FitTech Insider

Is Big Tech able to provide health equity, Trupen Modi?

Healthcare is generating more data than ever before. In 2020, Microsoft has introduced the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, an industry-specific cloud solution. Let's discuss the future of health, healthcare, and a healthy lifestyle with Trupen Modi.

Trupen, you are the Director of Digital Health Innovation Strategy at Microsoft. That's an impressive title, what is your role exactly?
I am part of Microsoft's Health and Life Science Practice. My role is to work on digital transformation initiatives - with top pharma, providers, retail health, and academic medical centers. To give you some examples, I support pharma companies by solving clinical trial challenges, I enable them to accelerate research on drug discovery by using Microsoft data and AI platform capabilities. For provider organizations, I focus on improving patient experience, operational insights, and efficiencies. For Academic Medical Centers I primarily focus on leveraging new technologies for modern teaching and learning, health innovation and clinical research. I come up with business strategies to accelerate their business goals. Obviously, I keep technology in the center of everything since we are a technology first company.

You are providing health providers with AI services. What is a good example product that you are offering to this healthcare ecosystem?
AI is a portion of it. The biggest example is the release of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. This is the only dedicated Healthcare Cloud worldwide. Its capabilities include, for example care team collaboration, personalized care, critical and operational insights, insights, interoperability etc. We also have a dedicated Healthcare research team, that is doing truly innovative research. Some of the publicly known examples are Project InnerEye that Microsoft Research Cambridge has been developing state-of-the-art machine learning methods for the automatic, quantitative analysis of three-dimensional medical image. Another one is Microsoft Premonition is scalable monitoring of the environment to detect disease threats early, using robotics and genomics. Those are just a few examples of our work in the Healthcare Practice.

That's quite a lot. How did the pandemic change your business?
COVID-19 has made us realize how important it is to be healthy. Being healthy means to avoid chronic illnesses, which avoids major complications down the line. Unfortunately, there is still a gap across the world, where we and others need to invest heavily. There are several startups and companies that have come up with different fitness solution. To achieve fitness transformation you need immediate investments not just from the technology, but also from the government perspective, and from individuals themselves. That's the gap that has still not accelerated to the extent I would have liked to see.

How do you see the healthcare industry coming closer to bridging this gap?
If somebody would ask me “what would you consider a success for yourself 20 years down the line?”, I would reply that if I could make a small impact whereby people start owning their health and avoid major complications by leaving a healthy life. But where are we on that journey? There is a realization that it's the social determinants of health that are influencing people's lifestyles and health. There are a lot of initiatives at very early stages of how to achieve health equity altogether. At least, we are recognizing the problem and trying to find the right solution. I think we still have a long way to go.

"Microsoft is the first company to create enterprise grade Cloud for Healthcare." - Trupen Modi

How could this solution specifically for Microsoft look like?
Microsoft’s health equity initiative is made up of multiple pillars. Educating caregivers, social workers, communities, of patients and even kids to bring awareness of the risks of unhealthy lifestyle, benefits of healthy lifestyle and practices to improve health is a critical pillar to achieve Health Equity. Another important pillar is social environment. We are social animals, and a lack of social interactions plays a major role in mental health. Losing the people-to-people interactions during the pandemic has shown a clear rise in mental issues. It is not just about giving medication, there is always a social aspect of it. The type of food you eat, all that plays a role. Indeed, there are more pillars to it.

Apple's biggest contribution to humankind will be in the area of health. How does Microsoft want to position itself within the healthy lifestyle space?
We highly appreciate the great work Apple, Google, Amazon, and many other organizations are doing in healthcare. Microsoft is the first company to create enterprise grade Cloud for Healthcare. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare provides capabilities to manage health data at scale and make it easier for healthcare organizations to improve the patient experience, coordinate care, and drive operational efficiency, while helping support security, compliance, and interoperability of health data. With all these capabilities and more we help accelerate the journey to a healthy lifestyle. Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Are you the backbone for a healthy lifestyle in the future?
Like I said our mission is to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”

What would be the next step to turn further into the healthy lifestyle space?
Healthcare is one of our major verticals. When we particularly look at Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we have started with about nine to ten capabilities at the high level, and we are constantly working on improving them. Within the Healthcare practice, this is one of our key focus areas. We are also actively building strategic partnerships with multiple health and life science companies, pharma companies, academic medical centers for variety of initiatives including enabling clinical research, health and fitness, modern teaching and learning, new care models, Health Equity. Without giving you too much detailed information, there will be a lot coming from Microsoft.

What is the future of a healthy lifestyle for you personally?
Eat healthy, exercise, do a lot of vacation and make sure to meet a lot of people to cover all the aspects of being healthy.

What is the number one technology that will change the way we treat our health?
AI and data, and insights, because AI and insights go hand in hand with each other.

About Trupen Modi
Trupen Modi is the Director of Digital Health Innovation Strategy at Microsoft based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he took over the mission to improve the quality of life for all through digital transformation. He has more than 25 years of experience in diverse industries including Ernst and Young, Deloitte and Tata Consultancy Services.