Digitech Health Leadership Talks – Podcast Series (YEL2021)

Date:  25 November 2021

Digitech Health Leadership Talks – Podcast Series (YEL2021)



On this page you will find an episode guide for a new IHF podcast series: Digitech Health Leadership Talks. In this series, we explore digital technologies that have been used around the world in the fight against Covid-19. This series was developed by members of International Hospital Federation’s Young Executive Leaders program 2021: Taylor Johansen (co-chair, Canada), Leandro Luis (Portugal), Kushal Kadakia (USA), Dr. Christy Lam (HK), Dr. Sudha Pathak (UAE), and Emil Ackerman (co-chair, Finland).

You can listen to the episodes on this page or access them on the following platforms


Episode 1: Vaccine Optimization in Canada (Vaccine Hunters Canada, Andrew Young & Eric Herscovich)

Interviewees: Andrew Young and Eric Herscovich  Host: Taylor Johansen   Producer: Taylor Johansen

Through 2020, everyone all over the world awaited the development of a lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine. When vaccines were approved for distribution, a clear public health message was heard globally: get whatever vaccine you can, as soon as you can. Distribution strategies varied from country to country and in Canada, individuals could book a vaccination appointment through multiple avenues – directly through a hospital, at a pharmacy, through Provincial government portals, via local public health authorities, etc. In an effort to help connect people with available doses, Canada’s Vaccine Hunters emerged. This episode tells the story of how hundreds of volunteers outside of the healthcare system came together to support fellow human beings through the use of digital technologies. Open source code for appointment optimization is now available to anyone who needs it.

More information about Vaccine Hunters Canada can be found here:


Episode 2: Contact Tracing in Ireland (Nearform, Larry Breen)

Interviewee: Larry Breen   Host: Emil Ackerman   Producer: Taylor Johansen

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and technology industry employees all over the world worked hard to rapidly stand up pandemic management systems. In a period of just 10 days, Nearform developed the Covid Tracker mobile app to lead contact tracing efforts in Ireland. In this episode, not only do we learn about app development and use in Ireland, but we are also introduced to the Linux Foundation for Public Health – an organisation that endeavours to connect public health authorities anywhere in the world with open source software solutions in an effort to improve global health outcomes.

More information:


Episode 3: Mathematical Modelling in Austria (IST Austria, Fyodor Kondrashov)

Interviewee: Dr.Fyodor Kondrashov  Host: Emil Ackerman   Producer: Taylor Johansen

Epidemiologists around the world have raced to try to understand the behaviour of the novel coronavirus. Thinking ahead to how this virus may impact the world in years to come, humankind must begin to appreciate the consequences of our own decisions in the fight against COVID-19. This episode shines a light on the intersection between academic research and policy-making. We speak to Dr. Fyodor Kondrashov, Professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria in Vienna, and learn about the development of a mathematical model which simulates SARSCoV2 behaviour and seeks to understand the emergence of vaccine-resistant strains. This technology can help us think critically about the interplay between vaccination campaigns, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and viral mutation.

More information:


Episode 4: Vaccine Administration Coordination in Developing Countries (Samsotech, Dr. Sampada Deshpande)

Interviewee: Dr. Sampada Deshpande   Host: Taylor Johansen   Producer: Taylor Johansen

Working towards eradication of COVID-19 is a global effort and while many countries have made great gains in vaccination coverage, it is important to recognize that access to medicine and medical record keeping is often more challenging in developing nations. This episode highlights eVAS, an end-to-end digital vaccination administration system that has been developed specifically for use in developing countries.

More information about eVAS:


Episode 5: Quarantine Management in Finland (Tampere University Hospital, Dr. Ville Kaila)

Interviewee: Dr. Ville Kaila   Host: Taylor Johansen   Producers: Taylor Johansen, Emil Ackerman

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged health authorities and hospitals around the world; from swab testing to contact tracing, from quarantine management to shifts in hospital operational management. Many traditional processes and tools have been inadequate in tackling these challenges, which has led to the rapid development of new technological solutions and related procedures. In this episode you will hear about how a combination of three key technological solutions has helped Tampere University Hospital in Finland in the fight against Covid-19.


Episode 6: “StayHomeSafe”, “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile apps, and Geofencing technology in Hong Kong (Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Kingsley Wong)

Interviewee: Kingsley Wong   Host: Dr. Christy Lam   Producer: Taylor Johansen

During the combat of COVID-19, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has leveraged innovation and technology to respond quickly to the fast-changing pandemic situation.  Making use of the geo-fencing technology, the locally developed “StayHomeSafe” home quarantine system was launched in March 2020 and monitored over 600,000 people arriving in Hong Kong during their mandatory quarantine period.  The Government also launched the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app in November 2020 to facilitate contact tracing for community transmission. The principle of “Privacy by Design” was adopted and there were over 6 million downloads. This episode highlights the development of each of these mobile applications and discusses how the Government of Hong Kong overcame challenges such as high density population and privacy assurance.

More information:


Episode 7: Post-Covid Clinic & Wearable Technologies in Portugal (Central Lisbon University Hospital Centre, Miguel Rico)

Interviewee: Miguel Rico     Host: Leandro Luis     Producer: Taylor Johansen

Most countries put forth significant efforts to identify positive COVID-19 cases, recommend quarantine practices, and aim to flatten infection curves in an effort to keep hospital intensive care units afloat.  But what happens to the people who contracted COVID-19 but then recovered from the illness? This episode describes Post-Covid Care Clinics in Portugal. Digital technologies such as wearable devices for telemonitoring and telehealth solutions allowed clinicians in Portugal to undertake integrated follow-up of COVID-19 survivors – an innovation that is certain to shed light on what kind of medical care may be necessary in the coming years.

Episode 8: Hospital Operations Digital Pivot in the USA (Cleveland Clinic, Matt Kull)

Interviewee: Matt Kull    Host: Kushal Kadakia    Producer: Taylor Johansen

COVID-19 disrupted operations at hospitals across the world, requiring managers to rapidly implement new digital tools and transformations to support changes in system operations and service delivery. This episode offers insights about how the Cleveland Clinic—a global health system with facilities in the US, UK, UAE, and Canada—implemented “years worth of automation and digitization in just 2 weeks”. Listeners will hear from the Cleveland Clinic’s enterprise Chief Information Officer, who will describe the system’s experience transitioning to virtual care, offer best practices for designing and implementing system-level changes in IT, and identify key post-pandemic trends in digital health and health care innovation.

More information:


Episode 9: Telehealth in Canada (Maple Healthcare, Lana Majid)

Interviewee: Lana Majid    Host: Taylor Johansen   Producer: Taylor Johansen

On March 11th, 2020 a global pandemic was declared. Almost overnight, people went from buzzing around cities to staying in their own homes, under lockdown. Many worldwide healthcare systems mandated the cancellation of non-essential or elective services and most healthcare organizations pivoted to virtual care options, where possible. Maple is a Canadian telehealth company that predates the pandemic but experienced monumental growth as a result of it. This episode details Maple’s services, the telehealth landscape in Canada, and discusses how recent circumstances have nudged the Canadian government to evolve its universal coverage policy to enable better access to virtual healthcare.

More information:


Episode 10: System Digitalisation in the United Arab Emirates (Aster DM Healthcare, Brandon Rowberry)

COVID-19 created tremendous pressure on health systems across the world, leading policy-makers to offer hospitals new flexibilities for digital health to fill gaps in capacity. This episode features the CEO of Digital Healthcare at Aster DM Healthcare, a global health system spanning India and the Middle East region. Listeners will learn about Aster’s efforts to internalize digital processes (e.g. administration, operation) and external services (e.g. virtual ICUs, virtual prescription refills) during the COVID-19 pandemic. This episode will also offer insights about the role of public-private partnerships in digital health, the cost and infrastructure requirements for implementation, and trends in innovation in both the Asia and Gulf regions.

Interviewee: Brandon Rowberry  Host: Dr. Sudha Pathak   Producer: Taylor Johansen


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