Mitel Expert Spotlight: Ryan McManus on the Intersection between Technology and Healthcare

5 min read

Sharushka Odayan | February 05, 2024

Ryan McManus, the General Manager of Mitel’s healthcare strategy for the Americas, shares his experiences within the healthcare vertical, including how unified communications technologies are reshaping the industry. From the importance of private cloud solutions, AI, and telehealth to the unique challenges healthcare providers face, Ryan provides valuable insights into healthcare technology's ever-changing, critical role.

Q: Describe your journey within the healthcare vertical at Mitel.

I have supported strategic customer engagements at Mitel for 11 and half years, and my job has always been to work with customers, channel partners, consultants, and analysts to identify the challenges that arise in various industries and align the right solutions to create successful business outcomes. I aim to ensure a seamless patient and staff experience by leading teams and strategies to deliver the right solutions to customers. Although healthcare is a relatively new industry, I’ve always been drawn to its technology-driven nature, from AI advancements to how communication and collaboration solutions can help benefit patient outcomes. Additionally, being a father of three young boys has given me a front-row seat to customer experiences within the industry, making it more intriguing and personal.

Q: What stands out to you about the healthcare vertical?

Healthcare has always been fascinating. The combination of technology, science, and the human factor makes it an exciting space. It’s an industry where we can have a direct impact on people’s lives, whether it’s in improving overall patient experiences, reducing staff burnout, or the use of modern capabilities like AI.

Q: How does Mitel’s technology contribute to the healthcare industry’s needs?

I have spent a great deal of my career focused on cloud technology, selling our solutions as a service, offering the latest and greatest capabilities while ensuring scalability, and one of the crucial evolutions of this approach is recognizing the necessity of private cloud solutions. Healthcare is an excellent example of an industry best served by a private instance, as there is so much involved in their existing technology footprint. The industry has unique demands, including legacy infrastructure like analog devices, industry-specific applications such as Electronic Health Records, and strict security measures.

A private cloud solution allows healthcare organizations to protect their investments and create a true interoperability environment with their communications platform. It’s been interesting to witness this journey, ensuring Mitel always stays connected to these specific needs. This is something that stands out to me as the difference between public UCaaS, which has been a vital part of Mitel’s history, and shifting focus to people who still want cloud but are looking specifically at what the best solution is for healthcare, which is where private cloud is proving to shine.

Q: Can you share a specific use case highlighting the benefits of private cloud in healthcare?

The healthcare industry has always had longstanding technologies and solutions. Nurse call systems have been integral to many hospitals and clinics; some of these established systems are analog and can present a challenge when integrating with a UCaaS pure cloud solution because you want to ensure connectivity and maintain ROI on those investments. A premise-based or private cloud solution can work alongside those technologies with minimal disruption, if any.

Mitel’s goal is to continually connect with and support the existing technology footprint in the healthcare sector. To help with this, we have our Mitel Strategic Alliances (MSA), so we continue to grow and vet our list of partners who work in the healthcare space and find ways we can collaborate, making sure that businesses in the healthcare industry can benefit from two companies working together. The real heart is that you’re not always the one-stop-shop that delivers every capability in technology. It’s more about interoperability – how does this technology come together and work seamlessly as we’re all trying to improve patient and staff experiences?

Q: What challenges have you seen in the healthcare industry, and how do you overcome these challenges?

Researching, connecting with our customers, ensuring we understand their challenges, and aligning the right solutions are central to everything we do. One of the biggest challenges we see in the healthcare industry is budget constraints; many stories of hospitals and clinics closing because of their inability to be profitable. To help alleviate some of these concerns, Mitel does a great job offering competitively priced solutions that keep budgets in mind –proven in the ROI. As obvious as that might sound, it is not true for all vendors.

The other major challenge in healthcare is the patient experience, especially with long hold times for calls. For instance, a provider with a team of six call center representatives faces a nine-minute hold time on Monday mornings, handling hundreds of calls with a stressed staff, which may create flustered patients overall, negatively impacting their experience. Improving this experience is crucial for building loyalty and ensuring patients come back. While technology is part of the solution, additional staff may be necessary. Mitel can help implement advanced interactive voice response, callback queues, and self-service options like appointment booking to enhance the experience. Omnichannel strategies, understanding communication preferences, and constant inspection of patient experience are essential. Focusing on KPIs like first call resolution and average hold times, regular analysis, and introducing new technology aims to improve the patient experience continually.

Q: What are any misconceptions about technology in the healthcare vertical?

It’s important to recognize that healthcare entities face market challenges like others. The misconception may lie in overlooking the business aspect and forgetting that healthcare professionals are individuals with families. Efficient and effective healthcare is challenging due to increasing tasks and limited staff. While technology can aid in minimizing the impact, it's crucial to understand that healthcare is not solely a right but also a business with costs and staff challenges. Keeping this perspective in mind is essential when working with the healthcare sector.

Q: Where do you see things going in the future of technology and healthcare?

The future of healthcare technology will revolve around AI integration, particularly in areas like chatbots. We’ve done a lot of work with AI, but as mentioned, as part of our MSA that we work with there is a lot of cool technology that can be used to explore ways to alleviate staff shortages and enhance efficiency. Additionally, long-term and elder care will be important. The aging population has sparked innovation in these areas as people increasingly prefer care at home, increasing the importance and prominence of telehealth. How we continue to bring these services to our aging loved ones and create equitable access will also be very important in this space.

Organizations like CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are approving more of these services. Mitel and others in the space produce great technology allowing remote care and physician consultations. This focus on supporting the evolution of healthcare toward delivering at-home services while staying highly connected through monitoring will be interesting to watch for in the future.

Q: What do you find most fulfilling about working for Mitel?

I am super grateful for the people I get to work with. I work with some great and talented people. Mitel is one of those unique companies. While I have only been here for 11 and a half years, working alongside someone here for 30 years is not uncommon. So, there is something special about the culture that is difficult to come by. The internal community at Mitel and the greater community of customers and partners make it fun. Everyone comes together to implement solutions and drive results, and everyone is successful. Mitel also allows for great collaboration; everyone brings different areas of experience and expertise, and we are all growing and learning together. It creates a better work environment, leading to better engagements with our partners and customers.

Q: How do you stay up to date on the industry?

Like anything, you must be a student of your industry. Within the healthcare space, there are some incredible media sources; you have Becker’s Hospital Review, Fierce Healthcare industry news, and many others. So, there is much great content referencing healthcare technology in general. This is more about just having your finger on the pulse of what’s happening; you need a 360-degree point of view of what’s happening in the industry. We also participate in large conferences like HIMMS: Healthcare Information and Management Systems every year. We also participate in local chapters so sales reps can stay tied to their community nationwide. The unique thing about Mitel is that we communicate with our customers and share knowledge that way. We have the Mitel User Group and the special interest group specific to healthcare, where customers can collaborate and learn from one another and more from Mitel regarding what is on the product roadmap. All of these are excellent sources of information for me.

Sharushka OdayanContent Strategist, Mitel

Sharushka Odayan brings to Mitel a decade of experience using technology dynamics and trends to shape vertical-specific content. She lives in Dallas and has spent the majority of her career in the telecom industry in areas including IoT, cybersecurity and mobility.

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