Best Practices for Integrating Data from Silos
Episode 468

Bill Fox, VP Vertical Strategy Group and Global CSO Healthcare, Life Science at MarkLogic

Best Practices for Integrating Data from Silos

Understanding technology creates more efficient organizations

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Best Practices for Integrating Data from Silos

Episode 468

Best Way to Contact Bill:

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bill.fox@marklogic.com
@FoxBigData

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MarkLogic

Best Practices for Integrating Data from Silos with Bill Fox, VP Vertical Strategy Group and Global CSO Healthcare, Life Science at MarkLogic transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Best Practices for Integrating Data from Silos with Bill Fox, VP Vertical Strategy Group and Global CSO Healthcare, Life Science at MarkLogic was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2020.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Bill Fox. He’s a Vice President of Vertical Strategy Group, Global Chief Strategy Officer of Healthcare and Life Sciences of MarkLogic. Bill is doing some fantastic work for the company. He’s focus being healthcare and life sciences but in charge of the broader strategy, he’s a former attorney, consultant and technology executive with 30 years of experience and is a nationally recognized thought leader in analytics, big data, program integrity and data security and privacy. He has held leadership positions at Change Healthcare, Booz Allen Hamilton and LexisNexis. He’s a former Deputy Chief of Economic and Cyber Crime at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and a law firm Partner. Bill is a graduate of Temple University and Graduate School and the Villanova School of Law. We’re gonna be diving into some mind shifts in technology. And if you’re a leader in health care, you don’t want to stick around. So, Bill, such a privilege to have you here with us today. Thanks for joining.

Bill Fox:
Thank you Saul.

Saul Marquez:
So as we had a great sort of pre-recording idea sharing Bill, and one of the things that I like to start with with any of the guests on the podcast is what inspires your work in health care.

Bill Fox:
So, you know, I think what really got me into health care is when I was in private practice in law, I did a lot of work for insurance companies around fraudulent insurance claims. And it really started to point me toward the amount of waste that there was in the system, particularly then because by fraud. And then when I became a prosecutor, I got deeper into that work. And what became apparent was it was so crucial as opposed to sort of some of the other kinds of crimes that I was prosecuting, that we make sure that every penny in health care is spent on actually treating people that desperately need that care. So I became sort of passionate about it when I was at the district attorney’s office in the U.S. attorney’s office. And then when Part D passed and program integrity and health care fraud became a really big issue, I got recruited out of the district attorney’s office in the health care and kind of never looked back. And then my career took some turns more toward technology. But I’ve kept that sort of focus on healthcare and life sciences and how we can make sure that technology drives the best outcomes and making sure that all the funds that are coming from Medicare and Medicaid make it to the right people.

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s a very interesting career path that you’ve had, Bill. And what a great mission, because medical waste is such a big problem. I mean, billions and billions of dollars each year. Love that you’re so hyper focused on making sure that those funds are properly distributed. And and so definitely I’m gonna be interested in hearing more about how you guys are doing that. But what what would you say is a thing that in the past has held you back, that you conquered that’s made you an even better leader today?

Bill Fox:
So, you know, and we’ll talk about this in some other aspects during the podcast as well. But I think it was really understanding technology. So, you know, my career has spanned the last 30 years, and I know that a lot of people who are my age or a little technology shy and being able to really get that technology, understanding, understanding how to use data, how to do analytics on data, how to integrate data, how to develop solutions and keep and that sort of constant progression of the abilities of new technology has really allowed me to work across the entire enterprise, both with customers and internally to be able to combine what the business people or in health care, you know, what chief medical officer wants to do and be able to integrate it with the understanding of what’s actually possible with technology and work with the CIO, CTO, our enterprise architects, and say, you know, how can we actually make this vision that the organization has come together?

Saul Marquez:
And Bill, I think it’s a great call out Right., because a lot of leaders, including the ones listening right now, are like, well, I only have so much bandwidth, you know, and and there’s only so much I could do. What are your thoughts on that? And that response as it relates to technology?

Bill Fox:
Yeah, I think at this point it’s an irresponsible response. It really can’t be justified. I mean, if you just look around the world at the platform economy like Amazon and Facebook and Google and, you know, and Netflix, you know, entire industries are being shifted. You know, you always see index the picture of the blockbuster that’s closed or you can look at charts of what’s happened to the retail industry since Amazon came on. So. So to sort of say, you know, hey, I know about health care, I’m an M.D., I have this degree and kind of ignore the other stuff based on that, that’s gonna to be limiting to both the person and what they can do into their organization.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, now, I think that’s a really good call out. And yeah, as you as you think about these things, you’re running your business, you’re doing your day to day. Think about what you could do to be a little bit more insightful. What can you do to learn? And so curious what you would offer as a suggestion Right. for somebody that the norm is, hey, senator, I.T., how do you start to become more more informed and involved?

Bill Fox:
Yeah, I think it really is incumbent on the leader to do that. Whatever level of the company you’re leading and whether you’re leading a team or you have half the organization or all of I.T. or the chief medical officer. I mean, it’s a sort of a mind shift on your part to start thinking I need to have cadence calls and be connected on a regular basis and be tracking across the enterprise, not just with my team. I guess there becomes a level those amount of calls can get daunting. And, you know, I think I might have reached that with the number of calls I’m doing week. But just to be able to check in on a monthly basis for 30 minutes with the technology team that’s responsible for driving some important corporate vision or corporate message, it’s probably worth the extra time. And it makes the time with your team and your job more efficient because you have that information.

Saul Marquez:
You know, and I think that’s such a simple thing to do. And it will be interesting to see some of the insights that would come from that. And do you have any stories around that, Bill, around where, you know, you offered this suggestion 30 minutes, once a week with your tech team, no matter where you are in the organization and sort of an after story of what happened?

Bill Fox:
Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, this is something that I’ve been doing for a while. And what I was surprised when I first started doing this probably 10 years ago, getting more involved on the technical side was how. First of all, how open most technologists are to this. So they get tasked with something like, okay, we want you to build a tool that will do a better job of screening providers that are coming into Medicaid, actually participating in the exercise and helping them figure out the scoring and what a six hundred data points would be valuable to put into that and how to score those and how to best build the UI so that it’s useful for the team that needs to do this screening as it comes in now starting to participate while, you know, being very conscious of the limitations of my own technical knowledge, you know, sort of really changed that dynamic. And I think when the tech people kind of understand that they can go to you and that you’re open to that and you open up that channel, you know, that whole sort of the business does one thing and the technology people do another thing that starts to break down. I think it gets much more efficient.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you know, it’s it’s a great example of what we should be doing and something that I’m going to take into consideration with with my business. So I love that you made that suggestion. Bill, who would you say is is a leader that that’s been a great guide for you and what advice that they gave you. That’s so great.

Bill Fox:
Yeah. You know, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of great leaders in my time, but I you know, I had a boss at the way back at the district attorney’s office who was really the first person to start bridging this for me. Like the law side and the technology side, we I believe in Philadelphia were the first cyber crime unit in a district attorney’s office in the country. And in order to really effectively do cyber crime prosecution, you have to understand quite a bit about that and computers and phishing and cyber. And at the time, I had Patriot Act signing ability. So, you know, we understood how IP addresses worked and how you pierce corporate veils. So that was the first person that I met who was leader, you know, a lawyer by trade and had taken on. I’m gonna understand technology to the point where I can actually develop and do this job. And I know that now he is a consultant and he does you know, cybercrime consulting is probably more of a technologist than a lawyer. So that really opened up in my mind that, oh, you know, it’s not just about going to court and being good at the lawyer skills. You constantly have to be sort of expanding your understanding.

Saul Marquez:
You know, and what I love about that, Bill, is that as a leader, you know, you want to do everything you can to be better every day and and having some sort of specialty focus. And in today’s world, technology is a great focus to build yourself as a leader. It sort of keeps you fresh, too, right?

Bill Fox:
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, learning about this stuff and you know, what’s been really interesting is I’ve taken on the new job, you know, leading the vertical strategy across MarkLogic. And I have these great vertical leaders who all have a tremendous amount of experience in their particular fields, financial services and insurance and manufacturing and media, you know, to take in that information from them and to understand the connections between those industries and how these industries intersect is what makes the job fun.

Saul Marquez:
Now, that’s for sure. And I’ll tell you what, one of the biggest things that the listeners find helpful on the podcast is figuring out what other people are doing, you know, what’s working, what’s not. And I feel like this is a good opportunity for me to ask you about MarkLogic and what would you say is the core focus of what you guys do and and what what service you provide that’s so different.

Bill Fox:
So what we do across all industries is the ability to tackle. The data integration problem that’s preventing your company from moving forward. So all really large industries, whether you look at health care or big pharmas or big banks or huge insurance companies, they’re in essence sitting on 30 years worth of legacy technology, you know, through no fault of their own. This is built up over the last 30 years. They’ve made a lot of investments. And now suddenly, although it might not be that sudden, but if especially if you’ve been sitting back sort of watching, you’re in this Amazon, Netflix, Google world where your customers, your consumers, whether their patients or insureds, they’re expecting that experience. Yes, they’re expecting that experience online. They’re expecting that experience when they’re in your office. And suddenly it’s like, well, it’s not going to be okay now for us to have claims, data over here and financial data over here and insurance information over here and interactions that we’ve had over the call center with them over here. I need all of that together right now in order to implement what I need to do. And our technology allows that to happen very quickly and very securely. So across industries, those are the projects that we’re generally getting involved in, whether they’re customer facing or internal or have to do with assets or supply chain or research and development. We’re breaking down these barriers that have built up over 30 years in all these silos so that all that data can be seen through one pane of glass and advanced analytics and curating for A.I. and using machine learning and taking advantage of all of these things now to pull you into this next generation ecosystem.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating work. So, yeah. And he said, like, it happens all of a sudden. And yeah, if you haven’t been focused on and the changes and been very in tune with how the systems have evolved, then it could seem like all of a sudden Right. it does seem like all of a sudden for many of us.

Bill Fox:
And I would also say, you know, in defense of health care, it is unique. You know, a lot of people that aren’t in health care. Oh, yes. It’s the same in our industry. But, you know, in health care, you in the end, you always come down to that one to one patient interaction and you’re, you know, treating sick people and saving lives. So it is kind of like changing the engine in the airplane while it’s flying. You know, it’s a little more difficult to implement these things. The focus on outcomes, you’re really sort of changes the formula. And it is very hard to step back and do these things, but it’s necessary. So, yeah, I think that it’s sneaking up on health care. I think that’s happens a little bit because the day to day is is so incredibly intense.

Saul Marquez:
So what do you think, Bill, is, is something that holds people back from getting this done?

Bill Fox:
I’ll use healthcare.gov as an example, because they’re both the front end of Health Care Act after you buy the insurance and the back end of healthcare. gov. That was called an impossible data problem by the people at cims because you’re talking about integrating data from every public agency, every federal agency on state exchanges, the IRS to see, okay, who is this on the phone and what’s their status and what are they eligible for? And now they’re gonna go do a transaction in the secure transaction. If you don’t understand what’s possible with technology, something like health care, that gardens, in essence, impossible. And that is what happened in cnrs. They were the president announced it. They were trying to build it for a couple of years and they were getting nowhere. And then an informed CTO named Henry Charles sent out a note saying, hey, you know what, we’re going to build this on this mark logic technology, which at the time we were about a 250 person company. And you can imagine the pushback you’ve got. But what he understood was that given the requirements being unknown, the volume and velocity of the data being unknown, and the fact that the president had announced to go live date on television. So it was happening on that day, which makes the project very different than your normal corporate project where you can say, hey, you know what, we’re gonna hold this back 90 days and do some more testing. Can’t do that when they announce it on TV. Right. He understood that what you needed was this extremely resilient data platform that could take in data as is from any format whatsoever, harmonize it, secure it. And that when we build off that, all the unknowns that are for sure going to happen as this system comes online and we start using it, none of them will be game deal changes. Game breakers will be able to react very quickly. And you know, if you think about after the first few months where there were some problems with various other parts of the system or NAS, you don’t hear anything about that other than political Right.. So 10 million people have signed up for health care on that system pretty much without a glitch for a long, long, long time. But it almost didn’t happen like that because it took one strong challenger, one informed person within the organization to say, I hear the legacy reservations and the legacy complaints and people clinging onto technology that they’ve been using for the last 10 years. I hear that. But this is the way this is the right way to do this. So I think that challenge is what holds a lot of organizations back.

Saul Marquez:
I think it’s a it’s so true and a great example. And I actually didn’t know and I’m sure a lot of the listeners didn’t know that you guys were a critical part of that website.

Bill Fox:
Yeah. I mean, it’s it weirdo background and it’s not a secret. I did a press conference with cims at hims the year before last about it. So, you know, it’s certainly not something we love talking about it, but it’s the ACA. It’s healthcare.gov. It’s their thing. And we try to stay in the background and you know, just keep the thing up and running and not have outages. And you know, during the design on period, it’s extremely intense. We’re on the ground with them. They are 24/7 and we just want to make it run. And that has really changed health care in the US. Whichever way you feel about it politically, it’s been a major shift in health care in the United States. And, you know, we’re thrilled to be a part of that and enable it. So, yeah, so we don’t talk about it a lot. We talk about a lot with customers and conversations we’re having. But that’s cims testing and we’re now getting involved. A lot of other stuff at cims.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and I get that it makes sense, but very, very cool to know that you guys were part of that. And again, big congratulations on getting it working.

Bill Fox:
Yeah, it was. You know, it’s a huge challenge, but what Henry thought was correct, which is this is the right platform for it. And, you know, we do these kinds of projects across many of the big banks and big insurance companies and other government agencies and Intel and D.O.D. So, you know, it’s kind of a wheelhouse if you come to us and you say, okay. So we’ve had these five huge siloed data systems and they’ve been around for 20 years. And, you know, the CEO said he wants to have a Netflix life expect like experience for our customers or the CMO of our hospital system had said, you know, I want people to be able to do everything from A to Z online and check on the status of their labs and do all this stuff. You know, for a big health plan, when you used to call in, they had a jump between system, a system, a system do what’s called stair and compare. And they wanted to fix that. Those kinds of projects are very possible and take much less time. You know, I’ve been in a lot of meetings with with my CEO and others where a customer says it’s now we understand this is a three year project and we’re like, no, it’s more like a six month project. And, you know, breaking out of that mindset is tough to do.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, yeah, that’s powerful. And and folks, you’re listening to this and you’re probably thinking the same thing that would take. Forever. Oh, it’s not possible. Well, I think today is a time to change that perspective then. And so Bill’s given us some fantastic insight into the misconceptions and the possibilities. Bill, if there was a plan. You know, if you could summarize like that three step plan to to Amazon ize people’s businesses or practices, what what were those three steps be aside from just calling you? Of course.

Bill Fox:
Yeah. So the first step is the strategy. I mean, the first step is to look at this new digital economy that we’re in and say, you know. Who do we need to be in this economy to compete and thrive? To not become the 20 retail organizations that Amazon has put out of business? What do we need to do? What’s the strategy since that’s first? So first is definitely running out and buying all the cool new tech and then figuring out what to do with it. So that’s one. And then two is to sort of get the buy in across your organization. This is what we’re going to do and what we need to do. Went to a really interesting meeting. This has to be 5 years ago now up in Chicago. And someone from ACS, executive from ICSE was speaking and it was a pretty small, high level executive group that maybe were 75 people in the room. And he said this very interesting thing that stuck with me, which was all of you people in this room are always going to be employed because you’re smart, you’re you know, what’s going on here thing. But. The half of you who work for companies that don’t change are going to be working for the half of you that work for companies that do change. You’re gonna be fine. But some of your companies that you work at are not going to survive this shift into this digital economy. So you figure out what you want to do. You get that. You get everyone on board saying, yeah, we need to do this and then you go find the right technologies to implement that plan. So I think that’s a three step plan. And.

Saul Marquez:
That’s a heck of a statement, too, by the way.

Bill Fox:
What I’m sorry.

Saul Marquez:
Is that that’s a heck of a statement. Well, you know, because what.

Saul Marquez:
Look around. You’re like, oh, wow, that’s interesting.

Bill Fox:
Yeah. Well, what we see is we end up getting involved in step one and step two because they haven’t done all that. But they’re already talking to us, which is great. And we can bring a lot of experience to the table and say, look, here’s what 15 other companies around the globe your size have done. But if you’re down that path and you say, you know, this is what we want to do, we want to build a 360 view of our patients that make this a fundamentally different experience for them when they interact with our health plan or our hospital system. And this is what we want it to be like. Then we can really move quickly into the PEOC and start putting the data, and that’s where the rubber meets the road in. And that’s really the big Proofpoint. What you said, it was interesting where, you know, probably people are thinking, oh, this is impossible. You know, this is the essence of takes two years. And another thing. My answer to that is always give us the data. And if it’s 100 sources of data, let’s do 10 and see what we see where we’re at in three weeks. That’s really where you have to grow leads, by the way.

Saul Marquez:
That to me just shows the the agility. I mean, you know, things take time, but do they take as long as you think they’re going to take?

Bill Fox:
I mean, we have a great I think he’s a distinguished engineer now, a guy named Jason Hunter. Been at our company for a really long time and he always tells his folks, don’t forget the UI, even if they’re saying we want to do this and we know it’s gonna take 18 months. Show him something in three weeks. If you’ve got the first three sources of data ingested and harmonized and you can show it. Yeah, because that’s what really drive that project over that next however long it’s going to take so long. Some organizations want to go right into the big thing, but we do a lot of those shorter appearances. Proof point saying, okay, you want to bring sixty five things together, let’s do five and see what that looks like real fast.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Now, that’s so great. And Bill, you mentioned that a third. But I think I missed it. He’s gotta get that strategy to thrive by an otherwise half of you guys and gals listening are going to be working for the other half. And then the third one is, was what is then?

Bill Fox:
Then it’s choosing the right technology, choosing the right technology guy and having those other parts baked. They’re never going to be completely big, but somewhat baked will really help you choose that, because one of the mistakes that can be made is there’s tons and tons of cuts point solutions and there’s things just to search and there’s, you know, Hadoop databases where you just dump data into and there’s security solutions and there’s geospatial solutions and rds solutions. And if some companies have gone down the road of pulling together 10 and 15 different pieces, it’s probably not the best long term thinking rather than looking for a platform that’s going to be able to be resilient. If there’s this regulation now, there’s going to be version 2 of that regulation and version 3 of that regulation. And you have to build something new each time you might give it who you’re targeting customer wise, bringing new, you know, insurance vehicles online. You know, obviously health care, you have this massive consolidation, you know, with the CBS, INET and all the other JPM see Bircher Hathaway Group. So all this is coming down the pike. You need to think about that as you’re putting together these solutions and say how Magana, how resilient, how agile is my platform that I’m building and B, for the future.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. No, I think that’s brilliant. Then, folks, you’re probably enjoying this conversation just as much as I am. A lot of questions are coming up as as far as how can we make this happen in our businesses. And by the way. Did you know that Bill has a podcast as well? It’s called Outfoxed. And so, Bill, I’d love to give the listeners an opportunity to know where they can listen to you beyond today.

Bill Fox:
Yeah. So if you go on Twitter and I think it’s on Spotify and iTunes, it’s at Outfoxed podcast. And, you know, that’s us, you know, me talking to business leaders, customers, experts in digital transformation about what they’ve really done. You know, how did they manage in their organization to get this first really important digital transformation project off the ground and done. And how is it working? You’re sort of the real practical aspects of this is are what we try to address so they can do that. Happy to have an email bill.fox@marklogic.com. And I’m also my Twitter feed is @FoxBigData, so I’m on there all the time, obviously on LinkedIn on that too. But it’s great if you want to listen to the podcast and hear some other business leaders talking about their experiences. But, you know, always open to have these conversations and that’s across pretty much all industries.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you, Bill. And the beauty folks that I love about Bill’s podcast is that it’s not just health care. And we’ve heard from many leaders in the industry. You’ve got to think outside of health care. And as far as technology goes, it’s a great place for you to get ideas outside of health care and start questioning the legacy beliefs that really have held us back for so long. Getting close to the end here now, Bill. This has been impressive and and really great. What would you say is an Internet resource like Evernote that you’d recommend to the listeners?

Bill Fox:
Yeah. You know, I’ll go a little off. I go a little left here with us. I’m going to say, get a kid on Pandora or podcasts or modify and give your brain arrest a little bit.

Saul Marquez:
I love it.

Bill Fox:
I use a lot of Internet resources, but I’m a big advocate of making sure you have something that you can de-stress with, because I know that all the people that I work with and the executives. Within our customers, it’s really necessary. So I’m not going to recommend any productivity tools. I recommend a what I think could be. Increase your productivity through kind of making sure that you keep yourself sane while all this is going on.

Saul Marquez:
I love it, Bill. What what a great recommendation and a great strategy here to start implementing into the platform revolution. It’s not going to change. Let’s change with it. Bell, just want to say thanks for being with us.

Bill Fox:
My pleasure. Saul. And hopefully I’ll talk to you on my podcast someday. Thanks to your listeners.

Saul Marquez:
Thanks, Bill.

Bill Fox:
Thanks.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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