Written By Frank Tucker
I get asked this question often. Being a CEO of a start-up company, why do you still volunteer to see patients? At face value, it would appear the concern is that I’m not dedicating the time or correctly prioritizing the needs of the company. However, that is not the case. I do absolutely love being part of the health care process be it direct patient care, teaching public health or developing health information technology. Its much more than that. Seeing patients keeps me rooted in the mission of the company and helps me inspire the team to the goal…better health outcomes. Seeing patients allows me to put a face to the 1s and 0s of health information technology. It’s easy when you are behind a computer to forget whom you are ultimately trying to help.
When we started MicroHealth, LLC, I recalled other successful businesses saying it was a mistake to put the word “health” in our company’s name. We were limiting our market. However, we are not a commodity technology company. If you want a commodity .net programmer, there are many quality service providers. If you want a .net programmer that understands health, with support from people who are practicing clinicians, public health practitioners, medical logisticians, dentists, health care administrators or a number of other health specialties, then we are who you want, because that is what we do. This isn’t banking; so we don’ try to make banking solutions fit into health. We don’t just deliver services to meet customer requirements. We partner with the customer to deliver value that helps them better meet their health mission requirements using information technology and information management.
You’ve heard me talk about health outcomes a number of times. It’s not just a catchphrase; it’s MicroHealth’s philosophy. It is our culture. It is why we are in business and the purpose of our firm’s existence. If you want a help desk technician, then there are a number of companies that provide that. However, if you want a help desk that understand the nuances of clinical workflow, the impact to patient care, the need for privacy or the seasonality of medical conditions, that is MicroHealth’s value: specialized, commodity services for health related mission. We understand health care because we are patients, as well as, practitioners and are also the technology service provider. We are looking for the same outcomes as your mission in health. Sure, just like any firm in a capitalist economy we are here to be profitable. But ultimately, it all comes back to improving the health of patients, be it through better administration, logistics, analytics, policy or even finance. We are aware that:
- Health care administrators want to better manage resources, allowing providers to have what they need to provide better care, so that patients will be in better health
- The information technology department upgraded computers in the provider office so that the electronic medical records work faster, allowing providers to have more time with patients, helping patients get better health care
- The CFO is trying to lower overhead costs so that they can be profitable, while keeping stakeholders happy to remain in business and provide a valuable service to a community that keeps them in better health
- The Chief of Primary Care is trying to improve access to care by extending primary care hours so that patients who work will come in and get the care they need to be in better health
- The CIO is implementing a big data strategy to provide researchers and analysts tools that will help identify medical threats to our community so we can implement countermeasures that better protect our community and keep our patients in better health
The CDC performed extensive research to provide valuable assessment and recommendations for the flu epidemic, which ultimately resulted in prescribing my patients with Tamiflu more often (mostly to the elderly and young), which then shortened their duration of flu so they could return to better health more quickly
Apply these principles to any scenario whether direct patient care, medical logistics, information technology, administration, research or public health. It doesn’t matter the scenario, if you’re in the healthcare field, we ultimately do what we do in health, to improve the health of the patient, population or community of interest. If you cannot connect the dots of your product or service to better health outcomes then maybe you’re not in the business of health. At MicroHealth, we are all about health; whether we provide custom software, information management, help desk or data analyst services. Our team understands your mission be it public health, policy and planning or point of care. It’s why we put the “Health” in our company’s name. It’s why I continue to see patients as a volunteer. It’s why I teach public health. It is our value proposition; better health outcomes through innovation and technology.