Growing Impact of IT on Healthcare
By Helen Figge, Senior Vice President, Global Strategies and Development, LumiraDx USA, Inc.
1) Can you illustrate the revolutionizing impact of information technology across 1-2 business segments in your work environment and state why is it so critical for your business to succeed?
We don’t need to look long and hard for practical business success and a realization that what we need is a combination of technology and consumer engagement that is sustainable. We are seeing a consumer driven model for healthcare delivery and it is becoming front and center. And simple things for example, hands down, the smartphone and its various apps have been the impetus for rethinking various steps and processes in healthcare.
We are also realizing that many healthcare institutions use the wireless LAN (WLAN) to connect more devices than the wired LAN. It started with workstations on wheels (WoWs) and now encompasses medical devices, phones, video units, real-time locating systems (RTLS), and guest Internet access. Wi-Fi availability has become the new norm as we move towards a digital space with mobile adoption.
2) How is the role of IT changing at your company, and, with it, your role as Senior Vice President, Global Strategies and Development?
I think positions and titles are becoming more aligned with the needs of the entities they report to and represent. More positions are diffusing into other positions and having various skills outside the basic ones such as understanding technology is and should be the norm. Today, we need to be more versatile and adaptable and be ready to redirect at a moment’s notice. Being more business savvy is becoming the norm as well with people skills becoming paramount to the entire trajectory of delivering on programs, processes and successes. I think in the end, if we do our assigned jobs well we can truly become influencers and strategizers–both needed for sustainable healthcare delivery and execution.
"Wi-Fi availability has become the new norm as we move towards a digital space with mobile adoption"
3) What is the best example of IT’s new role at your company? Can you share on some of the things you have done in driving process transformation efforts—while tuning and elevating IT's relationship with the business.
For my specific role as a global communicator, I think one of the biggest components includes social media channels such as Facebook and even Twitter that supports an effective way to communicate and really driving communications in healthcare. Society is now demanding immediate responses and these types of novelties that are now the norm really can improve the people side of healthcare, allowing us to reach employees, staff, patients, and all stakeholders including even the general public. It is a great way to improve patient engagement as well. We are becoming a mobile health world and mHealth is becoming the cornerstone of its next wave. It removes the barriers we once had in healthcare–the most fundamental one being access. For example, rural places today can be provided with the same quality of care as the dynamic cities of the world. Between these trends and all of the wearable devices and sensors, we are on a new trajectory in healthcare, and one hopefully that is sustainable for generations to come.
4) When it comes to security, how significant is the role of a CIO or CISO as an ombudsman between IT and business? As security issues gradually start demanding full-time attention, do you think that it is time to hand over security completely to a CSO?
Ironically, security is everyone’s issue regardless of title– it starts with all of us. So while we have a designated “gatekeeper” identified such as the CISO, we all have the burden of protecting data, people, persons and things. That is the caveat of security–it really starts from the ground up–the front liners who see and hear things that might prove helpful in avoiding a security breach. For instance, disgruntled employees rank very high in contributing to security breaches in combination with careless protocols that might need revisiting and fine-tuning. We all share the burden and successes of security and I think we need to really start marketing that in healthcare just as we do in transportation: “if you see something–say something”. Let’s implement that motto and reduce the security breaches within the four walls of any establishment then move outward from there. We can all use and practice practical and common sense to start building the foundation of security for a long-term sustainability model.
5) A final question, what’s your advice to a CIO/CXO starting out in your industry?
The most important thing is to learn from everybody you meet–regardless of title, age or position. We can all learn from each other as we each have unique skills and approaches to things. Always keep an open mind and react when appropriate and listen and absorb as much as you can. Leave hate, biases, past mistakes, and grudges at the door as well as any old “baggage”. It’s harder and more tiresome to hate than create. I think we often times also “pigeon hole” our careers and form a trajectory we think we want but once we reach it we say “is this it”? My career has evolved out of passions I identified then acquired and wanted to attain. I also have met and continue to meet some really great people from all professional angles that I admire and want to “copy”. Remember, the best form of flattery is trying to emulate someone and how and what they do. So being a “copy cat” is a good thing. It’s really the highest form of flattery.