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Digital Transformation & Physician Burnout: Interview with Dr. Geeta Nayyar

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Dr. Geeta Nayyar at the Think Conference

Dr. Geeta Nayyar, a renowned physician executive, author, and practicing rheumatologist, shares her insights on digital transformation in healthcare.

In this interview, she discusses the challenges and opportunities brought by electronic health records and artificial intelligence. Dr. Nayyar also emphasizes the importance of addressing misinformation and physician burnout in today’s medical landscape.

You can view the full video interview here:

Key Takeaways

  1. Digital Transformation: Dr. Nayyar emphasized the importance of transitioning from paper to electronic health records to improve healthcare delivery. This shift, while beneficial, has also contributed to physician burnout.
  2. Misinformation and Disinformation: In her book ‘Dead Wrong,’ Dr. Nayyar addresses the critical issue of misinformation in healthcare. She advocates for increased health literacy to empower consumers and improve patient outcomes.
  3. Technological Integration: Effective implementation of artificial intelligence and other technologies requires the buy-in of clinicians. Proper integration can reduce friction and enhance patient engagement.
  4. Trusted Partnerships: Maintaining a strong relationship with a trusted physician is vital for navigating healthcare information. Providers should proactively offer reliable sources of truth to combat misinformation.

Interview With Dr. Geeta Nayyar

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Well, good morning. I’m here now with Dr. Geeta Nayyar, who is a physician executive, author, and practicing rheumatologist. Welcome, Dr. Nayyar. Nice to see you.”

Dr. Nayyar:

“Thank you so much, Maribel, for having me.”

Passion for Digital Transformation

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Well, I just want to start with your passion for digital transformation. What really got you interested in this area?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“So, you know, I have to tell you, being a tech doctor was definitely not in the cards. I went to medical school like every pre-med student, really passionate about patient care and patient outcomes.

But I’m of the generation of physicians that went from paper to digital in our training. So that was fun, and I realized the disconnect between data, communication, and the opportunity to do things beyond the four walls of a clinic.

Very much by accident, I was just in the right place at the right time and saw the future of medicine being in the tech space.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Okay, and has the sector done a good job with this?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“Oh, that’s a mixed bag. We’ve definitely done some good. We’ve done some probably unintended harm, and we have a long way to go. We have a long way to go.

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

We have really celebrated the introduction of electronic health records, for instance. That was a huge moment in the sector, but yet we’re seeing a lot of burnout amongst physicians.

A lot of people point to the enormous amount of work that goes into providing data on EHRs. So, how can that be fixed, if it can be fixed?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“So, you know, the advent of the digital transformation started with the electronic health record, and it was really, really good intentions.

But unfortunately, so much of health tech was done to doctors and nurses and not with doctors and nurses. So, what do I mean by that? We introduced the EHR and essentially we stopped looking our patients in the eye.

We only looked at the keyboard. We created workflows that really didn’t make a lot of sense clinically. And so now, when doctors are chatting in the doctor’s lounge, we’re like, ‘Hey, we got to work around. Let me share you the workaround on how you do this more efficiently and work around the technology.’

So, we’re in a place now, if we think about virtual care, if we think about artificial intelligence, we’re in a place now where we can fix a lot of that.

We can automate a lot of the friction that is adding to and contributing to physician burnout. We know we have a workforce shortage problem.

So, we have every tool at our availability, but it will be the people and the process that’s critical. We have to have the buy-in of the clinicians, of the doctors and nurses, before we’re throwing more and more technology at them.”

Insights from the book ‘Dead Wrong’

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“And you talk a little bit about this in your book called ‘Dead Wrong.’ Please finish the rest of the title for me.”

Dr. Nayyar:

“Thank you, I appreciate that. Well, the book is called ‘Dead Wrong,’ and it’s on misinformation and disinformation in healthcare. And if we think about where we are today, post-pandemic, physician burnout, workforce shortage, we are now at a place where health literacy has to come up.

We have to empower the consumer. And we need to give, when we think about the technology tools that we’re giving doctors and nurses, we need to make them better at the patient engagement piece and the call to action around your patient acquisition strategy, your brand strategy, wherever you are as a healthcare leader in the payer space, the provider space, the tech space.

Misinformation has to be part of that digital transformation strategy because outcomes are tied to patients being informed, patients being true partners with their docs.

When I have patients come in that have questions, have read stuff, they always have a better outcome because they’re interested and they say, ‘Well, doc, when you say this, what do you mean? And I heard about this side effect.’

Right? And the problem with that is you want them to read and be informed in the right places and know what are the right sources to go to, so you’re not undoing all of the wrong information that they’ve read.”

The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence in Digital Transformation

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“And do you see that being very challenging going forward now that we have more artificial intelligence tools at our disposal? Did you see any of that coming when writing this book?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“Absolutely. So, look, the reality is we have all kinds of technology, whether it’s artificial intelligence, social media, care journeys, I mean, any number of things. But it’s not about the tech; it’s how we use it.

So, it’s how we implement it. And depending on your people, process, and tech, it can be used for good, for bad, or the ugly that you may not have seen. So, that’s really the key piece, is implementing the technology with the right strategy and the right outcomes in mind.”

Navigating Healthcare as a Consumer

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“What should consumers keep in mind when they’re navigating this field?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“The most important thing is to have a physician, have that trusted partner. You know, one of the things we realized during the pandemic was the one person everyone still trusts is their doctor, whether it’s their pediatrician, their OBGYN, their cardiologist, whoever that might be.

So, making sure you have that partner in your care and saying, ‘I would like to read about this and I want to know what is the standard of care.’ And, you know, even in rheumatology, I send my patients to the Arthritis Foundation, Lupus Foundation.

They ask me who to follow on social media, and I will certainly say myself, as well as, ‘Hey, these are the sources I go to.’ And there’s nothing wrong with asking that question, but there’s also nothing wrong with the provider system being proactive, being seen as the source of truth, offering those apertures, and giving their clinicians the voice.

And if you’re a payer, all the more reason to partner with your providers that are in network and keep that trusted partnership. And certainly, again, pharma, med device has a role to play in empowering their key opinion leaders. So, there is a role to play in misinformation, and a patient acquisition and retention strategy is top of mind for everyone.”

Importance of the thINc360 Conference

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Yeah, well, it’s great to get those words of advice. And we’re so pleased to be back here in person at the Think Conference. What is important about being here today?”

Dr. Nayyar:

“Well, first of all, we have an election year coming up. I think always coming to DC invigorates that sense of healthcare is happening at the Capitol and decisions are being made holistically about the system.

So, making sure you weigh into that, whichever aisle you fall under and on. But also, I think convening innovators, convening leaders, hearing from leadership in healthcare from all sectors is really critical.

The startup space, I think it’s terrific to be here and to see that the Think 360 team has brought really the 360 view, and hopefully, we’re going back home with action items, inspiration, and call to actions for our organizations to really move the industry forward, because we have an amazing opportunity if I think about where we are in history today.”

Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Wow, great. Well, thank you, Dr. Nayyar, for your time. So pleased to meet you today.”

Dr. Nayyar:


Host Mabel Jong – thINc360:

“Dr. Geeta Nayyar, she’s based in Florida, Miami. Thanks for joining us.”

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