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Dr. Edmondo Robinson, chief digital officer at Moffitt Cancer Center, is an expert in digital innovation and leads the center’s digital health initiative. He recently sat down with me to discuss the emerging role of digital innovation in cancer care and research.

Hwu: First, can you tell us about your role as Chief Digital Officer and the advantage of having it at one of the nation's top cancer centers?

Robinson: A Chief Digital Officer is relatively new in the health care provider side and certainly new in cancer centers. Here's the idea, the leveraging of digital tools and technology to further your mission is critical. Now we've had technology for a while – this is not a new concept – but having someone who's responsible strategically and operationally for taking these tools, these concepts, these new ideas and digital, whether it's artificial intelligence or robotic process automation or remote patient monitoring and bring it all together strategically and operationally to execute and further on your mission. That's new. That's a great concept. I think Moffitt is leading.

Hwu: You’re building this Center for Digital Health at Moffitt. Can you talk a little about that?

Robinson: The Center for Digital Health is the embodiment of that concept described in terms of thinking about digital as a strategic enabler of your mission. What we've done here at Moffitt, is we've pulled together outstanding assets in three different departments. We've got our Information Technology (IT), everything from Cyber to Clinical Informatics to Application Development, all under a really strong Chief Information Officer (CIO), structure. But we've also brought in data and you know, how critical data is, you take in this new department called Digital Innovation and it takes all those assets from IT and from data and says, how do we build the next, how do we build the future of cancer care? And that's what comprises the Center for Digital Health here at Moffitt.

Hwu: Can you give us some examples of the exciting current initiatives that you're working on?

Robinson: Yes, let's start with data. Cause again, data, it's so critical. It's your lifeblood of this work. Under our wonderful Chief Data Officer, Dr. Dana Rollison, what we call the MCAP, the Moffitt Cancer Analytics Platform, where you elevate all of your data, basically you standardize and democratize your data — free your data. Another example of what we're doing here is leveraging artificial intelligence. Let's think about, I really like this idea of automation. I mentioned robotic process automation, for example, basically we should be automating those tasks that really no one wants to do. Anyway, the repetitive task, you just have to do them. You've got to do this report. You've got to enter these data. Let's automate that, free up people to do higher level thinking and higher-level activities and just make our business more efficient. The more efficient our businesses, the more we can redeploy those resources, research and care delivery.

Hwu: Those are great examples, what's your vision for the future of digital health at Moffitt?

Robinson: Nothing less than Moffitt will be the most digitally enabled cancer center in the world. Why is that? Because that will align with what Moffitt is and is going to be in the other aspects of what we do in clinical care and research. And so that if that's where we are in clinical care and research, then our digital assets should be supporting that mission. And that means that we should be the most digitally enabled in the whole world. 

Hwu: Put on your future glasses, project yourself, 10 years, 20 years out — what's it going be like for the patient experience coming in and for the physician experience coming in?

Robinson: The patient's interaction with their care delivery team. Again, it's a team it's not just one person, is hyper personalized. You show up, we already know you who you are. We're able to hyper personalize everything for you. And oh, by the way, the doctor gets to go in. They're not focused on a computer. Their head is not down in a keyboard. They're looking, they're with you because this is your time. And they get to spend that time with you personalizing your treatment, whether it's the genomics, whether it's the special treatment that we've found a clinical trial that only Moffitt has, that is where it's personalized for you. And so that personalization goes all the way through your entire experience, even out to survivorship.