Speed

Getting Here

I’ve worked in healthcare IT for close to 20 years, although I started my career programming software with IBM, straight out of college. At IBM, I did every sort of technical job you can imagine. Even when I moved into management and leadership positions, I always had a desire to remain technically strong and current. It was like a hobby for me; I learnt about each new technology as it came out, and even though I can’t code anymore, I make sure I know enough about the latest trends so I can make better decisions for my customers and for the business I lead. To this day, I love learning about things like artificial intelligence (AI) which is becoming an essential tool in improving diagnostic workflow, and blockchain which is going to be important for healthcare, enabling efficient and secure workflow.

When I started at IBM, I strove to be a business leader and tech-savvy. I wanted to be trained in all aspects of the business, and the company gave me the opportunities I needed

When I started at IBM, I strove to be a business leader and tech-savvy. I wanted to be trained in all aspects of the business, and the company gave me the opportunities I needed, but I always retained my technology lens. I was a Research & Development manager and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as well as a business VP. While I was at IBM I completed my MBA, but in fact, the IBM training gave me an MBA every single year! Ultimately I found that the ‘horizontal’ applications of technology I was working on at IBM weren’t enough for me. I was looking for an even deeper application of technology within a single industry. Soon after, I was presented with the opportunity to be the CTO of Kodak Healthcare, kick-starting a new phase of my career. Initially I wasn’t sure about the role – I naively said that I didn’t know anything about photos! – but it was the best move I ever made. At the time, Kodak was mostly doing imaging healthcare with film and X-rays, but there was a nascent transition in play. They wanted a technology rooted leader to help them migrate to digital imaging from the traditional film-based approach. I jumped at the opportunity.

The thing about healthcare is that it is personal and relatable. Everyone has a story they can tell about a family member or a friend needing an advanced medical test of some kind or other, so healthcare provides for a personal mission. After a short time at Kodak, I decided that I was never going to leave the industry and essentially I never have. I’ve had a lot of roles, and I’m always learning – healthcare technology motivates me and remains my driving passion.

Solving Big Problems with New Technologies

The biggest problem in healthcare is that there is a large ageing population, the baby boomers – which means more diagnosed diseases, more procedures, more complexity, more data and more information. The only thing that hasn’t gone up proportionally is the budgets. As we invent new technologies, we find out more about disease and with each advancement – X-ray, CT Scan, MRI, Ultrasound – we generate more data, often stored in disparate systems. To address this problem we’ve built interoperability into our architecture, ensuring that we can easily connect with multiple platforms using Mach7 technology as the core infrastructure. We use advanced technologies to enable access to a patient’s full records and give medical practitioners an easy way to get to that information so that they don’t have to play detective – we get doctors the data they need to treat patients.

The biggest problem in healthcare is that there is a large ageing population, the baby boomers – which means more diagnosed diseases, more procedures, more complexity, more data and more information. The only thing that hasn’t gone up proportionally is the budgets.

We’re not the only company working on this problem, but we have a unique platform. Over the last thirty years, larger companies were endeavouring to sell an entire solution. They sold the viewing layer, workflow, database, networking layer and communications layer, but most of those companies built their architecture through acquisitions. They tried to integrate diverse technology at different stages, so it’s not a clean architecture and as a result, interoperability was poor. We’ve built a clean architecture from the ground up that takes unstructured data in its raw state straight from medical devices or software applications and structured data from Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems, eliminating silos and creating a data layer designed specifically to solve the interoperability problem.

We also turn to digital technologies like AI to help doctors use the data that’s now available to provide better diagnoses. Artificial intelligence is a way of accelerating the diagnostic process. Diagnostic algorithms, verified against thousands of cases, can significantly reduce the time a radiologist, for example, spends on each case. Our architecture enables this through 3rd party providers. We have recently formed a partnership with Zebra Medical Vision, an innovative company that has been developing cutting edge algorithms to detect diseases. All of our users can now take advantage of Zebra’s expert algorithms to improve diagnostic efficiency. And we plan to add support for other AI applications , creating a diagnostic ecosystem atop the Mach7 platform.

We’re also building artificial intelligence and machine learning features into the core product to help system administrators. Our solution is a data service platform called Sage and among other things, it can predict when a database is getting full and what action they should take, along with other more complex diagnostics. Sage will make data management easier, and with third-party companies making algorithms for medical diagnosis, we’re building artificial intelligence capability into both sides of our platform – for the IT department and for healthcare providers.

Building the Business

Even though it’s a well-established, listed company, Mach7 has many of the characteristics of a startup. It’s got the energy and excitement of a startup, innovative technology and an esteemed, early adopting customer base that’s growing at a nice pace. We have close to 500 installations in ten countries around the world. As a company we know our destination. We’re seeking to build a long term sustainable company that delivers an amazing set of tools to doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers so they can deliver more efficient care. We’re building Mach7 from being a technology startup to being a robust company with great service, great commercial capability, great R&D and great technology; a company that will generate good revenue and profit, and where employees will be satisfied and seek to grow their careers. Our organisation is lean, working on what’s most important without bureaucracy and without silos. Every employee is an owner, sharing incentives and targeting the same goals. If the goals are achieved, we all share the rewards.

As a leader I believe in speed. Everyone has a chance to give their opinion. I like to include folks in the decisions we make and when a decision gets made, we don’t look back.

Our people are encouraged to thrive. They’re empowered to execute. Together, we’re building a culture where each executive is accountable for what they own and they are also accountable to each other. This is important when the company is moving so fast. As a leader I believe in speed. Everyone has a chance to give their opinion. I like to include folks in the decisions we make and when a decision gets made, we don’t look back. Speed is very important. We have to do things in hours and days, not weeks and months. That’s the mentality we have. A strategy is not a strategy unless it’s got execution behind it. We have metrics and checkpoints – weekly, monthly, quarterly – and the whole company knows what they are. From a strategic point of view we don’t jump around. We’ve set our direction, we keep a close eye on our metrics, make adjustments when necessary, but we keep moving forward with the shared satisfaction that we’re building something new and great while contributing to the wellbeing of many.

Mike Jackman is the CEO of Mach7 Technologies