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CIO50 2022 #20 Jorge Silveira, Virtus Health

  • Name Jorge Silveira
  • Title Chief digital health officer
  • Company Virtus Health
  • Commenced role September 2020
  • Reporting Line Group chief executive officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 77 in IT function, 5 direct reports
  • Jorge Silveira, chief digital health officer with Melbourne-based global fertility company, Virtus Health has broken into the top 20 of this year’s CIO50 following his impressive debut in 2021, introducing our judges to the possibilities for AI-infused technologies to literally create life.

    That project continues apace, with Silveira and his team advancing several major improvements to Virtus’ foundational healthcare platform DC2Vue, the engine that drives the Precision Fertility Digital Program (PFDP). 

    “The platform is now configurable by organisation, geography, regulatory jurisdictions and any health service specialisation, anywhere in the world, effectively delivering a highly secure, compliant next-gen electronic medical records (EMRs),” he tells CIO Australia.

    Further, the platform is now fully scalable and able to be augmented with the consumption of external services such as radiology, pathology, mental health, financial reporting as well as third-party products and services.

    Silveira explains that the reimagining of Virtus’ digital underpinnings has been informed by his “digital healthcare principles”, developed throughout his career, including in previous senior technology roles within the health sector. Most notably, the principles of “exception to the rule” and “process driven data visualisation” have been applied to disrupt traditional healthcare operational workflows, resulting in significant reduction in time to complete processes and achieve intended outcomes.

    As anyone in healthcare will attest, traditional workflows often take considerable time and effort as clinicians have to negotiate myriad steps, including checking whether certain conditions have been met or not before confirming it’s safe to move to the next step in the process. Normally, this involves human’s interacting with machines and paper-based outputs.

    Silveira explains that it works a little like “traffic lights."

    “The exception to the rule approach allows the monitoring system to take carriage over activities that can be safely automated with pre-configured escalation pathways, providing healthcare providers with only activities requiring further investigation: the exceptions."

    Dealing the cards

    Applying the process-driven data visualisation principle allows Virtus healthcare professionals to quickly identify what’s important within workflows, providing clinicians the ability to go directly to the topic with 1 or 2 clicks. 

    Data visualisation ‘cards’ are presented to different stakeholder groups such as nurses, doctors, administration and finance staff, with analytics allowing the same screen to present information for a specific logged-on user.

    Silveira estimates that the platform is capable of reducing the time and effort required for “highly transactional” activities by up to 60%. “This represents the abolition of thousands of ‘checklists’ for individual processes," he says.

    He adds that it’s fit-for-purpose for any healthcare organisation seeking better ways to manage complex patient information.

    “The platform can be deployed ‘out of the box’ across virtually any healthcare services specialty, for example, private hospital networks, cancer clinics, acute care or cosmetic surgery and dermatology providers. This next-gen EMR can be delivered to virtually any healthcare setting without being constrained by large financial investments and extended periods for deployment."

    90,000 foot view

    A member of the executive team, Silveira reports directly to Virtus Health CEO, Kate Munnings, and has successfully made the case for significant investments in technology as being about much more than technology itself.

    “A 90,000 feet view of the future of electronic medical records was unpacked to identify every component that made up the healthcare system, its interactions, objectives and criticality.”

    “This allowed us to mature our thinking and design a future-proof product architecture, healthcare speciality [that is] agnostic, localised, compliant, scalable, leveraging modern technologies, including the seamless ingestion of third-party and external services, and applying best practice information security frameworks and standards.”

    The project resulted from conversations at all levels from software developers to board members to introduce a completely new way of thinking to solve problems and clear intent across the organisation. 

    “The ability to influence the organisation, key players and a vendor to walk on a path never explored before requires a high degree of confidence by all parties in the vision and a careful approach to risk management,” Silveira explains.

    He’s now a regular voice in video and newsletter updates on the progress of initiatives and what it means for staff to help ensure everyone remains focussed on the evolving role of digital technologies in delivering better healthcare outcomes. 

    “The take-up and consumption of machine learning and AI services are becoming essential functions for organisations to drive improvements in clinical outcomes,” he stresses.

    These technologies have come to play a critical role in the fertility industry, supporting, for example, embryo selection for transfer, non-invasive genetic testing, genome sequencing analysis and data correction with diagnostic and prognostic data.

    Elsewhere, Silveira notes that in the acute healthcare sector, the ability to seamless consume external AI services for analysis of pulmonary diseases is becoming invaluable, likewise in the application of such capabilities to better track and support enhanced mental health.

    David Binning

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