Vish Anantraman Chief Innovation Architect at Northwell Health (right) tells Microsoft's Alysa Taylor how a doctor-built business app helped drive a better experience for patients.

Sep 25 2018

Microsoft Ignite 2018: Business Apps Need Data-Driven Digital Transformation

Letting data drive your digital transformation initiatives can pave a way forward for more effective business applications.

Digital transformation is hard to parse, likely because it’s an umbrella term for a huge undertaking. In order to stay competitive, companies must revamp their tools, services, processes and workflows to deliver a modern and aligned customer experience.

If architected well, business applications can offer a platform for many of these goals, simplifying the employee experience and, in turn, empowering employees to deliver a better and more personalized customer experience, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President James Phillips.

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Let Data Lead the Way to Useful Business Apps

During the presentation “Powering Digital Transformation with Business Applications,” at Microsoft Ignite 2018 in Orlando, Fla., which is taking place through Sept. 28, Phillips and others spoke about how data can help inform software and applications and pave the way for a seamless digital application experience for employees and customers alike.

“If you think about business apps, for 40 years they have been largely unchanged,” said Phillips. “But we are on the doorstep of fundamental change, I would argue for the first time for business applications, where change, fundamentally both in what’s possible for the business and what’s possible in the applications that run the business, is starting to happen.”

And what’s enabling that change is data, said Phillips. By tapping the wealth of data available through connected devices, social media and thousands of other touch points to drive intelligent insights and decisions, businesses can “fundamentally reimagine what’s possible.”

But that requires that businesses in many cases follow the trail that data leaves.

The data comes first, in many cases, and an analysis of that data coming in leads to this transformation,” said Phillips. “Turning that data upside down is really what’s making this possible.”

Northwell Health Taps Apps to Improve the Patient Experience

One business successfully tapping business applications to drive transformation and truly improve the customer experience is N.Y.-based Northwell Health.

In the healthcare industry, regulations and other factors have made it notoriously difficult for IT and business leaders to inject visibility into operations. But as value-based care initiatives emerge and patient satisfaction and engagement becomes a core issue for healthcare organizations everywhere, the need for better visibility, which could help improve operations, has emerged. Moreover, patients now expect greater access to their health info and to be collaborators in their own care.

The changing landscape meant Northwell Health needed to have a 360-degree view of patient care, even after patients have left the building, Vish Anantraman Chief Innovation Architect at Northwell Health, told the audience at Microsoft Ignite.

To gain this visibility and facilitate more proactive care, the organization sought to aggregate and unify its patient data — from electronic health records to social determinants of health. Eventually, business applications entered the picture, and the company has seen success in a doctor-built application that seeks to track “excess days,” or days that patients spend in the hospital that aren’t medically necessary.

The application was introduced to clinicians during their rounds, and helped doctors and nurses track various reasons a patient might be held up in the hospital, such as a lack of transportation or a missing prescription. It also allowed other clinicians to access the information they needed from data-packed electronic health records quickly and easily via a chatbot.

“There’s up to 15,000 data points a doctor has to process,” says Anantraman. “Suddenly we were able to access all that information trapped in the EHR very quickly using this bot.”

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Juliet Van Wagenen

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