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Chris Moose - Stories from the Field

Stories from the Field
Chris Moose
Chris Moose

Chris Moose

Partner, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Consulting

 

Please tell us about your background and career path. What brought you to IBM, what are some of your main responsibilities, and what do you find most rewarding about the role?

 

I always enjoyed technology and studied management information systems at the University of Texas, Austin. Upon graduation, I wanted to maximize my exposure to industries and how they used technology, so I joined Price Waterhouse’s Consulting team, which became PricewaterhouseCoopers and was purchased by IBM in the early 2000s. A recurring theme early in my career was pharmaceutical supply chains, and I’ve become fascinated with the challenges in getting safe medicines to patients globally. New regulations, such as the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, addressing industry problems, such as drug shortages, or improving supply chain resilience as society reshapes itself post-pandemic are part of my role and align with my mission-focused mindset.

The most rewarding part of my role is the clear linkage between my work on medical supply chains and the resulting public health improvements. Access to essential medicines is a key part of public health, and, through technology, we’re able to consistently put safe, effective medicines in more patients’ hands than ever before. This is good for public health and good for society.

How did your experience in management information systems help you understand the challenges in pharmaceutical supply chain resilience?

Management information systems combines accounting, finance, law, and management principles with software and hardware technology innovation. I applied these perspectives to supply chain evolution as just-in-time and international manufacturing took hold, enabling me to identify technologies for managing the elongating supply chains. For example, software helped with improved forecasting and planning, while physical technology helped with tracking and monitoring. Even today, it is clear we still have a lot to do because the software and hardware technology to understand and manage our supply chains does not match the complexity we introduced with globalization. But I’m confident technology will fuel ongoing improvements, creating a more resilient, and patient-focused, pharmaceutical supply chain.

What made IBM most interested in participating in the Milken Institute’s Financial Innovations Lab on Models for Financing a Global Early Warning System for Pandemics?

The Milken Institute’s workshop started with the premise that any long-term, economically viable pandemic warning system requires a sustainable business model rather than charity. This attracted me because the Milken Institute, in addition to convening the right public health participants across industry, governments, and nonprofits, uniquely understood that business models matter even when creating a public good such as a Global Early Warning System.

The workshop and follow-on discussions explored the capabilities of an early warning system to offer real-time insights into supply chain disruptions triggered by pandemics, like the shutdown of factories and ports. Such a system can also forecast surges in demand for essential medical supplies. This advantage extends beyond societal benefits; it presents tangible economic and business value. Leveraging this approach allows us to develop a practical and financially self-sustaining pandemic preparedness solution rather than just another noble but underfunded public health solution.

COVID demonstrated many challenges in health-care supply chains. Now, more products are in short supply than ever before. What steps is IBM taking to understand the risks going forward?

IBM is partnering with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to create Pulse, a platform for pharmaceutical supply chain visibility. Pulse’s initial release in Q3 2023 focuses on Drug Supply Chain Security Act compliance, including the requirements of understanding your trading partners, verifying pharmaceutical products, and tracing a pharmaceutical product’s supply chain journey. To do this, Pulse is, essentially, operating as a supply chain communication platform and therefore can be leveraged by the industry to address other supply chain challenges, such as drug shortages.

By convening the industry onto a single communication platform that operates with other systems and focusing on creating a platform for others to build upon, we can address issues that span entities. Addressing drug shortages is not something one or even two parts of the pharmaceutical supply chain can address alone. It is a visibility challenge requiring broad participation from the industry and a technology platform to facilitate their collaboration.

How do you view how the pandemic has affected projects, investors, and funding in health care?

The industry adapted to the immediate challenge and now, exiting the pandemic, we need to shift our thinking to the harder, longer term development of innovation. For example, telehealth improved access, but much of the actual patient–doctor encounter did not change. I’d like to see greater incorporation of data, remote sensors, etc. to create a richer experience for patients. This will take time, but it is essential we do not stop with the easy, “swap an in-person discussion for a virtual one,” and rethink how we would diagnose and prescribe digitally.

There is similar innovation possible in delivery, from new ways to physically deliver medicine to how medication is absorbed. Increased funding for new public health monitoring techniques, such as wastewater, also provide us innovative ways to understand community trends and take interventions faster. The pandemic caused entrepreneurs and funding to surge into health care, and I’m encouraged the focus, while receding some, remains, and those still engaged are not looking for quick wins but instead understand that changing health care requires stamina.

What do you see as the most exciting application of AI in your work?

I think AI will provide patients context when dealing with multiple conditions. For example, someone searching the web for information about their illness gets the same result as everyone else, regardless of other conditions they may have. To address their preexisting conditions, they must craft better search criteria and/or merge together information from multiple sources.

AI can bring together more data, moving patients from static web pages to dynamically generated, personalized information from multiple sources, including the patient’s own recent health status, such as changes in weight or sleep. This hyper-personalization is too expensive today, but via AI, we could provide it at scale and economically. Doctors will then have an easier starting point when engaging patients and recommending therapies.