|Focus on: Clinical Analytics|
- Hi Whende and Carly, thank you for joining us in this month’s Women in STEM blog series. Can we start with having you tell me about your current STEM career?
WC: I am a nurse by training and when I first started my schooling I knew I wanted to go into a STEM career but didn’t know if I wanted to go into information technology or nursing. Ultimately, I chose nursing, but I was excited to find out about the specialty called nursing informatics 7 years into my career (nursing informatics is nursing science and computer science that helps nurses to be able to work with IT teams and be a liaison to help develop better patient care). I jumped through all of the hoops, got my degree, became board certified and have worked in this STEM career now for 12 years.
CE: Since I was a child, I have been interested in medicine. In college I majored in English but was pre-med. After graduating, I did clinical research before deciding to go to medical school and then a general surgery residency. Once in residency, I quickly realized that I wanted to help patients on a larger scale vs. one on one. It was from here that my STEM career transitioned as I decided to study epidemiology and pursue a masters in public health. I was always interested in the public health space and after working in occupational medicine and for the state of WA doing research I decided to take the leap into health-tech and joined KenSci 9 months ago. This is the perfect place to combine my background of public health, technology and medicine.
- In your opinion, what is the biggest opportunity for technology to help improve healthcare?
CE: We talk a lot about being overwhelmed with so much data that is being collected and you want to abstract what is the most important. Predictive analytics can give the right information to the right person at the right time which is a huge value add for the entire continuum of healthcare.
WC: Adding on to what Carly said, technology will greatly improve the care giver experience. With technology we are able to look at health delivery on a larger scale and provide recommendations for how we deliver care on an individual level. This is why STEM careers are so important, there is so much opportunity!
- What is KenSci Currently focused on now and in the future?
CE: As we are growing and as we are learning we continually update our offerings which is fun to see. Recently I have been involved in the research side with the data scientists who are working to integrate cutting edge machine learning into our current offerings.
WC: As Carly mentioned, as we work with more customers, we learn and can grow. With the solutions we offer, we find patients are moving through the hospital more efficiently which lends itself to better care coordination and utilization, something that is crucial for any health care delivery organization.
- Switching gears to Women in STEM, can you talk about your experience being a woman in a STEM career?
WC: I work in one of the few female dominated STEM careers: nursing. I continually try to dispel the myth that STEM is a male dominated field because it doesn’t have to be. STEM careers and science/clinical in particular are fields that really make a difference to all people.
CE: Prior to this when I worked in clinical medicine there were traditionally very few females in surgery. My surgical intern class was composed of 6 women and 2 men – it really turned the system on its head! At the time it was interesting to hear the conversations around this and to see how these conversations have changed over time, mainly that having a female dominant class is no longer a conversation point! Things are changing, and I see this in health tech and all Women in STEM fields.
- What is your favorite thing about your field and being a woman in STEM?
WC: That it is patient focused and we live this in our mission every day. We work with super smart health and tech teams and an inspiring leadership that is focused on innovation. Here at KenSci we have also created a group the “Women of KenSci”, (a women in STEM group) where we all work together to support each other as the “minority” group here. We really collaborate and come together within this organization to embrace the fact that we can be our own best advocates.
CE: I was at a meeting recently here at KenSci and it struck me how diverse the backgrounds of people that I was working with truly are. In medicine so many of us come from similar backgrounds, coming here and interacting with people with little to no health care experience but have the shared passion for patient care and willingness to learn is inspiring.
- One final question, what advice do you have for women looking to enter a STEM career?
CE: To keep an open mind. You never know when the right entry point to STEM career will be available and it will sometimes surprise you. There are so many opportunities to be a woman in a STEM field, and you just need to take the jump.
WC: I agree with Carly and also just immerse yourself in it. Health and health tech are incredibly giving professions. In clinical health you are working at the micro level or the point of care vs. health tech which is at the macro level. We have so much work to do and so many opportunities (being in a STEM career) especially in technical and data that you just need to go for it!
To learn more about KenSci and their healthcare solutions, check on their demo here.
Whende Carroll, RN, Director of Nursing Informatics, KenSci
Carly Eckert MD MPH, Medical Director, KenSci
Sara Kuethe, Head of Health and Pharmaceutical Marketing at Microsoft