Meet Janne – The Visualizer

By Janne Pitkänen, Human-Centered Design Specialist; HIMSS Champion of Health

Janne is a human-centered design specialist in Helsinki, Finland. As a visualizer, he uses his abilities to adjust and adapt to new information and situations in order to create healthcare solutions for individuals and populations. His favorite part of his work is seeing that the projects he undertakes are actually working for his customers and improving health and well-being.

I apply a mission-critical approach to all my work.

I usually wake up around 7:30 am, and so does our little kid, who starts to wonder what the brand-new day is going to bring. Sometimes I go jogging around an island nearby our home before breakfast, and most often I ride to the office on my bike.

My office is located in the Health Innovation Village at GE, which hosts more than 20 startup companies in health tech. Most days, I’m involved in building our solutions together with our customers and partners, who are located either nearby in one of the Nordic countries or at some of the other leading healthcare centers in the world. We also cooperate very closely with other startups who have similar challenges, and we help each other by together working on technology- and business-related issues.

For after-work activities, we have great opportunities on-site. Our rooftop hockey ring made of plastic and our basketball court are great during the summer, while our gym and sauna are nice to have all year-round. Scuba diving in rough and fresh Finnish waters is one of my dear hobbies, and I would like to do it more often.

One of my biggest challenges is dealing with unexpected situations.

When building user experience (UX) monitoring solutions for healthcare settings, we have always proactively addressed the patient privacy and information security requirements that we expected to be the most difficult. These requirements are still on our focus, but something unexpected came up as we were working to improve the usability of the EHR systems – we discovered that our solution can also improve EHRs through patient safety and software bug tracing.

My motivation is achieving what others think is impossible.

I feel that the most rewarding moments of my work involve situations when we see that our undertakings are actually working for our customers and improving healthcare. This is not something that we take for granted, as some of the things that we do had previously been considered impossible in the healthcare industry.

Most of the time, I feel that there must be a way to go forward, but sometimes it gets really tough. During such times, I try to spend as much time as possible with people who have experienced similar challenges. I also keep reminding myself to stay in touch with friends during these times, no matter how long it’s been since the last time.

One of my favorite achievements was helping to provide uninterrupted patient care.

Recently, there was a hospital system deployment, and some of the patients didn’t receive their medication as prescribed. While we went through screen recordings for coming up with usability improvements, the mission changed. The screen recordings helped to recover the missing pieces of information to provide uninterrupted care for many patients at that time.

My superpowers are understanding and grit.

I’m able to see situations through users’ eyes because of technology and by working hard to understand complex situations in which the easiest assumptions are not always correct.

Healthcare sometimes moves so slowly, and thus many plans need to be changed for better traction on the fly. Throw your assumptions away – never the purpose.

I am a champion of health because…

I started my career in a mission-critical industry, developing gas detection devices for public safety and defense. This experience, combined with my degree in industrial engineering and management, and my PhD in usability research studies, help me to succeed in my work. Healthcare needs a mission-critical approach, and at the same time, a focus on scale and productivity in everything that we do in order to have an impact on population health.


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