Daniel Zelem, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson, examined the link between health and technology in his keynote presentation at the 2017 Technology Innovation in Healthcare Forum on April 25 in New York City. In his presentation, "Leadership at the Intersection of Health and Technology," Zelem discussed how technology is driving healthcare innovation, and vice-versa.
According to Zelem, healthcare and technology go hand-in-hand. Together, healthcare innovation drives technological enhancements, while new technology is making it easier than ever before for healthcare providers and patients to connect with one another.
Meanwhile, the push for healthcare innovation shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, Zelem said.
Healthcare providers are constantly on the lookout for new technologies to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and much more. At the same time, technology providers want to supply healthcare organizations with tools they can use to streamline their operations.
"It's an exciting time to be in healthcare," Zelem noted. "The pace of change that has taken place in the last decade is really amazing."
The demand for improved healthcare solutions has been rising globally – something that has reshaped the healthcare landscape over the past few years, Zelem indicated.
"The healthcare delivery venues have grown – all thanks to technology."
As the healthcare landscape has expanded, more healthcare providers have been searching for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.
"We've seen millions of people enter the healthcare marketplace … who have access to healthcare," Zelem stated. "When you look at healthcare globally, you have emerging markets where healthcare is becoming prevalent. You have that global reach now, and you have global healthcare problems."
Moreover, technology has empowered healthcare providers to stand out from rivals. New technologies enable healthcare providers to drive productivity and efficiency, and as such, deliver comprehensive support to patients.
"The healthcare delivery venues have grown – all thanks to technology," Zelem said.
Technology plays a key role in the healthcare marketplace and will continue to dictate healthcare providers' actions over the next few years, Zelem noted.
"With technology, you can cover the patient experience from end to end."
However, healthcare providers may have only scratched the surface relative to technology and innovation, Zelem said. As healthcare providers search for the latest and greatest technologies, they may be able to uncover new ways to deliver unparalleled patient support.
"It's a very different world that we're living in today from a healthcare landscape, and it's one that can be further enabled by technology," Zelem indicated.
The right technology can help a healthcare provider deliver extensive patient support in a number of areas, Zelem said.
"With technology, you can cover the patient experience from end to end – from life-saving treatments to consumer experiences that can aid in the treatment of life-saving drugs to medical devices as well," he stated. "Think about the insights that we can gain by having those deep insights from science and behavioral science."
In addition, technology has led Johnson & Johnson and many other "science" companies to become technology providers, according to Zelem.
"Previously, Johnson & Johnson was viewed as a science company. Now, we're viewed as a healthcare and technology company," Zelem said. "That shift has come in the area of health tech, where we are doing much more collaboration with large companies and small companies to extend our audience by using technology."
Zelem indicated three trends may impact the healthcare and technology landscape in the foreseeable future:
1. Cloud as a platform
Cloud solutions provide fast, easy ways for healthcare providers to connect with patients. These solutions also can help level the playing field between both big and small healthcare providers.
"Cloud is not only enabling greenfield companies, but it is also enabling legacy corporations," Zelem stated.
The number of smartphone and tablet users continues to increase worldwide. Furthermore, mobile technologies keep evolving, Zelem said, and may make it simple for healthcare providers and patients to foster long-lasting partnerships.
"There are as many mobile phones as there is a global population. That has created computing power in everyone's hands," Zelem indicated.
Few healthcare providers possess the bandwidth needed to fully support patients at all times. Fortunately, technology helps healthcare providers increase their bandwidth without significant time and resource investments.
"Without bandwidth … it'd be very difficult to do the things we want to do today," Zelem said.
Expect the link between healthcare and technology to become stronger, according to Zelem.
As healthcare providers explore ways to advance patient outcomes, these organizations could invest in a wide range of state-of-the-art tools. By doing so, healthcare providers can better understand all aspects of the patient experience and discover the best ways to administer safe, effective patient treatments.
Dan Zelem is the Chief Technology Officer of Johnson & Johnson, responsible for establishing and implementing a technology strategy in delivering new levels of technology innovation and operational excellence to the enterprise. He also provides leadership to the IT Global Technology Services organization, including Enterprise Architecture and Information Security & Risk Management.
Previously, Dan served as the Chief of Business Technology for Medco Health Solutions (currently Express Scripts), where he played a leadership role in Medco’s international expansion as well as implementing an enterprise information warehouse platform and analytics, launching an enterprise image service platform to process hundreds of millions of mail-order prescriptions annually, and leading an enterprise transformation program.
In addition, Dan worked in Operations at Chemical Bank's retail banking division. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Iona College in New Rochelle, New York.