On this episode of The Six Five – On The Road, hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Sergio Severo, President and General Manager, ISG, North America at Lenovo and Jim Francis, CTO, Houston Methodist, for a conversation on Lenovo’s partnership with Houston Methodist and the benefits of AI-driven technology in healthcare during VMWare Explore in Las Vegas.
Their discussion covers:
- Lenovo’s role in supporting and driving efficiency in data management in the healthcare sector, and how that role has progressed since breaking into the healthcare industry
- The challenges and/or burdens Houston Methodist experienced in the organization’s data management processes, and how Lenovo’s solutions have helped
- The opportunity that the adoption of Lenovo’s AI-ready solutions present in simplifying data management operations and supporting the overall healthcare system
- How Lenovo’s technology supports improving cost efficiency and reducing burden on healthcare staff/patients, and how the benefits of AI-driven solutions manifest innovation and efficiency in the healthcare landscape
- How Lenovo’s role in the healthcare sector might evolve in the next few years
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Patrick Moorhead: Hi, this is Pat Moorhead and the Six Five is on the road at VMware Explorer 2023, and we are in the Lenovo booth. You can hear all of the activity around us. In fact, five minutes ago there were 150 people sitting right here, but we cleared them out and we’re going to do this incredible video. We hope so. I’m here with my cohost, Daniel Newman. How you doing, my friend?
Daniel Newman: Pat, we’re here. We’re talking a lot of cloud, a lot of data, quite a bit of AI. It’s always part of the plot line right now, but you know what my favorite thing on The Six Five is? When we get the chance to hear from those that are implementing, that are leading the implementations that are really handling these next generation technologies. And that’s why I’m really excited about this next conversation.
Patrick Moorhead: No, it is having customers on The Six Five is the grand purifier because we have the industry analysts, that’s us, the vendor, and then we have the customer is the grand purifier, because what all of us say only matters if that end customer internalizes it and does something with it and sees value. So it’s my pleasure. Jim, welcome to The Six Five.
Jim Francis: Thank you.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, Sergio, great to see you again.
Sergio Severo: My pleasure.
Patrick Moorhead: I think the last time we saw each other was in Austin, possibly in the middle of an F-1 race. Correct?
Sergio Severo: Yes. Looking forward to the next one.
Patrick Moorhead: Oh, I am too. And I appreciate the invite. Thank you. I’m just kidding.
Daniel Newman: So we’re going to be talking about healthcare today.
Patrick Moorhead: Yes.
Daniel Newman: Jim leads technology at Houston Methodist. We’re going to come back to you in just a minute. I’m going to start with Sergio. I want to ask you, Lenovo’s inroads into the healthcare industry. Talk a little bit about how Lenovo has found its way in, how it’s taking important roles in areas like data management. How has healthcare become such an important part of your business?
Sergio Severo: Particularly, I’m happy to be here with Jim. He’s a pioneer in all the data transformation and digital transformation and data management is one of the pillars of the digital transformation. So the final objective, that’s why we are working in healthcare, is to increase the efficiency of the healthcare institutions to reduce the cost, and of course to improve the care of the patients. And Houston Methodist has been very methodical on doing this, and particularly in the data management, we have been helping Jim and his team to make the data available to his employees and to Houston Methodist employees. They have a vast network of employees and clinics and hospitals, and it’s a challenge. But together with VMware, Intel and Lenovo, we put together a solution to do that.
Patrick Moorhead: That’s great. So Jim, I’m not in the healthcare industry, but I was on the board of St. David’s Medical Center in Austin for 10 years. I was the chair for three, and I got a little bit of a glimpse on the uniqueness in IT and some of the challenges that healthcare has, and then each healthcare facility has a little bit of their own… And I’m curious what kind of challenges, I know there’s a lot, but let’s maybe narrow it to some of the stuff that Lenovo had helped you with. Can you talk a little bit through some of the challenges and some of the solutions?
Jim Francis: Good question. I think that as you kind of watched over the last couple of years is that the Covid-19 pandemic kind of changed the dynamic since the landscape. When Covid hit back in, I think April 2020, everyone went to a shutdown mode. All the resources in the industry, all the resources in America were focused on trying to defend people against the Covid pandemic. So then, that changed our different ways of delivering healthcare. This whole channel about healthcare delivery, these omnichannel approaches, kind of changed. It used to be that everyone was, their goal was to go into a brick and mortar hospital and provide care, but guess what? Most of the brick and mortar beds were taken up for Covid. So now, that means that hospitals had to make decisions. The places where they make most of their money is cosmetics and surgery and whatever.
A lot of those areas were closed down. So now if you needed a emergency visit or urgent care visit, you had to figure out how to do it remotely. So here comes Lenovo. The partnership with Lenovo is that we’ve been working for a couple of years on virtual health, but we wasn’t seeing the penetration, the market penetration.
So once we started talking about workspace and virtual health, partnering with Lenovo to be able to deliver those different channels so we could meet the patient where they were, the whole scenario about healthcare now is, the patient wants to be in control like any other consumer product. Convenience is becoming… The triumph for healthcare has always been access, cost and quality. But now I think you got to put consumers’ convenience into that process. So then we partnered with Lenovo to build this virtual platform, and as we build these virtual platforms for care, we started seeing that, how do you mine that data? And Lenovo is kind investing a lot in our HPC, or high performance compute platform, to be able to support some of the data management, some of the process improvements in some of the clinical data mining to help with outcomes.
Patrick Moorhead: That’s excellent.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. So it’s interesting, because you’ve been through probably one of the biggest transformations of the past decade was that rapid onset, I mean, talk about an industry that was put under incredible duress in a short period of time. And then on the backside of it you said, well, we don’t want to do that again. So we’ve got to figure out how to implement technologies that can get us through this, and in the future, enable our patients to have care. We’re in a world, now, where we’ve got everything on demand. Why did it take so long? So I think Sergio, as you are building out these solutions, you’ve gone into the Lenovo Ready Solutions, out of the box, how are you seeing this help solve the problems that he was just talking about?
Sergio Severo: And also remember that we need to do this in a secure environment, that is a regulated industry, so we need to do it under compliance. So it has additional challenges that we need to consider. So what Lenovo’s doing is from long time now in the healthcare industry, is investing heavily in the remote access for the information, working with partners, working with OEMs. Also, you will be surprised how many Lenovo computers are in some of the machines that you have in a hospital, but you don’t know. We have a lot of OEM partners and they need to be highly reliable and they need to be secure and safe. So we have been working on that intensively in the last three, four years. And right now, Houston Methodist is one example. They’re leading in the remote treatment of the information, remote telemedicine, all these new ways to do the business of healthcare. But also we have new advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, that it will make these new advances more efficient and more effective for the healthcare industry.
Jim Francis: Well, just to add into the generative AI, I know there’s a big marketing theme going on with generative AI. I think in healthcare, what we are seeing is that it’s kind of like any other technology. People go, we move first to the market, but where your business value is, so to me in my perspective is that you got the ChatGPT that’s taken over with the international global information, and people are trying to figure out from that public domain, how do you validate the data and the accuracy of it?
Daniel Newman: That’s right.
Jim Francis: The second thing is that if you want to build your own AI platform, that’s when the partnership with Lenovo comes in with HPC and data researchers is, how do you bring in that data and determine or when you want to ingest that data into your system to be able to use that? And then I think the third thing you do is that people like ServiceNow or some of the other products out there, Syllable or IVRs, they got generative AI built into it. And I think that that’s probably the first adoption layer, is that those processes where you’re doing automated service desk tickets or appointment and scheduling, I think those are the things where, if you get it wrong, it’s not that vital.
Sergio Severo: So it’s with efficiency.
Jim Francis: Right. Efficiency.
Daniel Newman: So, Jim, are you, are you finding cost efficiencies? Where are you looking first when it comes to getting value from AI?
Jim Francis: I think that’s a great question. I think that the things that you do that’s maintaining commodity, I think that the thing that’s happening in the industry, in industry, not just healthcare, is that people trying to figure out where their resources add value at. So those commodity things that’s doing over and over again, answering the phone. The thing now is that you really want to use an IVR. You want to use different omnichannels to be able to do patient appointment scheduling, revenue collection, scheduling for mammography or radiology or whatever, wherever… Coordination of care. If you can take an agent in chat box or some type of web portal or artificial intelligence to be able to facilitate those without going to an expert, you really just want to try to make sure that those questions are answered by some type of automated AI or machine language bot or something like that.
Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I think that’s if… I’ve interviewed probably a hundred enterprises since November, talking about AI and that chatbot is the one thing that I think everybody can agree on. And it’s funny, six or seven years ago, the chatbot came out and it didn’t actually solve nearly as many problems as we initially had thought, right? Now, generative AI and its ability to parse even more data in a more intelligent way and do it directly via the chat prompt, I am very optimistic about it, particularly when it can take certain amounts of data from different areas, the back end of your house, the front end of your IT house. I’m curious, what are some things about AI and Jim, this one’s for you, an AI solution, what bar would it need to pass in order for you to really get excited about this?
Jim Francis: Well, I tell you what, I don’t have no expectations of what the percentage of efficiency that it needs to bring. I think it’s like any other technology. You implement it, you measure it, you see what the reliability is.
Patrick Moorhead: So maybe do a pilot first.
Jim Francis: Right. Yeah, do a pilot.
Patrick Moorhead: And then see how it works.
Jim Francis: I have the service desk for the entire 33,000 employees. So there’s so many different things from onboarding a physician, onboarding a nurse. I want to be able to get those things to them so when they first arrive, they can get to work and get doing their business. So that would be my first, kind of, use cases. I think the other thing is appointment scheduling, looking at either discharges. Looking at when a patient gets discharged from a hospital, let’s find out how many of those people that had a follow-up question on discharge that I can go out and say, okay, look, you went home with this remote patient monitoring wearable, because we are really kind of talking about we are building a smart hospital in the future. And what we want to do is that we want to be able to use different technology to be able to collect vital signs in the future.
But when you leave, we want to be able to follow you through the continuum of care. Because in healthcare, as people probably don’t know, people not close to it. If you visit emergency room in America, you back in emergency room within seven days, exactly. That’s considered a readmission. That’s a cost to the hospital. The same thing is an inpatient visit if you’re back within 30 days. So we want to be able to make sure that you don’t come back to readmission and we provide you good quality care, so you don’t return with the same problem you had before.
Daniel Newman: Thank you. I definitely believe that some of this technology will change this industry in such a big way. I don’t know about you. I know we talk personally, and I’ll never share that data here, but we’re investing more in our health in that we spend 50 weeks on the road, 48. I literally have a question about, you know, I am not feeling great. How do I get an antibiotic? I can’t get to it. So the opportunity now to use telemedicine, the opportunity to also allow doctors, when they are in a room with a patient, I’ve seen some of the technology that’s enabling them to transcribe, record the notes, use AI, make recommendations so that they’re not spending as much time sitting there spending even five minutes.
Patrick Moorhead: More patients. In front of the patients.
Daniel Newman: Some real experiences.
Jim Francis: You really can relate it to our bets on the smart hospital of the future. So in the smart hospital of the future, we envision that the value doesn’t start until you get to the caregiver. So just imagine yourself walking into a hospital outpatient department or to a physician practice. And the first thing you do, you walk up to the appointment schedule desk and they check and see what your time is scheduled. You sign in, you pay your copay. Then the next thing you go in, you do your vital signs, you do your blood pressure, weight and height, and then you go to the room. All of those processes right there can be automated. They could be kind of triaged through the process. You’re wearing an Apple Watch, so the vital signs could be there. Once you get in, you can pay before you get there.
You get in the room, now we want the experience to be different. When the physician comes in. We want him to spend more time, or her to spend more time with you trying to figure out what your problem is and diagnose the treatment. So we plan to put an Alexis box in a patient room where it can hear what the doctor’s talking about, generate those notes, and then after the visit, the doctor can prescribe it. We’re talking about in our inpatient setting, creating a patient engagement platform. When you walk into the room the old way, you had a scribe board on there, all these little markers on there saying who your nurse is, who your lab person, what shift or whatever. We want to put a patient engagement platform. So when you go into that room, you scan that UPC code, you take over that platform, and now guess what?
You can manage that whole process. Any type of dietary orders or whatever your food, your orders, your education, you can do that. And then lastly, what we want to do is that we want to be able to bring a virtual care team into that room. So let’s say that you have an issue, there’s an alert goes off. Virtually there’s a camera in the room that can bring those people to you, that care team without them trying to rush to a code or something like that.
And then lastly, we are kind of invested in this thing called a bio-intelligence hub. It’s in each one of the rooms. It’s a wearable. You’re going to stick it on you as a patient. It’s going to collect your vital signs. Nurses used to collect vital signs every four hours. That bio-intelligence wearable are going to allow you to do that every 15 minutes. So now we don’t have to disturb the patient when you do that. And then eventually, hopefully, we can do that remote monitoring all the way to the home. So that’s really what we are trying to talk about, how do we change the delivery of healthcare?
Patrick Moorhead: I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about this. I mean, having spent, again, didn’t work in healthcare but sat on the board, and patient care at the lowest possible cost. Very efficient. That’s the name of the game, given the increase in cost of our healthcare here in America. So I want to talk about the future a little, and Sergio, can you talk a little bit, how does Lenovo see its place and its role in advancing… By the way, what Jim just talked about with his healthcare of the future. What are you doing in this space?
Sergio Severo: So what Jim described, if I can put a framework for that, we have three big areas where we can collaborate. One is the automation of the administrative process. So admission, history of the patient, data. That’s one layer. The other layer is the delivery of the care from the nurses and the medics, the doctors. So it’s the real time interaction.
Patrick Moorhead: And none of this technology is fantasy. It’s seen it and it’s being put into meeting platforms today.
Sergio Severo: It’s present. We are doing that. So you can have these virtual doctors jumping in if you need some help. The third layer I think is very important, and we are very active on that, is the research. So one of the biggest computers in the world, the biggest computer in the world, is an HPC computer for, Lenovo computer that is researching cancer, right?
So when you combine the three levels and you have leverage in the three levels, you are having feedback from one level to the other. You can make the care of our patients better. So the way Lenovo sees this is an ecosystem. It’s a framework where we are investing. We have a group of what we call AI innovators. So there are many small companies that are innovating in these areas that they don’t have… Sometimes, they don’t have either the financial power or the total view of the industry. We are helping these companies, we call them AI Innovator. We have hundreds of companies where we are putting our money, where we are worlds are right? We are putting money, investing in this company. So the future is fantastic in healthcare, is fantastic.
Patrick Moorhead: It’s exciting.
Daniel Newman: Jim and Sergio, it’s been a lot of fun hearing about how you’re going to do it and even what you’re doing right now is really exciting. Sergio, it’s always great to hear from the tech industry when you’re trying to solve the big problems. And healthcare is going to continue to be a huge challenge.
Sergio Severo: It’s in our mission and our vision that…
Daniel Newman: But all this tech…
Sergio Severo: Solve the problems.
Daniel Newman: All this tech makes it really exciting. So gentlemen, have a great VMware Explorer. Thanks so much for joining us here on The Six Five.
Jim Francis: All right, thank you.
Daniel Newman: Thank you. All right, everybody hit that subscribe button. Join us for all of our episodes here at the VMware Explorer Event 2023. Almost forgot where we were, but that’s okay. That’s what happens on the road for 50 weeks.
Patrick Moorhead: You get too excited, and this is what happens.
Daniel Newman: We got lots of episodes here, we’ve got lots of episodes of everything that we cover in tech. We have a lot of fun here on The Six Five, but for now, we got to say goodbye. We’ll see y’all later.