Improving Maternal and Infant Health with Tammy Noll, GE Healthcare GM, Maternal Infant Care
Welcome to the outcomes rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking improved outcomes and business success with today's most successful end, inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers and now your host so marquesses. And welcome back to the podcast. It's a pleasure that you tuned in again, I have an excellent leader in healthcare today. Her name is Tammy knoll. She's the general manager of maternal infant care at G healthcare Tammy's responsible for global product development and product management at this critical division of GE in a single year fifteen million premature and low birth weight babies are born and two point seven million babies die in the first four weeks of life, primarily due to prematurity as fix yen infection. Tammy Egner team's goal is to reduce these deaths and send babies home healthy. I know I was happy when my son came home to us just shy of two years ago. And so the work that her and her team does is very important buyer this role Tammy's been responsible for many commercial successes of the company as well as taking on operational efficiency projects to help transform. The industry's she's worked with at G E from plastics to amnesty devices, but she's also very involved in the development of people in our community. She's involved with the Milwaukee hub as co leader of the women's network focused on developing over twenty four hundred women in the Greater Milwaukee area. So it's a pleasure to have this outstanding leader on the podcast. Tammy. Welcome. Thank you very much. So Tammy did I leave anything out in the intro that you wanna share with listeners. I think you summarized quite well, thank you very much. Great. So what is it that got you into the medical sector? It's a very good question as it reflect on that many things have happened in my lifetime. That really was a calling for me to make a difference in healthcare. It started. When I was four years old when my father has to way with a surprise heart attack end to go through my life growing up without a father every day. I thought about how can that be? How can we not know that something? So disastrous is going to happen on turned age thirteen. My mother had breast cancer turned out. She had breast cancer and another moment did my life. How can we not know that these diseases exist? How come we can do? Certain things to improve the outcomes, and she was at a very young age of forty three in twenty five years later Hodge. She got cancer again. And unfortunately, didn't survive the second time has reflect on the time at least growing up age four aged thirteen knowing that you know, I wanted to work in a business. I wanted to work something related to healthcare. So that I could make a difference. And that we could improve the outcomes and improve the lives of individuals like my father, my mother and all the people that are surrounded around them. All appreciate you sharing that that story Tammy very very personal story. And definitely I understand the the fire behind your your passion for for what you guys do at the at the division. You're part of now the maternal infant care starting from the beginning is really kind of a power. Awful way to approach these things that that happened in your life. And frankly that happened in the lives of of many of us. And so what would you say is a hot topic that needs to be on every healthcare leaders agenda listening today, and how is your organization approaching it? I think a hot topic that is on everybody's mind, especially in health comb healthcare is how can we continue to improve outcomes you shared some of the numbers at the beginning of the call in regards to the number of babies that are born premature the number of babysat survived the number of babies that unfortunately, don't survive. We have amazing moment we have amazing doctors in we have a lot of data. Unfortunately, the data that we collect from these devices from these doctors in their rounds of reviewing patients isn't necessarily collected in a nice need hacking way that we can use that data to give us insights use that data to give us decision support. And when you look across healthcare in beyond healthcare, one of the major things people are thinking about is big data. How to use that data to make those decisions to give us insights artificial intelligence in. How can we get smarter about what we are doing every day with these tiny babies in my case and make sure that the outcomes that they have are more positive. So as an example, wouldn't it be nice if we could track multiple parameters associated with the premature baby in be able to correlate the parameters all the data to be able to make a decision and to be able to give the clinician in this case in insight to make a more informed decision today, these doctors, and nurses are left to decide in collect that data all on their own. So I think a hot topic that all of us need to be thinking about in any industry, especially healthcare is how can we use data more effectively to make decisions into provide insights? So that we can improve outcomes. It's a great topic. And and definitely something that I think our listeners care about. So with the exploding number of articles and talks at conferences about this. This topic of using data. We'd love to hear Cami what with you and your team or doing maybe an example of how you've done this to create results by doing things differently it doing things differently in regards the data. I would say that we are. We have done a few things in the past. So as an example, every baby is different and the most important thing for baby in my business in a premature baby is to maintain that babies, thermal regulation. So what does that mean? Exactly that means the temperature of the baby is one of the most critical things that we need to maintain in every one degree. One degree celsius that you are off the temperature of that tiny baby you increase the chance of death by eleven percent in you increase the chance of disability do infection by even more. So I think the thing that we have done in our machines is we've developed an algorithm that you take the baby's age. You take the baby's weight. And it helps you determine exactly what temperature that baby needs to be set at in the temperature that their body needs to be maintaining because every baby is different. And so that's one thing that I would tell you that we use data. We use lots of data to determine what is that optimal temperature based on the weight and bathed based on the age of the baby that's fascinating. And that's just the amazing one degree could mean eleven percent difference. In what a great tool to have to have all these data points be summarized in a clinical decision support solution. I definitely think this is this is wonderful. And so can you share any any stories of how this has helped a clinician or a family? What I would say is that if you look at the history of premature babies in the viability of the babies that we've been able to to save by understanding, you know, the thermal regulation, and the temperature that these babies need, you know, we are able to help with the outcomes that I explained with reducing the infection, reducing the deaths. So in addition to things we've been able to do with in a leveraging big data to make decisions like I shared with you on getting the appropriate temperature for these tiny babies, we have done some other things here at GE healthcare with our equipment in two thousand we launched the very first hybrid incubator in warmer together a product we call giraffe Omni bed for those of you not familiar with health care not familiar with specifically with the space. You may think about your car's in the hybrid that your car that we've been able to create with. Cars very similar with the draft Omni bed in this case an incubator in a warmer together. So what does that mean? Exactly most people when they're baby is born they immediately go into a warmer now if that baby is a premature baby in has shared with you the temperature of that baby is so important. They will be moved from a warmer to an incubator incubators a closed environment where you can maintain the temperature even more precisely. So what we've done in two thousand is we combine the warmer incubator together so immediately when that baby is born the baby can go into the draft Omni bed and get the right temperature at the very start in. It's very important to make sure that you know, we don't have to move that fragile baby from bed to bed. We further that innovation in twenty fifteen where we launched a more modernized enhanced environment for the newborn called the. Graf Omni bet care station, and one of the things that we were able to add with this innovation is a hands-free alarm. It may be simple. But there's lots of alarms that go off in the Nick you in the ICU any part of the hospital. There's lots of alarms that are going off at all times. And typically what the clinician has to do is they have to push the buttons on the display to be able to turn the alarm off. They have to look at the data and make a decision and turn the alarm off in that happens with all sorts of devices in this case, if you're actually if your hands are in a sterile environment, and you're working on the baby and the alarm goes off new can continue to be sterile by doing a hands-free alarm. And in this case, it prevents infections as well. As it continues that care for the baby. Those are a couple things saw that I would share with you that we have done to improve the outcomes that were delivering to these tiny baby. These while, that's brilliant. And Tammy it's it's it's great that you guys just keep coming up with new things to to just continue improving. The care of these babies and also considering care caregivers, the the nurses the physicians neonatologist faced with alarm fatigue. Gone nuts. A big problem. I have a friend that was a nurse ICU nurse for many years. And and she lost her hearing because of all the alarms. She has to wear some some hearing aids because of that so definitely important to address both of these these people on and so I think it's great that you guys are doing that. Can you can you share with us one of your most proud of leadership experiences? Yes. Who would I will share with you is several years ago? I think it was twenty twelve we launched our first. Value in a seige machine in Africa. What was important about this launch was the fact that if in some countries in some continents like Africa, the basic functions of anesthesiology in being able to eliminate the pain doesn't exist in all countries around the world. And in fact, you know, an anesthesiologist the actual doctor those roles don't exist. I always like to use. You know, I'm from the state of Wisconsin. They're six billion people that live in the state of Wisconsin in their six hundred anesthesiologists. So it's one anesthesiologist per ten thousand people if I take the country of Uganda, which was one of our targeted countries. Forty two million people thirteen one three anesthesiologist one in ideologies per three million people, exactly. So if you think about that problem statement in not only do you have a lack of devices in equipment. You also have lack of experienced clinicians to actually perform the clinical procedure that you need which is a really interesting challenge. You know, how can we make that care practice better for these patients that are going undergoing surgery out? Can we make the practice better for a general doctor that's going to be performing amnesty anesthesia procedure? It was a really big challenge for us. And it really took a lot of leadership in a lot of dedication to really understand the needs of this market in develop a device that would solve the problems that a country like Uganda faces. So in twenty twelve we launched our first value in a seizure machine. It was in Kenya. And it was meant to be for these low resource. Settings where there isn't equipment today. There isn't conditions trained in the specific area and very proud moment launch that product, and since then thousands of units have been sold throughout the continent and throughout the world, and we're able to provide the basic levels of anesthesia where didn't exist before that's brilliant. And it's it's so interesting to think about how different the challenges are abroad versus the challenges. We have here did did any of your experience abroad and just kind of getting out of the US healthcare box. Help you with the things that you're doing in the US. Yes. Absolutely. I think the lucky thing for us is that we have engineering teams throughout the world. And we have product managers that exist out the world. So we have people that are understanding different markets every day, but we do. You have a large population of those resources in the US. And if you're living in the US in you only understand the US marketplace in the US needs, you'll never design an appropriate product for Africa. Bo absolutely multiple members of our team myself, multiple visits really understanding the customer challenges doing observational research in observing what's happening asking questions understanding different workflows to be able to develop a product. Like, we did prevail. You in a C show super super interesting in what a great value, add, you know, I was I was at Ted the Ted conference couple of weeks ago and had the the opportunity to sit down with the dicamba Matombo. He has he built the hospital over in Congo and just hearing what he's done over there and just the difficulties in translating the technologies, paring it down to serve the needs over. There is. Super interesting. This is such a great example Tammy of of how US companies and leaders like yourself can make an impact over there. Can you tell us about an exciting project or focus you're working on today? Yes. So let's come back to babies in maternal, infant care. What my business is all about you might remember from when you had your baby to to years ago. He knows the technology. That is being used almost everywhere around the world is the ability to get the mom's heart rate in the baby's heart rate in the contractions wired transducers. So what does that mean, these transducers that goes on mom that our belts that go around for a pregnant stomach in gathered the information that we're looking for the heart rates of both mom and babies as well as the contractions, and the mom is typically strapped to the bed. It's very uncomfortable. Silence. But it's necessary to make sure that we can get those vital signs to ensure the health of mom, and baby in that technology hasn't changed for decades, decades and decades, but two years ago, we acquired a company called Monica, healthcare, and technology that they have developed didn't we have since incorporated, which is called Novi which is a wireless fetal monitor that measures and displays the fetal heart rate, the maternal heart rate in the uterine activity, the contractions via simple peel and stick hatch. So essentially a sticker in many ways that goes on mom's case moms can have the freedom to get up walk around take a shower while also giving the clinicians in the caregivers the data that they need to be able to see the heart rate to be able to see the contractions. There's no belts. No cables around mom. I'm in mama's able to follow if she's got a specific birth plan of her own where she wants to be walking around that she wants to be bathing in those are things that we can now comedy would this peel and stick patch. So it's very exciting to be able to say that we've developed a technology that will completely change the labor into livery experience for moms around the world. That's awesome. You know? And I do remember my wife had the belt, and we were just continuously readjusting it and trying to get the readings. And it's fantastic that you guys have developed a technology to to help with the flexibility in sort of just the birth plan of every mom have you guys had any stories about how it's helped a moms. Definitely it's been all over the news, which is very exciting. Lots of hospitals. Lots of moms lots of nurses, are very happy with the product in the change in labor and delivery, if priests up nurses time, if you think about it a lot of the nurses spend their time readjusting the belts chasing, the heartbeat is what we say because they're constantly moving the transducers. Or in this case, the Piel instinct patch is placed once you put it on in it stays on. And it gives you the reading that you're looking for. So we've gotten a lot of good feedback end. We've continuing to sell and grow and grow this business. Everyday wonderful, the such a such a great value. Add and it's the things that you don't think about that often escape us these innovations that Tammy's team is thinking about to make the labor and delivery process that much more comfortable and also improving the workflow for for nursing is. Is huge. Thanks so much for sharing that Dami. So let's pretend we're getting close to the end here. Tammy it's times flying by. Let's pretend we're building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in health care, the ABC's of Tammy knoll. I've got five questions for you. These are going to be lightning round questions. And then we'll follow that with a book. You recommend the listeners. You ready? Yes. Okay. What's the best way to improve healthcare outcomes? Definitely. You have to understand the patient experience. The clinician experience in really understand the challenges that are being faced it could be via observational research. It can be asking questions. But that's the first thing that I would say to improve healthcare outcomes you really need to understand the problem to begin with. What is the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid? Well, quite the opposite of what I just said developing products without understanding the problem, and that happens, you know, because we have a lot of smart engineers edgy as well as throughout the world. And a lot of engineers have great ideas in we developed these ideas without really understanding. We'll solve a clinical problem or problem that we're looking for. So don't forget to go talk to a customer, listen to a customer observe a customer in this case for us. It would be going to the knick you going to labor and delivery wise words, how do you stay relevant as an organization despite constant change. Constantly visiting customers. Coming back to the first two questions is what's keeps us relevant in. A we need to get out. See these customers. See the changes, see the trends that are happening. Just two weeks ago. I spent time in Nigeria in Ghana and Dubai in a month before that I was in Indonesia, and we have to get out. We have to see what's changing in the practices at these Nicu's in these labor and delivery's, and I would also say to stay relevant. We have to be on top of big data as I mentioned at the beginning. You know, there's a lot of changes in regards to going digital having big data, and we need to continue to figure out as a business how we can leverage that in all the new tools that are becoming available. What's one area of focus? The drives everything in your business. Our mission, which is defend moms and babies home healthy if you ever come to our office, all in all your listeners out. There's babies in moms everywhere on all of our walls. Everybody understands the mission. Everybody understands the problem that we're solving and that keeps us focused every single day in its includes our own stories. You know, I'm a mom your dad, as you mentioned in a we have people on our team that specifically come work in the maternal infant care business because they had a premature baby because they lost a baby because they have a child that is disabled as a result of tree maturity the mission is so important to us. And that's what keeps us focused. It's wonderful. What would you say? Your number one success habit is Tammy. Starting with the customer in making sure that everybody starts with the customer. It includes engineers quality people regulatory it's important for us to be successful. We need to understand the customer. We often bring in pregnant moms moms said just had children, nurses, doctors tour office to make sure that they understand the impact that they're making in the problems that we still have. That's wonderful. Sounds like you're definitely driving a strong vision and mission based culture, they're so big kudos to you Tammi in freer leadership. What book would you recommend the listeners? I would recommend the book blind spots of blind spots. What are your blind spots, you know, as an organization in as a leader as a parent we all have blind spots in. Sometimes, you know, we people point them out to us. And we don't believe that they exist. So, you know, as an example, one one blinds five could be that they talk about in the book is that what matters the most is profit in. Yes. Every day. I wake up thinking about how much money we can make. And I think every every person in their job every doctor every nurse. But at the end of the day. What's most important is the purpose in why we are doing what we're doing for all those babies that are born premature every day for those babies that unfortunately, don't survive that is a number one priority in how can we ensure that we always keep that front and center? So I think it's important that we understand as leaders in a water blind spots are out to be aware of them in how to make sure that we continue to have focused love that recommendation Tammy and folks for for a full transcript of our interview and links to Tammy's work, the division that she leads and also the book, she recommended. Just go to outcomes rocket that health and in the search bar just type in Tammy knoll. That's NO L. You'll see that episode pop up you'll be able to access all that they're on me before we conclude. I love if you could just using thought, and then the best place where listeners could follow work or get in touch. Okay. Thank you, very much solid. Spin a good conversation closing comments is you know, healthcare is very fascinating industry. We have a huge opportunity to impact the lives of people in our community, our loved ones, and I encourage everybody to find something that they're passionate about healthcare. For me is something I'm very passionate about this issue with you the story of my father, my mother as a mom in a week in Tooley make a difference in in our business. Make a difference for these these little ones. So I encourage you to continue to find something you're passionate about for more information on GE healthcare. Business up, please visit our website. And for more information on me. Please follow me on linked in in Twitter. Thank you of standing Tammy. Thanks again for spending time with us. We really learned a lot. And appreciate that you made time. Thanks for listening to the outcomes rocket podcast, these shooter visit us on the web at WWW dot outcomes. Rocket dot com for the show notes resources inspiration and so much more.