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Pioneer Profile: Josh Gluck

Changing business models and technology are revolutionizing the volume, variety and velocity of data in healthcare.

aws Jun 12, 2018 01:40 pm
Pioneer Profile: Josh Gluck

In April 2018, Josh Gluck was named Vice President for Global Healthcare Technology Strategy at Pure Storage, an all-flash data-platform vendor. Prior to that, Gluck served in a variety of IT roles at major health systems, most recently as Deputy CIO for Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, where he provided strategy, leadership and direction to the infrastructure and operations divisions within the department of information technologies and services. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

What kind of work are you currently focused on? What most excites you about the work you’re doing?

At Pure Storage, we're finding that organizations are struggling to do business in healthcare’s new and complex environment. With healthcare reform has come changing (mostly declining) reimbursements driven by metrics and improved outcomes. Additionally, the dawn of precision medicine and population health have had a significant impact on how organizations care for their patients. Care can no longer be delivered one interaction at a time and must instead focus on the care continuum, or the sum of all interactions across providers and organizations, to care for a specific disease state. This change in care delivery has had a real impact on not just the way we care for patients, but also the electronic systems used to support the clinical and administrative workflows. We are seeing an explosion in the amount of data healthcare organizations are generating. Vast amounts of data assets, either collected from patients, physicians and caregivers, or generated by the many instruments and medical devices that operate within healthcare organizations and found along the continuum of care, are flooding into systems that are struggling to keep up. In these new times, organizations will only be able to realize the value of this vast amount of data at the point of care to improve outcomes if they adopt a data platform based on all-flash. An all-flash data platform provides the performance and scale-out capabilities that next-generation healthcare applications demand in a cost-effective way.   

What big challenges need to be addressed? How does new technology make a difference?

Prior to 2010, the majority of healthcare organizations found that the data they generated was small, paper-based and was stored in a silo. It contained structured and unstructured data and was only valuable to the individual workflow or application that it was created or stored in.   Now, as more workflows of physicians and caregivers move to completely electronic, it is imperative that the data be easily captured and shared amongst caregivers, applications and even organizations to find new pathways of care and to prove that outcomes are being improved. Healthcare organizations are starting to see the payoff from investing in technology, and it is making a difference. We have machines that are generating data now, on their own. We have really smart people looking at how they can leverage AI and machine learning to make use of all this data in the healthcare space. Decision support systems and healthcare analytics have moved from the paper checklist and spreadsheets to real-time interventions that prevent adverse events, and live dashboards that give insight into patient populations. All of this has been made possible from a shift in how organizations view their data, from a burden to an asset, and a change in how they deploy the technology developed over the past few years.

How has healthcare data changed over the years? Is it just that there is more data, or are there new kinds of data, new sources, etc.? What kinds of challenges and opportunities are they creating?

Healthcare data has been characterized by variety, but we’ve picked up two more V’s — the volume of data and also the velocity of data. This third term may have the most impact today: It’s astonishing how quickly we’re creating data, and how rapidly it is being consumed. A patient in the healthcare setting needs real-time care, and therefore real-time data. That’s the challenge most organizations are facing — how do we get the data at the right time and present it in the right setting so that we can exponentially improve the patient outcome?

Who do you consider 10xers in the industry? Is there someone that you've modeled your career on? Are there unique qualities that set these exceptional people apart?

First and foremost, Dave Hatfield from Pure Storage. I know that sounds self-serving, but it’s true: I've always been extremely impressed — first as a customer and now as a colleague — with the way that he understands and can communicate the value that Pure brings to the market. Next, Atul Gawande, MD. I recently heard him speak at the World Medical Innovation Forum in Boston.  He is a thought leader and extremely passionate about changing the way our government regulates and drives towards an improved level of care for all. Gawande’s work at Ariadne Labs, on a global level, already has had serious impacts on quality of care. Outside of healthcare, I’d include Richard Branson and his approach to customer service. It’s inspiring. He has a knack for understanding, based on his own experiences, what works and what needs to improve. I find his ability to problem-solve when things break down, and to leverage his team and inspire them to make improvements, very interesting.

Looking back at your own career, what shaped your own development?

Healthcare can learn from the shortcomings of other industries. I started my career in financial services technology, in reinsurance and building a marketplace for fixed-income mortgage-backed securities. I saw the dot-com blowup and the mortgage crisis, and I realized that money shouldn’t be our primary incentive — whether it’s one’s career or corporate goal. Moving to healthcare, I found an amazing set of organizations, and I was able to understand more about patient care. I also experienced directly how my work could improve outcomes for patients, help providers care for patients and help researchers make groundbreaking discovers. That exposure really made me love healthcare.

I'm also an adjunct professor at NYU's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where I focus on helping MPH candidates understand government sponsorship for technology, why they help organizations invest in technology, and what that looks like from a CIO’s position along the way. And, I have to say, we're in an amazing time, because I think not only are the folks who deliver care starting to recognize the value in the data they generate, but also the government is changing reimbursement so that the folks who don’t see it on their own are going to see it eventually — because that’s how they will be measured.

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