PODCAST #3. How Technology Can Help Improve Healthcare Outcomes
The guest of this episode was Nick McKenzie, Group Product Manager at Redox, an orchestra conductor who always finds common ground with investors, techies, and marketers alike to create an amazing workable product: “I just naturally gravitate toward solving hard problems with large folks of smart people and still try to do that.” Nick began multitasking in college, playing sports, editing the school newspaper, studying economics and political science to become a great lawyer, and eventually realizing he wanted to combine healthcare with technology.
Embrace Action and Market Feedback
That led him to Walgreens, and it was an opportunity to see the interplay between the commercial and human aspects of healthcare delivery.
“I operate under the idea that it’s better to release something from a product and have to tweak it than to over-design and never get feedback on a thing. So I am generally biased toward action and implementing feedback, and sharing decision-making along those lines in a reasonably fast time frame.”
Nick is a person who doesn’t get hung up on things for long but tries to make MVPs, tests, and upgrades according to what the market dictates.
From App Knowledge to EHR Integration Architecture
The next step in his career was working at the famous company Cerner. Nick says the following about his work there: “You learn your app, and then you become the solution architect of that app. So you gain more knowledge than the subject matter expert of that given application. That was my intended path, and my path was exposed to 16 or 17 of Cerner’s applications in my first year.”
Nick went on to work with the EHR integration architecture, which he compares to building a house, where an entire team of contractors, roofers, electricians, and plumbers work cohesively under an architect.
“I was always fascinated with this idea of being the translator helping clinicians translate their requirements into what they wanted the system to be designed and then translating back to the technical teams how to execute and interestingly enough. It’s all that product management really is.”
Simplifying Healthcare Data with a Personal Touch
The next step in Nick’s career was Redox – a single API for providers and products. Mission – making the world’s healthcare data frictionless for adoption. The mantra for every large team meeting is that we are all patients. We might not be patients today, but at some point, all of us will become. What is Redox doing now? Expanding buyer personas, changing the focus on the product.
There was also talk about how Nick sees the difference between a startup with 250 people in series D and a Fortune 500 company with 25,000 people. It’s the mechanics of running a business, like HR management, annual reviews, and culture… These things are handled more centrally in a big company, and they’re very personal at Redox. You have a much deeper ability to influence people directly. Nick explains in quite some detail and fascinatingly what he thinks the difference is between product development and the KPI system at a big company and a not-so-big one.
How to build the right product team? Focus on a diversity of skills to avoid tunnel vision. You need people who can offer different solutions to problems so that you can gather the best of those perspectives and assemble them into a workable strategy for the future.
The Multifaceted Chameleon Approach
“Product is a complex field. You have to understand the dynamics of the business; you have to work directly with engineers, and you have to interact with customers. You kind of play different roles.”
Product management as a professional discipline that attracts people who used to write code, do business, and do architecture. Nick thinks of product management as a chameleon. Some days you have to be blue and interact with investors and customers; other days, you have to be green head down and solve engineering team problems; and some days, you have to be a completely different color in market research, interviewing people, and doing podcasts. And it’s all proportionate based on business needs.
Nick talked about interoperability in healthcare and where it’s headed. We spent the last 10 to 15 years digitizing the U.S., but the problem was they were in different systems that spoke different languages. Now we’re in the throes of unifying into just one language. And we have to get to the point where we can universally translate from one language to another language to provide computational algorithms to provide new clinical therapies.
The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.
Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?
Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –