Shadow-Soft’s resident Doctor, Aldrick Ruiz, shares his journey from healthcare to IT. Read on to get an insider’s perspective on how healthcare organizations can embrace Health Tech Ops.
I’m a physician scientist and an innovation addict. It’s an addiction so strong it led me to work for a tech company instead of a hospital or academic center. I get it – it’s strange and unconventional. The initial reaction I always get from both the medical world and tech industry is: “Why?” That seemingly instinctive single word of wonderment and slight disappointment is exactly why. The fact that it takes a minute of conversation for the obvious to surface is an indication of how far these two industries and their cultures are from each other.
The answer to “why” lies with the reason I became a medical doctor in the first place, which is the desire to help people. Early on, I realized that a conventional (old-school) path would only lead me to helping one person at a time while healthcare itself needed help. I was tired of healthcare’s wasteful habits, poor productivity/efficiency due to old ways (paper forms and faxing documents in 2018… really?!), burned-out professionals, and the little innovations that were missing the mark. Raise your hand if you hate your electronic medical records system, which only takes time away from your human interactions!
Other industries were light years ahead in improving their processes. Back then (a decade ago), technological innovation meant having a PDA with references in your pocket or an access database in your department. No particular entity is to blame; it’s a demanding industry in which everyone is too busy with operations to do self-reflection or consider improvements. Not to mention the skills needed for innovation had no place in the current healthcare process, which in turn has led to a constantly growing gap between the healthcare industry and tech industry. I was convinced that innovation was a lifeline to an unsustainable healthcare system, and set out to create my own path and be the bridge between industries.
Journey to Atlanta
Without boring you with the details, I was born in Aruba, moved to the Netherlands to study medicine, did my senior surgical internship in Tokyo, Japan, worked for almost two years in cardiothoracic surgery in the Netherlands, moved to Paris France for my PhD, and somehow (wife and kids ;-)) ended up in the USA conducting research at a transplant department. Now, I work for the visionary tech company Shadow-Soft.
Through the years, I experienced five healthcare systems in the world, and they all have one thing in common (besides English not being the primary language): the lack of innovation in the healthcare process. This comes as no surprise to me, as I have experienced the education in healthcare as one of absorbing and using knowledge. On the other hand, engineers are taught how to create things. It was during my PhD that I learned how to create and present new knowledge, which drove me more toward the exciting world of technological innovation in healthcare. Ever since, I have dedicated my career to bridging and empowering both industries to think outside their comfort zone and pushing innovation wherever I go.
In an attempt to catch up with other industries, healthcare is looking more toward tech companies to materialize their solutions. With the focus of financial players moving from volume to value, the pressure is on to make clinical outcome (analytics) an integral part of overall performance matrices and strategic consideration.
Overcoming challenges in the healthcare industry
In my experience, there is no shortage of great ideas at all levels in healthcare. The challenge is the skills required to materialize them. The speed of innovation has made it hard to stay relevant in the tech industry – imagine in healthcare. The complex nature of clinical data and its interpretation, healthcare processes, revenue cycles, and data infrastructure makes materializing solutions almost impossible in the current healthcare environment.
This is where tech meets health!
When it comes to technological innovations, there is a huge communication gap between engineers and healthcare providers at all levels. This has led to countless justifiable frustrations. Tech companies such as Shadow-Soft are constantly investing in current relevant skills so healthcare providers don’t have to. By attracting avant-garde talent (MD, PHD, Tech combo), they are bridging the gap and maximizing materialization of ideas and return on investment.
How Shadow-Soft helps healthcare organizations innovate with technology
Shadow-Soft, as the leading company in open source platforms and emerging technologies, offers enterprise-grade stability and unparalleled flexibility. Our team of engineers dominates all parts of development, from infrastructure improvement to actual content analysis and automation.
Your partner in quality of care and improved value
The path to quality improvement through technological innovation in healthcare is a complicated one. With countless moving parts, it can be intimidating to set up your innovation lab. I mean, where do you start? As a passionate innovator, the main challenge I encountered was not having a team to turn to, to explore and create things. Most IT departments only have the skills to and are tasked with keeping the EMR running. They do not have the resources to innovate with you.
Innovation and improvement imply the ability for change, but how can we keep clinical or financial risks involved with change to a minimum? “Mistakes” are inevitable (I know, a hard pill to swallow), and timely detection is crucial. With mistake, I don’t mean a medical error—think of it as a set goal not achieved.
A well-established concept in software development is to embrace “mistakes” and make timely adjustment in strategy. This timely feedback does not exist in most departments, which can stall the introduction of innovative solutions to improve quality and productivity.
At Shadow-Soft, we support the adoption of such mechanisms in healthcare, and our skilled and diverse team can help you on your journey. Think of us as your partner from conception to development, to implementation and maintenance of your quality improvement solutions.
Clinical and revenue analytics
Besides creating solutions, your department has valuable data. Clinical data is becoming more and more relevant with changes in payment models. How many companies do you know with the expertise to go deep into the context of your data? Shadow-Soft supports development toward a balance between clinical and revenue cycle (CRC) analytics.
Optimization for innovation
Shadow-Soft’s exceptional team includes engineers and experts in clinical research, which makes it possible to translate clinical concepts in the needed digital infrastructure. Imagine optimizing your scattered data into usable source for future reporting. With HIPPA-compliant cloud vendors, investing in physical servers or any other hardware is a thing of the past.
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