Bonded by Love for Product
Modern science has enabled us to sequence terabytes of data from DNA, but due to privacy and the complete lack of interoperability standards, patients and researchers can’t easily gather, organize, or share the medical record data that makes that sequencing data meaningful.
There is a wealth of data being collected, information that should help us target and make medicine better for individuals, but are road blocked by archaic processes. You can collect a terabyte of data about a person in a genomics study, but you have no way to tie what kind of disease this person gets or when the onset of symptoms was to a specific gene without clinical outcomes data. Outcome data lives in medical records, and medical records are hard to get to. Everyone at PicnicHealth is passionate about removing this friction and pushing medical research forward by making data accessible.
Noga, our cofounder and CEO, had the honor of sharing her personal story at the White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit. Having been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease herself, she understands the frustration of collecting and managing your medical records firsthand. We all strongly believe that we should control over our own medical data. If you believe this too, we’d love to hear from you.
You have control over the direction of your project, and the responsibility to own it end-to-end.
Right now, we are a small team of 3 engineers. Troy, our CTO, sets long-term milestones and then we work together as a team to decide how that translates into discrete projects. We don’t have product managers and hope to continue bringing on product-minded engineers that will be able to work closely with other departments to handle feature requests, thoughtfully prioritize, and build the product.
We have a lot of different pieces in play.
We have a interface for our users that allows them to sign up, tell us who their doctors are, and where they can interact and share their records once we collect them. (Check out our demo!) However, the majority of our work is in structuring the data in the records we receive. We have an extensive internal system for managing the medical record collection process (think calling offices and getting faxing) as well as an interface for processing. We get paper records that need to be transformed into text, and from there, into structured data where individual data elements are recognized. Therefore, each of us works closely with our operations and sales teams.
Creative + Innovative
Healthcare is an industry desperately in need of innovation.
There are some truly remarkable technological advancements in medicine. We can somehow use DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to analyze the function and structure of entire genomes but we still can’t seem to send you your medical records from your previous doctor without faxing you your documents page by page. To solve this problem, we are leveraging machine learning to help patients and their families manage their medical records and recently won Google Cloud’s Machine Learning Startup Competition. To date, we have collected and structured 500,000 records from 5,000 different health care facilities.
As engineers, it’s important that we have uninterrupted blocks of flow.
Aside from a weekly sprint-planning and all-hands meeting, we do our best to avoid regular, mandatory meetings. As a company, we have a short (<5-minute) stand-up every morning at 10am but the way we stay in tune with what everyone is working on is through our demos once every other week. Instead of meeting to tell everyone what we’re currently working on, we spend time showing up what we’ve built. Engineers demo their new features, ops showcase their new models, and our provider interaction team shares the new scripts they’ve written. (Show and tell is still exciting as it was when we were younger!) It’s natural to go into a meeting-heavy state, so we are constantly fighting against that and making sure that engineers have the schedules they need to work effectively.
We push multiple times a day.
The things we focus on the most is data modeling and our API, so we have almost converged on our coding styles. We work on having a straightforward and repeatable deployment process so that we can write, test, and release code faster and more frequently.
Wears Many Hats
You’ll wear at least four: engineer, product manager, designer, and end-user.
As an example, one of our engineers focuses on our record collection product. He works closely with operations that does record collection and therefore manages feature requests, designs the product, executes, and tests it. Our hope is to hire engineers who can get behind our mission and understand who our audience is. While having personal experience in healthcare isn’t necessary, it certainly makes you much more effective. If you can empathize and connect with your end-user, you’ll be designing and building a product for yourself. Not only does it make the work that much more meaningful, but it also gives you valuable insight throughout development.
Team is Diverse
We’re kind of a motley crew.
We come from all over the place. Half our team was born outside of the United States; we’re over half women; we come from the clinical side, the nonprofit world, academia, aerospace, and of course tech. We didn’t set out to be diverse, but our 10-person company certainly is. As a result, our single shared thread is a passion for the mission. It’s perfectly fine to see a job as “just a job” (in fact, many of us have done that before), but you won’t find it here. We welcome the non-linear backgrounds and nerdiness (just as long as you’re passionate!). Learn more about us on our team page.