FutureCAST Interviews Alan Bugos and Bill Rabe

CAST | March 12, 2018 | by Donna Childress

Philips is driving digital innovation for connected alerting, monitoring and health informatics, and Covenant Retirement Communities is focusing on its IT strategic plan, cloud strategy, mobility, and customer service.

In this month’s FutureCAST interviews, two experts discuss how they are planning for the digital future in their organizations. IBM’s Susheel Ladwa, co-chair of the America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) IT Advisory Group, gets the scoop from these executives: 

  • Alan Bugos, CAST Commissioner and Head of Technology and Innovation for Home Monitoring at LeadingAge CAST Supporter Philips and
  • Bill Rabe, CIO, LeadingAge CAST Patron Covenant Retirement Communities

FutureCAST is a new CAST video series asking 24 health care executives where they think health care technology is headed and how CAST can play a role. These interviews were held at the 2017 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO. Each issue of Tech Time in 2018 will feature two insightful interviews.

Alan Bugos, CAST Commissioner and Head of Technology and Innovation for Home Monitoring at Philips

Alan Bugos is responsible for designing and implementing technology for next-generation devices, products, and managed solutions for connected alerting, monitoring and health informatics for the global customer base at Philips, a LeadingAge CAST Supporter.

Watch the video and read the full transcript.

Ladwa: As Philips has transitioned from a general appliances company to a health care company over the last few years, what are the most exciting things happening now?

Bugos: Specific to Philips home monitoring, in the last year we’ve been very busy in the technology and product front. We’ve developed new predictive analytics that runs in our HealthSuite Digital Platform, which is a new innovation.

We’ve launched a Triage Protocol, now known as Care Census, that helps to drive innovation and efficiency in our call centers. We’re looking at our next-gen development of our mobile PERS products, in addition to Med. Adherence, a new med management solution. And we’ve driven some innovation into the digital excellence around our Senior Living products.

Ladwa: What is your advice for the executives in this industry, which is now changing in the regulatory and political perspective?

Bugos: I think there’s obviously a policy for the policymakers, to listen to their constituents, try to understand where their pain points are, and figure out how we drive cost-efficiency and savings within the health care space. Executives should listen to their subscribers, patients, and customers to figure out what their needs are. If it’s a lower-cost, higher-quality solution, it goes into the executive thinking and mindset.

Ladwa: What’s the biggest challenge that Philips is facing and how are you addressing it?

Bugos: I would not specifically use the word challenge, but we’re focused on the opportunity to drive digital excellence and digital innovation. We’re thinking about how we can leverage the massive amount of data we get from seniors living in the home, through our home health care, Senior Living solutions, our hospital, patient care systems.

That led us to create the HealthSuite Digital Platform, where we could orchestrate and manage data, where we can connect it through electronic medical record (EMR) capabilities. Thinking through the data of the analytics and the predictive analytics of this massive dataset is where we’re focused.

Ladwa: What other ways are you working with CAST, how is CAST helping in your mission?

Bugos: I am a CAST Commissioner and have been very focused on looking at forward technologies and innovations, what’s out there on the horizon, how we can use technology to help drive the innovation that we build in our products. 

There have been many good examples of white papers and case studies that have helped us think through the needs for senior safety. For example, data analytics is a new topic that CAST is starting to focus on and help drive new innovative thinking amongst the CAST members. And then presenting all that information out to the general population of technologists that are focused on health care, to help us really think through what are the next solutions we would leverage.

For more on Bugos’s background and advice to young executives, watch the video and read the full transcript.

Bill Rabe, CIO, Covenant Retirement Communities

Bill Rabe, CIO at LeadingAge CAST Patron Covenant Retirement Communities, is a successful technology executive focused on devising technology vision and strategic direction through innovation, integration, operations, and transformation. With more than 20 years of background in technology, Rabe has had the privilege of working across several industries, including wholesale/retail, health care, distribution, software services, and technology consulting.

Watch the video and read the full transcript.

Ladwa: At Covenant, what is the most exciting thing that you and your team are working around right now?

Rabe: We have a lot of IT initiatives going on: a lot of focus on the cloud strategy, moving some of our systems, consolidating systems, moving to the cloud. We’re also looking at mobility. But I what’s exciting to me is our strategic plan. We’ve been focusing and reinventing the organization and looking to focus on a couple of different areas.

One is looking at different models of growth and how we provide for our residents today. And looking at optimization and getting more efficient. As challenges are coming up in the space, costs are going up, we’re trying to really make the organization leaner. We have 15 communities across 10 states, and a lot of them do things differently. So we’re trying to make that bit smoother for the organization. 

The last thing is customer service and coming up with a great strategy for our 5,000 residents across the whole continuum.

Ladwa: How do you address opportunities and challenges like new technologies and financial pressures? What technologies you invest in, and how do you pull an IT strategy together?

Rabe: Usually, I look at my strategy quarterly. A lot of it is getting into some of these conferences and networking with people, to understand some of the new technologies that are coming out and how to apply those.

I really am not a technology person to just take the new shiny coin and deploy it. I need to understand the business and how the business needs to use that technology. I’ve found over my career that just deploying technology alone, without good business sponsorship, good business backing, and understanding the process, really doesn’t do much for the organization.

In general, it’s working with the business teams and understanding the organization’s needs and then prioritizing it, because we can’t do everything.

Ladwa: Out of all the new technologies that are coming up, are there a few that piqued your interest more than the others?

Rabe: Machine learning and predictive analytics pique my interest. I like the fact that we can monitor a resident--how many steps they take, whether or not they’re going to the refrigerator, opening up a refrigerator, how active they were--and predict health from those types of data.

We just launched a big initiative to revamp business intelligence (BI) strategy at Covenant. We’re doing some data warehousing and some BI on top of that. Up until this point, it’s been mostly Excel spreadsheets passing around the business. I think down the road we’ll find out how we can apply and take advantage of that technology.

Ladwa: What is the role CAST played in your IT decisions and IT strategy, and what do you see as CAST’s influence going forward?

Rabe: I think CAST is a fantastic resource for a lot of people. I particularly love the time that gets put into doing the research and looking at product selection tools. Specifically, I’m looking right now at the product selection tool that we have for EMR and trying to see how I can apply that going forward with what I want to do with my platform today.

CAST is out there looking at the new technologies coming in and at where they can add value. So I read a lot of those case studies and research papers just trying to keep up on technology. I need all the resources I can get. So, I find time to read stuff on the plane or wherever I can in my spare time just to keep up with where the industry is going.

To learn more about Rabe’s past experience and advice for younger executives, watch the video, and read the full transcript.