Why Are We In Healthcare; Raison D’être, not D’état
I never thought I’d have to give an elevator pitch; that sort of thing is for funding-seeking entrepreneurs descending a painful parallel after their 4th VC rejection meeting.
C’est la vie.
There I was – riding the slowest elevator down from the 46th floor of the Palazzo when a Microsoft employee spied my badge and asked me, “What does CloudWave do?” It’s not a wake or anything but I am always surprised, though often pleasantly, when someone speaks to me in an elevator. So, my overused and under performing rejoinder?
“We’re a cloud service provider for hospitals.”
She nodded solemnly in deliberate accord with some imagined but unspoken justification. Then, “Well there’s a lot of money in healthcare these days.” This is undeniably true, and perhaps it was that bitter irony which had me responding rather than withdrawing – my preference by far.
“Well, we really only target the small to medium sized providers.” She chuckled at that. The doors opened, and she slid out, Lady Macbeth leaving her scene; the flower was gone but her last barb remained: “Why are you in Healthcare?”
This question plagued me for the rest of the conference. By aid of time and retrospect I had imagined any number of responses but they all seemed vacuous, vapid – designed to defeat some rhetorical foe; they entirely missed the heart of the matter. It’s only now scribbling out these words did I craft the answer that shook the ghost of that unsettling encounter.
You should not have to care about technology to care for a patient.
The problems created by the digital revolution are lesser and fewer than the problems answered, and the EHR incentive program has largely been a boon. There are problems, though, and it is just and right that we address them. The technology has outpaced the talent and this problem magnifies in a reverse proportion to your proximity to a metropolis. Which small, rural hospital can afford to keep full-time CCIE staff? Networking is just one domain in which the acceleration of digital records has mandated hospital staff be proficient. Storage, Compute, Virtualization, Backups, Archiving, Recovery, Identity Management, Security…
I don’t want hospital staff to have to worry about the underlying technology. I want them focused on patient satisfaction, patient retention, and most importantly: patient care. I want hospitals treating illness, not servers.
We’re in healthcare to empower treatment though technology. So that technology can be the asset it was promised to be, not a burden.
It’s hard to remember sometimes, buried deep in the shadowy recesses of a Storage Array GUI that I’m dealing with clinical data, oncology studies, biopsy results which need to be read quickly and correctly. That elevator encounter was disconcerting, but it helped me remember why we do what we do.
We’re in healthcare so more hospitals can be.
I came into work today with a quicker step.
Product Manager, CloudWave