Pushing The Envelope: High-Tech Healthcare Solutions

Jul 16, 2012
  |  by Strayer Univers...


Over the course of his career, he’s held almost every IT position available, from his early days as a Navy computer operator, moving into roles as analyst, engineer and architect before stepping in as head of technology for the healthcare provider solutions consultancy.

What is a typical day for you?

My role is at the intersection of operations and innovations, so I spend a lot of time in those two worlds. I’m responsible for setting internal technical strategy, positioning us for the future in terms of markets and services, process improvement, and solutions delivery. However, I also work directly with our clients—large healthcare systems, hospitals and application vendors—guiding our teams and theirs toward innovative solutions.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently overseeing the construction of two innovation labs for two different clients— projects that involve hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s exciting, and every day I’m in a new learning situation.

We are also focused on projects that evolve analytics. Hospitals have a lot of data coming from a variety of sources, such as patient vital signs (pulse, blood pressure, oxygen, weight, etc.), and we want to help them aggregate it, analyze it and turn it into intelligent insight. We can offer technology that provides caregivers— physicians, surgeons, labs, nurses, orderlies—meaningful information that can make a difference in quality of care, while reducing costs.

How have you seen healthcare technology evolve?

Because I entered the healthcare field in the mid-90s, I was right there when technology began to transform the way hospitals operated. Hospital staff used to receive raw data printed on a roll of paper, which they would staple into a patient’s chart. In 1996, my hospital introduced some of the first fetal monitoring systems that transmitted that information directly to the nursing stations.

Now, real-time data is sent continuously to an aggregator where it is interrogated by algorithms and pushed out to displays in a way that nurses can quickly read and determine immediate patient needs.

What is the most important piece of technology in health care right now?

Mobile health applications enable companies to deliver health services and information via mobile technologies like the iPad. This has revolutionized healthcare. The device can easily travel anywhere in the hospital, allowing caregivers to use the applications with patients at the point of care. There are countless applications that caregivers use to better understand the current conditions of patients and identify serious trends and issues before they grow into larger problems.

What is the best part of your job?

That I can be innovative all the time. At Xerox, we pride ourselves on our “innovate or die” culture, so we are always developing new ideas. I’m often at PARC [Xerox’s research and development center in Palo Alto, Calif.] to learn what they are working on in terms of healthcare solutions so I can take those to my clients. We also host dreaming sessions for our clients. It’s an open brainstorm where we ask, “If you could have any piece of technology to make your business better, what would it be?” We’ve had several amazing products and processes come out of these sessions.

How can a company best plan for future technology needs?

More and more, companies need to always be “on.” You can’t afford to be down, otherwise you risk losing market share—your customers expect you to be available. So businesses need to be able to support all technology—computers, laptops,iPads, smartphones, cloud storage, Internet usage—all the time. That means projecting how much computing power you will need down the road, and figuring out how to do so in a way that is secure.

What is your best piece of career advice?

I get this question a lot. I always tell people, you own your career. You have to plan your career around the idea that you aren’t connected to any company or logo; you are your own logo.

Career planning is hard work. You have to routinely ask yourself, “What am I worth?” And that’s not a question most people can easily answer, and certainly no manager is going to answer it for you. The answerlies in a combination of your skills, what the market can provide for the work you do, and how you are different from others. It also takes into account your weaknesses. Ask yourself, “What are they?” “How much effort am I really putting in?” “How badly do I really want to advance?“

Ultimately, you have to create the reality you want to be in and in which you can advance. Then, all you have to do is set the wheels in motion.

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