The Role of the CIO in Creating the Digital Healthcare Ecosystem

Ed Nair
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Alpna brings in over twenty-five years of experience in senior executive roles in business and IT with various technology and telecommunications companies such as Reliance Group, Mahindra Satyam, Deloitte, Verizon, and Telcordia Technologies. In March 2016,  when she joined Philips, it was her first foray into the global healthcare/ healthtech industry, an industry ripe for digital innovation. A year later, she is firmly in the groove and is an instrumental player in the ‘digitalization’ journey at Philips. Alpna is highly driven to improve society at large through technology, innovation and the business areas of healthtech.


Alpna J. Doshi, Global CIO, Philips N.V. Alpna J. Doshi, Global CIO, Philips N.V.

Key points from a conversation with Alpna Doshi:

Simplification  As the global CIO, the key job is to make sure to keep the company live and running. But there’s lot more to be done at a company with the scale and complexity of Philips— addressing 17 markets globally, products and solutions across various specialties, and consumer health devices. Simplification of IT infrastructure and architecture is therefore a key mandate at one level.


Harmonization  At another level, the drive towards simplification involves using technology itself to harmonize business processes in areas such as supply chain, procurement, marketing, sales, and order management amongst others. The end goal of simplification is to connect the dots between idea to cash by accelerating the underlying processes that involve idea to market, market to order, and order to cash.

Philips Vision for 2025  Alpna connects this to the company’s overarching goal of being a health technology company that wants to touch three billion lives by 2025. Philips looks at the market from two ends and the strategy to achieve this goal:

Healthcare Systems  With healthcare systems around the world under increasing pressure, we deliver innovative, integral technology solutions that are designed to improve the quality and delivery of care while lowering cost.


Personal Health  We are playing a key role in this consumerization of healthcare, expanding our offering to help consumers make healthier choices every day.

Rules of Digitalization  Digitalization is central to the strategy of achieving this goal. “Across our portfolio, our businesses demonstrate their innovative capability by translating customer and end-user insights into meaningful technology solutions and services that improve the quality of people’s lives.” B2B and B2C are market modes that must be simultaneously pursued. “Therefore, innovating at the tail end is not enough, we have to work on the backbone also. There is no point in doing this in a siloed manner. Hence, connectivity is important.”

Design Principles  Alpna and her team are therefore moving ahead with a structured roadmap starting with the customer and then looping back to the customer. This would involve creating a healthcare ecosystem that would allow for ubiquitous edge devices. Hospitals still have a lot of internal legacies that they must overcome for them to be able to connect to the digital ecosystem. It involves interconnecting various health tech platforms and solutions to create a health systems digital platform to provide comprehensive care to the patient. Cloud, big data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and others serve at the backend to enable patient monitoring, ultrasound, patient care, and many others at the front-end. Alpna’s business counterparts drive applied IT across various disciplines to innovate in various areas of health technology.

IT Priorities  On the IT front, Alpna talks about the organization-wide initiatives to move data centers to the cloud with the dual aim of reducing total cost of operations and to decommission legacy applications. The modernization of IT systems and architecture is accompanied various initiatives in data and analytics. Master Data Management (MDM) is a big focus area this year at Philips.

Non-negotiable  Even as the Philips global IT organization and business units are on the path to creating a digital healthcare ecosystem and provide consumer healthtech, there are aspects that are non-negotiable and they demand the CIO’s attention: information security and data protection, compliance, and governance. Alpna is totally clued into these aspects. Borrowing the lingo from the telecom industry where Alpna spent a good part of her career, she says, “These are the areas where the packets simply cannot drop.”

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