Once I figured out time was the most valuable resource on Earth, it changed the way I thought about everything.
At NSA I was part of a program where general concept was to get intelligence to the war fighters real-time at orders of magnitude faster than ever before. It was one of the most effective programs the intelligence community has ever seen, in my view, and it was fundamentally about reducing time and creating speed to insight. It was about giving time back to warfighters. It was about giving them the tools and information to make decisions faster.
My first company built tactical cellular networks for the military. It was a software company with some hardware design and great deal of systems engineering and solution architecting. You can describe the product we offered and the resulting soul of the company and culture in many different ways. But ultimately we arbitraged time. We built systems that provided faster intelligence. Faster answers. Faster information. If we could beat time by an order of magnitude then we were valuable.
When we started CrossChx, we wanted to get comprehensive health information about patients to doctors faster. We started by identifying patients faster. We gave time back to the registrars. We gave time back to the patients. We did this with a product called SafeChx.
We then focused on giving time back to patients and registrars by figuring out a smoother way for patients to sign in when they show up to the hospital. We called that product Queue.
Next we wanted to crush the time waste patients and providers experienced when they showed up to an appointment and had to fill out those dreaded paper forms. We thought patients shouldn’t have to keep filling out the same paper forms over and over and over again. We wanted their experience of checking in to a medical appointment similar to checking in to a flight. So we created an app called CrossChx Connect (still available on the app store) that let patients fill out their medical history and insurance information for them and their family one last time, and then share that information with any doctor or hospital they wanted. We wanted to give patients and healthcare providers their time back.
Now, I think we’ve hit the holy grail of time hacking. Over and over again in hospitals we saw repetitive, mundane tasks being done at extremely high volumes by humans that should be spending their time doing other things like talking to other humans (patients). We saw them doing things that an intelligent router or better interoperability or at least better software should have made obsolete years ago. As we peeled back the layers of the onion, we realized that these routine tasks were pervasive. In hospitals, 40% of the costs are attributed to employees that perform administrative tasks. And even with all that investment, these tasks are being done less than perfectly. Mistakes happen, there’s not enough time to do them all, things fall through the cracks, backlogs haunt every department…the list goes on and on. Most of the 5,000 hospitals in the country are struggling to exist. They are fighting razor thin margins and clerical errors or not being able to get to all the routine tasks makes survival even harder. We realized that we needed to fix this problem. We wanted to give humans their time back. To solve this problem, we created Olive. Olive is an employee. She logs into all the same software a human uses the same way a human does. She performs these high volume, repetitive, mundane, tasks just like a human does. However, she does it with ease. She never lets anything slip through the cracks. She never makes errors. She never gets sick or takes vacation. Olive is an artificial intelligence bot. She’s a SCILBOT, as I wrote about earlier. She breezes through hundreds…thousands of tasks with ease. She emails her boss at the end of the week summarizing all the work she accomplished and provides insights on things her boss should be paying attention to or suggests how to do things better.
We launched Olive in April 2017. She’s being adopted at an incredible rate with over 40 organizations hiring her as the time of this post. She’s truly a powerful tool and a much needed technology for healthcare. Think of all the time she is going to give back to humans. Olive will give more time back to humans than anything I’ve ever built before. Get ready humans. You’re going to have a lot more time to do a lot bigger things.