Name: Hugo ServaTitle: Head of IT, ANZCompany: Boston ScientificCommenced role: 2016Reporting line: Head of IT, APACMember of the ANZ leadership team: YesTechnology Function: [No info]
The COVID-19 pandemic presented both challenges and opportunities for medical technology solutions provider, Boston Scientific.
During the height of the pandemic, access to hospitals for its specialist teams to support surgical procedures was significantly restricted – resulting in procedures being delayed or postponed.
This impacted patients, hospitals, and physicians – particularly in public hospitals and rural segments, as well as the Boston Scientific clinical specialist teams who traditionally spent hours on the road travelling between healthcare provider visits.
“We are committed to provide the same level of service to our customers regardless of their location. There was a need to rapidly reassess our service methods – the tried and tested pathways involving hours of travel, meetings in physician offices, case support in facilities, and face-to-face training sessions had to either be paused, resulting in negative patient and commercial outcomes, or quickly worked around.” Boston Scientific’s head of IT for ANZ, Hugo Serva tells CIO Australia. “There was an immediate need to deliver therapies more efficiently, to alleviate travel time, and still maintain our strong focus on patient and employee well-being,” he says.
Hospital access restrictions meant many surgical procedures were postponed or delayed during the pandemic. Provision of clinical support to occurring procedures was also impacted. COVID-19 created an obvious opportunity for the organisation to be agile and adapt its service offering to meet customer needs in a challenging environment.
On demand access – whenever, wherever
This led Serva and the Boston Scientific team to deploy a range of digital solutions that provided remote access to its specialists. Serva and team collaborated on a global scale within the company, across business functions to identify and enable technology solutions, tailored to the ANZ market needs.
The solutions allow physicians to access and interact with Boston Scientific clinical specialists or other physicians on demand – whenever or wherever needed, so hospitals can reliably deliver the best care to their patients.
“We introduced a diverse group of digital remote assistance platforms, and off the shelf technologies, creating an intuitive, user-friendly experience which is highly appealing to physicians,” says Serva.
The range of technologies introduced include:
“These customized technologies and a dedicated service team enable us to deliver a bespoke solution that help our surgeons, medical device specialists, and assisting professionals to interact and collaborate during surgery,” says Serva. The technologies enable a range of services including:
Enhanced value proposition
Overall, the digital remote assistance platform has changed Boston Scientific’s operating model by increasing clinical team productivity, reducing travel and associated costs and reducing carbon emissions, all while sustaining the company’s ability to support customers and patients, says Serva.
“It has improved efficiencies in the clinical environment, reduced case postponements while still providing a high level of clinical support. So, we have been able to reduce the pain and provide significant gains.”
“It has also enhanced our value proposition with our customers, and this has been a competitive advantage for us when we physically can’t be there,” he says.
For hospitals, benefits of the technology include the ability to treat more patients, reduced waiting times and increased productivity. While for physicians, the technology has provided on-demand clinical support and the benefit of increased training and education by linking local physicians with international and regional subject matter experts.
The benefits of the technology for patients include reduced waiting time, far fewer postponements or cancellations, meaning greater access to treatments and less interruption to their schedules.
Meanwhile for Boston Scientific the technology has increased productivity, reduced expenses and overcome the reduced access to clinical environment since COVID-19.
“When we challenge how we collaborate, we advance more meaningful innovation” says Serva.
For Serva and the Boston Scientific team, being able to execute such a transformative business operation was a great opportunity.
This strategic initiative led to an investment into its people and technology, and led a market evaluation with a group of customers, with the view to wider market acceleration.
“The ability to treat more patients and deliver improved access to our therapies aligns to our values and delivers innovative technological solutions to our customers. We are still on this journey, and we will continue to expand our digital capabilities and offering.”
Louis van Wyk