Transforming Healthcare – When two Industry Leaders form a Partnership #HLTH2019

Thank you Providence St. Joseph Health for sponsoring this post and for being such a huge driver for innovation in healthcare!

Who is following the world of Health Tech? I think we all should, since our health is concerned here 😉

Well, I have some very exciting news for you:

Providence St. Joseph Health and Microsoft have recently announced a multiyear strategic alliance to accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare.

Since these organizations are industry leaders in their spaces, they have so much expertise to bring to the table and to really accelerate innovation in the health tech space. This is huge for the Health Tech industry and means that the hospital of the future could be around the corner!

So to find out more, I’ve had the opportunity to interview B.J. Moore, who is the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Providence St. Joseph Health. He will tell us all about what this partnership means for the future of health tech. 

Here’s our interview:

1. What does the partnership between Providence St. Joseph Health and Microsoft entail?

B.J. Moore:

It entails three things:

1. First, it’s about getting our caregivers (that’s what we call our employees here at Providence St. Joseph Health) a modern workplace, a modern experience. So getting them on Microsoft 365 for Office suite, the full productivity suite that Microsoft offers. 

2. The second thing that this partnership offers is, is modernizing the way we deliver technology, basically getting out of our private data centres and moving to Azure, and leveraging the capabilities that Microsoft is building there. 

3. And then the most innovative thing is partnering with Microsoft on building the hospital of the future. What exactly that entails, it was pretty open-ended. But really partnering with them to build that in caregiver experience, patient experience using advanced technologies, like machine learning and artificial intelligence to really innovate and really have that future vision.

“The most innovative thing is partnering with Microsoft on building the hospital of the future”

Photo by Daniel van den Berg on Unsplash

2. What areas of healthcare would probably be the ones that will be disrupted first?

B.J. Moore:

Well, like I said, we’re still defining exactly what that means. But my guess that’s going to be in two major areas:

1. One’s going to be around caregiver activity. What we are asking our nurses and doctors to do has become really administratively burdensome. So there are things we can do with technology to improve their effectiveness, help them collaborating as a care team and to support more seamless communication between the care team – using things like artificial intelligence to automate a lot of the tasks that doctors and nurses have to do. That’s going to be one area. 

2. Soon, we’re going to find a lot of innovative opportunities for us around big data, and how to use machine learning, artificial intelligence to really use that big data – to change patient outcomes and have a better insight to patient health issues more proactively.

So I think these are going to be the two big areas that we’ll embed in. And that’s the great thing about this partnership: it’s a multi-year partnership, Microsoft’s putting in dedicated resources, obviously, Providence centres of health is putting our caregivers or data behind us. So the innovation that can endure over the next three to four years really pretty limitless.

3. I know you’ve said that this is also open-ended, but I’m sure that everybody is very excited to visualize what a Hospital of the Future would look like. Do you have any idea of what it would mean or look like?

B.J. Moore:

I can give a couple of examples of what I think it could look like:

1. One thing is technologies like conversational artificial intelligence. Right now when a doctor or nurse is interacting with patient, unfortunately, they’re at a keyboard and typing in exactly what a patient is saying. So instead of it being a natural patient engagement, it’s very unnatural and administrative. So with conversational artificial intelligence, you may have some bots that’s in the room listening and transcribing what a nurse, doctor or a patient is saying – really allowing for more of a natural interaction between the patient and the caregiver versus this artificial, tightening kind of hands-off interaction. I think that’s certainly an area. 

2. Care teams are moving towards partnering with teams brought together to deliver a great patient experience. I think the technology enabling that, is an area where we can innovate. And so instead of a patient going room to room or doctor to doctor and having it be this timeless process, actually have it more seamless for both the patient and the doctors. So technology around communication, collaboration, sharing and annotating images. 

4. Overall, how do you see AI revolutionizing health healthcare? In what ways and what touchpoints do you see it doing so.

B.J. Moore:

It’s going to be infinite. I can think of two very tangible examples:

One is around giving up our caregivers augmentation. When a doctor is meeting with a patient, instead of having to read through the entire health record and spending that time trying to orient themselves, having artificial intelligence serve up the relevant information or the relevant prompts. Really to get an advocate and a healthcare doctor versus everything that’s being put on doctors’ shoulders as it is today. I don’t think that somehow artificial intelligence is going to replace doctors and nurses, it’s going to be very much more around augmentation. So, that’s a simple example.

Another example is, as human beings, we sleep, right? We can’t work 24/7. There are only so many cycles when we can meet with a patient. So, when I go to the doctor, I can hear my doctor looking at my medical records for maybe 30 seconds before he comes into the office. I really like my doctor, but 30 seconds isn’t a lot of time to spend on it. I think with artificial intelligence we can have artificial bots that can read health records, billions or trillions of times before you come in. Imagine the kind of insight they can get. 

Take something like a blood test as an example. If I took a blood test a month ago, maybe the results came back and were negative and everything was fine. My doctor would say: “Hey BJ, your blood results are fine. Yeah, nothing to worry about.”

I think in the future, as new insights come out, artificial intelligence is going to be able to look back at those blood results and say: “Okay, at the time they were fine but given today’s new knowledge or more complexity that we know about that, actually, B.J.’s blood results aren’t perfect.” 

And now, an artificial intelligence bot can serve that up to a patient or serve it up to me and say: “Hey B.J., a month ago, your blood results were fine based upon your research and what new insights, we have a concern, why don’t you come in and…”

So that’s an example where my doctor isn’t going to keep looking over my health record every day, whereas something like artificial intelligence literally can look over my health record billions of times – every health record billions of times and give insights proactively. So I think those are two simple examples where artificial intelligence can really change the way we live.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Masha:

It sounds like a lot of it is actually going to be around user experience. AI helping user experience for both patients and doctors and really kind of being the mechanism that is going to be on the background, helping to make the relationship between the doctor and the patient more effective and more meaningful at the end of the day.

B.J. Moore:

Yeah, and I would say more proactive, right? Today the way it works is if I have some symptoms, I decide as a patient whether I’m going to make a doctor appointment or not. Whereas in the future, with the information we’re getting from the Internet of Things, intelligent bots, we can use it more proactively reach out to people more selectively. So, that’s a simple example of how things can be changed. Less episodic, more proactive. Actually taking care of me before I get sick and save many lives.

“Today the way it works is if I have some symptoms, I decide as a patient whether I’m going to make a doctor appointment or not. Whereas in the future, with the information we’re getting from the Internet of Things, intelligent bots, we can use it more proactively reach out to people more selectively.”

5. And finally, what should we be excited about when it comes to this partnership? What should we look out for and how can we stay updated on the news, on the updates that are coming out of it?

B.J. Moore:

I think what we can be excited about is we have two industry leaders coming together. We’re co-located here in the northwest, so the opportunity of this partnership is pretty unprecedented. We’re bringing a lot of clinical expertise, information on tens of millions of patients. We’ve got Microsoft here that’s really committed to being a great partner. 

They’re not looking to get into the healthcare business, they’re focused on helping improve healthcare outcomes. And so this is a partnership where Microsoft brings enormous great technology, with great researchers and Providence St. Joseph Health is bringing great clinicians’ data. Being co-located is also going to really help with that partnership. So a lot of exciting things are definitely coming.

Masha:

And how can we stay updated on all of these developments or just stay on top of what’s happening in health tech?

B.J. Moore:

Yeah, we haven’t thought that far ahead yet. You’ve got good insights. Certainly, our public relations team will help with that. I’d love to stay connected with you. Maybe, we can check-in every three or six months and share the innovation that we’ve had, share some real examples instead of these abstracts that we’ve talked about today – so we can actually show or demonstrate some of those capabilities. 

And that’s also the value of building this hospital of the future. It’s not going to be just this abstract concept that we’ve talked about, really the goal is a site or sites, something that people can visit, participate in, tour, things that we can publish about. I know today’s discussion is very abstract and that just reflects a couple of weeks into the partnership, but three, six, nine, twelve months from now should be very tangible, something we can demo on. Something that patients can experience for themselves.

Masha:

I’m super excited to see what those next six months, nine months and a couple of years bring because it sounds like a lot of really cool things are going to be happening.

B.J. Moore:

Yeah, and there’s a huge opportunity. We’ve done healthcare the same way for a hundred plus years. Obviously, we’ve had advances in technology and new methods but the way patients and doctors and nurses have engaged really hasn’t been drastically changed. And so, I’m hoping with technology and like I said, the way doctors and nurses and patients can collaborate on healthcare, we can change things very visibly and have much better health outcomes.

Watch our interview here:

I’m super excited to see where this partnership between the two industry giants take healthcare in a few years. And to visit the Hospital of the Future, of course, it sounds like innovations will be focused around user experience for all of the humans involved and I’m sure will make everyone involved happier overall!

You can learn more about this exciting partnership between Providence St. Joseph Health and Microsoft here 🙂

What you are most excited about when it comes to this partnership and what’s your vision of the hospital of the future? Let me know if the comments!

</Coding Blonde>

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