How technology can deliver a unified patient experience

‘The pandemic has accelerated the rate of change within healthcare, most of it for the better’ says Paul Turley, Director ServiceNow

What is your name and what position do you hold?

Paul Turley, Director ServiceNow

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am responsible for ServiceNow’s business in Ireland. ServiceNow solutions optimise healthcare and life sciences workflows to free up time for patient care and innovation. My day-to-day responsibilities range from managing our sales team and coordinating with the wider ServiceNow team on marketing and PR activities, to scaling the business in Ireland.

A fundamental part of my role is to work directly with our customers and partners to ensure they’re getting the maximum value out of their investment in ServiceNow technology. We help them transform their organisations to reduce costs and drive revenue — organically or through mergers and acquisitions — whilst also boosting customer and employee satisfaction. We work closely with the public sector to align with the Connected Government 2030 strategy. Through this initiative, we aim to enable data and services so Ireland’s public services can interoperate within and across organisations and third parties.

What is your professional background?

My background lies in engineering — I completed my degree at the University College Dublin — and its core principles have stuck with me. The logical thinking and problem-solving skills required for engineering remain critical aspects of any role, especially business leaders.

That is why – when I realised engineering wasn’t my career-calling – I considered myself lucky to be picked to join the Enterprise Ireland Graduate Programme (EI). At the time, Ireland’s engineering and software exports were starting to increase exponentially. So rather than the normal 100% intake of marketing graduates, the EI started to include more technically minded graduates to add more value to Irish exporters. Throughout the programme, I was stationed in Copenhagen and had the pleasure of working with innovative Irish tech and software companies as they established routes to market throughout Scandinavia. I was thrown in at the deep end but had a fabulous experience. No doubt, my training was second to none. There, I ran sales in both Ireland and Scandinavia. Next, I managed software businesses in Ireland and the UK, then joined ServiceNow a year ago.

What in your view has been the lasting impact of the pandemic on healthcare delivery?

The pandemic has accelerated the rate of change within healthcare, most of it for the better. The boundaries of care have expanded past surgeries and hospitals and into the virtual sphere where patients can get the care they need without leaving their homes. As a result of that shift, we are seeing a greater need for interoperability and data exchange so healthcare providers can offer the same level of care faster than ever before — that means they can’t work in silos anymore and must be able to share resources at any point. This will lead to far better patient experiences as practitioners can easily share the right information with the right people, instantly.

What are the latest and the most interesting digital health solutions?

Rather than a technological solution, we are seeing a stronger focus on the patient experience. For way too long, a patient’s own data has been difficult — if not impossible — for the patient to access because it is stored across so many siloed systems, or even in some instances, still on paper. This resulted in a frustrating, and often, stressful experience for patients and their loved ones looking for answers.

But the adoption of AI into mainstream healthcare delivery holds a lot of promise for how healthcare is provided to — and then experienced by — patients. For certain, it is going to transform care delivery, disease surveillance and medical research over the next decade.

Granted, we are still in the early days but feedback from early adopters has been great. We are seeing innovative AI solutions getting regulatory approvals across healthcare — from at-risk patient identification to supporting clinicians in diagnosing patient conditions.

How could wearable health technology change what we understand about medicine and what key health indicators are?

Wearable technology opens so many opportunities for greater communication between health practitioners and their patients — in many ways. First, you have consumer wearable technologies, such as activity and heart rate monitors, which are getting better at collecting data and providing accurate information to the user. While these products are not medical grade, they can help alert the individual to potential medical conditions, allowing them to seek help early. This could potentially help diagnose conditions earlier for those paying attention to their health. As I said earlier, there are a myriad of opportunities in disease surveillance also as we ‘crowd source’ data collection.

Medical-grade wearables also play a significant role in improving the patient experience, especially as they can avoid inpatient admissions just to get a diagnosis. We have seen a number of incredible innovations within medical teams, such as cardiology and neurology using wearables to track patient health.

What will be the leading trends in healthcare in the coming years and how will patients and providers need to adapt?

There will be a greater need for a stronger connection and partnership between practitioners in delivering care to their patients. Patients want to know more about their health and be more active in their care. But it can only happen when we do away with traditional working methods and break down silos between healthcare providers. Only then can ownership of care be shared between providers and their patients.

What are the key challenges in the digital transformation of the health service?

The key challenges lie mostly in security, privacy, and transparency — which are all needed to build trust. These are especially important when sharing patient information. But with the right technology, sharing patient information will be easier and safer, allowing providers to have a more holistic overview of just how their patient information is used, how long it is used, and who sees it.

ServiceNow is Silver Sponsor at The Business Post’s 2022 Smart Health Summit. See for full details and booking.