July 19, 2019

I haven’t always worked in healthcare, but my mother and father are both doctors. I have early memories of my mother working long hours and going to the hospital in the middle of the night at times to work. Witnessing first hand the struggle of maintaining a work-life balance helped lead me to my role today as a lead engineer at Suki. If you aren’t familiar, Suki is a voice-enabled digital assistant for physicians that can help reduce the burden of documentation that can lead to burn out in healthcare.

When I began my search for a new company to join, I knew that I wanted to work for a small startup. I had worked at startups before and was drawn to companies that were being built by inspirational people and that had products that could radically change the healthcare industry. Two years ago when I found Suki and began talking to Punit Soni, our CEO, I knew that I had found the right place and role in which to grow.

I was the ninth person to be hired and the fifth engineer. Coming on with the company at such an early stage has allowed me to help build the team I now get to work alongside. It is a common saying of mine that we are a lean, mean, socially responsible, cross-functional, execution machine. It’s a mouth full, but it encompasses everything we look for when adding to our team. Let me explain.

At just around 45 team members, we are lean. As a team lead, I have been able to fill in wherever I am needed. I’ve worked on projects involving DevOps, front end engineering, and applications engineering. I also like to work very closely with the product team and our users. Building a great product starts with understanding the customer, and I am lucky that I am able to work directly with our in-house doctors to learn of the issues and challenges they may face on a daily basis.

When we see a problem at Suki, there is no time to waste and so we are mean in the way we tackle it. We are quick to respond and pride ourselves on that fact. The main problem our team is tackling is physician burnout due to the EMR documentation involved in an office visit. This documentation typically takes 2x longer than the interaction with the patient. In the time since launch, we have seen Suki help doctors complete their notes an average of 76% faster.

Our team makes sure everyone is taken care of. If we were climbing a mountain, we would make sure to reach the top together. You can especially see this in the way we celebrate milestones within the company. We get together for any major news, like when we announced our partnership with Unified Physician Management, and truly celebrate together during a team offsite, or dinner out. We acknowledge all of the work that has been put in and we want our team to see that the work they do matters.

The ability to work cross-functionally within a company can lead to great success. At Suki, we are very careful to avoid a siloed work environment. We need our team to stay in the know regarding what is happening with our customers, our product, and with our people. This also enables us to pick up where someone has left off if they are out of the office, or pulled away for another project.

At Suki, we are building a product that is driven by the needs of physicians. We have weekly releases to optimize performance and we like to have at least one release a month dedicated to a new user-facing feature, so execution is very important. If everyone is not together, or if there is an issue in execution, we can not deliver to our customers. We have clear objectives and we know how to get them done. If we hit any blockers, we iterate and improve as a team for the next time.

At the end of the day, our goal is simple. We want to make sure physicians are happy. To us, that means providing technology that helps to complete documentation more quickly so that there is more time for patients and also, more time with their loved ones. As we continue to grow, I look forward to adding to our team people who will help us meet that goal, continue to build an exceptional product, and get Suki into the hands of physicians around the world.

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