CIO50 2021 #26-50 Jorge Silveira, Virtus Health
As the pandemic brought into focus the role of digital in supporting our hardworking healthcare workers care for people in need, chief digital health officer with fertility specialists Virtus Health, Jorge Silveira has been at the vanguard of developing innovative solutions for helping families welcome new lives.
Joining the ASX-listed company in September 2020, Silveira was tasked with developing a digital health strategy for 63 laboratories, 43 clinics and 7 day hospitals; operating across 5 countries, 8 legal jurisdictions and multiple languages.
Boasting extensive experience across healthcare, tech, automotive and cyber security, he possessed a unique combination skills which subsequently proved to be invaluable.
The fertility has come ahead in leaps and bounds over the past several years, largely thanks to digitally led innovation in areas such as AI and ML which have helped make more intelligent use of data to improve outcomes for mothers and families.
But Silveira saw significant opportunities for further improvement and set out with his team to create a new model for fertility which they called the “Precision Fertility Digital Platform”.
“When developing the model, one of the questions I had to answer was ‘What would success look like for a reformed digital model in the fertility industry?,” he tells CIO.
“In my view, success is achieved if the model caters for all variables that are known to patients and clinicians, and in particular, variables that influence the outcome of treatments.”
Bringing together the entire fertility treatment eco-system, timeline and key partnerships, it is built on three core pillars:
- Understand who the key stakeholder groups are throughout the fertility journey
- Identify the stages of engagement with key stakeholders and their objectives
- No-one is an island, partner with vendors to broaden capability and capacity
Patients benefit from a closed-loop approach for personalised engagement and experience, consistent across all virtual and in-person services at Virtus clinics. Access to products or services to support patients. This includes access to images/videos of embryos that will be transferred as well as a large repository of fertility resources, multi-lingual support groups and streamlined communications with care teams.
Clinicians have a single, integrated view of a person’s treatment, with full and immediate access to all relevant data to support informed decision-making. A fully integrated AI engine provides decision support at each stage of treatment, contextualised and embedded within clinical workflows, while genetic testing results are presented within clinical workflows. The system also supports automated feedback and mood-tracker reporting.
For Virtus’ team of medical researchers, a globally consolidated data store provides access to critical data, supported by a fully-compliant data governance system taking account of multiple legal jurisdictions. And benchmarks for success have been standardised across the group.
Virtus’ business partners can now plug into a fully interoperable platform for biomedical devices, IoT systems, multiple digital services including for AI, secure electronic messaging and patient consent processes. There is also complete integration for government data sharing and reporting.
The architecture for the model heavily utilises cloud native services, allowing it to be both scaled beyond jurisdictions or fully localised, Silveira explains.
“This allows us, from a technology standpoint, to configure digital systems of ‘a new clinic’ in a matter of hours as opposed to months and applying best-practice clinical workflows.
Several highly skilled fertility professionals with many years’ of combined clinical experience contributed to the design.
“In a nutshell, the model is leveraging and combining every piece of technology available to us in healthcare and is applied in conjunction with the clinical best practice and know-how from fertility professionals working across five countries and supported by fertility specific decision support systems (AI),” Silveira adds.
One of Australia’s – and the world’s – leading fertility companies, Virtus now boasts a network of digitally-driven clinical solutions it, Silveira and his team says provide the best chance for creating a baby.
When Silveira joined Virtus, not only did he initiate extensive consultation with his colleagues within and outside of the technology department, but he also spoke with many former patients to get a better understanding of their individual experiences and results.
Just over two months in the job, he then presented a preliminary overview of Virtus digital health strategy and model to the executive and board, identifying the key elements of an inclusive, complete and successful fertility treatment lifecycle and what it should look like.
The Board was supportive and the “Fertility treatment eco-system model” was then born.
Next he established a global collaboration team using Microsoft Teams to document the requirements for each country and operations. In just three months he recorded over 836 functional and non-functional requirements from all five countries, helping to inform the next step in fertility treatment and ultimately improve pregnancy success rates.
Silveira notes that this organisation-wide consultation enabled by collaboration tools was critical in the process to formalise the Global Statement of Requirements (SoR).
“Never under-estimate the outcomes when people are empowered to contribute,” he muses.