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Dr. Edmondo RobinsonWe sat down with Dr. Edmondo Robinson, senior vice president and chief digital innovation officer, to talk about his focus on the digital future for Moffitt Cancer Center. Under Dr. Robinson's leadership and through our talented team members making crucial contributions, Moffitt aims to bring new ideas to life that leverage technologies, while challenging the status quo. 

We are currently experiencing an immense amount of growth and huge opportunity to recruit. In fact, we have almost 100 new IT and digital positions and have only recruited two-thirds of them. We are rapidly hiring and looking for professionals with a passion to serve in an innovative and exciting environment.

How is Moffitt growing as a company and on the digital innovation pathway?

lightbulb signifying digital innovationThe overarching team structure at Moffitt is Digital Innovation. This encompasses Information Technology, Health Data Services, and Digital. These three pillars are the core of the Digital Innovation strategy and execution. All of the teams have unique responsibilities, however, their contributions to digital innovation are all pivotal to success. The unified vision for the whole group is to become an agile digital innovation function that drives and enables Moffitt’s mission.

Why do you choose to work at Moffitt?

A couple of reasons: the culture and the mission, and the combination of the two, along with the structure.

The mission here is so crystal clear and every team member can recite it by heart. This unity and clarity are very helpful when you’re trying to transform and make a change. The mission permeates the whole culture of the organization. At the fundamental level, that is why I chose Moffitt.

The next level deeper, the people are so smart. I love working with folks who every time I talk to them I learn something new. It seems every time you meet someone, they are the world leader in their area.

More specifically, the actual structure of this role within the IMPACT 2028 10-year strategic plan is so unique. There are not a lot of health systems, much fewer cancer centers, that have “Digital Care and Discovery” as a major pillar of their whole strategic plan.

Additionally, Digital Innovation as a broad umbrella is a rare structure. This is important because they’re so interlinked. The benefit of this structure is that all three elements are at the same level, and one set of leadership can oversee the integration of each to make certain that initiatives are complementary. This assures resources are well utilized to meet the organization’s goals and best serve our patients. And, the whole digital team will be agile which will allow us to innovate quicker.

What fulfills you personally about your work?

At heart, I’m a doctor, and I still see patients, am involved in research and teach. I love taking care of people. I am a hospitalist, and in that role, someone comes in sick and I do something to help make them better. I really am fulfilled by that. My broader role now is to enable a whole lot of other people to do the same — to scale optimal care across hundreds or even thousands of interactions — with the singular focus to prevent and cure cancer.

What are some initiatives you’re currently working on which make you excited? Why?

  • IT Fortification - We made a commitment as an enterprise to invest in IT as a department. This is critical for digital innovation because you have to start at the core. I am really excited because we are building it right with a vision of what the IT team can support as the cancer center continues to expand to serve more patients at more locations and in cutting-edge ways.
  • In Health Data Services, we are moving our clinical data assets to be cloud-based. One of the first projects leveraging AWS cloud features is Clinical Trials Matching. This looks at clinical data and tells us what clinical trials could help, on an individual patient level. How is that possible? Well, clinical data comes in all types and forms, structured or unstructured data, which must be parsed out to understand. Then, looking at trial inclusion and exclusion criteria, natural language processing leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) matches them. We will be able to do this well because our data is cloud-based.
  • AI Diagnostics - Our AI team is working on predicting sepsis before it even happens. As a Hospitalist, of course, I have seen the devastating effects of sepsis and would treat it when recognized. However, this work shows how a machine may be able to recognize sepsis sooner and notify the clinical team to act and avoid this potentially harmful complication.

Comment on your vision for the future at Moffitt… for both healthcare IT and your personal journey.

The Digital team is being built and fortified now, with many roles including area leaders. There are 4 areas of focus where we can leverage digital tools to drive our strategy.

  1. Digital Business Operations - This covers areas like Finance, HR, and Billing; optimizing efficiency with process improvements. This may look like chatbots for the HR help desk, automation in the supply chain, or working with payers in the most efficient ways to reduce administrative overhead and improve service at the same time.
  2. Clinical Digital - Taking a step beyond informatics optimization of EMR work which has happened, we are now leveraging AI in clinical areas. One example of this is the virtual scribe, so clinicians don’t have to type up clinical interaction notes all day and can focus on patient care.
  3. Digital Research and Education - Researchers are already working on projects, for example, an app for smoking cessation. Our strength on the Digital team is the translational component, to try and more quickly bring these research findings to more patients more quickly.
  4. Digital Front Door - We are looking at how consumers can engage with us in other ways than by a phone call or showing up in person. This may involve using digital tools to know your care plan, sharing virtually to inform caregivers, paying your bill, or making your appointments. This is the way we already interact with other service providers as consumers now. Let's bring that safely to the healthcare setting. 

Beyond Moffitt’s mission of preventing and curing cancer, what I want is for the center to be as revered in the digital world as it is for treating cancer. We have eight more years on our current strategic plan — go big or go home.

If you’re interested in careers in Digital Innovation at Moffitt Cancer Center, please browse our job openings.