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Why I got involved with a health tech startup

Many of you who know me well, know how passionate I am about dentistry. It’s a career that has become a lifestyle. I got into my first dental school, in India, in 2008. More than a decade later, I have 2 dental degrees, 1 fellowship, a few research papers, and 2 upcoming books. My passion for starting my own practice led me to build a non profit with friends, New Dentist Business Club, that at one point almost started feeling like a part time job. It required 2 admin days and 1 Club meeting per week. It was a lot.

I was still happy! I didn’t think it would at all be possible to add anything more to my life, because it seemed so full. There were always things to do, people to meet and goals to accomplish. 

Sometimes life seems to be going along just fine and you think it will never change, you see a path in front of you that seems obvious and meant for you.

Which is why I wanted to share a little about surprises and how life sometimes throws you some as opportunities. This can be a lesson for all of you in keeping your eyes and ears open to suggestions. To think bigger.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

A few weeks ago I was asked to head the healthcare division of an IT company that has been around for more than a decade. This company first started its operations in 2007, back in the middle of an economic downturn. Completely self funded at the time, it has steadily built a reputation for strong customer service in the hospitality industry. Its customers include Hyatt, Marriott, Taj and Hilton. They have offices located all over the world, including Dubai, London, Mexico and our own- Santa Clara, California!

After seeing how the COVID 19 pandemic had affected families, businesses and communities, they wanted to get involved in the healthcare industry. This was something that was always part of the plan- but had never been able to materialize. Until now. 

Sometimes when you have it all going so good, you don’t consider venturing into new or riskier avenues. This struck a chord with me because I saw it happening in my own life. 

So, how did all of this begin?

This company, Samsotech, had created a vaccine administration software they wanted feedback on from a healthcare provider, aka me! What I particularly felt drawn to, was the seamlessness of it all- from mass texting, appointment scheduling, all the way to tabulating vaccination data of a community and sending it to the appropriate government registry- they had it all down pat. They even had an incredible way to scan ID’s! Making it in a way that you click a photo of an ID card and have data automatically uploaded into the system! 

Most of all, they were willing to take feedback from healthcare providers. As HCP’s, we often struggle with clunky software that requires hours of orientation, leading to frustration within the team. We never get asked for feedback, and there is no good way of following up with our IT providers. Were we ever allowed to suggest changes, and incorporate customizations? Those abilities seem rare. 

As a LEND trainee I have learned to ask myself, if people without neuro-developmental disabilities have challenges learning new technology, how would those with those disabilities do?

Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash

The broader question that surrounds healthcare as a microcosm is INCLUSION.

Inclusion means being able to reach those people who lie at the margins- who speak different languages (not just English or Spanish), who don’t own a smartphone, live in a group home in the suburbs, require alt text readability and who need to have the vaccine, or any medical information made accessible to them at their home- because they can’t get to the doctor as easily.

How are we as a community making it easier for them to reach us? Are we really doing our jobs well if we can’t reach the people who need our services the most? Are we being inclusive or just attempting to remain accessible?

After seeing my reaction to the software presented to me, I was offered a job. ‘You can start this division in North America, lead it from the front, figure out what customers are looking for, build truly inclusive technology for them and make a huge impact in healthcare. Work on it a few days a week and see how it goes, see if you love it.’

I needed time to think about it all, so I consulted with some of my mentors. ‘Is this the right career move for me? How would it impact my plans for starting a practice down the road? Will I gain credibility as a HCP because of this? How many days can I devote to this? When can I focus on my clinical skills?’

I had so many questions in my mind at the time. That is when writing things down helped. Whenever you are presented with an opportunity, think about it, write about it and take your time when making a decision. You may not say yes to the opportunity eventually but at least will give yourself a chance to mull it over.

Guys, I had to say yes!

When else would I get an opportunity to do something like this? To be part of the healthcare industry in the most sustainable way possible- serving fellow HCP’s with technology that makes their lives easier, their staff happier and patients more trusting of the data they share. 

Curious for more? Stay tuned! If you’re interested in learning more about the technology we offer and how to use it at your clinic, message me!

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