The Pivotal Podcast

Unveiling the Impact of Healthcare Technology with Jon Clark

July 04, 2023 Ben Season 1 Episode 2
The Pivotal Podcast
Unveiling the Impact of Healthcare Technology with Jon Clark
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us as we dive into the world of healthcare technology with our guest, Jon Clark, a product leader at a leading healthcare software organization. Discover Jon's journey into the healthcare industry, his experiences in senior care, and his expertise in leveraging technology to transform healthcare. 

Gain valuable insights into the innovations, problem-solving approaches, and the profound impact of technology on healthcare. Whether you're interested in healthcare technology or considering a career transition, this episode offers invaluable advice and inspiration.

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 Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of healthcare technology. On the Pivotal Podcast where we connect innovators and empower transitions, we share the stories of visionary individuals who have transformed their careers and made a profound impact on healthcare innovation. From breakthrough technologies to personal triumphs, get ready to be captivated by the journeys of these healthcare tech pioneers.

I'm Ben Marley, your guide through this captivating narrative that'll inspire and empower you to forge your own path in this ever-evolving field. In this episode of the Pivotal podcast, we dive into the world of healthcare technology and explore the experiences of individuals who have successfully transitioned into healthcare technology roles.

Our guest for this episode is Jon Clark, a product leader at a large healthcare software organization, focusing primarily on senior care. Jon shares his insights, challenges, and motivations in the healthcare technology industry. We'll discuss the innovations, problem solving approaches, and the impact of technology in healthcare, along with valuable advice for those looking to make a similar career transition.

Jon, welcome to the episode, man. 

Happy to be here. Glad to talk about healthcare today. 

Yeah, absolutely. And let's just get started. Let's start by diving into your career journey. So did you start off in healthcare technology, or if not, how did you transition to that field? Can you just start by telling us a little bit about your background?

Sure. So it's funny to the fact of I never sought out healthcare technology, but ended up in the world just kind of by happenstance. So I did start off at a large financial organization when I was fresh outta college. I was a software engineer pretty much anywhere that was gonna give a programming job I was on board for, so it was a company that dealt with insurance, worked with them for a few years before moving down here to South Carolina.

And at that point, again, was looking for like a nice, cool startup. Type of software company and happened acro a company that was in healthcare. And again, it wasn't because they were healthcare, it was just like, Hey, they're a smaller organization, they're doing cool things. How can I add value there? So I worked on there.

We worked with credentialing product. That was my main product that I worked on. So physicians, you know, every couple years have to reapply to their hospital, making sure that they renewed their licenses, they've got their continued education credits, and so we had a software that helped manage that for all of our hospitals that we worked with.

So that was kind of my first step into healthcare, which is, in my opinion, kind of a crazy world to jump into. Finances are pretty straightforward. It's numbers, ones and zeros. You know, how can we manage this? Healthcare, there's just a lot of moving parts. There's HIPAA compliance, there's a lot of information that we gotta be careful of when it comes to storing it and seeing what different people have access to.

So that was my first step into the healthcare world. And then from there, moved to a benefit management company as a product leader. So I moved from software engineering up to product management because I wanted to be a little bit closer to the customer and kind of really help more with creating the customer experience versus kind of, Giving requirements what to do to reach that point.

So worked with benefits administration for a short period of time and then ended up where I'm at today, which we work primarily with an E H R and inside of the healthcare organization, more of senior care. So again, one of those things like I didn't say that, Hey, I'm a healthcare. Technology expert, but a lot of the places I've ended up have something to do with healthcare.

It, it's been a lot of great learning points and it continues to grow. So every time I think I know what I'm doing, then you know, a new regulation comes out or there's a different pocket of healthcare that I haven't learned about, and then we go and learn it. Yeah. That's awesome. 

So, okay, so you're working on the electronic health records at senior Senior care facilities?

Senior Senior care. Yeah. So the, the vulnerable population. Okay. 

So can you tell me about some of the innovations and solutions that you and your team are currently working on? 

Sure. So the biggest thing, the biggest gain that we've focused on really is transitions of care. So a lot of us, you know, every time you go to the doctor, every year, they still ask you to fill out the same forms.

Or if you switch doctors, same thing, right? History medical history, what's your name, where do you live, things like that. And every time you go to a new facility, they ask the same questions. So, Really in the senior care world, people stay at SNS or skilled nursing facilities, and if they transition to the hospital, we really try to help make sure that before they get to the hospital, all that information is sitting in there waiting for them.

They don't have to answer questions. And you have to remember too, in some cases with. Vulnerable populations, they might not know their full medical history or they might not explain it to the level of detail a physician is looking for. So we're really trying to make sure that all of that medical information is readily available.

So when they get there, the doctor can look at their chart, understands what's going on, and diagnose quickly and kind of move on. And then the same thing when they go back. To a skilled nursing facility or a nursing home, we want all the information that the doctor had to send back so that way they can look at the different medications that might be updated and really help the transfer of that information back and forth to make the patient's experience better as well as the physician that's helping them.

Yeah, that's amazing. So let me see if I understand this. The way things currently work, there are sort of siloed electronic health records. Is that right? 

In some cases, yes. And, and the government stepped in to help with that, and that's kind of what we leverage in some cases. But we also try to expand kind of like a, a Google-esque platform where multiple types of facilities can use our inform or use our platform so that it can access that information.

In some cases it's like sending it not via email, but send it via API so that they can update it. But in others it's just they're able to access our information directly through a login. 

Okay. Interesting. And I, so yeah, I can definitely see the benefit to the level of care a patient would receive, right?

Mm-hmm. Because then they would, the, the people providing the care, the professionals providing the care would have access to that up-to-date information. Right. And like you mentioned, especially maybe dealing with like the senior population, they've, if they've got a lot going on and, and anytime you're really dealing with serious medical stuff, it can be hard to remember everything that you've got going on or everything in your history, especially the more extensive it becomes, right?

So getting the, the healthcare providers that relevant information is super helpful. But does this also reduce then the need on the patient side for the information they have to input when they go to a new facility? 

Yeah, it doesn't eliminate it a hundred percent, but it definitely makes it a lot easier.

And in some cases, you know, they could share it with their family members a little bit easier. So, so there, there's a lot of different regulations. Again, being in the world of healthcare, different states have d different regulations of what can be shared within the state overstate lines, and that's always changing.

So it's very difficult to always like, stay on top of that. But for the most part it's just how can we make this patient's journey as simple as possible every step of the way from, they might start out at home and know that they have to end up in a nursing home facility. So, you know, how do we help with the different transitions of care?

And in a lot of cases, we really try to give a patient journey that might have eight stops along the way. And we wanna make sure that we're having touchpoints with that patient every step to make their, again, their lives easier, as well as the physicians treating them. 

Yeah. That's awesome. That's amazing.

So now as a product leader though, like what's your specific role in relation to all of this?

 Yeah, so I, I love being in product. Product. Sometimes they always say is like the CEO of the product itself or the application. And truly we're working to see like where our market trends going. What are our customers asking for?

Where does the business want to go? And then taking that information, working with our engineers, working with what we currently have, and try to figure out like how do we fill that gap. So right now AI is the big thing in the world, right? So we're trying to understand like how could we implement AI into software as an example.

Hmm. Or the big shift coming that you'll hear very often they call it the silver tsunami. So with the upcoming generation, one of the largest generations getting to retirement age, they're starting to need more at home care, you know, at this point. So healthcare is gonna change dramatically when we have these large amounts of people starting to need more healthcare, more often.

So it's how can we either. Get people through facilities quicker so we can fit more people in. Or if we can't get them through quicker, cuz we wanna make sure that they still get the best care possible. How can we potentially take care of them at home and what does that look like? What technology, what apps does that use?

So that way that they can stay at home and maybe get once a week visit once. Day visits, but that way we don't, you know, we're gonna be running outta space in a lot of the facilities. So like, how can we leverage technology in different ways, whether that be in facility or at home, to still give good care for this larger upcoming generation or generation.

Wow, that's huge. I, I really hadn't thought about the number of people reaching that retirement age or not, not even just retirement, but that critical care. Mm-hmm. I guess stage of life, right? I'm not, maybe it's not critical care, but. They're getting to the point in life where they are gonna need to rely more heavily on what's often been like inpatient services.

Right. So, so yeah, I can see that that's a, a really worthwhile problem to be trying to address now before that happens. So when you mentioned spending time with your clients and customers, that would be the healthcare organizations that are leveraging your technology, that your company's producing.

Is that right? 

Yeah, so our, our software covers about 75% of skilled nursing facilities in the us. So like, they, they love using our software, so they're always giving us good feedback, and we're learning just again, how those customer journeys are changing and really in a lot of facilities, right? They, they are there to make money to some extent, so they wanna make sure that they're taking care of their patients the best way possible.

But they're also getting them through as efficiently as possible. So when you can start adding reporting in different. Technologies into that they can understand. Did we let this patient go too soon and then they, and then they come back to the facility? Or did we hold onto them too long? You know, keeping a bed away from somebody that really needed it.

So there's a lot of different things that come in. It is, some of it's just basic entering the information. So we have it. Just anybody that takes a normal trip to the hospital, they at least need to know why did you check in? What's going on? You know? As you left, what was fixed? If you break your arm, you know, very simple example of came in with a broken arm or your arm was hurt.

They take the x-rays, they send you home with a cast. That's like the very basic use case. But when it comes to other cases, there's medication that's involved. Why are they having these heart palpitations? Right? And like, we really need to understand all of that. And then at the very end of the day, they only have 30 beds in their facility.

So how can we manage and make sure that we are filling those 30 beds? As efficiently as possible. So a lot of times we just wanna take care of the care, but there's also really like the organizational standpoint of within those nursing facilities that they wanna manage at the same time. 

Yeah, no, that makes sense.

There are a lot of moving parts, right? Because you're balancing quality of care and capacity the facility has to to to provide that care, right? Yep. With their limited number of beds and everything. And then also, The ultimate, not ultimate, cuz care is probably the ultimate thing. But if you don't drive profitability in these situations, then facilities can't stay in business and continue to provide these levels of care.

Right. Wow. So that's really interesting. So as a product leader then you are, it sounds like you're really strategizing to help your clients meet these needs and then communicating these needs to the software engineering team. Is that right? 

Yeah, I, I always use the office space joke rate. I take the requirements from the business and deliver 'em to the engineers.

That's, that's kind of my job, but a little bit more involved with that. And a lot of time, you know, you can't just give a customer exactly what they want, because sometimes they might be trying to solve a very small problem for them, but that doesn't. Solve the bigger problem for other people. Mm. I always like to use the example.

If Henry Ford would've asked people what they wanted, they would've said faster horses and we wouldn't have had the cars. Right? So it's really understanding what the bigger problems are and trying to achieve that through technology in a lot of ways. Sometimes it is just direct customer feedback. We might think one way in our world of like, Hey, I'm a technology guy.

It would be so cool if you know this application did this really cool thing. But they said, that's great, but that doesn't really fit into our workflow. So really trying to take a cross cut of multiple workflows that different customers are using, trying to understand where the industry is going. That all comes into play when it comes to figuring out exactly which features we want to add to our software.

Yeah. Can you give me any specific examples of different challenges that you're seeing clients facing, that you guys are working on? 

The biggest one right now that not my particular team is working on, but is just communication between providers. So one, we're already talking about healthcare data, so it has to be encrypted, right?

So we have to talk about that. And so we started, for instance, with just like provi from provider to provider to talk about. A given patient, but now we wanna start bringing in the care team and potentially the patient themselves and or their family. So communication is a thing that we're focusing on. And another part of our business, which I think we can dive into a little bit, is our acute impair side, which focuses is a little bit more on value-based.

Care, which is a different payer model or insurance model, where essentially they don't get paid for every single time the patient comes in. They're allotted a certain amount based off of their population. So what they're really focused on, again, back to the organizational piece, is not sending patients home before they're ready.

So that way they don't come back because if a patient revisits within 30 days, no extra money is paid back to the clinic. For that, because they said, you should have treated them the first time. We're not gonna give you extra money for this. So for them, they need to fully understand like, who is our highest vulnerable patients, like who's our highest critical patients?

And that changes sometimes on a daily or even an hourly basis. So creating those type of tools to understand like we're starting to pull AI in of. Here's these people with normal blood pressures. But then as the blood pressure starts to change, we might start raising them up on the risk chart, right? And it might not just be blood pressure, but there's other things that are going on in there.

So based off of like a lot of different factors, we can start putting people up and down and a nurse or or physician might go in their normal rounds and they just walk down the hallway. But people that jumped to the top, Rather than once a day, they might need to visit them two or three times a day because again, that they're more vulnerable and they're more in that critical care.

So understanding that, so that way that they can balance it and then giving them the organizational tools to set up their floor in the right way so they can manage that is crucial. Because nurses, as we know there's a huge turnover rate right now recently, and we're, they're trying to make sure that.

They have enough people on staff that they're giving them the right things to do so that they want to stay and they're still providing the best care to all the patients. So if you dive into any small part in the healthcare organization, there's somebody that is kind of looking at the what's in it for me?

And you need to basically keep all points of that organization happy, otherwise the organization could start falling apart. 

Wow. Wow, there's so much there. So let me, let me go back really quickly. When you mentioned the communication between providers and then even the patient, what does that look like specifically?

I mean, is that something where providers would actual, you're, you're actually working on providing encrypted, like messaging services for them to talk in real time? Or what does that look like? 

Yeah, it could be text messaging services back and forth saying, Hey, I have your patient. Right? So at the hospital, they would know who your primary care provider is, and it would be messaging them saying, Hey, I know that they were in your facility at this time.

What can we do to help them? Or, Hey, I'm finding this. Have you seen any history of this? We give them the chart information, but sometimes it might not be complete, or in some cases they might not have access to all of it. So it's truly just kind of like asking the questions. Or it might just be, Hey, I sent Jon home today.

Just wanna let you know. Here's some of the information. Please keep an eye on this, this, or this, because we think that it could turn into something. So it's really, it's either realtime information back and forth to like, help with a diagnosis or potentially follow up after somebody's been sent home to make sure that there's follow up and just give any extra context there.

Yeah. That's amazing. Cuz I feel like before all this technology existed it was, I don't know, really dependent on fax machines, maybe like to send to share records. Right. And I don't know what kind of communication happened between providers after someone was released, you know, what kind of information the primary care provider would receive, or if it was even up to the patient, then maybe to provide updates to them based on what had happened.

Right. So that's phenomenal. I was a little bit reminded when we were talking about encrypted messaging back and forth every time. Do you use WhatsApp? Have you ever used WhatsApp? 

Yeah. Oh yeah, I use it, yeah. Similar, similar idea there. 

Yeah. I'm like, yeah, it sounds, because every time I open it up, it's like all your messaging is encrypted, end to end.

I'm like, oh, they could use this. Obviously that's an oversimplification. 

It is oversimplification. But yes, those are all the things that come into play because we, we gotta make sure that it's encrypted, that they can talk to, that the right person is on the right end of that. Right? You gotta make sure that everybody's connected properly and it adds a lot of value.

But yeah, it's a very tricky problem to solve. 

Yeah, for sure. When it comes to that data as well, it sounds like. Let me see if I understand it correctly. What you guys are providing. Is that somehow being fed to the providers there in real time or they're already seeing like the blood pressure numbers you were kind of using as an example?

They're already seeing that on like the machines that they're using and stuff, right? 

Yeah. And, and so really like vitals and stuff like that. Vitals themselves. They'll retake when you enter, but they want to compare it to your past, right? Oh, so like is blood pressure changing and things like that. So in and of by itself, okay, you're healthy now, but what has it been in the past?

Or opposite, like if it's high, like, oh, they always have high blood pressure, so this isn't really that dangerous. But if they're baseline over the past couple times as normal, and today it's high, something's changed from our past experience. So it's having that history that's really valuable. And just understanding medications too.

Again, when you get into the senior population, they might have anywhere. From two to 10 medications, I need to be careful what I prescribe as a new medication potentially, cuz it could have bad side effects and they're all five to 10 syllables long. So telling your physician like which medication you're on is very difficult.

So having that chart versus like taking all the pills out of your purse or something like that to explain what you're on is very valuable and can help make decisions quicker. 

Yeah. Is there anything built into the system as like a safeguard that catches when, oh, this medication actually would cause an adverse reaction when paired with something else that you're considering prescribing?

I'm not as familiar with that part, but I do know that medication reconciliation is one of the most difficult problems to solve because there's just so many different sources of where to get the information and it's not always up to date. Sometimes it's typed in, in free text form versus, you know, it's not like Ibuprofen has an idea of 1 23 and we know that it doesn't do well with, you know, another medication.

Mm-hmm. A lot of times it's very difficult to see that, so that's why. It requires a physician or a pharmacist to look at it line by line, potentially even research, like I'm about to mix this new medication in with these 10, right? It might not do bad with medication one, but if you combine it with medication one and three, now it causes a problem.

And those are all the things that come into play. So that is a big part of it too. 

Yeah, no, that's amazing. And it's interesting that you talk about this concept of I don't know if you would use the term population health About the, what was it you were just saying? I can't remember the term for it, but we were talking about the payment concept where the, the facility doesn't get paid for the second visit within 30 days.

Yeah. So they wanna make sure that they're not just, you know, getting people out the door efficiently, but also they're providing the level of care that they need. What was that concept again? 

So that's called value-based care, which honestly is one of my favorite models of doing this because it doesn't reward facilities.

They always say like, fee for service. And really it's just like, let's get you out and then if you come back, it's not a big deal cause we'll get paid for it. Like, you know there, there's no. With value-based care, you're more encouraging the facilities to take care of their population right the first time and not kind of just like scoot them in and out and just do like a, a, a fly by night.

So value-based care is basically more around Medicare, and they'll look at a population, let's just give a, a city, you know, let's just say Charleston for instance, if we use this and said, okay, your population is about a million people. These are the demographics, on average it's gonna cost you a hundred million dollars a year.

To provide service to these you know, 1 million patients or whatever, like those numbers are off. But you know, for simplicity's sake, you've got 1 million people here in your org in your location, that would cost about a hundred million dollars on average. So they'll give a hundred million dollars and then they'll track everything.

And it's one of those tricky things that like if you're really efficient and you only use 80 million next year, your budget might be 80 million. So there is that. But if you spend 130 million typically, and you can prove that like you've done the best. Care you have they will potentially reimburse you for that and then your budget will be higher next year.

But there's a lot more monitoring on it. It adds a little bit of extra red tape, but it truly makes the facilities focus on who needs the most care and giving them the best care possible. And I really like the way that that model is going. And I really think that it's gonna be the future of healthcare.

Yeah, that's super interesting because it sounds like it really brings into alignment, I guess, the level of care that these facilities are providing to be really patient. Not that they weren't patient focused or patient-centric beforehand, but I think that when you're really trying to balance efficiency and a limited amount of space and the high demand, especially with the silver tsunami that you mentioned earlier, when you're balancing all these things, That is like a nice little check and balance for, Hey, let's make sure that the incentives are appropriately aligned so that we're still focusing on each individual, even though we've got this overall population that we're trying to manage.

Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think when you look at any other business model, their goal in most cases is to take care of the customer as much as possible. And in most business cases, you want them to come back and be a repetitive customer, but at the very least, you want to provide the best customer service PO, you know, available.

And by following the value-based care, they're kind of forced. To do that, they're, they don't look, they're not as much dollar signs anymore as like actual humans that you need to provide care to. And again, it, it might still be a dollar sign assigned with, like, we don't want them coming back within 30 days because a readmit again, doesn't give you any extra money.

But at the end of the day, like the final mission to give better care still prevails because they had a, you know, the, the facility, whether it was just to save money or provide the best care. At the end of the day, the best care is provided. 

So as a product leader, how does the concept of value-based care tangibly manifest in the work that you're doing on a day-to-day basis?

Yeah, so in my space right now, I'm not primarily working on the value-based care side, but on our acute and payer half. And they are, they're truly a looking at how can we provide these facilities with the best tools so they can manage their current residents as much as possible. So that's kind of the goal.

And so, like I said, we're looking at ways to monitor all of that so they can say, here's our top critical patients. Let's give them, you know, slightly extra care this week. And then they're constantly monitoring. We give them the percentage chance of readmit. So like, again, giving them the numbers as much as possible so a human doesn't have to go and say, oh, their blood pressure's been all over the place this week, but their heart rate's been okay.

Like they don't have to make those decisions on their own. It's us taking a lot of the data and understanding giving them the tools so they can make those better judgments. 

Yeah, no, that's, that makes a lot of sense. So how long, remind me now, cause I don't think we said it before, but how long have you been working sort of in this healthcare technology space?

So I guess it would be about six years. Okay. I said the first three years after I graduated was in finances, but after that I've been in healthcare ever since, and I've been through a couple different organizations and they always end up, you know, somewhat related to healthcare. This one is directly related to healthcare and I, I think that this has definitely become my home.

Mm-hmm. Just because it, it's really cool in, in any of our jobs, I always make the joke of like, when you're in the job, you don't. Quite realize the end impact. When I used to work at a grocery store, I could have been stocking pencils and ice cubes or, but in my case, I was stocking corn and tomatoes, right?

And like, but at the same time, I didn't realize what it's like to actually see be the other side of it until I started shopping on my own. So like, but at healthcare, it's very obvious to see that when, when I have a bad experience, when I go to the doctor versus a good experience. And again, you get asked the same questions all the time like that, that's a bad experience.

But if you go and all of a sudden like, here's all this information, it's really cool. And, and being in senior care specifically being more like a vulnerable population, it's really exciting to see that we're helping that particular population because they're. Is so much that can either go wrong or just cause a really bad experience.

So a lot of times, you know, seniors are living by themselves. They might not have their family to help them with things. So like it's a very confusing time in some cases, especially when a medical emergency happens. So giving them the ability to just kind of show up and potentially just like have all the care that they need from our software is amazing to be a part of and really exciting to kind of keep adding value there and see very quickly how that helps a very important end customer.

So, Yeah, no, that's absolutely phenomenal. I mean, I had just a super minor procedure done maybe a month ago. They literally just did a scope of my, like digestive tract, right? And my wife. Had to show up not only to take me home, but for the doctor to communicate, like the findings at the end of the scope, right?

Because when you're coming up from anesthesia, like you're not in a state of mind where you're able to process that and then remember it later, right? So when you mention, hey, some of these people might not have family members that are communicating with them or helping them through this the fact that, you know, whatever facility they're receiving care at can communicate with their primary care provider, who they've got a long term relationship with.

I mean, that's a lot of value that you're providing there. 

Yeah, a hundred percent. And I know for me too, I'm not good at following up with my doctor, even though you know, the facility says, Hey, follow up with your doctor in three days. So if we can communicate with the doctor, they'll call you and say, Hey, we need to set up this call for a follow up.

And again, that falls back into the best. Care provided, value-based care, they really enforce that because if you don't follow up, your risk starts increasing, right? So again, there is a financial benefit to it, but at the end of the day, it still leads to better patient care. And so any way that we can add software to make that as efficient as possible is always a win.

But yes, healthcare is a world where that has a lot of different red tape and a lot of different nuances. But as we can cut through that, I think it really provides a good experience for all parties involved. 

Yeah. That's amazing. So over these last six years what would you say in terms of like technological advancements have really stood out to you or have surprised you or that you, have you been most excited by?

Yeah, I, I think honestly, value-based care, like learning about that in my most recent role over like the last year, that was interesting to me because in the US where medical is so expensive, right? It's just one of those things. It is one of those things we always deal with and we actually work.

We have customers in Canada where like, you know, obviously healthcare is completely different, but to see, go start leaning towards a model where we don't just give you in, where payers don't just pay out infinite. Money for things, you know, pushing better care. And also there's a little bit more of regulation on it that you can't charge $35 for an Advil.

So I think value-based care is really cool from an expense standpoint, just because I mean, I know from a, a customer standpoint, if you're on Medicare, you're not really paying much in the end, but it, it really does give a little bit more. Regulation around it, and I'm sure it's a pain for some of the organizations involved, but from a economical standpoint, I think it's great that there's a little bit more visibility on that and it still leans towards better patient care at the end of the day.

Yeah, that's phenomenal. So that makes a lot of sense from like the payer side and from the patient side and everything. But what about from the. Like from your side of things with the work that you do? Mm-hmm. How is technology changing? Like how you actually experience your job on a day-to-day basis.

Yeah, so I mean, artificial intelligence is definitely like the next big item in trying to understand that once you mix HIPAA into that, it does become complicated, right? So, so we have to understand that and we, so we are leaning on that to at least take data, compile it, and then give us risk score scores.

So we're training our machine learning to understand that this. This patient is a little bit more critical need than the other patient. So, so that alone, I think is something from a day to day, I mean organizational standpoint. There's new software out there that helps us manage our stuff as much as possible from a product leader standpoint.

We use Jira for instance, like that's not super advanced, but as we continue to communicate and receive certain. Do surveys with customers and things like that. Like we're kind of always just in this organizational pattern of trying to get the most value. So we leverage technology in a lot of different ways.

There. I mean, product is a relatively new role. I think it's about 10 years or so old. So before engineers and like. Business analysts would just kind of come up with like, this sounds like a good idea. And they would just go build it. And now, I mean, think of every time you open up one of your favorite social media apps there's something new on there, right?

And like, there's product leaders out there thinking of like, what new features can we add to provide a better user experience? So there's times especially when you start bringing in artificial intelligence, I mean, at, at all points everything you come in contact with. Like, there's just all these rooms for improvement and like we're, it's truly like.

Wouldn't it be nice if like, a lot of times you think that way, like, it'd be so cool if my phone did this or that nine times outta 10 within the next year or two. Like it's doing that, right? If we watch like how technology's advanced, so it's truly understanding like how can we use it just to be a product leader, but then also how can we use it in our software for future customers to use.

Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. So thinking about technology and advancements what improvements do you hope to see in the future of healthcare technology? 

I would like to have a little bit wider of shareability between organizations. Like I always thought that if you typed in my social security number somewhere, then they could just cer I could be in Colorado and they could get my full medical record in South Carolina.

And that's unfortunately not the case because of HIPAA and different state regulations and the federal government has stepped in to try to open up a little bit of sharing and create protocols, which is helping HL seven Fire is like the new method, so like we're all talking the same language, so that way like it's all in the same format, which is helpful, but still, like the sharing guidelines are difficult and like I've always believed that a big company like a Google or an Amazon could come in and really take this because they've got the brightest minds and like they've solved big solutions.

Right? However, Giving the entire us medical history and stuff like that to a big corporation like that is also scary. So I, I, I would love to see a perfect marriage of a technology company that has the power to like almost solve any problem and making sure that there's secure information that they're not, you know, using it for the inappropriate reasons.

Because of that, I mean, there's great competition in the world because my company, you know, has competition with other organizations and like we're all solving like different corners of The healthcare problems, which is great. But I think from my standpoint, I would love to know like what have my blood results been on, like on my phone?

What have my blood results been over the past 10 years? And then when I go, if I break my knee while skiing up in Colorado, they can just seal all that information that, that's where I would love to see the future going. And I think it's just gonna take some more regulation conversations to make sure that Jon from South Carolina can still get his medical records very easily in a hospital in Colorado.

So that's kind kind of crazy to think, right, that like, technologically speaking, we might have the capability to provide that level of access and, and provide really that level of care, right? But because of HIPAA regulations, which are designed to protect us, right? And as individuals those regulations that are designed to protect us might actually be preventing us from receiving the level of care that we could otherwise be receiving.

A hundred percent. And, and I mean, there's plenty of applications in our lives today. I mean, Google is kind of one of 'em, or Apple, either way, whatever your favorite platform is, like once you log in, you kind of have access to it from anywhere. And Yeah, to me there should be like a, a, a one, a single health patient portal or a, a passport, right?

And they have access to that. Like I still have to give you. Consent to access it, right? Like it might be a special code or fingerprint or who knows what. But yeah, I mean, technology wise we definitely have that ability with any other technology that we have or any other model. But healthcare, just different states have different regulations and I, I appreciate that they are trying to protect me, but it's still difficult to get through when I need that care.

Yeah, it just made me think of like single sign on, like, oh, would you like to use Google to sign into your primary care physician to your whatever specialist care? 

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking of too. Like, yeah, the single sign on with Google, and again, that's just at least letting you in the door.

They might not have access to your information, but there's still plenty of times that you have a single source of like, I can access this. Cause that's my favorite thing. I don't have to remember a password anymore. Like, I'm logged into Google on my phone.  So all I have to do is like, yeah, log in with Google and it's like, oh, you're Jon.

Okay, cool. You're allowed in. 

Yeah. That's awesome. Okay, so let me shift gears a little bit here. So we talked about how you didn't specifically have like a healthcare background before getting involved in the healthcare technology work that you've been doing over the last six years. A lot of our listeners might be considering a transition in into healthcare technology roles, right?

Mm-hmm. And. I know that there are a ton of healthcare providers and nurses right now, like you mentioned, you know, where there's this, this massive shortage, right? But there are a lot of people looking to possibly get out of direct patient care roles. Do you know firsthand from any of the companies that you've worked with in the past or that you're currently working with now?

Do these healthcare technology companies have a preference when it comes to hiring people that have been say in these nursing roles because they've got hands-on experience and they know how these EHRs are being used in person. Have you seen that at all? 

Mm-hmm. Well, there's some cases that we truly hire.

Nurses specifically to help us as like subject matter experts, right? Chief medical officers, like we have our own chief medical officer that it's Dr. Ben. And we just, we ask him and like he answers the questions for us and gives us more of that insight of like, what is it like on the floor and, you know, gives us those access and understands More of the medical world.

So like that is helpful. And there's still plenty of other people. We've hired customers before that I know many people that I work with today. Like, yo, we used to be a customer of your product. And either they wanted to step into the software role or you know, whatever happened, but they, they made the jump.

To our company because like they could tell by the culture or whatever, and we really appreciate that because they do bring that extra outside perspective. For me, I'm a technology guy, so I just want to create the best user experience, but for them, they're like, that's a cool user experience if you're a technology person.

But as a nurse on the floor with an iPad and I'm, I just went and saw my 10th patient and an hour, and like, I've got a long list of 20 more after this. Like, that's a whole completely different experience than what I'm thinking in my head. So it definitely does add value for that. And, and in the healthcare world, you know, we definitely appreciate technology experience, but as the upcoming generations, like already have technology experience, you might not have to be an expert in healthcare technology, but you have a, a, you have experience in healthcare and we can teach you the technology.

A lot of what we do, honestly is just organizational communication back and forth. So our implementation managers eventually learn how to use our tech. Technology and then work with customers on how to do that. But I'm sure if you could talk the lingo with the people that are helping implement, like that's gonna bring extra value to that.

So that's. That would be the way I would lean as far as like, how can I leverage my healthcare experience? And it would just say, I can always bring a perspective that not everybody has and just be willing to learn the technology and the processes. I, I always say when we go to school, you know, we learn like a hundred units wide of information.

 So if you wanted to use your medical experience as like how to get an into a healthcare company, I would say, you know, one, you can bring your experience to show the you have a different perspective there to kind of add to the conversation, but I think, you know, we learn a hundred units wide of stuff in school and then we take 10% of that and go multiple layers deep.

So, and software engineering, I could do all these different things, but at the end of the day, I only used a specific language and. Solve the same problem over and over and over again. So as a healthcare person with experience, like you have that experience, but you can learn a process at any software company, bring your experience with you to add value, and then kind of just help.

Whether it be implementation or in product or organization level, it's really just bringing that extra value from your experience and tying it in with our processes. And like, it's completely different. Like I'm, I was never a nurse, so I can't speak you know from experience of what that life is like, but I know that we're truly just always trying to provide the best value for our customers and just trying the best way to.

Find the best way to do that through software. So if you know how to use software and you always pay attention to every update that comes across in the app that you're using and you kind of like rate or you know judge what that is, then you definitely have a good place to understand what software or healthcare software is like and can provide value there.

Yeah, that's huge. I think that's really helpful advice too, and it's really encouraging to think, hey, you don't necessarily have to have all of the technology background. The, the healthcare background is going to be hugely valuable in coming and making that transition at a healthcare technology company.

That's great. And just outta curiosity too, you work remotely, right? Do you know roughly what percentage of people at your current company work work remotely? 

My organization's very remote. They, even the people that live close to the office work remote most of the time through the week. And then on Wednesdays they kind of, it seems to be the common day for a while.

Shortly after Covid, they brought in food for a lot of the employees to kind of like encourage them to come in because I do believe that there's a lot of value. But I would say at least over half of our organization is remote, like not even close to an organiza or, or close to the office. 

Yeah, that's huge.

I mean, has that been true as well for the last couple organizations you've worked with? 

Before Covid, I definitely think it was different. The organization I worked at, the majority of us were local. That was probably only like five or 10% remote, but I know a lot of people have moved and really most of the organizations have just supported the new lifestyle of working remote.

So they, most places I've looked always give that option. I, I do well with the remote, but I have my own office here, so it's a little bit different for some people. Some people want that human interaction, which I can always appreciate. So I think most healthcare organizations, if you pay attention to the culture and kind of see like what they're going for, they're gonna lean towards, like, if you're a good worker and you're gonna help us solve problems, then we'll kind of let you do whatever you want within reason.

Yeah, that's huge. That's, that's really good cuz it opens up flexibility, right? That we didn't have before. Mm-hmm. Because you might be able to find a job at an amazing healthcare technology company that might not be where you're located. So that's awesome. Let me shift gears here completely for a second.

Do you have a favorite healthcare related app? 

Mm, yeah, that's a good question. I'm trying to think of what I use. Being a healthy person, I don't use much. 

Yeah, I was wondering like if you had any like fitness trackers or anything like that that you really like or Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or even if it's not you personally, just something that you've seen that you're like, oh, maybe I don't have a, a personal need for this, but that's something really cool or really exciting.

Yeah, from a fitness perspective, yeah, my Garmin is definitely, I mean I use that every day, right? So it tracks all my results. It tells me when I need to move more. It, it is starting to watch trends to know like which days seem to be less steps, things like that. So I think that's always helpful. I know a lot of people love the Apple watch.

To me, fitness and health is such an important aspect that anything that can give you more information based off of your day to day is always helpful. I focused in a lot more on like, Blood results lately cuz I just wanna make sure like what is my blood telling me? So it's not really an app, but you know, during your annual physical, making sure that I get my blood results compared to the last year.

Talk to my doctor about like, Hey, what does this mean? What changes do I potentially have to make my diet and or routine to help correct this? 

Interesting. That's super cool that you're being so intentional about and proactive, right. About taking care of that and taking charge there too. Was that something that that you heard recommended somewhere or that a, a healthcare provider recommended?

Or is it something you're like, no, I just intuitively know that this is important and I need to monitor it. 

More of the latter. Yeah. It's one of those things that we always know what we should be doing. Right? Don't eat fatty foods, don't eat processed foods. Drink water all the time. But I think for me, you know, you might do one thing, but your blood tells you something different, right?

Like, oh, these cheat days aren't that big of a deal. And then you realize that your blood your glucose levels are higher than what you expected, right? So I think for me, that always gives me good base. Lines to understand. And then when you just start looking into different side effects of having a higher A1C level or higher cholesterol, like I don't, you don't, you might think that you're low, but you don't know it until you get your blood tested.

So to me, I'm a numbers guy, so I was more of the point of like, I wanna see the exact number, where does it sit on the scale? What risk am I? And then I'll make adjustments accordingly. 

Yeah. That's awesome. Cool. Well, before we get outta here, do you have any other projects that you're working on or anything else that you're thinking about that we haven't discussed yet today that you're particularly excited about around healthcare?

Anything in general? Anything at all? Anything in general? Yeah. I mean, right now I'm working, you know, we all have different things going on. I'm working on software to help other small businesses scale their business. Wow. So I am being in software engineering and product. I'm working I'm always big on systems and trying to make the most efficient way.

So even in product management, making sure that I have a full organization of all the thing, all the balls that I'm juggling up in the air, I have multiple products I'm working on. I always wanna make sure that at the end of the day I can understand what's going on. So, yeah, my, my business that I'm working on is the optimization specialist and we're working on providing software to smaller businesses to help systemize their business so that they can scale.

So that's my next big passion project that I'm working on, and it kind of brings in things that we're talking about as far as just user experience software, making sure that you have the right things in place so you know what's going on, so you can make adjustments as you go. 

Yeah. That's amazing. So if anybody wanted to get in touch, either regarding your passion project or the other things you've been talking about today, is there a good way for people to, to find you?

Yeah, sure. So it's Jon without an H, so j o n@theoptimizationspecialist.com. 

Cool. Perfect. Well, Jon, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to join me today and to have this conversation. I've really enjoyed it and I know anybody listening, I'm sure has found a ton of value in this. I'm, I continue to hear common themes of, you know, like the value-based care coming up, like that's massive.

And just the thoughts of like, what's technology gonna, how is technology gonna shape the future of healthcare? So, So I love that that we're seeing that consistently, like yeah, it's just, it's something that everybody is considering right now. So thanks for joining us and for sharing that today. Yeah, 

this was a great time.

I really appreciate you having me on here. Yeah, 

absolutely. So we hope that you've enjoyed today's dive into the field of healthcare technology, and we'll leave you with this thought. The fusion of healthcare and technology holds endless opportunities. Stay inspired, stay connected, and meet us here next time on the Pivotal podcast.

Introduction
From Software Engineering to Healthcare Technology: Jon's Journey of Unexpected Opportunities
Enhancing Transitions of Care: Innovations in Senior Care Health Technology
Balancing Customer Needs and Industry Trends in Health Technology
Addressing Healthcare Challenges: Communication and Value-Based Care
Empowering Real-Time Data for Informed Healthcare Decisions
Enabling Caregivers: Innovating Senior Care through Health Technology
Leveraging AI and Product Leadership for Enhanced User Experience
Transitioning into Healthcare Technology: Leveraging Your Healthcare Experience
Remote Work in Healthcare Technology: Embracing Flexibility and Location Independence
Apps for Health and Fitness: Tracking and Monitoring for Proactive Wellness
Conclusion