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CxO Stories: ‘Data changes the world faster than ever, we need automation’

‘We have only this year automated over 100,000 hours’

by Marco van der Hoeven

In a recent edition of CxO Stories for the Nordics (Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland) C-level executives discussed trends and made some predictions for next year about what lies ahead for the CIO. At the heart of it all is the ever growing importance of data, and the way automation can help in successfully leveraging these data. A prima example of this is healthcare.

The first to try his hand at making predictions for next year was Johannes Hörnberg, CIO for the Region Västerbotten: ”A technology that has really driven change so far is the ‘Internet of Technology.’ This is creating a vast amount of data. With this data from interconnected devices we can make smarter decisions, and for example make healthcare more efficient. The next step will be Internet of Behavior, combining these vast amounts of data with data we generate from sources like Fitbits, Apple Watches, the way we consume our food, and information technology like Facebook or LinkedIn. These vast amounts of data we can use to go to a healthier lifestyle.”

According to him the underlying trend is a move from sick care to healthcare. “As private citizens I think we are starting to have these connected devices, changing our behaviors. Maybe we will want to exercise more. We could use that in in the home monitoring environment or in health care. We can have these connected devices that collect data about our lives in our own home, and our own settings, in a safe environment. And with that data, we can maybe make living a little bit healthier, and maybe take medicine at the right time.”


“As technology leaders we have to look at these technologies that come pouring down on us at an ever increasing rate. It has continued to speed up ever since the first laptops on our desks at the end of the 1980s. It has never let up. Now, more than ever before, we face the challenge to keep up with it all. But if you talk about Internet of behavior as something cool and something good, it’s also a little bit scary. It’s about ethics. If we collect this data, what can we do with it? How should we take care of this data in an ethical way?”

Henrik Cosmo, CTO for the Region Skåne, adds about the ethical side: “I believe that that in the future, every individual will own their own individual data. The amount of data that we will have is something we would like to keep close to ourselves. Today, we give it away to hospitals, we give it away to Fitbit devices and all kinds of companies. But in the future we would like to own that ourselves. Maybe we can sell it to companies that would like to use it for commercial purposes. Or give it to healthcare people who could help us. This will open up the complete industry to keep track of our data, because of course, we can’t keep track of it ourselves.”


Moderator Scott Shuster, Former NPR Editor & ABC Foreign News Correspondent, commented: “Data lies at the center of all predictions that are being made for Chief Information Officers. It’s all about how we get the data, how we hold the data, how we use the data. That’s the area of change that keeps coming to us, this tremendous ability to use data in so many different ways. The thing that occurs to me is the issue of privacy. The European Union has its ideas about privacy. There are assumptions made about how people feel about other humans knowing everything about them. They feel one way about their doctor knowing about them, they feel another way about the pharmaceutical companies knowing about them, or companies in insurance.”

Cosmo: “At the moment this looks like it’s going to be very far away in the future. Today we are actually having very big problems with the privacy laws in the EU. The biggest problem is that no one really knows how to interpret those laws, not even the EU themselves. Authorities are looking into to some part of this puzzle. I know that that in Sweden all healthcare organizations are having problems with interpreting those GDPR laws. Lawyers say one thing, the government says another thing, another government agency says another thing. We don’t really know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. That is a big problem for us.”


“So I think the ultimate privacy law is that I own my data, I don’t let the government look at it, I don’t let private companies look at it, I own it myself, I decide what to do with it. Today, the data is owned by the government and I can look at some parts of it, in certain situations, but I can’t see everything. And I can’t use it myself and give it to some private health care company or so. Privacy is about who has to decide what to do with my data.”

Another topic related tom data is sustainability and the role information technology plays in creating a more sustainable healthcare system. Hörnberg: “Sustainability is about people resources. In the near future we will not have enough employees, doctors, nurses, the people who will work for you as a patient. So we have to find another way to deliver health care -not sick care- that is not taking a lot of time. This is done by making processes smarter. Automation or hyper automation could save a lot of time in healthcare.”


Cosmo: “Automation is becoming more and more important. In this area we have just started. We have some RPA in the service organization, but at the moment it is in a few places. However, we could use it in many more places. In our new hospitals we actually have real physical robots going around with medicine and lab samples and so on. But we are really at the beginning.” Hörnberg concludes: “We have really accelerated our digitalization withy the use of automation. With the use of automations we’re driving this real agile DevOps project called Intelligent Automation. We have only this year automated over 100,000 hours, so that’s really cool. RPA has helped us a lot during the pandemic, it would have been so much manual labor So instead, we just have to press the button.”

Watch the entire recording at CxO Stories

See also

CxO Stories: ‘Use automation to battle the Great Resignation’


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