In this podcast, leaders from KPMG and Microsoft examine healthcare's current digital paradigm shift and offer insights for successful business transformation and digital enablement. They outline what a truly modern digital experience looks like for patients and clinicians and how that experience is formed through customer insights.
Hi everyone and thank you for tuning into Becker's Healthcare podcast series. I'm Laura Deda, Vice President and Editor And Chief at Becker's Healthcare. Today, we will be discussing how leaders from KPMG and Microsoft examine healthcare's current digital paradigm shift, offer insights for digital transformation, success, and outline what a truly modern digital experience looks like for patients and clinicians. Today, I am pleased to be joined by Edgar Wilson II, Principal Program Manager Lead at Microsoft, Jesse Loscalzo Advisory Principal at KPMG, US and Alex Obenauf Advisory, Managing Director at KPMG, US. Edgar, Jesse, and Alex, can you take a moment to introduce yourselves?
Hey, everyone, my name's Edgar Wilson. I'm a principal program manager lead in our Microsoft cloud for industry team primarily focused on healthcare. I've been at Microsoft, a little over six years and have an extensive background in Microsoft technologies, and various industries ranging from healthcare to retail and financial services. Prior to joining Microsoft, I worked in the Microsoft partner channel with one of the more prestigious partners, and also have worked with Jesse and others in the Microsoft space for, gosh, going on ten years now! So, glad to be a part of this really pumped to have the conversation.
Awesome! Thanks, Edgar. Thanks, Lauren. Appreciate you having us on today, and really excited to talk about a sort of trend in what we're seeing in the healthcare space, as it relates to patient and digital experience. I am Jesse Loscalzo, I've been working at KPMG for a little over seven years now. I'm the principal in our technology enablement group, specifically, I focus on helping our customers transform how they engage with their patients and clients by leveraging the Microsoft solution. We look across the full stack, everything from CRM to ERP to low code, no code solutions to cloud service options. And I have spent a number of years working with both Edgar and Alex, as we sort of think about the broader experience that we're trying to create and how we help our clients really move forward and create that cohesive experience for their patients, their clinicians, and their clients. So, I'll pass it over to you, Alex.
Thank you very much, Jesse. My name is Alex Obenauf. I have been with KPMG, for about thirteen years total, and I sit in our provider practice. I specifically focus on front office transformation and how we can use technology to create better patient experiences and do digital transformation with our technology clients. I’m really excited to be here and talk about some of the trends that we're seeing in the industry and some things that we think health systems can do to improve those experiences for customers.
Edgar, Jesse, and Alex. Thank you so much for being here today. Now with that, let's jump into our topic in our conversation. What are the driving forces behind healthcare? Is it transformation and patient experience? Alex, I'd love to hear from you. And then I know a few of our other speakers would be connecting on this one as well.
Absolutely. I think the first thing that I would focus on is the increased competition that we're seeing in the market. We're seeing disruption from non-traditional healthcare players. We typically refer to these as pay providers because we're typically seeing a combination of both a payer entering into the provider space, not encumbered by some of the technology debt that some of the traditional health systems have, and coming up with new and improved solutions. So, when I'm saying that I'm thinking of Aetna, CVS or Walmart coming out with many of their clinics and, non-traditional entrance into the market. I think the second major thing that's driving transformation is really the rise of consumerism. Patients are no longer judging their healthcare experience against other healthcare experiences, but they're judging their healthcare experience against other experiences that they're having in, the world and, around them.
It’s a much higher bar that patients are now expecting healthcare systems to chin these days. This is being driven by a couple of different things, but one of the biggest changes we've seen is the changing demographic, millennials and gen Z now make up more than 45% of the patient population. And that is only growing as a percentage. And their expectations isn't just a digital expectation. It's a mobile expectation. We used to say, you know, years ago, people would go online. We don't go online anymore. We live online and that is just, you know, table stakes for us. I remember listening to a podcast by Simon Sinek a number of years ago. And he said, if the first thing somebody does in the morning is roll over, open a beer and, and take a drink, you'd likely call them an alcoholic. But we think nothing of people when the first action of the day is to check their phones and see what updates they have. I think we are all naturally in a boiling pot of water becoming “technoholics”. And I think that the demand for digital transformation in healthcare is just going to accelerate over the next coming years. Edgar, I know you had some, some thoughts about it as well.
Yes, to your point, Alex, changing demographics is playing a pivotal part in how we think about engagement with the patients. So, you know, gen Z, millennials such as myself, engage much differently than our parents and grandparents. With the baby boomer and gen X generations have historically interacted with their providers and insurance companies. So, through our technology that we have today, we enable personalized experience across generations utilizing widely known engagement tools, such as SMS, voice, video email. But we're also seeing a seismic shift toward additional capabilities like chat bot, IVR capabilities, and even other omnichannel engagement capabilities. So, you know, with our platform, personalized omnichannel engagement to meet patients where they are is something we've been working on through our core platform. Such as Azure Microsoft teams and dynamic CRM, and with our cloud for healthcare initiative, essentially what we're doing are breaking down the silos between the different engineering groups to tailor specific apps for things. Such as care management, home health contact center, and enabling that personalized experience for the patients or members in the payer space.
So, everything that you're saying is spot on. And, from a technology perspective, we look to enable our customers and our partners with tools to bring speed to value to these healthcare organizations.
Those are really excellent points; and so interesting to hear and think about how the health system is evolving. Now, Edgar, I'd love to hear your perspective on the next question as well. What are some of the guiding principles health system leaders should consider when building a digital experience?
First and foremost, everything starts and ends with the data. So, without a full view of the patient or member, the clinical and non-clinical interactions with the organizations, it's tough to know how to treat that patient. So, our core platform Azure, provides healthcare organizations the ability to move to the cloud at scale, compile that full view of your patient or members and also being able to start small and grow as needed. And this ultimately enables the organization to bring those, the spirit data sources together from multiple clinical systems to provide a seamless experience across all organizations within that provider network. And obviously, obviously privacy and compliance is at the forefront of everything we deliver. So, we ensure that any geos we roll out to have achieved the necessary compliance and security measures for that specific geo. And as mentioned, you know, when you have that core data state, it then makes much easier the ability to streamline interactions and meet the patients where they are through those tailored apps that I talked about leveraging our customer relationship platform Dynamics 365. So, in the case of a contact center agent, I have the ability to view all of the information I need as a home health nurse or care manager. I'm able to view and act on all of the information that I would have access to in that data state. And ultimately, we're building this and tailoring the foundational pieces to enable partners like a KPMG.
Edgar, those are some phenomenal points, and I know that we're talking more about sort of the pure experience and the digital transformation, you know? But one of the things that we often see and where we like to start from some guiding principles perspective is really thinking about what's the experience that we're trying to create for both the patients and the clinicians alike. A lot of times we go in, or we get asked to come in and help solve their discrete problem, or, you know, spin up a specific component of technology, be it something on the CRM, on the nano side for patient access or something around progression or referral management. And, if you're not thinking about the overarching experience that you're trying to create, a lot of times, the solutions that get rolled out can be disjointed. So, we always want to focus on addressing those business, you know? Patient and clinician needs as the starting point and then look at what is offered across the Microsoft ecosystem to really enhance that experience.
So, you're right. The data ends up being one of the most critical components and how that flows through. But as you think about the difference between your system of record and your system of engagement, when you're looking at that system of engagement, really hearing that, how it's going to be leveraged and how it's going to be used is consistent across the entire health system. Because a lot of times, we start seeing some disjointed point solutions. We talk about this a little bit later that create a very cumbersome experience in going back to what you and Alex were talking about earlier. We have very different expectations today in terms of how we're going to engage with our providers, right? We want to have that simple solution that we have when we're booking a flight, or when we're ordering something online. And we have to be cognizant of that as we're laying out the approach for these large-scale changes that systems are going through right now.
That's a really great point, Jesse, thank you so much for sharing that with us now, I would love to hear your perspective too, on the next question. What are some of the common roadblocks that hospitals and health systems experience when executing and planning digital transformation initiatives?
That's a great question. It ties very closely into the last point, which what's most interesting is that we did a study last year and of the hospital systems that we polled around the world over 80% of the providers said that transforming digitally, specifically focused on that cohesive patient experience and improving it, is a priority for them. Yet of those same. And only 10% actually had set aside budget funding to address those opportunities and drive those programs. So I think we're still at this inflection point where significant investments were made in, in, in EHR and EMR solutions, right. And everybody sort of agreed that that will be the system of record for, for healthcare providers going forward, right. And a lot went into creating sort of that unified approach of getting everything into a single location yet, conversely, we've taken this point solution approach or disparate approach to how we drive that system of engagement.
So, a lot of times, if you look across a health system, say, you know, an oncology group, an orthopedics group, a pediatrics group, and et cetera. You'll find that they each have a different approach to how they handle care, care, coordination, scheduling, referral management, patient access. And so using myself as the example, when I call my local healthcare provider, if I'm trying to schedule something for my kids in pediatrics, I have a very different experience that when unfortunately I ruptured my Achilles and had to deal with orthopedics and get that repaired. Um, and then even moving forward, when I went into, you know, post-op and physical therapy, it, it was all disjointed, and there was a lack of coordination across those. So, I think what happens is many of our clients are looking at these very specific problems that they're solving for. And while the solution that's being put in place definitely solves that problem
it might be different from what another department is doing, or another group is doing. At the end of the day, they're all engaging with the same patients. And it's really creating a lot of challenges and a tremendous opportunity to look at that engagement layer and how you can leverage a platform like what Microsoft has to offer and what Edgar's team has built and been working on in the healthcare space as something that not only addresses very specific sort of point solution like challenges, but still offers a consistent platform that when done right can be deployed and create that, that, that experience that everybody's looking for. You know, whether it's within the hospital or they're, you know, again, booking the flights, or buying something online. So that's where we're really thinking about this as, as a cohesive approach to tie all these different components together and, and, and really give the experience that the patients are looking for and streamline the experience for the clinicians themselves and how they're managing the, the interactions with, with their patients.
That's really great to hear. And so interesting, as well, now, the word connected comes up often in conversations about the digital experience, in your opinion, what does a truly connected healthcare experience look like for patients? And, and what about for clinicians, Alex? I I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Sure, and let's take it in two parts first. First, let's talk about what it means for the patient. As I discussed earlier, consumers are expecting more, you know, and bringing in X industry examples. When I think of connected, probably some of the best examples I can think of are either in the Android or apple ecosystems, where an action you take on one device is automatically recognized and realized on other devices. And we see this in our web searches and Amazon and everything else weaving those experiences together without the user having to even be aware that it's being done is what truly connected means. Now, what does that mean for healthcare? I think we have a number of different challenges in healthcare that we need to solve for. And, while Jesse is correct that huge investments were made in the EHRs over the last number of years, there is this divide between medical device data versus non-medical device data.
And how can we integrate those and get those to work seamlessly together while not running afoul of any rules or regulations that we might find. So, what I'm thinking here is how do we merge the data with Fitbits and iWatches and home blood pressure monitors with the actual clinical EHR data and the data that comes from health system technologies. And I think that's where a platform like Microsoft is, your cloud can play a key role for us. It can create an engagement layer that transcends this divide and allows us to see the data from both sides at the same time. Now, most health systems have a long way to go on their connected journey. We recommend putting the patient and the provider at the center of that journey, and then structuring the connected experience around them.
And I'll fully recognize that most health systems have a long way to go on this simply looking at tools that allow for us to recognize the phone number and curate an experience for that patient based off of their prescriptions or refills or upcoming appointments. Very similarly to when we call the airline, and they already know about our next flight and offer us options on that how do we create that kind of easy experience for the customer? The patient is going to be very important for us taking a step over to the clinician side of the house, a connected experience for a clinician means getting them the right information to perform their job to the maximum of their ability. And I think one of the things that we're going to encounter is we're going to have so much data that we are going to need to use advanced technologies in AI to curate that data for the clinician and highlight the areas of focus.
Otherwise, the clinicians are going to be inundated with too much data. And that will actually wind up with severe physician’s fatigue. We saw this in the early days of EHR implementations with click fatigue. And I think that's something that we need to think about as we design and think about how we can use these technologies to create a better experience for the physicians. Lastly, and another problem that we're going to need to solve is as we make the patient and the clinician more connected, what do we do address issues such as what becomes a billable visit? When do we cross that threshold to actually creating an encounter in things of that nature; and that's going to need to be addressed by both providers, insurance companies and government payers. It's something that we encountered in the early stages of COVID with, how did we classify virtual visits versus regular visits? And, and there was a lot of exceptions made there. We really need to take, now that we're through the worst of the pandemic, we really need to take a deliberative approach about how we're going to solve these problems. And Edgar, I think you had some comments as well on this question.
Absolutely. That's essentially what we're undertaking a lot of what you mentioned, you know? Signaling through our acquisition of nuance, which has been a leader in the IVR technology space also in the room with physicians being able to redline and highlight pertinent aspects of a conversation, but also bringing together components, such as Microsoft teams and Azure to enable remote patient monitoring in-home care inventory and supply chain management. So, we actually have a customer that's using and alluding to what you were speaking about earlier with respect to continuous patient monitoring. They're using a part of the Azure IOT platform in conjunction with the power platform for COPD care management program. So essentially, they're providing their patients with under mattress sensors which ultimately are bringing back that telemetry into Azure IOT.
And when there's an anomaly, this then pushes into the power platform to enable the care manager or the nurse to contact the patient. So truly providing an end-to-end digital experience and really enabling the care teams just as much as we're enabling the patient or the member, which we spoke about earlier. Ultimately, we have to keep both happy, right? In order to provide the best technology, but with respect to all that has occurred even well before the pandemic, with respect to burnouts on both the nurses and the physician side that's one of the main undertakings that we're looking to drive and really help the care teams to reduce that burnout and really give them tools that for one they're familiar with, but secondly, that they actually want to use and enable them with the correct insight to actually drive better patient outcomes. So, agree wholeheartedly with everything mentioned, and here at Microsoft, that's what we're undertaking, making the world a better place, making healthcare better for our care teams.
Becker’s Hospital - Speaker 1 (21:03):
That's amazing! Thank you so much, Edgar. Now, Jesse, do you have any closing thoughts for our listeners?
First of all, I just appreciate the conversation and really want to thank you for having us on today. This has been a lot of fun and a great topic to talk through. So, just in closing and recap, look starting with the end in mind as you're going on this journey and really thinking about those experiences that you want to create, both inside and outside. So, taking that outside in and inside out view and recognizing that, as patients, we have different expectations now and are comparing our providers and the experience we have with them to other industries and how things are done there. So really acknowledging the transformation that's in front of us. Creating that cohesive and connected experience across the entirety of the life cycle and then most importantly, leveraging a platform like the Microsoft cloud for healthcare to not only have the ability to address some very specific needs, but also keeping the consistency across the experience. And the life cycle, whether it's from, a care progression and coordination perspective, the scheduling, and the interaction with referrals, driving those pieces in a consistent manner and using a platform that really helps kind of bridge that gap between the system of record, the system of engagement. And
then one of the pieces that was talked about earlier is the system of insights and how we're leveraging those insights to drive better care for community. So, I think it's incredibly exciting. And it's one of these situations where I really do believe that the first organization that drives this right is going to completely transform how everybody else has to engage with their patients within their communities. So, again, very exciting stuff. Thanks again for having us on. Alex and Edgar, it's always a pleasure. And, with that, I will pass it back over to you.
Thank you so much, Edgar, Jesse, and Alex, for your time today in this great discussion.
Thank you. It's been great. Thanks.
I'd also like to thank KPMG as well for sponsoring this episode, you can also tune in to more podcasts from Becker's healthcare by visiting our podcast page.