Going out on a limb...

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

"Hello. My name is Colton, and I have decided to publicly share my thoughts on the intersection of healthcare and technology.” 

Whew! Reading that sentence out loud gives me heartburn. My trepidation originates in a few key places:

  1. Healthcare is a deeply emotional topic for everyone (legit, life and death)

  2. I will inevitably write something that angers someone (ask my wife)

  3. Words written on a page are not always read with the author’s original intent

  4. I am professionally nubile in this space compared to those I continue to learn from

With that said, should you continue reading, I hope that you do so with the understanding that everything I write comes from a place of truly wanting to improve the US healthcare system for EVERYONE. This is the real world, and trade offs exist - so I will not pull punches if they are logically sound.

To kick this off, I figured the least risky way to start my post writing vocation was to tell you a little bit about who I am, why I have decided to do this, and what you can expect if you keep reading.  

Who am I? 

As any proper conversation begins, please allow me to introduce myself. I grew up in Ocean City, NJ as the son of two loving parents in an upper middle class, homogenous community. I was and am the quintessential example of privilege, and I fully recognize the responsibility that bestows upon me. 

I am a lover and early adopter of technology. I distinctly remember taking apart the family computer when I was in 4th grade to install a CD burner. I completed my Bachelor's in the nerdiest of all majors, Computer Science, and I loved every minute of it. My family made fun of my Amazon Echo purchase for a year before they got one themselves. My wife is already terrified of the smart house we have not even purchased yet (who wants to actually use a key?!?). I prefer to turn my lights on and off with my voice. I believe we sit on the precipice of a true revolution in our technical capabilities, and I also believe tech has the capability to be a great unifier. We need to make sure it doesn’t become the opposite.

I am also more than passionate about repairing the healthcare industry. From my first professional job at GE Healthcare to my more recent MBA internships at a precision medicine company and one of the largest HIT companies in the world, there is nothing that I would rather spend my time doing. The books on my bookshelf, the conversations I have over dinner, and the Twitter chats I engage in all revolve around how we can improve the US’ broken system. Yes, I do annoy my friends with this occasionally. However, as I have said in every interview I have had since college, if knowing that what you are doing directly impacts the wellbeing of others isn’t enough to get you out of bed in the morning, I don’t know what is.

Ultimately, I believe that healthcare is a right for everyone. Coupling disruptive technology with business model innovation has the power to truly revolutionize this industry. I think we can have it all, both innovation driven by capitalism and the equity of a single-payer system. It is just going to take a team of people willing to think outside the box, and I want to be a part of the team.

Why am I doing this?

So, what qualifies me to write on this topic? Pretty much nothing - not my few years in healthcare consulting, not my MBA, not my Product jobs in HCIT. There are many people infinitely more qualified than me. However, I am passionate and I do have the capacity for logical thinking - so I believe coupling that with a willingness to learn is bound to have some impact. Healthcare is one of those industries where experience actually has a measurable impact on your understanding of how to navigate it, so I have accepted I am bound to make some improper assumptions along the way.

And that is exactly why I have chosen to start this blog. Writing about a topic forces me to deeply understand something (especially if others are going to read it). It also teaches me how to articulate my thoughts in a more impactful way. Spending an hour in my head is exhausting, so it is better if I start with writing than vocally expressing myself.

And finally, I have found that one of the best ways to better understand something is to engage in active conversation with others about it. In this way, we can learn from one another as we all pursue the same goal - making the system better. 

What can you expect to read here?

Given the name of the blog, I think you can guess that the primary “focus" of my posts is going to be the coupling of healthcare and technology. With that said, you can expect to find a little bit of everything over time. Most of it will be useful for new professionals looking to make an impact in healthcare, and some of it will seek to engage you in conversation about a specific topic that is top of mind. Overall, I think things will fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Primers on Core Healthcare Topics: These will be geared more towards new comers to the industry, but others may find them useful. I will zone in on a broad topic (think: “Value Based Care”) and do my best to distill it down to its core components. 

  2. Health / Tech Intersection: The goal of these posts will be to form an opinion on how much a certain technology has impacted the healthcare industry and what its future will be.

  3. Top Stories: I will inevitably want to share thoughts on some top stories as they happen. 

And that’s about it. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my first actual post in short order. Feel free to engage me via Twitter or LinkedIn (see the footer) if you have any thoughts. Let’s get it started.