Andrey Ostrovsky is a pediatric physician, CEO and co-founder of Care atHand, and social entrepreneur. While there is a place, he believes, for healing one patient at a time, he wants to affect entire populations, starting locally, then regionally, across the globe. Read Part 1
Dr. Ostrovosky set out on an unusual thread right out of high school. While his “not so tactical grandparents” were happy that he decided to go through medical school. The seams zigzagged well outside the pattern.
“What did you do after high school?”
“What did you do after high school?”
“I went to Boston University for undergraduate. I took six month off to move to Geneva and work for the World Health Organization as a data analyst. That was my first large scale, high-level work experience. There, I started to get a better understanding of health systems and just systems thinking in general.
“During my time at the World Health Organization, I helped organize a conference. The memorable from that conference was a nonprofit called the Health Systems Action Network. Throughout the end of undergrad and into medical school, I had been an advocate for involving trainees into global health to help strengthen health systems.” The program came about from meetings in 2005. “I was invited by the board to run that organization. I ran that organization while I was in medical school. My pathway of early acceptance into medical school allowed me to do that.”
In his third year of medical school, he went to work with the Doris Duke Foundation. He moved to San Fransico, California to work on a technology project for the health department in finding correlation between brain volume using MRI and neurodevelopmental outcomes in neonates with congenital heart defects.
Yet, another break, he spent six months of his senior year working for U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland.
It was during the stretch of time he spent in San Francisco to the time he spent in the U.S. Capitol that Care atHand began to take shape. The idea came about when Doctor Ostrovsky’s friend, Jeffrey Levy, came to understand the challenges of caring for aging parents. It wasn’t until April 2011, that Andrey’s friend contacted him.
“I knew he had ideas and frustrations regarding care for his parents. He reached out to me as a physician and someone who had done some technology stuff in the past. He quit his very lucrative job in Silicon Valley. He asked me over. I flew to San Francisco for a full day of brainstorming and meetings. That was the beginning of Care atHand.
“The name came from simplicity. We had a vision of something lightweight, something mobile. We focused on a mobile, low-skilled workforce. A mobile device would be carried in these caregivers’ hands, helping them to collect and communicate important information on patients they encountered in the community.”
“How has that changed over the years?”
“Initially, we wanted to automate workflow within home care. Typical home Personal Care Assistance services - we wanted to help with the activities of daily living. We thought there was a big opportunity in this community to introduce mobile into that workflow and workforce. We had a very innovative scheduling system. We had very simple design, easy to deploy. It was easy to use by a workforce that may be technology illiterate. We saved a little money for our customers in homecare but we did not have the impact we imagined.
"We did this for about a year, year and a half and decided to take a step back. We looked at where our passion was, where our strengths were. When we looked at the intersection of the two, we realized that we were definitely on the mark with the workforce. We are on the mark with the non-clinical folks. Especially those that were unaccounted for, the gray workforce that’s not official. It doesn’t have a MEDICARE reimbursement code behind it, a family care giver, a community health giver. So we knew a lot about that workforce . We are experts in that workforce and we are already experts in care coordination and transitions. We are experts in big data, at least from the financing side of it. So, what don’t we fit all this expertise together and focus in on digitizing care coordination. We wanted to make care coordination a smarter process and in doing so, always emphasizing - how do we leverage the benefit of the community health worker and at the same time a clinician like a nurse? That is the germ that led us to where our software application is now. “