This week I start a new role as a Biodesign Fellow at Texas Medical Center (TMC) Innovation Institute in Houston, TX where I’ll be focusing on uncovering innovation opportunities in digital health (more info on TMC below). I’m very excited in so many ways, especially having the opportunity to chart a course that can make a direct impact on the lives of so many.
As a product manager, that really speaks to me because it’s rare to see a new product from concept to market in a single career, especially in large corporations. Meeting user needs — via user research and design research — and crafting an experience is one of my core principles as a product designer. As an entrepreneur, it’s the culmination of building the business as the product.
While I’ve volunteered in several community health initiatives in the past, it was a medical mission trip years ago to Nicaragua where I realized that a small portion of my availability (I’m not an expert in eyeglasses fitting by any means) was able to improve the quality of life in each person standing in my line by just having a willing attitude. (We ended up finishing 400–500 patients over one week in fact).
More recently, what catalyzed my decision to leave a solid role right now was a much more personal encounter. A close, dear friend of mine had recently battled with cancer and within months, his body succumbed rapidly. Josh Ma lived life to the fullest by serving others, and he touched so many people in profound ways not just I.
This led me to think about how limited our lives are in terms of productive years. The reality is that no one knows their futures. We can live in inaction or we can try to do something greater. The math was clear to me.
Back to this week, it’s been an exhilarating already. I’ve been shadowing everyone I can in the Emergency Department. I’ll be blogging more about my experiences in the fellowship. Feel free to share my blog with anyone who would be interested in following.
What problems/challenges in healthcare do you think can be aided by technology? I’m interested in connecting with and talking to people to learn more. Share your ideas in the comments below.
[For those that aren’t familiar, the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical complex in the world. It’s not just one hospital system but rather 50+ institutions ranging from hospitals to research with over 106,000 people visiting each day (Wikipedia) and 10 million patient encounters a year (fun facts). I once heard that the TMC in Houston is as large as Fort Worth, TX. The mission of the Innovation Institute is taking all the research and innovation, and building a bridge to commercialization. My definition of biodesign is essentially applying design thinking to areas such as digital health, medtech, or biotech].