Meet Rasu – The Innovator

By Rasu Shrestha, MD, MBA, Innovation Strategist; HIMSS Champion of Health

Rasu is an innovation strategist in Pittsburgh. As an innovator, he works to connect the dots across distinct and disparate entities in order to find real value to make healthcare more personal, participatory, pervasive and continuous. His favorite part of his work is connecting in unstructured ways with his teammates, end users, patients and clinical colleagues.

When you mix purpose with practice and passion, practically anything’s possible.

I’ve always been a morning person – I’m typically an early riser, up at 5:00 am or earlier – and also a night person when I need to be. The morning is my quiet time – time for writing, contemplation, planning and a workout when possible. I don’t sleep much; I’m often on a high with the energy that life has to offer. My work often starts at my home office, but the phone tends to be my mobile office – and that’s where most of the magic happens, whether I’m at the office, hospital, boardroom or airport.

I love being able to spend the day with my team at work. I get into Bakery Square, the old Nabisco factory in the East Liberty side of Pittsburgh, plug in my car and literally dance into work. Having finished off a bonus dose of emails in the early morning, I typically get to jump straight into meaningful conversations with my team members, strategizing around what’s next and exploring opportunities to make a difference in one of many areas we care about. I love rounding around the office and clinics when possible… those magical moments to connect at a most human and unstructured way are the best.

Some in my design team arrange for what they call “Shrestha Festa” every now and then: a few hours of me with the team in a semi-structured indulgence of any and all things related to redesigning healthcare delivery. We usually end this with a meal someplace fun. What’s not to love about that? Healthcare is complex, and the workday often does tend to have moments of tough decisions and challenging waypoints. But I try to use our collective passion and purpose to better the state of healthcare for all as a North Star to get us through these moments.

My typical day usually ends with yet another shift of work-related activities at the home office, but I try to use the evenings to bond with family and help around the house… unless it’s a Tuesday evening at 8:30 pm ET – even my boys know that that’s when “daddy dives into his #hcldr tweetchat thing.”

It’s all about connections.

I love coming into work and connecting directly with my teammates, end users, patients and clinical colleagues. We’ve tried to create a culture of open conversations, a ‘safe space for you to make mistakes and scale successes,’ and a work culture that fosters collaboration and co-creation.

I get stimulated with a set of markers and an empty whiteboard; and I get on a high when I’m on a stage sharing ideas and challenging notions.

One of my biggest challenges is connecting the dots to get to real, person-centric value.

The key is less about what and more about how and why. The how is driven by a number of factors, and the one leading the charge is the notion that we need to, as a system, look beyond any one silo and connect the dots across distinct and disparate entities to get to real value. This simple notion gets us to more complex concepts that could very well change the way we practice medicine and deal with health and care.

When we start looking at what we’re trying to do through not just a ‘patient-centric’ but a ‘person-centric’ approach, we start to understand the why – the drivers and motivators that influence the very decisions we make as human beings – and these make all the difference at the end of the day. When we are able to align the right incentives with behavior changes, we start getting desirable outcomes. We start moving the needle in the care we’re providing as clinicians, in businesses we’re building, and in expanding the conversation from curing illness to facilitating wellness – and in doing so, making care much more personal, participatory, pervasive and continuous.

My motivation is a greater purpose.

I’m motivated by a calling that compels me to look at the bigger picture. Life’s not about a destination – it’s really about the journey and the experiences you amass during the journey.

My favorite story is about a six-year-old cancer patient.

Vision, strategy and execution are all done better when informed and guided by real stories. There is nothing more personal and humane than the pursuit of better health and care for your fellow human beings. Everyone has a story, and it’s important to understand this thoroughly – whether it is when you’re speaking to a patient or when you’re in a business negotiation.

I especially love the story of a young patient who’s inspired many others, myself included. Jimmy Spagnolo is a six-year-old who went through a trying journey that started when he was four months old and doctors at the UPMC Children’s Hospital found an inoperable brain tumor. Jimmy inspired the world with the ringing of the “end of chemo bell” – and his video went viral!

My superpower is empathy.

I believe kindness is a strength, not a weakness. Starting anything first with empathy and guiding your approach and your decisions with compassion is the only way to truly make meaningful progress.

My kryptonite is bureaucracy.

Healthcare is already complex enough as it is. Bureaucracy often leads to rhetoric, which leads to decisions that get made by fear and compulsion, not evidence and logic.

I am a champion of health because… 

We have one life to live, and I believe without a shred of doubt in my heart that it truly is about the life in your years and not the years in your life.

We all have our superpowers – and individually, we know we can always reach into that special place and rock it. However, what excites me most is when we’re able to reach across to others and collectively accentuate our superpowers, and rise exponentially to meet and exceed challenges and goals in ways we never knew were even possible as individuals.

HIMSS19: Champions of Health Unite

300+ education sessions. 1,300+ vendors. 45,000+ health information and technology superheroes.

Still time to save! Advanced Registration Discount ends January 14.