems that I’ve worked with in the past went through a technology change which basically equated to their staff going to an equivalent of community college for a year to learn these new systems. It can be an intimidating, daunting process for hospital systems to adopt new tech when it takes so long to learn and may be outdated very quickly.


So when talking about implementing new technology, we know that it has to be a smooth transition for the provider. But what about patient experience?

Well hospitals are now more concerned about the patient experience. We’ve all gotten used to easy flowing technology: whether it’s pushing a button to get an Uber, Doordash delivery, or more, that’s our current generation. So when you think of incoming tech there has to be a focus on delivering an extremely positive user experience, even in the worst of times. Now, we’re actually starting to see reimbursement attached to patient satisfaction and experience, which is a move in the right direction. In Arizona, some hospitals are now having to share patient satisfaction data with their peers which makes for some healthy competition: what gets measured gets done. As a results, those scores have led to a dramatic improvement in care over the last couple of years.


Let’s say you’re at a conference and you have a bunch of hospital executives in a room. What advice would you give them when they’re thinking about adopting new technology?

This is my personal advice: new technology has to have a lasting benefit to the immediate urgency or need, which can be hard to do in technology. So many times I see organizations implement an immediate solution for an immediate need without taking a longer view. Is this the direction that the industry is moving in? Will this technology be outdated in a few years? Technology decisions shouldn’t be paralyzing, but you do need to have a high level perspective on the industry.

Additionally, there are software/technology solutions out there that are, frankly, overengineered. As I said earlier, learning new healthcare software shouldn’t be the equivalent of spending a year in community college. You have to ensure that you can onboard and implement new technologies in a timely fashion, and that staff will actually be able to adopt it. I’ve seen organization who license software with all the greatest bells and whistles, but because of the difficulty of the software there was a massive failure to adopt. It was just too difficult and onerous.

That’s some of the advice I would give: ensure that new technology will provide lasting benefit and that staff will actually be able to adopt it.

To listen to more from our interview with Michael Shabkie, click the Apple Podcasts link below:

‎The Patient's Journey on Apple Podcasts

‎Health & Fitness · 2020

Want to read more from the VectorCare journal? Check out our latest round-up of 2020 healthcare trends, as well as what to expect in the upcoming year.