Aashima is a global head of healthcare solutions in San Francisco. As a transformer, she builds tools that have the potential to positively impact the health of millions of people worldwide. Her favorite part of her work is collaborating with brilliant minds across the globe to design ways to improve people’s lives now and in the future.
I usually start my workday by carving out some time in the morning to get organized and prepare my to-do list for the day. I spend a major chunk of my time deeply reviewing key aspects of technical solutions delivery, including solution designs, technology architecture, prototypes and MVP engagements, and meeting with product and engineering teams for roadmap alignment.
During a typical workweek, one of my biggest tasks is checking in on my team and colleagues to assess progress on the various initiatives underway. My primary role is to take the long view, help unblock any pressing issues, and keep in mind that the decisions we make today will drive better business outcomes for our customers.
Although I am based in San Francisco, I often travel to meet with customers face-to-face. While many meetings during the week are virtual, face time is important for connection. Part of my job is to share what we are building in various healthcare industry forums via speaking engagements/talks and executive briefings. Working with recruiting leads is another part of my day; it takes focused energy and dedication over the long term to build a great team of passionate individuals.
Toward the end of the week, I meet with key customers and with my team for one-on-one talks to discuss priorities for the next week. Just as my day fluctuates, so does the time my day ends; it depends on deadlines and project flow. After work, I like to relax with my daughters. It helps me focus and refresh, so I can settle down for the evening and sleep well.
My team has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. I am fortunate to work with amazingly talented colleagues who are deeply engaged in solving complex problems and deeply passionate about making products that have the potential to impact the health of millions of people globally.
We are constantly innovating to build tools that enable the healthcare and life science communities. Things move at warp speed. It’s fun and rewarding, because we are always exploring how to accelerate healthcare customers’ transformation journey, new models for care, revenue generation and improved patient experiences leveraging our capabilities.
A favorite part of any day is meeting customers, solving problems and getting to those ah-ha moments on what is possible today. There is no playbook on the type of work we engage in. What’s beautiful about the amazing industry collaboration is that we are all part of a big team. Being aligned around a common purpose makes for an enriching environment.
Patient needs are at the forefront of everything my team builds for healthcare. As patient expectations for seamless experiences have increased, so has our commitment to eliminating the technological barriers that make it challenging for providers to deliver connected care. Data interoperability is one important element in delivering connected care to patients; consequently, driving interoperability and providing tools is the cornerstone of how we want to engage with the healthcare community.
At HIMSS18, we launched an API that provides a scalable and security-focused infrastructure solution empowering customers to use their healthcare data – including HL7v2, FHIR, and DICOM – for analytics and machine learning in the cloud. We are focused on bringing those tools to healthcare enterprises via the cloud, with both the maturation of infrastructure and the way applications are built.
My “keep-moving-forward” spirit is greatly inspired from my dad's indomitable will and his strong sense of purpose. My father instilled in me the values to persevere, never give up in the face of adversity, and stay focused on the goals. His strong sense of purpose for his family inspired me to have my own purpose, my own “why” in a way. He had a famous poetry verse that he used to share with me all the time that roughly translates to, “We all have the power within ourselves to rise above and overcome any hardships and positively impact our destiny.” These lines have stayed with me and have now become my own hallmark. You have to believe in yourself first and stay on path.
The Chilean Ministry of Health (MINSAL) has been grappling with a big problem: a significant portion of Chile’s 18 million people suffer from chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Implementing a national mandate to improve these statistics has proven challenging because of the structure of the Chilean healthcare system. Its 400 federal hospitals, including the country’s most sophisticated specialty practices, are stationed mostly in urban areas.
In addition, most of its populace receives healthcare from its network of thousands of rural clinics, which are federally funded but controlled at the municipal level. This has often rendered patients’ medical histories inaccessible. The power of telemedicine was unachievable, and any notion of interoperability was a pipe dream. All of these problems were compounded by a legacy IT architecture that impaired the agility that the entire sector requires to meet the needs of patients, citizens and visitors.
Last year, as part of a national agenda to promote preventive medicine and wellness, MINSAL set out to modernize the nation’s IT systems with our API-based platform to securely connect and manage the apps, systems and data spanning all providers in the healthcare network. It is a journey, but the results are promising. Several other Chilean government agencies are already looking to MINSAL as an example of how to employ an API-based strategy. What is more exciting is that this effort is focused on treating today’s chronic conditions and is an investment in creating an ideal environment for long-term health and well-being for all Chileans.
Participating in so many aspects of the healthcare tech field allows me to have a unique perspective on what the future holds based on the current goals and progress being made. The diversity of my healthcare experience has afforded me a rare combination of technical expertise and a deep understanding of healthcare opportunities from many different vantage points – from pursuing my passion to positively transform healthcare via digital health, to championing APIs and interoperability across healthcare, and now scaling my passion to digitally transform healthcare globally.
There isn’t enough time to do everything I’d like.
It hits close to home. A number of years ago, I had an incident while returning home from a ski trip late at night with my family. We were driving down from the High Sierras when my husband wanted a quick fix of coffee for the long drive that lay ahead. Using my mobile, I was very easily able to find the nearest coffee shop within a minute.
Shortly after pulling away from the shop, I realized my daughter – who is allergic to nuts – had a cookie that, unbeknownst to us, had nuts in it. She already had hives and needed medical attention. Panicked, I started looking for medical facilities nearby. Unlike the quick fix for coffee, this search was resulting in nothing useful. After 45 minutes and multiple contacts, I was able to find the nearest facility, which turned out to closed. I was eventually able to find an ER and get help.
The experience was terrifying and eye-opening. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I did that night. Why was it so easy to find a coffee shop in less than a minute but not a medical facility? It led to my journey with APIs, starting with an opening-up location API of medical facilities and further expanding my own vision to enabling access to all open data. Preventing situations like these requires data availability and better access to medical care throughout – which is why I'm a champion of health.
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