THE REAL TIME HEALTHCARE PODCAST · Nov 1 · 16:04 min

#45 - Consulting Award Winners

In this Episode:

Three members of the GE Healthcare Command Center consulting team -- who were just recognized as Rising Stars by Consulting Magazine -- share their cutting-edge work with using AI to improve access to care, transform daily operations, and help clinicians dynamically balance their workload. Join us as they provide insights about what makes a command center deployment successful.

Jeff Terry:
Hello and welcome. I'm Jeff Terry, delighted to be joined today by Anish Patel, Esther Ocrah and and Ruchika Jhaveri, who are three members of the GE team, colleagues of mine, so, delighted to have you on. We're having them on today because they were recently recognized by Consulting Magazine as being three of the best consultants in the healthcare business. Wonderful to have you, and thanks for sharing with us today. Hi.

Esther Ocrah:
Hi.

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Hi, Jeff.

Anish Patel:
Hi, Jeff.

Jeff Terry:
We'll maybe go round robin with a couple of these questions. Anish, maybe we'll start with you and then Esther, we'll go to you and we'll rotate. Just to start with, so healthcare consulting, right? That's a big space, but to give our audience a flavor and I guess, in my mind, I'm thinking in this, a bit of early career consultants. Thinking about consulting and healthcare consulting. Maybe think of that audience as you answer. Give us a sense, what are you working on today? What does it mean to be a healthcare consultant?

Anish Patel:
Yeah, so I work at an academic medical center. I recently worked on the periprocedural block schedule and recently implemented software that will help patients get access to care more efficiently.

Jeff Terry:
Brilliant. Esther, over to you?

Esther Ocrah:
My job as a healthcare consultant means I help hospitals and care providers to transform how they operate on a day-to-day life. On a day-to-day basis.

Jeff Terry:
That's mostly in hospitals, right? Where you're-

Esther Ocrah:
Mostly in hospitals, yes.

Jeff Terry:
Brilliant. Ruchika, what's your recent work focused on?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yeah. I'm currently working with an academic medical center based out of Oregon. We've been working with the providers, specifically their hospitalists and their intensivists, to better dynamically manage their workload. So, that means how they can, in the moment, make decisions on how to better distribute their admissions, coordinate transfers to partner hospitals and bring on additional providers to help during surge times. By using software and technology to inform those decisions.

Jeff Terry:
[inaudible 00:02:14] a real-time intelligence to manage the workload on physician treatment team. I mean, that's cutting-edge stuff. Going back around and maybe, Esther, starting with you. Thinking of your time as a healthcare consultant, what would be an achievement that you're very proud of?

Esther Ocrah:
I think one of the biggest achievements for myself, is really supporting and helping the team over in Europe to bring the command center and the software solution over to this side. Currently, I'm working with a big, large, university hospital in Netherlands. Helping them during COVID, to start off with.

Using technology and advanced analytics to improve how they managed the pandemic or the situation that we were all in at that time. Moving on from that, we're sort of helping the emergency department again. Really transform the root cause. How do we manage every day? How do we get a patient from entering the department to the exit, as fast as possible, with the best quality of care in mind as well?

Jeff Terry:
Which is great. It just strikes me. I'm reminded, as you say it that, yeah, that was our first piece of work in the Netherlands. We did that during COVID and that's been a success and we continue to expand it, but no small feat, for sure. Ruchika, an accomplishment that you're very proud of?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
I think it's been amazing for me to see the journey that our organization has taken. I was lucky enough to be part of the very first command center that we built out at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. From there, it's been an incredible journey to get to where we are today. We serve over 200 hospitals across the. Sorry, across the world. It's been so humbling to see the impact that our clients have had, from using our software, from our consulting and the impact to the frontline and to the patients.

Jeff Terry:
Stay there, if you would. What impact have you seen, have you been most proud?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
A lot of it has been, for me, on the access side. We've worked with organizations that were not able to get in the patients that they wanted to get in. They had to turn patients away, patients had to go elsewhere for their care. Through the work that we've done with them, they've been able to operate more efficiently. They've been able to accept more patients, they've been able to serve their communities and their patient populations. To me, that's the ultimate goal.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. Helping patients through caregivers, right?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yeah, yeah.

Jeff Terry:
Anish over to you. What's an accomplishment that you're very proud of?

Anish Patel:
Yeah. Most recently, we were able to increase access to 10% of Florida's population, to get the access to the care that they needed for advanced procedures, such as EGDs and colonoscopies. So-

Jeff Terry:
Remind me, what's an EGD?

Anish Patel:
It's a advanced diagnostic procedure that is done with a GI physician. A gastro physician.

Jeff Terry:
Brilliant. You increased, by 10%, the number of patients that could access that service at a major medical center?

Anish Patel:
Right. That's approximately 800 patients, just for the Tampa Bay region itself.

Jeff Terry:
That's fantastic. Brilliant. Let me shift gears a little bit. Ruchika, we'll start this one with you. Artificial intelligence is all the rage, right? Whatever that means, right? But, we really are using some of those tools for caregivers. Can you give an example of how AI, in a very real way, is being put to work for your clients?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yeah, absolutely. I think, ultimately, AI is meant to complement the decision-making process, not to replace it. For example, at one of my clients, we have launched a tile that uses machine learning to predict patient census, up to two weeks in advance. Then, the organization and the specific units can use that information to help adjust their staffing, to help reroute patients if needed. To help open up more capacity or bring on more providers or nursing staff. It allows them to just operate more efficiently. It allows them to go into each day with their eyes wide open, understanding what tomorrow and the next day is going to bring.

Jeff Terry:
That's great. That's using machine learning to do that?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yes.

Jeff Terry:
Anish, example of AI in your work?

Anish Patel:
Yeah, most recently, at the academic medical center that I'm at, we implemented ICU downgrades, which uses AI to let the care team know if a patient is ready for the next level of care. Which is extremely important. The care team, now, can get the answers they need much quicker and it allows them to take care of patients, instead of sifting through the EMR.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. That connects to what Ruchika said, right? Is, we're not telling the clinician what to do, but we're processing all these things that they don't have time to do, so that they can focus. Which is a perfect example of what she mentioned. Esther, an example of AI from your work, if you don't mind?

Esther Ocrah:
Of course. To start us off, I think one of the biggest topics around AI, there's going around discussions a little, forums about this. It's around visualization, because often, you find that the data is available, the algorithms are available, but there's no way to get that into the hands of caregivers and doctors. Providers who can make a difference with it.

For me, two of the clients I've worked with, the main focus has been, how do we apply, say advanced analytics or visualization tools through our command center and our tiles, to visualize and display that in a way that people can use? An example is of using advanced analytics to identify patients who are at risk of deteriorating. Again, this is information that is elsewhere, but we use application, our software to analyze it and project that in a way that is easy to look at and is easy to take actions on.

Jeff Terry:
That is digestible. Thank you for bringing that up. I think a point of confusion, for some people, is you don't mean a trend line. You mean all the information that the decision maker needs to know. Presented in an organized way, that's all current in just the right places and just the right level of detail so they can engage with it, to make a decision or whatever.

Esther Ocrah:
Correct.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. That is a real art form. Takes a lot of AI to get the horsepower to make it go.

Esther Ocrah:
Yes. Correct. Another example, if I may, is presenting back to clinicians, that a patient is eligible for admission, for example. It's not to say that, admit this patient immediately, but it is to support that decision, is to support their thinking with all the data that they've gathered over the years.

Jeff Terry:
Definitely. Brilliant. Well, for this next question, we'll shift gears a bit again. You each have great experience in command centers. In the day-to-day patient care operations inside hospitals and surgical programs and EDS. Maybe we'll start with Ruchika for this one, if you were to bump into a health system senior executive CNO, CMO, CEO, wherever and they were considering a command center journey, what pearl of wisdom might you offer?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yeah. For me, it really boils down to two points, it's engagement and alignment. Those organizational leaders need to ensure that they're setting the vision and then, they're aligning all of the staff, all of their departments to that vision. Ensuring that folks are going to engage, right?

Anyone can set up the best command center in the world, but if folks aren't aligned to using it, they're not actively engaging with it on a day-to-day basis, it won't necessarily have the impact that you want it to have. Setting those goals and really working through every member of your institution to ensure that you are meeting those goals will be very, very important.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. Just to add a quick thought, is the command center and the whole program has to serve the frontline caregivers. You have to have the frontline caregivers in the process. They have to be on board, they have to be shaping it. Amen. Anish, your pearl of wisdom for that health system executive?

Anish Patel:
Yeah. Very similar to what Ruchika was saying. I think the first step for any organization to take is, what is my burning platform? What is my strategic plan for the next three to five years? What do I want my team to work on? That strategic vision is so critical, so that we focus on the right things and everybody's aligned.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. You remind me of the way Jim Scheulen at John Hopkins talks about that. He says, ""If you have the right team, you're probably going to hit your goal. So, make sure you set the right goal or you're going to hit it and then say, 'I wish we had set a different goal.'"" Then, Esther, your pearl of wisdom?

Esther Ocrah:
I think just to build on what my colleague said, I think, find the right solution and the right partner. Command center is not, this space is not the physical environment with all the streams. Our experience, I think collectively, has taught us that it's more around the solution. The software that you choose, make sure is scalable, make sure is intuitive, make sure you have the right partner that will help you deliver and see you through the transformation to the end. Don't just think of it as, let's find a space, let's put some screens on the wall. But, of course, make sure you align your teams on the vision as well.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. But, that point, as you know, really resonates with me. That command center, it's sort of a mistake to think of that as a place. Command center is the idea of real-time information, actionable information, across the enterprise. I think thinking of it that way is so important. One last question, and I think Anish, I'm to start with you on this one. Forgive me if I messed the order up there.

You are all very successful healthcare consultants. As the next generation watches this podcast, what would be your pearl of wisdom for the 22-year-old who's thinking of, ""Gosh, should I go into consulting? Should I go into software? Should I go into healthcare consulting? Some other consulting?"" What would be your pearl of wisdom about healthcare consulting as a career?

Anish Patel:
Yeah. Healthcare throws so many curve balls at you. I think the big thing people need to understand is push through the adversity. You got to push through. You have to show some sort of willingness to get through and you'll achieve your goals. But, the big thing is, once you do push through those adverse moments, to make sure that we take our team and explain to that team, how did we push through it? So we don't make the same mistakes.

Jeff Terry:
Bringing someone with, yes. In consulting, such a key thing, right? Making firm knowledge our own. Bringing people along to work on things, so that we can play it forward. Amen. Which is really to some degree, what makes a consulting team, a consulting team is that sharing of knowledge. Esther, please. A pearl of wisdom for the young career.

Esther Ocrah:
Oh, the 22-year-old Esther. I think I would say, just find the right industry. In this scenario, obviously healthcare. But, make sure that that is all exactly what you want to do. Once you identify that, find the right solution and the right company that you want to start your career with. Because, with those three things aligned, you are able to achieve anything.

You will find a great teaming there, because there's a solution that you are all behind. Even when issues come up, as they do in a team, it's easy to through, it's easy to work through the long hours that you will have to, because you believe in the final product and you understand that you are making a difference.

Jeff Terry:
Particularly because you're, I love that. Because you're passionate about the whole cascade of the industry within that. The piece of value we bring and I think that's so right. You have to decide, because if you're in it for 20 years, 30 years, you have to be animated about the macro problem.

Esther Ocrah:
Sure.

Jeff Terry:
Thank you for that. Ruchika, final question to you. What advice would you offer to that early career person trying to follow in your footsteps?

Ruchika Jhaveri:
Yeah. I think we live in a world today where it's really easy to jump from job to job. A lot of people do that, right? A year or two in a role and then they jump to a new company. I've been lucky enough to be here for over eight years. I largely attribute that to the team that I work with. I work with an extraordinary team of smart, dedicated, passionate individuals. I've had wonderful role models and mentors.

At the end of the day, consulting is all about the people. So, if you're able to find a job where the people support you, they support your career and you have the same kind of vision as they do, they continue to challenge and motivate you. I think that you will be very lucky and you'll find a career path that is waiting for you.

Jeff Terry:
Amen. Amen. Yeah, join a great team, right? It's long days, it's all about the people that you're with. I love working with each of you, by the way, as I look up and see you guys. Brilliant. I think with that, I'll close the podcast. Congratulations to you, each, again, on your award. Thank you for joining today.

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