At Wellbox, we’re grateful to have such an incredible team of talented people who are truly passionate about helping others live longer, healthier lives. Without them, we couldn’t do what we love to do in empowering people to take a more active role in their long-term health.
One way we do this is by offering technology that makes it easy for patients to adopt and participate in their personalized care management solutions. But how great a role does technology play in benefitting chronically ill people?
That’s why we reached out to Matthew Post, Senior Director of Innovation. Not only did we want to learn about how innovation consistently improves outcomes for both patients and practices, but what sparked his interest in healthcare technology. Read below to learn how Matthew’s career path led him to Wellbox.
The most important message that was embedded within me since I was a child was to help people. Even though it’s an ambiguous mission, it’s provided me with the most job satisfaction.
For example, I have found over the course of my career that there is an inverse relationship between a person’s affinity for people and technology. The more you enjoy people, the less you enjoy technology.
I appreciate getting a chance to help those who naturally love people to love a technology that helps them care for patients more effectively. On the other hand, I also help those who are technophilic use their technology in a way that is natural and non-abrasive with people.
Since I’m inspired by the great implementers of technology, I think of myself as Steve Jobs put it best: “At the intersection of technology and humanities.”
When I was a college student, I had the opportunity to work in direct patient care to pay for my expenses. It was then I knew I enjoyed making a difference in clinical outcomes. At the same time, I was frustrated by the limitations of only being able to impact 5 to 20 lives per day. But as I saw the evolution of electronic healthcare records begin, I was encouraged.
With the third leading cause of death in the U.S. being a preventable medical mistake, the transition to electronic medical records has had a great impact on saving lives. This is especially true since pharmacists and registered nurses no longer have to read barely legible writing from doctors when caring for patients.
Other great examples of healthcare technology that I’m inspired by include Artificial Intelligence helping to diagnose patient imaging, error predicting software finding counter-intuitive medical plans, and new communication channels opening between medical professionals and patients.
All these solutions paint the picture of how humans and computers can conquer the negative statistics together.
I’m fortunate that my former positions help me to see three different sides when developing solutions and ideas using healthcare technology.
The first is the human side. Since I have cared for patients, I understand the demands on healthcare professionals. They are so often tired, been on their feet for 11 hours, and take on the responsibility of another human’s life. Plus, we cannot forget that patients are humans. Most people have been patients and often don’t remember what it feels like to be one when they are busy.
The second is the technology side. I have seen so many benefits that technology can bring for both patients and doctors. For example, when I was a clinical technician, I implemented hardware that allowed German doctors into patients’ rooms in Texas virtually. I also implemented devices that refrigerated patients’ blood to prevent long-term organ damage. Another great use of technology was when I employed software that enables providers to have all the information needed to make correct decisions to help patients or connect patients to providers at a life-altering point.
I have also seen challenges that technology can bring to both patients and physicians. For example, I’ve seen doctors overwhelmed with software that keeps them from caring for their patients at the level they would like. I’ve also witnessed technical systems that cause hardships to patients as well.
The third is the institutional side. I have worked for both large and small healthcare organizations both from an influential level and an influenced level. Because of this, I have seen how the intended outcomes of a policy’s initiatives can vary from their actual outcome.
My philosophy is that when we are looking for a solution, we need to ensure that it is mediated between those three angles. When we do, we have a high probability of long-term success while also minimizing negative impacts.
When I was a child, I remember hearing how IBM created a program called Watson that could defeat the greatest chess players in the world. Many people started to think that computers would surpass humans in all areas if given enough time, but that’s not true. Instead, the greatest chess player alive is a human using a computer. In a similar manner, the greatest leaders in the healthcare space are the ones who adopt technology to assist them.
Healthcare is an industry that has historically fought off technology in many areas while also being slow to adopt many common innovations. For example, more medical records are transmitted via fax, a 170-year-old technology, than any method developed in the past 10 to 20 years.
But, as a futurist, I am extremely biased. What gets me out of bed in the morning is the belief that we will one day have a future that applies Moore’s Law to enhance society. This law states that we can expect the speed and capability of computers to increase every few years while we pay less for them.
That said, technology has the capability to drastically change the world we live in for the better. Not too long ago, my own great grandmother was born in a world without antibiotics and anesthesia. Yet, children living today will one day see CRISPR technology end life-threatening diseases such as cancer and HIV.
A different example involves telehealth. Just a few months ago, it was a novel healthcare idea and now during the COVID-19 health crisis, it is a vital method of caring for and tracking the wellness of those patients most at risk of contracting it.
With innovation constantly evolving, adopting more modern methods can ultimately benefit the healthcare industry.
One of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors of my career has been to develop and implement the tools and technologies needed to transition our care team to work from home. This was a complicated situation because we needed to find where our organization, nurses, patients, technology, and Medicare aligned.
While continuously listening to those groups, we’re able to adapt and grow that capability. Also, since I know what it’s like to work in a hospital doing 12-hour shifts, it makes me happy to think our nurses can work from home. This way, they can be home with their family and pets compared to facing challenges like long hospital shifts and not getting any bathroom breaks.
My hope is that technology and innovation will ultimately lead people to live longer and more fulfilling lives. As we move forward, Wellbox will implement more tools that will make our nurses’ careers more rewarding. We will also connect the right people to the right tools at the right time that will lead to better patient outcomes.
By accomplishing both of those goals, we will continue to decrease the cost of healthcare and free up more resources for innovation. This will ultimately lead Wellbox to be the leader in our industry while rewarding those who have invested in our mission.
We couldn’t be happier that Matthew’s career led him to Wellbox because passion and dedication like his make all the difference. Without him consistently innovating in how we can care for patients more effectively, we wouldn’t see as many positive results for both our patients and our practice partners as we do. Thank you for everything you do Matthew!