Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read August 2021 — Seamus Lagan, CEO of Rennova Health, spoke to Invest: about the consequential developments technology has caused in the healthcare sector over the last few years. He also discussed the need to address festering issues in rural healthcare.
Will Rennova be staying in West Palm Beach despite its hospital-based acquisitions in Tennessee?
While it appears that our main operations have moved to a rural hospital operations in Tennessee, underlying that, we have a software development technology division that continues to operate from West Palm Beach and we hope it remains there. We believe that acquisitions of rural hospitals may take us to other parts of the country but we intend that Rennova’s software division will remain based in West Palm Beach. The Florida area is much easier to attract people to due to the weather and standard of living. It’s a quality-of-life thing that people wish to pursue and have.
What potential do you see in supplying rural healthcare?
That’s an interesting factor. Our vision is to own and operate a number of rural hospitals in a very close geographical location and make them successful in ways that they otherwise would not have been. To be blunt, we’ve had a difficult entry into this area — it has not all gone to plan. Some of that is a cause of matters specific to rural communities and particularly the effects from the pandemic everyone had to deal with last year. There was a long period of time where the investment community was looking at the sector before re-engaging just to see what the outcome of the pandemic would be. Things are starting to get back to normal but we do have a few scars from that. The opportunity to own and operate rural hospitals and to apply efficiencies and technology creates an immense opportunity.
How has demand for your services shifted over the last year?
The rural healthcare sector is notoriously difficult. The facts show that a lot of small, rural healthcare facilities don’t survive. There are numerous reasons for that but the overriding reason is their ability to get paid. The positive side of last year is the interest and move toward technology. Thankfully, that is a sector that we are also in, and, while we’ve had a difficult period with our hospital operations, we’ve had a very positive period in our software division that will hopefully create a lot of success over the next few years. So, we’ve seen the difficult side and the side that seems to be performing better as a result of the past year.
How have technology and healthcare become more symbiotic?
Everybody uses the term telehealth but, the reality is, telehealth can be anything from a Zoom conversation between a doctor and a patient to a lot more than that. The software sector for healthcare is going to move a lot more toward faster analytics. Physicians, hospitals, even patients, everyone wants data reports almost immediately to assist with their decision making. We’ve transitioned over the last number of years to having immediate satisfaction to any wish for information. That’s where the sector is going. Our software division is building a very exciting platform that will initially be utilized by the healthcare providers, by doctors and specialists and workers. It will then evolve into allowing groups of those people to communicate with each other and provide and purchase services from each other.
What are the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry?
At the base of all healthcare, it’s a well-known national problem that it is very difficult to get paid. It’s a sector unlike any other. Usually, you go into a shop and you buy a product: you know what you’re paying for it, the supplier knows what they’re selling it for. But you go into healthcare, you provide a service and you believe you should get paid for it but somebody in an insurance company believes they should not have to pay for it. That’s one of the biggest problems across the sector that I believe has to change. I don’t know how it will change but I believe it will have to for healthcare to be viable and accessible for all.
How are you looking to grow in the next year or two?
I think the software division will very soon be a separate entity. We believe that will permit that division to grow. We would like to avail of that growth opportunity. Second to that, we are in a restructuring mode in the rural healthcare division, and we have to get some stability. We must understand the difference on the ground after COVID and we have to work with that. So, the initial short-term plan is to stabilize our rural hospital operation, implement a management team capable of making additional acquisitions and grow further over the next few years.
For more information, visit: https://www.rennovahealth.com/