Interview Series: Gary Mooney, Healthcare Solution Manager, InterSystems

In our latest edition of our Interview Series, we caught up with Gary Mooney, Healthcare Solution Manager at InterSystems to give us an overview of the organisation, his role at InterSystems, and what they’ve been doing in response to Covid-19 and beyond.

Can you tell me about yourself and your organisation?

I started my career in academic medicine as a Lecturer and Director of a R&D unit developing software solutions for academia and commercial organisations such as the pharmaceutical sector.  During this time I was approached by the Department of Health to undertake a secondment to write strategy before joining them to manage a team focussed on the use of modern technologies to deliver against the Our Healthier Nation white paper.  Following my time at the DoH I joined the commercial sector and have held senior positions for international clinical software suppliers in operational, product management, consulting and solutions roles.

InterSystems delivers creative technology solutions for healthcare, government and business.  My role is in the healthcare division of the business and I work to support a number of our business functions and with our customers to focus on the delivery of solutions; that’s more than the development and deployment of software, that’s making sure we keep a focus on the benefits and outcomes our customers are aiming to achieve through their investment in our software.

When a customer goes live with our software, that is the start of their journey for digital transformation, it’s not the end; so keeping a focus and making sure our customers get maximum value from our solutions to improve their delivery of care is critical before and after their go-live.

InterSystems has three main healthcare solutions: IRIS for Health, HealthShare and TrakCare all of which work seamlessly to support the needs of healthcare services.  IRIS for Health is our very latest data platform solution which has been optimised for challenges faced by healthcare services.  It underpins both HealthShare and TrakCare and also other leading healthcare software suppliers such as EPIC.  As a data platform it is massively scalable, performant and comes with numerous state-of-the-art capabilities such as off-the-shelf support for interoperability standards, a FHIR development architecture and built-in AI/ML capabilities.  HealthShare is a powerful integration and EHR platform that provides the ability to support integrated care systems, including patient participation in the planning and delivery of care, population health management and connected communities of care providers.  TrakCare is our enterprise scale EPR and provides a single unified solution incorporating PAS and clinical capabilities.

How has your organisation responded over the past few months during the Covid-19 crisis?

We have long standing customers in China, so earlier than the UK we started to become aware of the situation that was developing, and what our customers needed as the virus was starting to escalate.

In Italy, England and Scotland we have been supporting field hospitals; Italy, in regions such as Rome and Veneto, customers needed to set-up a field hospitals for Covid-19 patients, and for which we provided new installations of TrakCare.

In England we have been working with the Birmingham Nightingale with HealthShare to be able to consolidate a wide range of disparate information from a variety healthcare services and systems, and similarly in Scotland, we supported the field hospital in Glasgow with a deployment of TrakCare.

In addition to that, we have and continue to work with our customers to identify software enhancements, notably for TrakCare, to help acute care services better manage the known and emerging challenges presented by COVID-19.  Numerous enhancements have already been rapidly deployed across the 27 territories in which TrakCare is deployed to support enhanced capabilities relating to rapid patient assessment, clinical decision support, workflow management and mortality reporting.

From a different angle, we’ve also had members of staff personally contributing to the challenge; we have a member of staff who uses a 3D printer at home, and they have been printing PPE visors on their 3D printer to supply to their local hospital.  InterSystems has also supported registered clinical members of our team to return to NHS front-line practice to support hospitals across the UK.

What is coming up for you over the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months, we are still going to maintain a focus around Covid-19; there’s still going to be the need for on-going vigilance and demand to treat patients with Covid-19.  If there are further infection spikes, we also need to make sure we are operationally ready to be able to support clients with that challenge should it arise. Healthcare services and suppliers are in a process of constant learning, and will be for some time in understanding the nature of the disease and how best we can support our customers with this challenge to provide consistent, timely and effective therapeutic interventions.

We are also currently in the process of upgrading across our TrakCare customer base to introduce our new mobile enabled version of TrakCare which employs the principles of responsive design and the IRIS for Health data platform.

The AI/ML capabilities of IRIS for Health holds great potential for healthcare services.  For example, where TrakCare is being used to collect patient observations these can be within normal ranges but within these datasets there can be subtle patterns of data and relationships with other patient data, such as diagnosis, co-morbidities and medications, which together can result in a patient having a higher risk of deterioration or sub-optimal clinical outcomes.  Having the AI and ML capability within our data platform give opportunities in areas such as proactive decision support to spot and alert to patterns of data which may warrant further clinical consideration and intervention.

Can you tell me what you are most proud of over the last 12 months?

One of the things that really attracted me to InterSystems was a culture absolutely driven by the desire to see customers excel.  For me, and I know it is the same for my colleagues, seeing customers and their clinicians using our solutions to make a real positive difference for patient care gives me the greatest professional reward and pride.  There can be no greater job satisfaction for me.  We are also proud about the creative technology solutions we have produced but it is really seeing those technologies used to make a real difference for the delivery of care.  An example would be North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, a fantastic customer to work with and both the clinicians and the management have superb leadership and a laser focus on their transformation agenda.

The Trust are a long-standing customer and first went live the TrakCare PAS and a number of clinical modules.  From their initial go-live they have had an incremental deployment strategy that focusses on service priorities and targeted benefits and outcomes.  A more recent deployment was the introduction of the TrakCare ePMA solution to replace their existing paper-based charts and thereby addressing the inherent risks and problems that paper-based medicines systems present. They deployed ePMA very effectively across their two hospitals for all the adult and paediatric services, and more recently have been working with our medicines management team to optimise their ePMA solution focusing on high-risk medicines.  This has included work for the paediatric and neonatal services for the management of vancomycin and gentamicin antibiotics which are very powerful therapies but have an associated toxicity which needs careful patient blood monitoring to inform their use.  The Trust configured TrakCare’s in-built ePMA capabilities and worked with their clinical teams to get the solution up and running, and that’s now been deployed into neonatal services and making a real difference to the management of those two medications. In parallel, the Trust has also introduced our TrakCare observations capability to support the collection of patient vital signs which are linked to decision support to help to identify early stage patients who are at risk of deteriorating.

The Trust has calculated around 20,000 hours of nursing time saved through the use of TrakCare ePMA, which is time that is invested back into direct patient care. We’ve also seen a reduction in missed and late doses and adverse medication events.

So coming back to what make us proud, individually and as a company, it is seeing the tangible improvements we are supporting our customers to deliver to improve patient care.

What’s the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received?          

I’ve been lucky to have been mentored by a number of leaders in their field, but my biggest influence has been my Dad; my Dad didn’t have the privilege of an education really, he left school when he was 15 and he was a joiner, however he was the most astute and insightful person I’ve ever come across. Two things have always stuck in my mind from him; he had a saying: “a heavy load, is a lazy person’s load”, you do things in manageable chunks and you do it well; you don’t try and lift too much and make a bad job of it. He would also always insist that ‘You can learn something from anyone, learn to listen’ and he was certainly right with that too. Whilst I have been extremely fortunate to have been mentored by some amazing people, on a practical day-to-day aspect, they are the two things that stay top of mind.

What’s your go-to entertainment at the moment?

Well, being a Liverpool season ticket holder, I have to keep reminding myself of all the games that have been recorded throughout this season in anticipation of winning that trophy which has been elusive for the last 30 years!