Technology. It is the one of a select few material constructs common to all humans, regardless of geographic location. Technology is involved in and has altered every dynamic of life. Digital technology is used in various forms in global and local communications, economic trade, entertainment, and even medicine. For the medical industry specifically, technology has introduced a variety of new forms and pathways, including telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, and has proven essential amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At NYU Langone, urgent and non-urgent care visits grew by roughly 700% and 4,000%, respectively, in daily averages between March and April 2020 alone,” said Gabriel Paz Larach, Assistant Director of Business Development and Operations within the Department of Clinical Affairs and Affiliates at NYU Langone Health, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers. “The highly contagious nature of the virus has oversaturated hospitals with infected patients and requires physical distancing. At the same time, with capacity at inpatient settings diminished there has still been a need for delivering care to other non-infected patients, particularly ones with chronic or critical medical conditions.”

Paz Larach speculated there are likely a mix of factors that will continue to drive wider adoption of telemedicine in the industry:

“Though the telemedicine surge is expected to level off as people get vaccinated and lockdown restrictions are gradually alleviated, I believe it’s taken a stronger hold than ever before in the way we deliver and receive care. Studies are showing that roughly 70% of providers and patients alike are interested in telemedicine as a result of the pandemic.”

“Additionally, the convergence of the pandemic along with technological advancement, socioeconomic shifts, a growing obsession with big data and analytics, and the subsequent rise of omnichannel and on-demand consumption led by companies like Amazon have shifted and increased consumer expectations and behaviors beyond retail transactions. Convenience, transparency, and personalization are becoming king, even in healthcare. These conflating factors are forcing regulators to relax cross-state medical licensing and insurance companies to expand coverage to telemedicine services.”

For health systems like NYU Langone this means that they need to build robust omnichannel strategies around care delivery. “The approach to the entire patient experience needs to be revisited, from scheduling to care delivery to payment processing and customer service. Success will be driven by significant investment in people, technology, and processes both on the front-end and the back-end,” said Paz Larach.

As an expert on the intersection of business innovation and omnichannel customer experience hailing from the retail and consumer space, Gabriel was brought to NYU Langone to devise and operationalize strategic and financial plans to build a better patient experience and improve payment operations in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. He’s built his extensive know-how  having worked in executive, consulting, and managerial roles at some of the most highly reputed corporations in the world, such as Oliver Wyman, LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), and Goldman Sachs. With an MBA from Harvard Business School (where he focused extensively in retail innovation, marketing and customer experience strategy and operations) and a BA in Economics and International Relations (where he delved into behavioral economics) from Brown University, Paz Larach possesses some of the strongest credentials in his field of expertise.

As for what inspired him to move into the healthcare space, Paz Larach stated it was his desire to make a positive difference. “Like it’s done for many, the pandemic’s made me rethink my  career and life priorities. In business school, we were constantly encouraged to seek to make a difference in the world. Watching the pandemic unfold made me realize I could make a difference in my own way by applying everything I know within an organization at the forefront of the crisis, even if it meant going outside my comfort zone in the retail space.”

Much of being innovative revolves around being creative and stepping out of your comfort zone. Given the transformative changes the healthcare industry is experiencing and the rise of telemedicine, Paz Larach is doing just that and is certainly positioned to help NYU Langone navigate the challenges ahead.