Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Venky Ananth Of Infosys On How Medical Practices Can Use Digital Transformation To Provide Better Care

An Interview With Jake Frankel

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
10 min readNov 27, 2023

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Putting patients at the center of the universe — Putting patients needs first and providing the best possible care while delivering world class experience supported by technology that everybody is used to in the consumer world.

As a part of our series about “Medical Practices Can Use Digital Transformation To Provide Better Care”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Venky Ananth, Infosys.

Venky is the Global Head of Infosys’ Healthcare industry vertical. In this role, he’s responsible for profitable growth of the healthcare business, and his responsibilities straddle business growth, industry strategy, product IP and service innovation, execution, and building high performance teams. He currently manages critical relationships with senior client executives at Fortune 500 firms.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Venky: I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in India in the early 1990s, when the Indian technology services industry was in its infancy. I was fascinated by computer science, so when I learned about Infosys, an upstart IT company with global ambitions, I jumped at the chance to join.

Infosys’ culture of innovation and its rapid growth appealed to me. I joined in the early 1990s, and since then, the company has grown from $10 million in revenue to ~$20 billion. It’s been an amazing journey to be a part of Infosys’ growth, and I’m proud to have contributed to its success.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Venky: Early in my career, I was part of a seed team to build the market for our firm in Australia. Offshoring and outsourcing were still in their infancy and I was excited to talk about our innovative approach to the industry.

When a curious reporter from a leading local print journal reached out to me for an interview, I jumped at the chance. I was eager to share my expertise and help educate the Australian public about the benefits of offshoring.

Unfortunately, I was also underprepared. I hadn’t taken the time to think through my key messages or practice my talking points. And I hadn’t discussed the interview with my managers, who would have provided me with valuable guidance.

As a result, the interview was a disaster. I rambled on about technical jargon that the reporter didn’t understand. I failed to effectively articulate the business model and value proposition of our firm.

Needless to say, my views never saw the light of day.

That experience taught me a valuable lesson that media interviews require careful preparation, thoughtful advice from seasoned veterans, and a deep understanding of your audience. It also taught me that sometimes, even the most embarrassing mishaps can turn into unexpected moments of notoriety in your career.

At a broader level the take aways that I still carry with me are -

  • Do your research. Learn about the company and the interviewer or client you’ll be meeting with. What are the other person’s interests?
  • Develop key messages. What are the most important things you want to communicate? What are your strengths and accomplishments?
  • Practice your talking points. Practice answering common interview questions or client talking points. Be prepared to explain your key messages in a clear and concise way.
  • Get feedback from others. Ask a friend, family member, or colleague to give you feedback on your talking points and delivery style.
  • Be yourself. Interviewers and clients want to get to know the real you. Be authentic and genuine, and let your personality shine through.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Venky: Infosys’ “Leadership by Example” ethos has shaped me deeply. My bosses and peers have been indirect mentors, contributing to my knowledge, breadth, and career success. My wife has been my steadfast banyan tree, a sounding board during times of dilemma. My kids have patiently tolerated the many moves we’ve made to support my global career journey.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Venky: A long-time favorite movie, My Cousin Vinny, resonated with me deeply. The protagonist, an underdog lawyer, is consistently written off by his clients and stakeholders. He is a goofball lawyer who neither pretends to be heroic nor does anything dramatic, but his spirit is his main ally. His fiancée, a key witness, is also underestimated, despite being an incredibly smart car mechanic.

These examples show how subconscious biases deeply influence and impact our world view and behaviors, leading to the risk of not letting great people shine through on their terms from their areas of strength. I see this as a challenge that many leaders must overcome, and I believe it is incredibly important to explore people from their areas of strength and eliminate needless filters and judgments that may straight-jacket them.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Venky: Infosys’ guiding framework, “C-LIFE,” is a powerful force that in a way defines our purpose.

  • C stands for client value, which we pursue relentlessly.
  • L is for leadership by example, which we believe is essential for success; that every leader needs to lead and demonstrate by example what he or she preaches.
  • I is for integrity, which is our foundation in every action, regardless of the circumstances.
  • F and E stand for fairness and excellence, which we strive for in every transaction.

Our early days credo, “Powered by intellect, driven by values,” sums up what Infosys stands for since the founding days. It is our purpose and our motivation.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Venky: Two exciting projects I’m focused on:

  • TopazCare: A new AI set of services for healthcare that builds atop our recently launched Infosys’ Topaz (an AI-first set of services, solutions and platforms using generative AI technologies) that helps healthcare organizations solve real-world problems at scale. We’ve built deep expertise in healthcare and AI, and we’re passionate about using technology to improve healthcare delivery.
  • Infosys Helix: A healthcare platform that helps large health insurers transform into whole-health orchestrators. This aims to help them to go beyond simply administering benefits to providing a more holistic and coordinated approach to healthcare. It’s a complex challenge, but we believe it’s essential to the future of healthcare.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about Digital Transformation in Healthcare. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level, what does it look like for a medical practice to engage in a digital transformation?

Venky: Digital transformation is the improvement of customer experience, unlocking new revenue streams through new business models, improving operational efficiency and processes through AI, cloud, and data.

Although still in its infancy, digital transformation is essential to creating a world-class healthcare experience. Cloud computing and AI are two major trends driving innovation in this space around care access, care quality and care cost. Today this experience is broken, fragmented and frustrating.

Having said that, there are two major technology trends that are helping drive innovation in digital health and medical technology industries: cloud computing and AI.

  • Cloud Computing — The healthcare industry is adopting cloud computing practices and data is critical for a healthcare facility to deliver care. Cloud makes data and compute available at scale. Additionally, utilizing cloud technology can aid the healthcare industry in reducing costs and expanding accessibility.
  • AI — AI can derive key insights from vast data and suggest the next best actions at critical moments. It enables predictive measures, rapid interventions, informed decisions, enhanced efficiency and patient satisfaction, and risk prediction. Additionally, AI can help improve resource utilization and clinical outcomes.

What are the specific pain points that digital transformation can help address in a medical practice?

Venky: Digital transformation in healthcare can create more effective treatments, improve patient communication, and slow the rise of healthcare costs. The healthcare industry is notoriously expensive, slow, and fragmented. Digital innovations alleviate many modern barriers by securing core systems, digitizing processes, and unifying disparate data. As a result, digital transformation can lead to better outcomes for both patients and providers.

What are the obstacles that prevent a medical practice from engaging in a digital transformation?

Venky: The healthcare industry is highly regulated and slow to adopt new technologies, unlike the financial services or retail industries. This is especially true for new age tools like cloud, automation, and AI. Additionally, healthcare providers face pressure to give patients greater access to their health records while also increasing security and meeting strict regulatory standards. Fragmented legacy technology systems, complex ecosystems, and industry consolidation make it difficult to coordinate stakeholders, data, and processes.

Managing a healthcare facility is more challenging than it has ever been. Based on your experience or research, can you please share with our readers a few examples of how digital transformation can help a medical practice to provide better care? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Venky: We are seeing three shifts in the healthcare industry that can be vastly improved by digital transformation, including:

  • Focus on preventive care: In eight years, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be of retirement age. As we approach this statistic, it signals the need for more healthcare, technology and workers. To meet these needs, healthcare organizations must focus on implementing preventive care along with reactive care and plan for related technology initiatives to meet the predicted demand. The primary focus is around whole person care, health advocacy, care facilitation and real-time interactions.
  • Physician burnout: Physician burnout is an epidemic in the U.S. health care system; however, it has been a much-ignored problem. Nearly 63% of physicians report signs of burnout such as emotional exhaustion and depersonalization at least once per week. The physician burnout is often associated with system inefficiencies, administrative burdens and increased regulation and technology requirements.
  • Patient frustration: In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, an Ipsos survey found that 43% of Americans were unsatisfied with their medical system, far more than the 22% of people in the U.K. and 26% of people in Canada. Americans pay a premium for care that they rate poorly. The U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare than any other developed country. Moreover, U.S. patients are tired of waiting weeks or months for appointments.

Can you share a few examples of how digital interactions or digital intake processes can help create a frictionless patient experience and increase access for patients?

Venky: Digital interactions or digital intake processes can drive frictionless patient experience and increase access for patients in a number of ways, including:

  • Online scheduling: Patients can schedule appointments at their convenience, 24/7, without having to call the doctor’s office. This can be especially helpful for patients who work or have busy schedules.
  • Online forms: Patients can complete intake forms online before their appointment, saving time and reducing paperwork. This can also help to ensure that the provider has all of the necessary information about the patient’s medical history and needs before the appointment begins.
  • Telehealth: Telehealth visits allow patients to see their doctor or other healthcare provider remotely, using video conferencing technology. This grew exponentially during the pandemic but we foresee shift to a hybrid in-person/virtual mix to drive balance between access, convenience and clinical needs. This can be particularly game-changing for patients who live in rural areas where care may not be as accessible.
  • Patient portals: Patient portals provide patients with secure access to their medical records, test results, and other health information. Patients can also use patient portals to communicate with their providers and schedule appointments. With interoperability, the promise is to have patients own their information and be able to carry it with them digitally.
  • Wearable devices and remote monitoring: Wearable devices and remote monitoring systems can be used to track patients’ vital signs and other health data.

Overall, digital interactions and digital intake processes have the potential to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered. By making it easier and more convenient for patients to access care, digital technologies can help improve patient experience and increase access to care.

Based on your opinion and experience, what are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Effective Medical Practice” and why?

  1. Putting patients at the center of the universe — Putting patients needs first and providing the best possible care while delivering world class experience supported by technology that everybody is used to in the consumer world.
  2. Clinical excellence: Provide high-quality, evidence-based care using the latest technologies and treatments and staying up to date on the latest medical research.
  3. Value-based care: Driving focus on patient outcomes, driving down costs, higher patient engagement and superior coordination of care.
  4. Addressing employee needs to avoid burnout: With acute physician and nurse practitioner burnouts, a positive work environment is important because it leads to increased employee satisfaction and productivity.
  5. Efficiency and effectiveness: Leverage technology to minimize wait times and provide care in a timely manner. This can lead to overall increased patient engagement and improved clinical outcomes.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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