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Jodi Euerle Eddy is senior vice president and Chief Information Officer at Boston Scientific, a position she has held since December 2015. In her current role, Mrs. Eddy is responsible for positioning the Company for success across multi-disciplinary information technology (IT) needs and overseeing the company’s strategy for digital health, data analytics, and cyber security capabilities. Mrs. Eddy leads a global IT organization of employees and contractors focused on continued advancement into complex, integrated IT solutions to address evolving customer and patient data needs. Prior to joining Boston Scientific, Mrs. Eddy progressed through several roles of increasing leadership of information systems positions over 18 years at General Electric, including serving as the commercial chief information officer for the Oil and Gas business from October 2012 until December 2013; chief commercial information officer for the Measurement and Control business from October 2011 until February 2012; and chief information officer for the Engineered Systems business from October 2008 until February 2011. Mrs. Eddy received a B.S. in Computer Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She holds certifications in Master Black Belt Six Sigma and CISSP and CISCO CCNA.
Lindsay Gearheart: Tell me about your background and how you found your way to Boston Scientific.
Jodi Eddy: I have been in IT for almost 25 years now, so clearly I’m passionate about the field –I’ve probably had most of the experiences that you can have in IT. Most of my career was at GE, until one day I got two phone calls: one from a recruiter, and one from a friend of mine who was an ex-GE colleague who then worked at Boston Scientific. She knew that the recruiter was calling me, and she shared what a special company Boston Scientific was. She convinced me from the insider perspective that it was a company worth leaving GE for. I went through the extensive interview process and fell in love with not only the mission and purpose of the company, but also the leadership that I interviewed with and the incredible opportunity in digital for Boston Scientific. I’ve been here now for over six years.
LG: How would you say big data is changing the way healthcare is delivered?
JE: Big data is impacting healthcare delivery in many different ways. First, we see big data helping speed up processes by making them more efficient. For example, big data lets us identify and connect patients to potential therapies, or to potentially helpful clinical trials, faster and more efficiently.
Data from our medical devices also provides a wealth of information which we can analyze to continually improve our therapies. When you combine that data with AI, you get predictive. For instance, we have AI embedded in some of our devices that use sensors to collect data on heart sounds, rhythm and activity level. The HeartLogic™ Heart Failure Diagnostic is the AI that allows us to take that data and predict worsening heart failure weeks in advance—in time to enable physicians to take action and potentially avoid the need for hospital visits. That drives real change.
LG: Wow, it’s amazing how far we’ve come in just the last few years in healthcare. You mentioned AI, and that brings up another question: How is artificial intelligence empowering clinicians and ultimately patients in their care?
JE: I think HeartLogic is a great example. We’re putting that data in the hands of the clinician, who can then make recommendations about actions patients can take to improve their health. Through these algorithms, clinicians can proactively respond to feedback. It becomes much more impactful when it is a recommendation based on data from your own body versus a blanket recommendation from a doctor. AI makes that possible.
We can also leverage artificial intelligence and these algorithms on the data from our devices to optimize procedures. Think about procedures that traditionally had to be done based on physician feel alone—now AI is helping physicians to layer in data, metrics and even recommendations based on how the procedure is going.
LG: Going forward, what new innovations that Boston Scientific and others in the field are working on have you the most excited about the near future of medical devices?
JE: I like that you say “the near future,” because a lot of the time we hear about these really exciting and flashy innovations that may be four, five, six years out. But in the near future, we are facing real challenges in healthcare. For many reasons, physicians are busier than ever and they’re striving to meet more demands.
I’ll give you an example from our urology business. For every new urologist in the U.S. that enters the workforce, 10 urologists are retiring. You layer on top of that the fact that kidney stone incidents are on the rise. The U.S. demand for kidney stone procedures is equivalent to 16,000 full-time urologists, but in practice, we only have 11,000 urologists. That’s a 45% delta. In turn, you see some urologists performing more than 80-85 cases per week.
What I get excited about in med device is how we are innovating to speed up procedures by increasing their accuracy, and by improving the capabilities so they’re more effective. It’s a win for the doctors because they’re able to complete a successful, effective procedure in a shorter time frame, and it’s a win for the patient who’s going through the procedure.
If I look across the company, we have so many examples like this that have real human impact on the experience, and the effectiveness, of procedures. I can’t imagine having to go through one of these procedures 15 years ago when you see how fast we’ve advanced and how much data and innovative capabilities have helped the accuracy and effectiveness.
LG: I would imagine these new technologies are helping eliminate physician burnout as well. The faster you can make these procedures, the more time these physicians have to take time to rest.
JE: Exactly right. Physician burnout is a real issue we’re facing, and with the demand that we have, these innovations are better for the physician, better for the practice, and ultimately it is absolutely better for the patient. It also helps solve one of the major challenges in healthcare, which is access. It helps increase patients’ access to the right therapies.
LG: Another question I have as we’re talking about these innovative technologies: Boston Scientific is obviously a large company, so how do you keep innovation alive within the company when there are so many layers of approval, with the FDA, and all the regulations you have to follow?
JE: It starts with our culture. Two of our core values are “meaningful innovation” and “winning spirit.” I wish I could bring you inside this company just for one day. What you would experience is a culture made up of so many passionate people. Our devices and therapies help more than 42 patients every minute. You feel it in the hallways of this organization, whether you’re here in Boston in our headquarters or in Europe, Asia, or Latin America. Our employees are so passionate about what we do and improving the lives of our patients, there’s an incredible winning spirit and drive to do better. That’s coupled with an organization that fosters innovation and celebrates it and rewards it.
For me, in my six years here, I’ve never felt bureaucracy in moving a great idea forward. We make tough trade-offs all the time; every company does, but we say they’re high quality problems to have. It’s like, “What great idea do we want to work on next?” because there’s no shortage of possibilities.
We also work very closely with global regulatory agencies like the FDA. We have tried and true processes in place, and we have open communication with the FDA to continue to make those processes better and faster. Boston Scientific is leading the way in some areas, like software development pre-certification and speeding up that process. The helps release some of what could be considered a burden of regulation and helps us deliver high-quality solutions that improve patients’ lives.
LG: Finally, as part of a small percentage of women in senior leadership roles in the healthcare industry, what advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in healthcare and other male-dominated fields?
JE: I get asked this question a lot because, unfortunately, we are far from at parity in the number of female CIOs in the Fortune 500. There are three areas of advice I give to women who are striving to gain a senior leadership position in their field.
The first one is to get a sponsor—or get multiple sponsors. Win them over, prove yourself to someone, and get their support because it matters. Having good strong sponsors who will advocate for you is important.
Second, like anything else, it takes effort. A lot of effort. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times, probably more often than not, but you have to put yourself out there. You have to push through those uncomfortable times and embrace that. If you find yourself anxious, try to turn that anxiety into curiosity. Be more curious, lean into that, and run with it.
The third piece of advice I would say is that I think most women are pretty hard on themselves. It’s okay to a certain extent to be hard on yourself, but a positive mindset always wins. I say, be hard on yourself for the time you need to be, and then switch your mindset to be positive and reward yourself. Buy the shoes, take the vacation. Reward yourself when you need to be rewarded, and try to have fun with the process.
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