Revolutionary CGI healthcare system takes on challenge of Europe’s demographic timebomb  

EVEN taken with a moderate pinch of salt, recent statistics certainly make the future of our health and social care services look concerningly untenable. This is no scaremongering exercise – the Scottish population are demanding more and more of those services and unless there are significant developments in how they are managed and delivered, we are facing a severe  crisis of care.

“The demographic changes are well documented,” says Justene Ewing, who came to CGI as Vice President Consulting Services after four years as CEO of the Digital Health & Care Institute. “At a not too distant point in the future we will have more older people than people under the age of 16 for the first time in our history, and the NHS was not set up to cope with that.” 

Part of the reason we are living longer is that the NHS has done such a brilliant job, but when it was established the average life expectancy was around 20 years shorter than today.

“Take into account that my daughter, born in 2011, has life expectancy of 103, and we can see the scale of the problem we are facing,” adds Justene.

As a company CGI has a healthy global footprint in care services, developing digital health products that have transformed health and social care, particularly in northern European countries such as Finland, Germany, and Estonia where digital health has been the first approach.

“At CGI there are two main systems that we have been developing. One is CGI CommunityCare360, a modular solution that connects patients, primary care physicians, case coordinators, work coordinators, extended teams, mobile care providers, first responders, administrators, and managers.
“It is essentially a tool that creates a set of data to support people living in their own homes for as long as they possibly can, but uses database technology and the Internet Of Things.”

It provides the independence that all people living with complex illness and long-term conditions want and will mean fewer daily visits, as information could be stored in cloud services and accessed by carers, clearing the reams of paperwork created by multiple services duplicating information and avoiding unnecessary intrusion into people’s homes, supporting independent living. “They say that 30 days of data provides a pattern of living. Imagine a situation when you’re using intelligent automation and augmented reality that means unnecessary visits can be avoided. It starts to empower someone to take control over their own life again.

“Most people over 65 are in hospital because they are under observation or on delayed discharge because sometimes that can even be because going home means there is no one there to help them go to the bathroom. Imagine a situation when you understand a person’s personal pattern of living and the impact that dynamic and reactive scheduling of care visits could make a world of difference to enabling a better standard of living for individuals in that situation.”

Justene talks about Smart Homes that can have movement sensors and wearable devices similar to Fitbit or Apple watches. Not only can these monitor health but they wouldn’t carry the perceived stigma of the current community alarm pendant.

“What CommunityCare360 is looking at is how you can advance that level of care beyond hospital or care home walls.”

The complementary programme to this is e-CareLogic, which tackles one of the biggest healthcare problems for workers and keeping people safe and well.

“We have a massive challenge in the UK in how we integrate health and social care data,” adds Justene. “It’s extremely difficult for care workers to see what GPs are doing and vice-versa. There are few easy automated ways for GPs to know that something has changed, or that there is a potential concern.”

CGI’s e-CareLogic is a system integration tool that works with any of the health care systems out there today, bringing together data and providing one view of a person’s support in health and social care. 

“It can work together with CommunityCare360 which provides for the potential of health professionals to look at predictive analytics and start to build a picture. For me, it also provides the ability to have the view of what’s going on and to be involved in my own parents’ care in the future, as we will all have to be more involved in supporting our families as they age.”

These are emerging technologies that need to have an emphasis on the individual and their care but also need to be flexible and change quickly.

Justene said: “That is something CGI has shown that it’s well-equipped to do. It’s clear that something has to change quite fundamentally. Digital health from an economic perspective is still the fastest-growing global sector. 

“Within that, everything from data, the Internet Of Things, centre-based technology, robotics, and many other applications are encapsulated.

“There is a dichotomy in that we have an unsustainable situation, but with that comes and incredible opportunity for job creation. So you can create jobs but also solve one of the greatest societal challenges we have ever seen.”

Motivated by improving healthcare

CGI’S Vice President of Consulting Services for Scotland East, Justene Ewing finds inspiration in work and in support from senior colleagues 

JUSTENE Ewing comes to her current role as Vice President of Consulting Services for Scotland East with a wealth of experience in the changing face of healthcare.

At the age of 37, she achieved her first Chief Executive position, as CEO of the Digital Health & Care Institute, a Scottish Government innovation centre focused on innovative collaborations with health boards and local authorities. 

It was a demanding role in the public sector and involved bringing together a large number of disparate organisations in order to identify, design, evaluate and invest in new solutions that could effect change in digital and health care.

HeraldScotland:

WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE: Justene credits CGI’s positive working environment for helping her thrive professionally within the prestigious role of Vice President of Consulting Services for Scotland East.

After four years, Justene decided to make a change and having worked with CGI during her time at DHI she knew how the company operated and was attracted by an offer.

“Having worked in the private sector up until the Digital Health & Care Institute, I missed the different pace that exists in private companies. I was impressed by CGI – the fact that it was a massive global company, but was still headed by the man who started it more than 40 years ago. His daughter is now in the business as are other family members and they really do care about the people who work with them. For example, as a woman in a senior position, I’m given real consideration as a working mum. From what I see elsewhere that level of flexibility is extremely rare.”

Justene brings a realism to the business, having started her working life with William Hill, in the traditionally male-dominated world of bookmaking. 

Her potential was recognised by her boss when she worked there as a Saturday girl, and when she left university after having her first child, he recommended that she should go through the company’s management training programme.

Since then she has held a succession of management and leadership roles in tech – another world that is traditionally male-dominated but says: “Men have pretty much always been instrumental and exceptionally supportive of my career. There’s a train of thought that says men don’t want women to get on, but I’ve found the opposite.” 

She adds: “Women are incredibly well supported at CGI, and it comes from the sense of corporate responsibility that filters down from Tara McGeehan our President of UK operations. It means you work with people who you actually respect and trust. You also know that there is a clear career path there for you if you want it. Don’t get me wrong, CGI expects people to work hard. So many things we do affect change in everyday life, such as the positive changes in the future of healthcare, that it’s difficult not to be passionate about it.”