HR Tech Interview with Mary Edwards, President at NTT DATA

Journey into Tech

Hi, Mary. Welcome to our Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your journey and what inspired you to start with NTT DATA Services.

I’ve been in healthcare my entire career. I began in the industry in underwriting and actuarial, and then strategy and ultimately moved to consulting. I spent 22 years in consulting at Accenture, working to transform technology, operations and organizations through roles that included client management through segment leadership such as P&L leader for federal health global leader for health & public service business development.

With NTT DATA , I saw an opportunity to bring so much of my experience together because of the wide array of capabilities as well as the level of annual investment in healthcare, which is the #1 priority industry at NTT globally.  Since joining 3 years ago, I’ve found the company’s culture and commitment to clients and our people to be exceptional.   It’s a place where we can truly shape the future of healthcare with our clients and partners.

Please tell us how have the roles of a modern Healthcare Data Analyst/ Data Scientist changed during the pandemic. What are the expectations from these business leaders today?

There has been an overall shift in openness to doing business in different ways. We had to take advantage of technology in new ways to get business done during the pandemic, and embrace technologies and capabilities that the industry had previously resisted. This included the need to harness data and insights in new ways – which means those leading data analytics, developing insight algorithms and driving data aggregation and commercialization are in demand as well as being challenged in new ways to meet new demands.

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What is the idea behind partnering with Lumeon? How would your latest collaboration ease the pressure off hospital and at-home clinical service providers?

As more healthcare systems start offering hospital-at-home, there is a risk that already overburdened clinicians would have additional burdens in coordinating the non-clinical services required for patients.  This is unsustainable and a misuse of these critically in demand resources. Partnering with Lumeon allows us to automate this coordination process, allowing clinicians to focus on patient care. Together, we have the opportunity to not only make hospital-at-home programs more cost effective, but also improve the care experience for both patients and clinicians.

How much investment is needed to transform modern hospital services to adapt to growing demand for automation for hospital-at-home programs?

It’s important to be smart in the way health systems do it.

I’m sure every health system executive could point to huge investments they’ve made that have resulted in very little value. It’s all about the practical approach you take to making changes and doing it in a way that brings value step by step. With Lumeon, we can bring automation and orchestration that ensures maximum value from investments across the myriad of capabilities needed to actually make hospital–at-home a reality which can move the needle on healthcare economics foe our clients.

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Would you like to share your pandemic experience on how you managed to continue your development works and research during these uncertain times?

Our pandemic experience was first and foremost supporting our teams in the field, the clinicians and patients that were in need of services. It was important to address the stress that working in healthcare during a pandemic brought to our team – they were seeing things in care theaters that they had never experienced before. On top of that, many were afraid to go home to their families and expose them to potential risk.

The pandemic encouraged us to think about how we can address the stressors on care systems and clinicians. This means not just automating more administrative parts of clinicians’ work, but rather removing tedious and admin work from their plates entirely. Some studies suggest close to 70% of what a nurse has to do in any given shift is administrative and not central to patient care – we needed to evaluate how to protect these unbelievably scarce and valuable resources and help them do the work needed most in the world at the time.

What is your take on the buzzwords swirling around HR Technology now such as “career mobility” and “employee wellness monitoring”?

Healthcare probably has more acronyms and buzzwords than any other industry.

My take is that while there are many excellent concepts in healthcare, some have come before their time and before communities are ready for them. We’re now at a point where technology and analytics can enable connected wellness, and it’s a really exciting time to be in healthcare because technology is bringing to life “buzz-word” concepts we’ve been talking about for so long.

What is the future of Hospital management in the era of AI and automation?

AI creates the opportunity to answer new questions. When it comes to hospital management, we need to determine – what are the new questions we can be asking and answering, that are supported by the evolving datasets and algorithms available to us today?

It’s also changing the nature of hospital management in allowing care to move outside the boundaries of a hospital. Automation technologies give us a great opportunity to reorganize systems of care, and offer more technology-enabled care either virtually or at home. That said, it’s still a big challenge for our health systems to migrate to that next set of questions and concerns that will be important to their effective management of the healthcare system of the future.

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Any advice to every healthcare business leader on how to use technology for their organizational development?

Step one is identifying what change is necessary before immediately jumping to a technology solution. There’s plenty of technology, the question is how do they harness certain capabilities to get work done. It’s important to enable clinicians in the right way, so that they can be more effective rather than just giving them another button to press or screen to look at. We need to be thoughtful, and step back from technology to start with the business problem we need to solve.

Thank you, Mary! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at

Mary is the president of the Healthcare Provider business for NTT DATA Services. She brings more than 30 years of senior leadership experience in healthcare to her role, with a strong history of leading and nurturing high-performance teams and growing and transforming businesses. Mary’s early career was with Blue Cross Blue Shield serving in underwriting/actuarial and merger/integration initiatives, as well as leading strategic planning. Through a 20+ year consulting career, she has held various progressive senior leadership roles in the Health and Public Service sectors. Just prior to joining NTT, Mary led Commercial Markets for a healthcare BPaaS provider, HM Heath Solutions. Mary holds an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

NTT DATA is a $30 billion trusted global innovator of IT and business services. We help clients transform through business and technology consulting, industry and digital solutions, applications development and management, managed edge-to-cloud infrastructure services, BPO, systems integration and global data centers. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local client service in over 80 countries.

Automationdata analyticsEmployee Wellnesshealthcare systemshospital managementHR Tech InterviewNTT DATA
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