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Care Innovation in People, Process, and Technology
Episode

Molly K. McCarthy, National Director of US Health Provider and Plans at Microsoft

Care Innovation in People, Process, and Technology

Technology is not the answer to everything, but it can certainly help us be more efficient. In this episode, we hear from Molly K. McCarthy, National Director of US Health Provider and Plans for Microsoft, about how new models of care that integrate technology and human resources can improve health systems. Thinking differently about how people approach to care, technology, and processes can be challenging. Molly talks about how there can be innovative human-centered models that use technology to address workforce challenges and pressure, isolation, and burnout.

 

Microsoft’s acquisition of Nuance will bring new inclusive designs, development processes, and ambient clinical intelligence improvements. Additionally, Molly discusses care-at-home as a developing model of care and how social determinants of health are essential for its implementation.

 

Tune in to this episode to listen about how technology can complement and improve new and existing models of care!

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Care Innovation in People, Process, and Technology

About Molly K. McCarthy:

Molly K. McCarthy is the National Director of US Health Provider and Plans for Microsoft. Her career journey spans twenty-seven years in the health and technology industries. She’s passionate about uniting technology, clinicians, and patients to improve care delivery, safety, and outcomes. Molly joined Microsoft in 2013 and was the US Chief Nursing Officer until August of 2020. Now she leads the US team of industry, clinical and technical subject matter experts that drive digital technology, innovation, and transformation for health-provider and payer organizations. Before joining Microsoft, she worked for Philips Healthcare’s Patient Care and Clinical Informatics Division, where she orchestrated large health system integrations of physiologic patient monitoring networks into hospital EMRs and networks.

 

Outcomes Rocket Podcast_ViVe_Molly K. McCarthy: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Outcomes Rocket Podcast_ViVe_Molly K. McCarthy: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, everybody, welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket. Appreciate you tuning in again. Today, we have the privilege of hosting Molly McCarthy on the podcast again. Molly, if you don’t remember, is the national director for US Health Provider and Plans for Microsoft. She’s passionate about uniting technology, clinicians, and patients to improve care delivery, safety, and outcomes. Molly joined Microsoft in 2013 and currently leads a team of industry clinical and technical subject matter experts that drive digital technology innovation, and transformation for health-provider and payer organizations. Immediately prior to joining Microsoft, she worked for Philips Healthcare’s Patient Care and Clinical Informatics Division, where she orchestrated large health system integrations of physiologic patient monitoring networks into hospital EMRs and networks. I am so excited to have Molly here with us at the ViVE meeting, and yeah, just great to connect with you again, Molly!

Molly K. McCarthy:
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here, Saul.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And so, we’re here at this ViVE event, did you do your talk already?

Molly K. McCarthy:
So my session’s today at 2 p.m., and we’re really looking beyond hospital care and looking at caring for chronic patients in the home. And I’m so excited because I think right now is such an opportune time to be really having these conversations and feeding into the ecosystem to make these technologies come to life, and really connecting the care across the continuum.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Molly, I love it. And it’s been a theme, right? We continue to hear this care-to-home theme consistently and everything that surrounds that: cybersecurity, connectivity. It’s a theme, so I’m excited to attend your chat, so, the panel, so appreciate you giving us the heads up on that. As the event goes, what’s been your favorite thing so far?

Molly K. McCarthy:
My favorite thing, really, is seeing people I have not seen.

Saul Marquez:
I know, it’s so great.

Molly K. McCarthy:
In a few years.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Molly K. McCarthy:
And even though I was at a couple events in the fall, fully masked and masking here when, when needed, and in close quarters. But I think for me it’s just that feeling of camaraderie and working with my colleagues, meeting my boss who’s been here for a year at Microsoft, and I just met her for the first time yesterday. So it’s really, for me, it’s that human connection and being in person.

Saul Marquez:
I love that. And same with us, right? I mean, we’ve interacted before and.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right, exactly.

Saul Marquez:
It’s so great to see you.

Molly K. McCarthy:
It’s our first time meeting too, in person.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Molly K. McCarthy:
And I even had to ask you, if we’ve met because it’s just been crazy.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I agree. I love the human element. Folks, you got to start making it to conferences because we’re back.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Yeah, we are back. And in fact, I told my colleague today who’s back at home, he was asking me about the conference and he seemed a little burnt out, and I said, you know what, you need to get out. It’ll be great to go to XYZ conference in a couple of weeks because you will be energized and really see an uptick just in your mentality and your approach to work, so I think it’s helped a lot.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Mental health tip there, folks, make it to a conference. Molly, so let’s get into it. What’s the number one theme that health systems need to be mindful about in 2022?

Molly K. McCarthy:
I think the number one theme that is in their face, so to speak, is health care workforce challenges, crisis, shortage, whatever you want to call it. You know, we really started to see that in our customer base, in fact, had customers come to us last August with the Delta variant saying, you know, we are having just tremendous challenge with keeping our hospital employees, either nurses, physicians, etc., obviously from COVID burnout, as well as just the intense clinical atmosphere over the past year and a half. And I think since that time, it’s really been top of mind for us at Microsoft just how can we, as a tech company, what can we do in the background? We obviously don’t want to throw another tech solution at an already challenged workflow, and so, really partnering with our health systems to understand where are other opportunities to make improvements for their workforce and not so much about the worker, but really the workplace.

Saul Marquez:
That’s an interesting distinction. Can you dig into that a little bit, maybe unpack it?

Molly K. McCarthy:
Yeah, so I think we’ve, if you look at the health systems over the past few years, obviously tremendous pressure, strain, even isolation. I think of a lot of the caregivers in, with patients who need just one-on-one care, for example, in the ICU with COVID patients, and impacts mental health obviously of our clinicians, but it impacts really every member of the care team, whether it’s a physician, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a PA, whatever their license is or whatever license they don’t have, for example, you know, or, thinking about environmental services the way that they put their lives at risk coming in and cleaning hospital rooms. And so I think as leadership, as administrators continue to look at the future of the hospital, of the health system, really need to think about new models of care with or without technology. As I mentioned before, my favorite thing about being here is really being in person. So it’s not, you know tech is not, and working for Microsoft, tech is not the answer to everything, it’s really a balance. And so I think even within the workplace, how can they think about new models of care? So for example, I’m talking with one system that is looking at having what they call a, for lack of better terms, call it like a bunker nurse, kind of someone who’s a resource remotely, who’s a seasoned nurse, who’s been thinking about retirement, for example, and they want to keep her on because she has so much institutional knowledge. And this is actually a use case that we’ve been discussing, or him, it could be a male nurse. And having them be that resource nurse so that a new nurse coming on, or if a nurse has a question, they can call them through either voice, through Teams, shameless plug there, right there, sorry, had to do it. And say, hey, you know, this is what’s going on with my patient, or hey, I need a second RN to check this medication or these blood products, but basically a resource for the unit so that they don’t feel alone.

Saul Marquez:
Alone, yeah. I love that idea.

Molly K. McCarthy:
And they feel like they have backup and that’s that person’s sole responsibility, is to be that resource. And it’s really thinking differently about the way as clinicians we approach care, and it’s a challenge because it hasn’t been overhauled in a really long time. And I think, you know, I’ve even heard discussions around like, team care, team nursing, and I think that is a huge component. I think especially, as I mentioned, the isolation, how can we approach patients as a team and including them in that team as well as the family?

Saul Marquez:
I think that’s great. And it’s so interesting hearing this from you, Molly, just being from a tech company.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right.

Saul Marquez:
To say there are innovative ways to do it with people and let’s just have the tech enable those ways.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right.

Saul Marquez:
Like the one you, the bunker nurse, right?

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right.

Saul Marquez:
And I think that’s super interesting, appreciate you sharing that.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Yeah. And I think to your point, it’s really, it’s not just about tech. It’s, we, I often say, and you’ll hear other folks say it’s people, process, and tech.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Molly K. McCarthy:
And sometimes the tech is, can be challenging, sometimes the people can be challenging or sometimes the process, you know, it’s not, they’re all interconnected.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure, for sure. So we’ve been chatting about the shift of care to the home. And so what’s one key watch-out, Molly, that you would say providers, payers, companies, they need to pay attention to as they ramp up in this space?

Molly K. McCarthy:
That’s a really good question. I don’t know if one key thing pops to mind, I think a lot of things come to my mind. But, you know, and we’re discussing that topic this afternoon. I think, really, you know, there are so many complexities in the home, and even many years ago when I worked in a hospital and we were transitioning care to home. I think one of the important things is, quite frankly, is social determinants of health in terms of thinking about that patient in the home. What are their resources around them in that home? What is their setup? Do they have family members to help or are they comfortable with technology? I know that’s definitely more than one, but I think for me, having worked in areas, for example, neonatal intensive care, pediatric kidney transplant, I mean, those are areas where you’re sending patients home who are going to need extended care in the home beyond, for example, an apnea and bradycardia monitor for babies. So I think it’s, considering do they have access to 5G or broadband, etc., is obviously top of mind, but I think beyond that, it’s like, how can we make sure they’re set up for success in the home, both from a just an operational standpoint, but clinical as well?

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think that’s a great call-out. Do they have a support structure? Are they getting the right, social determinants of health, right? And just being super mindful about that as you roll out your care in the home efforts, it’ll pay dividends in outcomes but also the business model.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Yeah. And I think too having criteria, I know I just did a webinar with Frost and Sullivan and Icon Health back in January, and looking at, making sure they’re establishing criteria for who’s eligible for care in the home, and it includes social determinants of health.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Yeah, that’s vital. All right. You know, the topic of burnout, we touched on it briefly at the beginning of our chat.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right.

Saul Marquez:
But it’s an issue, right? So tell us other examples because we need more.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right. So I think one, and this is a tech solution, I mean, there are so many different things to consider, but I will throw out a tech solution because Microsoft just closed on our acquisition of Nuance last Friday.

Saul Marquez:
Congrats on that one, that’s huge.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Yeah. And so, if we think about, burnout existed prior to COVID, if you think about the documentation that everyone is doing and having to go into a patient’s room or being in with, even with a provider, and there’s so much focus on typing, documenting. I think for me, as we continue to look at other technologies that will hopefully alleviate some of that documentation pressure or burden, you know, Nuance, an area that I’m very interested in working in and working on right now, quite frankly, is they’ve done a lot on the physician side. It’s now time for more on the nursing side and other ancillary caregivers in terms of ambient clinical intelligence, if I’m going in to do an assessment, I want to make sure that as a nurse, I don’t have to sit in front of a computer, I can sit there and talk with the patient and say it.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Molly K. McCarthy:
So we’re looking at that right now with some different systems. We’re in the beta process.

Saul Marquez:
That’s so great and expanding beyond the physician into the other caregivers that also need the support.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right, exactly.

Saul Marquez:
I love that. Well, yeah, congrats on the acquisition. I think what Microsoft can do with Nuance can be very powerful for a lot of people.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Right, now, and I’m here to really champion, as we were talking about even before the podcast, that inclusive design and development process. So at the end of the day, it’s really a win for the payer, the provider, the patient, the clinician, and obviously, leading to the better outcomes. So I’m excited. Lots to do though.

Saul Marquez:
Without a doubt. Molly, it’s always stimulating to chat with you. I appreciate you doing this again.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Oh, no, my pleasure! Thanks so much for having me.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. What’s, if people want to learn more about you, the things that Microsoft is doing, where can they do that? How can they get in touch?

Molly K. McCarthy:
Sure, I mean, I’m happy to connect with people on LinkedIn. There are two Molly McCarthy’s at Microsoft, believe it or not. I’m healthcare Molly and we have a media Molly, but just find me on LinkedIn, Molly K. McCarthy, or I’m also on Twitter @MollyMcCarthyRN.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Molly, always a pleasure. And folks, take her up on it. Reach out, connect, make things happen. Thanks, Molly.

Molly K. McCarthy:
Thank you.

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Things You’ll Learn:

  • Healthcare professionals face challenges like pressure, strain, and isolation that affect their mental health and cause burnout.
  • Social determinants of health must be considered within the criteria for care-at-home eligibility to make sure patients are set up for success with this care model, from not just an operational standpoint but clinical as well.
  • Technology companies can partner with health systems to find opportunities for improvements in the workplace. 
  • Nuance currently has different ambient clinical intelligence systems in beta processes that could help relieve caregivers’ burnout.
  • Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean new technology; it can also mean new processes performed by people. 

 

Resources:

  • Connect and follow Molly K. McCarthy on LinkedIn 
  • Follow Molly K. McCarthy on Twitter
  • Discover the US Health Provider and Plans for Microsoft Website