20 Dec 2013
Andy Stopford is Technical Director of HAVAS LYNX. Andy leads the HAVAS HEALTH SOFTWARE team of Software Engineers to develop solutions that focus on the best possible outcome for the end user that ensure the business needs are met. Andy is a published author and keen writer with 200 magazine and journal articles over his career. He has a great depth and breadth of knowledge in a variety of technologies and is passionate about all things software engineering.
One of my favourite quotes comes from an article in Nature magazine—Beyond magic bullets: true innovation in healthcare—“The time has come to move beyond product-focused ‘magic bullet’ therapeutic development strategies towards models that can also incorporate devices, tools and services to provide integrated health-care solutions.”
The article goes on to describe this vision in further detail and, in a nutshell, it is what I do—it is what my team does. We build software that takes on different elements to facilitate improvements in patient outcomes. From complex web applications to mobile iPad and Windows 8 tablet applications, we build a range of tools to aid healthcare professionals, nurses and doctors, as they work with their patients to obtain meaningful and measureable outcomes. Another quote from the same article explains this further: “As power shifts towards payers and patients/caregivers, definitions of innovation—particularly in the context of complex diseases—will broaden to include outcomes that are meaningful and measurable to them.”
Measurable outcomes can mean an orthopaedic patient becoming mobile again, a heart attack patient never suffering another attack, a mental health patient gaining back their personal freedom. People, patients, getting back their lives and living them. For example, one of our projects that aided the treatment of mental disorders prevented readmissions to hospital by up to 58%—a huge improvement. The same project has won 5 industry awards, 3 of which have been for innovation.
Innovation is key. We aim for innovation; without it we cannot push the boundaries of technology to better serve healthcare. I have worked in industry for almost 20 years in areas such as ecommerce, banking, finance and insurance, and none have come close to the levels of innovation that we drive in healthcare. Technology is our partner and we aim to harness it for the greater good of the patient.
Our stack is open and we use what works, be it WebAPI, Node, MongoDB, Durandal, Knockout etc. We make use of technology that allows us to mix boundaries. For example, we write both server-side and mobile code in C# and then deploy that code in iOS, Android and Windows 8. We are proud that we also contribute to and create OSS code as part of our process.
As Software Engineers, we care deeply about software engineering as a discipline and take great care and attention in crafting a product that is as good as we can make it. I am very proud of my team and what we do.
Beyond magic bullets; True innovation in health care: http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v12/n2/full/nrd3944.html