Features

Roshy Francis – GE Healthcare 

Transforming healthcare through digital innovation 

Picture this: a person is out for a routine morning stroll when they suddenly collapse from a heart attack. They are rushed to the nearest hospital and are admitted to the intensive care unit. As the person’s condition worsened, it became apparent that multiple care teams would be needed to save their life.  

This person’s care team consisted of doctors, nurses, specialists, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals from different departments and specialties. Each team had important information about the patient’s condition, medication history, lab results and vital signs. In some hospital settings, sharing this information is still cumbersome and time-consuming, often relying on messages, phone calls and handwritten notes. 

Thanks to Roshy Francis and his team from Patient Care Solutions—an operating segment of GE Healthcare—medical professionals will soon be able to quickly access this vital information at a patient’s most vulnerable time.  

“We’re leveraging technological advancements to transform clinical care and shape the future of the healthcare industry,” says Francis, the chief technology officer for Patient Care Solutions.  

A modern healthcare experience 

One of the key projects Francis is leading is the development of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). This groundbreaking initiative is a multiyear process aimed at harnessing the power of technology to create solutions that automatically gather high-quality, reliable data from various sources. This data will enable clinicians to obtain comprehensive and meaningful insights quickly, thus enabling them to make informed decisions and take prompt action. 

The IoMT implementation will eliminate the need for clinicians to navigate multiple systems to gain a clear understanding of a patient’s condition and medical history. By aggregating and presenting data meaningfully, physicians will have a holistic view of the patient, enabling them to provide higher-quality care. Consequently, patient outcomes are bound to improve as physicians can make accurate diagnoses and tailored treatment plans. 

Furthermore, the IoMT will facilitate seamless continuity of care by transitioning patient data from one care team to another across shift boundaries. This ensures that crucial information is preserved during handoffs, reducing the likelihood of medical errors. Additionally, the IoMT has the potential to revolutionize how information is collected, shared and utilized throughout a patient’s healthcare journey, ultimately leading to higher patient satisfaction and better health outcomes. 

Through virtual collaboration, clinical care teams can now gather around a patient and access a comprehensive overview of the patient from different systems without the need to be at the patient’s bedside. GE Healthcare’s cloud-based solutions have been implemented to ensure compliance with care protocols in various hospital departments, enabling timely interventions that result in better patient outcomes.  

“It may take five to 10 years before we start seeing the impact, but we already have some processes and technology in place that is helping providers better care for their patients,” he says. “We are implementing solutions enabling experienced anesthesiologists to remotely monitor and guide complex procedures such as anesthesia delivery. 

Protecting patients  

As CTO, Francis collaborates with a team of over 3,000 engineers who continually develop new ideas and intellectual property. This collective effort ensures that GE HealthCare remains at the forefront of technological innovation, providing state-of-the-art solutions that positively impact patient outcomes. With a focus on maintaining data security and privacy, Francis emphasizes the importance of safeguarding patient information while harnessing the full potential of emerging technologies. 

A crucial component of the digital transformation in health care is establishing a solid infrastructure seamlessly integrating various digital solutions. This allows disparate technologies and systems to work harmoniously, enhancing efficiency and providing clinicians quick access to patient information. By streamlining processes and eliminating unnecessary manual data collection, digital transformation alleviates the strain on healthcare providers who face the increasing challenges of caring for a growing population with limited resources. 

Moreover, digital transformation supports healthcare providers in prioritizing patient care by ensuring that clinicians focus on the most critical aspects of treatment. Contextual and relevant information about the patient can be intelligently extracted and presented, enabling informed decision-making. Ultimately, the digital transformation journey aims to create a healthcare system that is more responsive, efficient, and patient-centered. 

“We think that hybrid cloud computing, advancements in 5G technology and artificial intelligence will greatly accelerate the digitization of health care on a global scale,” Francis says.  

In the past, digitization simply meant replacing paper-based workflows with electronic ones within specific departments, thus limiting the impact on patient outcomes. However, deploying comprehensive enterprise-wide solutions enables clinicians to remotely visualize the patient’s care journey. Moving forward, these solutions will provide access to vast amounts of aggregated big data, which, when combined with user-friendly AI development technologies, will drive the creation of innovative applications.  

“These applications will deliver predictive insights and enable clinicians to intervene promptly, leading to significantly improved outcomes,” Francis explains.  

Helping people with tech 

As a boy, Francis thought planes were cool and aspired to be a pilot, but aviation didn’t seem like a realistic career path for him as he got older. 

“Engineering was something I was passionate about, and I had an uncle who told me about a new field called Biomedical engineering. That’s what I studied in college,” he recalls.  

He earned a degree in biomedical engineering from the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kochi, Kerala, India, and came to the U.S. Francis joined GE Healthcare in 1996 as a product design engineer and has held various roles in product development in MRI and Diagnostic Cardiology.

Throughout his career, Francis has witnessed the slow progression of technology in healthcare compared to other industries. This realization has driven him to continually push boundaries and champion the adoption of innovative technological solutions that can significantly improve patient care.  

Despite challenges such as stringent regulations, adoption barriers and the rising cost of care, Francis remains steadfast in his commitment to bringing advancements in technology to health care. 

“It is really cool to walk into hospitals and see how our company has made things better for providers and patients,” he says. “Technology has been and will continue to be super exciting for me.” 

View this feature in the Winter I 2024 Edition here.

 

Published on: January 31, 2024

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