Amber: Hi, I’m Amber Ambrose here at the Alpha Conference. Today my guest is Ted DellaVecchia of Symbotix. He is the CEO and Managing partner, so welcome to the show.
Ted: Thank you very much. I really appreciate being here, Amber.
Amber: Yeah. So, today you talked a lot about integration and the semantics of information in healthcare. Can you give me a brief overview of your perspective?
Ted: Certainly, and thank you for picking up on that, I really appreciate the comment. So, semantics is, effectively, the use of vocabularies, right? So, it’s the word game. People say, ‘It’s a matter of semantics.’ Indeed, in information technology there are vocabularies, or terminologies within applications. A patient is not a patient all the time, especially when you are in real time. There are other applications that you use, you know, consumer, or different terminologies that would sort of indicate. So, that is what people tend to believe is the barrier between applications. And indeed, without the semantic capability, which is a tool, it’s a enterprise infrastructure tool. It’s not an application that sits alone. Think of it like part of your iOS in your Apple. So, that’s an operating system. If you have semantic interoperability baked into your iOS for your enterprise, right? So, then the application can share information seamlessly in through what’s called a canonical data model. Information is in context, formed and shared related to each other.
Amber: So, sort of reverse engineering back into a few things that you said about semantics, just on the most basic level of semantics, not even operating systems or technology related. You mentioned how the word patient, you feel, is too passive.
Ted: Yes, indeed.
Amber: Patient vs. consumer. The connotation of one vs. the other is a very strong distinction.
Ted: Yeah, when you’re a consumer you feel like you’re in charge, and you have the information to make a valued decision. You have an acquisition to buy something, whether it be a car, a piece of clothing, or what have you. As a consumer you feel empowered nowadays because of a lot of (Amber: Because of the internet.) things that have transpired through retail, definitely fueled by the internet. Therefore, you take charge and you make sure that you’re not going to get ripped off, or something. You’re going to get the best value possible if you’re a diligent consumer. People just, you know, who don’t care about money, but for those that actually are diligent about it you have opportunities to make a valued decision. I think the word consumer does evoke those feelings. I’m really glad you picked up on that during my presentation because, albeit, I made a joke about it, about how I don’t like the word patient being passive, indeed it is.
Amber: It struck a chord.
Ted: I think it does, thank you. I think it does sort of keep the consumer of health care services in a box, almost by design. I don’t think anybody actually consciously created this, but it has evolved that way. It’s an evolutionary aspect and we’re not part, as patients, of the equation today in wellness or care delivery. We’re not part of it.
Amber: Which is ironic because we’re supposed to be the ones benefitting from it.
Ted: We’re the ones that are getting whatever it is or not getting whatever it is treatment wise.
Amber: I apologize, I did not ask about Symbotix. Can you give us an overview of that?
Ted: Sure, so we’re an ecosystem. A number of years ago we had a large organization, we were a restructuring firm and we would work for Fortune 100s; organizations like Federal Express, and Home Depot, and WellPoint Health Networks.
Amber: I’ve never heard of any of those.
Ted: The small companies you would never really recognize.
Amber: Mom and Pops.
Ted: Indeed. We had the good fortune of working with those organizations when they wanted to create their next S-curve while they were doing well. They were performing at the highest, recognized as uber brands, not Uber, but uber brands, the leaders within their domains. And yet, because they were doing well, they figured that curve would eventually reach its apex, which is typically the transition era part of business if you look at history. Those organizations said we have a new vision, but we need to build that bridge between our current operating model and our next. So, I had the good privilege of working, we were a large firm that we would take those organizations to the next level using, digitally, well, it’s called digitally. We used to call it IT, but IT enablement. We would enable the enterprise to share information and then, again, that cleans the white board, so to speak, so that the new operating model can be drawn without obstruction.
Amber: That makes sense.
Ted: So, we sold that organization to a large company back in 2003.
Ted: Thank you. Symbotix is a second generation of that. Some of the partners that would work together under that organization in previous lives now run their own businesses, respectively, but when Symbotix has a large reinvention for a health system or an academic medical center, we come together in unison. Since we have worked together in the past, under duress, we operate. Everybody enjoys it, you know, and we deliver value to our consumers. In fact, interestingly enough, we are quite different from our (Amber: And to the end user.), our consumers. I call our customers consumers so I’m going to use that word because it has meaning to us. Not only to we deliver value immediately, but we very rapidly train them to do what we can do, so we can get the heck out of there. We don’t make an annuity out of the opportunity and a lot of our customers appreciate that.
Amber: So, you’re empowering them to go forward.
Ted: We empower them to take themselves to the next level and continue to ascend to where they’d like to go. That’s that durability factor that we deliver.
Amber: That sounds great. Well, it sounds like healthcare really needs what you are doing right now on a grand scale, so thank you for what you’re doing.
Ted: We’re trying.
Amber: Thank you for joining me today, Ted.
Ted. I appreciate that, thank you.
Amber: Once again this is Amber Ambrose and we’re at the Alpha Conference in Napa, California. Thanks for joining us.
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