On quitting my first job

It was a tough call, but the right call. In my final sign off, I reflected on my time at Caradigm and sent my final farewell:

TL;DR: Thank you, and farewell.

I have always dreaded reading emails like this (especially on a Monday) since the day I received my first one shortly after I started here at Caradigm. Understandably so, as it meant someone was leaving the company. Today, after two years and five months, I am sending my own letter informing you that I have made the difficult decision to resign from Caradigm.

Having joined Caradigm immediately upon graduation, this has been a remarkable and truly memorable start to my professional career. From day one, I had the luxury of standing on the shoulders of giants – I had the benefit of working with extraordinary teams across the company, the mentorship of years of collective experience, inspirational managers who modeled hard work and leadership, and people who believed in me every step of the way, even when I didn’t always believe in myself. Words can never truly express the gratitude I have for the support you provided me over the years and the impact you have made in my life.

What initially brought me to Caradigm was the overwhelming sense that we will change healthcare for the better. Call me naive, but I truly think it has been the case. The national dialogue around accountable care is finally taking shape, and we are showing the world that Caradigm is not only an important player in this transformation, but will drive the innovation required in population health management. It is validation of our strategy and focus, and, more importantly, validation of all the reasons why we came to Caradigm in the first place. Thus, I hope you continue to move forward with confident humility. There is still a lot to do, and it will continue to be a challenging journey – but in so many ways, it is absolutely worth it. What I’ve learned is that people working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don’t mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense.

My exit was somewhat how I imagined it would be. Familiar faces lining the halls providing hugs and handshakes. Not to different than when JD (Scrubs) did his last walk around the hospital.

Off to my new beginnings at IMS Health to tackle new challenges.

 

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Global Impacts

For me, it isn’t just about developing healthcare information technology at Caradigm. Our mission to solve healthcare’s greatest challenges can be in the form of introducing novel care management systems, or our service to the community around the corner in Seattle or around the world. On November 8, 2013, a small team from Caradigm, including myself, traveled to a number of small communities around Tena, Ecuador to volunteer our services and expertise to Timmy Global Health.

Last year, volunteers from Caradigm and Microsoft implemented a lightweight electronic health record system across the villages in the Amazon jungle. This kickstarted a movement to begin capturing basic personal health information, similar to what we already do in developed regions of the world. From capturing medical history, vital signs, laboratory reports, scribed physician notes, treatment orders, and dispensing instructions – we are expecting to continue using this tool to provide a completely integrated system to help improve care quality in the region.

I believe that the work we all do in the healthcare industry – whether it be in developing population health management systems or providing quality clinical care to patients – ultimately provides a foundation towards improving global health. Much of the same science and best practices that we have in the United States can be modified and applied to low resource communities – a strategy that has yielded great progress in advancing the global health agenda. We have reduced healthcare inequities, reduced child mortality, and eradicated diseases. However, there are still a number of challenges and opportunities to improve the efficiencies in our systems. I hope this adventure will provide me a better perspective as to what sort of disparities continue to exist today.

This is an amazing opportunity to see a different side of healthcare, and I’m optimistic of the impact we will drive given the passion this team shares in this trip. oeHhhIt is through ongoing commitments like this that I am reminded about why I decided to start my career here – because Caradigm cares.

Real impact, for a better tomorrow

Microsoft announced that we are the recipient of the Imagine Cup Grant! We will be receiving a piece of the three year, 3 million dollar grant. The results for the competitive grant was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The four teams met with Bill Gates and world leaders to discuss how students can create sustainable projects that have measurable impact.

“Lifelens has immense potential to make a profound impact in global health.”

More than anything, the project is inspiring other teams from around the world to revisit the concept of using technology to address the world’s toughest problems.

The grant will be used to fund continued research and development in Lifelens, field testing with various partner organizations, as well as start groundbreaking work in addressing chronic vascular disease.

Debriefing of USRio+2.0

Was able to get a few minutes to talk to delegates from over 30 countries around the world about the broader implications of mobile technology in the future of healthcare. Invitation and chat with Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State, to talk about some of the new innovative technologies that my team and I are helping create.

Policy-makers, practitioners, and innovators discussed the use of connection technologies (SMS, mobile, web, social media, etc.) to advance sustainable development solutions in the fields of health, the environment, agriculture, and sustainable economic growth. We were  asked to define “innovation challenges” for how connection technology can help advance cross-cutting sustainable development problems, with outcomes to be presented at the Rio+20 United Nations Sustainable Development Conference, June 20-22, 2012. Ultimately, best practices and success factors for promoting sustainability innovation in industrialized and developing countries will be identified and implemented to change the world.

Aim to inspire

Lasting impact is measured by the ability to inspire others to join the cause.  I received an email from SXSW about an article that was written about some of the work I’m doing. Written by student Ronald AngSiy. SXSW Interactive presents a series of blog posts highlighting the winners of this year’s SXSW Interactive Scholarship Program.

Great inventors don’t imagine things in the future. They imagine them in the present, and create the future.

I originally wrote this essay on Steve Jobs. An original answer? No. An original visionary? Yes. However, sometimes the most visionary people are the unknown ones, the people you don’t even realize are changing the world because they focus more on changing it than letting others know that they are the ones changing it.

In this age where people are becoming brands and brands are becoming more like people, Wilson To stands out by blending in. As a mentor in the Microsoft Student Partner program, I saw him as a friend and father figure.

However, his vision is changing the world.

To has developed a computer-based malaria test. Specifically, he uses smartphones to “digitally characterize anemia, visualize blood cell rupture and parasites, and provide three-dimensional modeling of cells through single image acquisition of low-volume blood smears by peripheral finger pricks.”

This electronic test can be used repeatedly and drastically changes the costs of diagnosing patients in seconds, rather than hours. He hopes to use this mobile platform for other medical tests as well. Lifelens is purely funded by prize money Wilson To wins from various competitions.

He’s made it to the International Finals of Microsoft’s “Imagine Cup” competition and has taken this idea to the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Oh, and he also has had an audience with President Obama.

Despite those accolades, I found all this information on sites like Businessweek and The Huffington Post. Too humble to brag of his achievements, he keeps himself working and focuses on mentoring me throughout my technological journey.

There’s an app for everything; now there’s an app for saving lives. Literally. Quite literally. Help Wilson To create the future.

Article can be found here: http://sxsw.com/node/9734

Invitation Shocker

US State Dept. Invite

An invitation from the State Department of the United States Government. Looks like another adventure is coming up to help “bridge connection technologies and sustainable development”. Time to witness the impact that social innovation has outside the United States.

Prelude to USRIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Climbing the Summit

The Social Innovation Summit is a private, invitation-only forum that will explore those ideas – what’s next? – but also the tools and business innovations that are effecting social transformation across the corporate, investment, government, and non-profit sectors. The Summit brings together top executives and thought leaders from around the globe to discuss opportunities for leveraging technology & innovation to affect social change.