Digitise to democratise: How Proximie’s platform is connecting healthcare systems

Rachel Sterling is Proximie’s Chief Marketing Officer, with a background in Global Marketing roles for Instagram, Twitter, Google, and YouTube.

It is very rare to come across somebody who is as inspiring and filled with purpose to help those in need as Nadine [Hachach-Haram, founder of Proximie]. I was very happy working at Instagram, but when you meet somebody who has a vision as clear as Nadine’s – and the drive to connect that vision with purpose – you’ve got to jump on that train. You can’t let that train leave the station without you.

I’ve had seven surgeries in the last 15 years, the most recent being last summer to correct an eye problem. Because I live in the United States, in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve had access to amazing care; my eye surgeon is a PhD MD from Stanford so they’re the best of the best – and I’ve still had double vision for two months after my surgery. But what would my experience have been like if I lived somewhere else in the world, without this level of access to expert care? Or even somewhere else in the States?

I look at that experience – and all the other surgeries I’ve had – and it’s clear to me that the most important thing in the world is for people to be healthy, to have access to high quality care and be able to trust that if they need that medical help it will be available to them. I took that level of care for granted because I live in San Francisco and have access to great doctors and hospitals. But there are so many people in the world who know in their heart that there is no help available if something bad happens to them. The ability to live your life safe in the knowledge that you have access to care if necessary is a gift – but it should be a right. The fact that Proximie can help deliver that level of care through remote surgical assistance and increasing the capacity for surgical training is hugely meaningful to me, and I wanted to be a part of it. My desire to help democratise healthcare is what drove me to join Proximie.

Proximie is on a journey from med tech company to tech company. That’s one of the reasons I’m here. Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to what Proximie can offer, which I differentiate as “one-to-many” and “many-to-one”. The driving question behind the one-to-many approach is how do we empower surgeons to be able to connect remotely to a multitude of surgical experiences, so that many patients can access quality surgical advice and care through one or two doctors that are connected via Proximie. An example of this would be having a specialist in Cedar Sinai in LA who is able to dial in and provide value to multiple surgeries across the country, or elsewhere in the world.

Then you have the many-to-one approach, which is rooted in the fact that there are many, many patients who have nuanced, unique surgical experiences and histories. Currently, if a patient goes to a particular doctor, they only get the benefit of that one doctor’s institutional knowledge and their education. What if that doctor had the ability to tap into a database of recordings, data and insight and to cross-reference that bank of expertise with their patient’s symptoms? It would be a vast, constantly growing repository of patient’s experiences and how different healthcare providers had dealt with those problems. All of a sudden, patients would not just be receiving the expertise of a single surgeon, but of all surgeons who are participating in building a database using Proximie. Together, the one-to-many and the many-to-one approaches could provide a tremendous benefit to patients in ensuring they’re receiving the best possible care, and to surgeons who would be able to expand their capabilities because they have access to the data and insights provided by the platform.

That, to me, is the future of healthcare: connected data. This is already something that is having an impact in my own life, providing me with greater access and ownership of my health data. I have two children going to sleepaway camp this summer for two weeks, and I have to provide all of the health forms, evidence of vaccinations and so on. I log into my health platform at Stanford Children’s Hospital and I can download all their vaccination records, then I upload the forms I need filled out to the portal so my doctor can fill them out and sign them off. All that information is then emailed to the organisation running the camp. As I was doing all this, I was thinking about what my mum would have had to do in the past if I was going to camp; scribble down all the vaccination dates on a piece of paper, photocopy the forms, send them in the mail. Today we’re at a point where we have the ability to upload and download certain pieces of data, but we don’t yet have the ability to connect all these health systems  – so people are getting disparate levels of care. We’re at an inflection point where there’s a real opportunity to have a universal system where data and insights are accessible to doctors, and patients in turn can benefit from that.

I’m a marketer through and through. I’m a storyteller, and I want to tell the story of Proximie’s future: a vision of connecting surgeons from all over the world to one another’s expertise; connecting surgeons to an ever-expanding database that will augment their ability to provide the best care possible; and connecting patients to any healthcare provider they might need at any given moment. A vision of making inability to access healthcare a thing of the past.

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