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Technology at One Medical

Jun 12, 2018
By Stuart Parmenter
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Technology at One Medical

Building an ecosystem of collaborative care

There is a lot of tech in health care, but it’s not fixing anything.

I’ve been hearing for years that tech is going to save health care.

First, it was electronic health records (EHRs) and patient portals, then telehealth, and now wearables and apps, each heralded as the key to a revolution in quality and cost. In any one of these categories, you can point to companies valued in the billions who seem like they should be having an impact. Health care should feel like every other industry, totally transformed by tech.

But it’s not. You don’t need me to explain all the ways health care is broken. You’ve read the articles. You’ve experienced it yourself or through someone you care about.

What is often missing from the conversation, however, is that technology is everywhere in health care but with one critical flaw: these systems don’t talk to each other. This inability to communicate is not just a problem between parts of the healthcare system, but within hospitals or even individual clinics. Health tech has moved individual processes off of paper, sure, but it has failed to facilitate communication and teamwork among the people providing the care.

We’re not just building tech for tech’s sake. We’re solving real problems.

At One Medical, we create technology that builds and empowers relationships between our patients and clinicians. Most healthcare organizations buy third-party software, cobbling together the needs of their business across disparate, specialized, and isolated tools.

Our interest is in creating an ecosystem of technology with which our clinicians can practice the best possible health care. We call that ecosystem 1Life. We’ve built our technology from the ground up to be integrated across our organization and, moreover, to make communication and collaboration easy.

1Life’s heart is an EHR and charting system designed and built alongside clinicians to be the easiest way to record and read patient care information. But that’s just the beginning. The foundation of our EHR is a modern tech stack, built on Rails, implemented with technologies like GraphQL and ElasticSearch, all deployed on top of AWS infrastructure. In addition to the EHR, 1Life includes our scheduling, administrative, tasking, and messaging platforms, as well as our our patient web portal and native iOS and Android apps.

1Life connects patients to clinicians and clinicians to each other.

Not only does 1Life connect our members to our care teams, it connects our care teams to one another. We’ve built out robust internal tasking and communications systems so that everyone who helps a patient — doctor, phlebotomist, admin, or anyone else — has relevant context and history, as well as all the tools necessary to get that person what they need.

For example, if you start a Video Visit, the clinician on the line will have access to your care history with One Medical, including lab results, visit notes, and past message conversations. When you come in for your next appointment, your primary care provider in the office can see that you had a Video Visit and can follow up on that issue if needed.

With over 70 offices in eight major cities and care teams available 24/7 via our apps, 1Life is what allows us to create a seamless experience for our members. We’re building something effectively unheard of in the rest of health care: a seamless experience for clinicians and care providers.

Connection and collaboration are built into our DNA.

In health care, “seamless” and “delightful” aren’t just nice to haves. We’re responsible for the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people, and making sure they feel cared for every single day matters.

We’re a team of engineers, designers, and product managers with leaders from companies like Box, Mozilla, Slack, and Salesforce, working alongside care providers and operations leaders from world-class organizations like UCSF, Stanford, Rush, and DaVita. We combine that vision and expertise with the perspective and experience of the One Medical employees who care for our members every day.

As our Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Kimber Lockhart puts it, our people have “self-selected to be part of a group that cares a lot. It’s this wonderful, self-reinforcing pattern of being at a company that attracts people almost exclusively because of the mission. It also means it’s a very collaborative culture.”

Collaboration between teammates, collaboration between patients and providers, and, perhaps most importantly, and collaboration between each member of a patient’s care team is a lot of collaboration. With out the right tools, can turn into complications and confusion. All of this cooperation is optimized by surfacing and sharing the right data at the right time. 1Life allows everyone to work seamlessly together to ensure the highest quality care.

Connection and collaboration let us solve really hard problems well.

While we’ve made huge progress within One Medical, we haven’t fixed health care yet. EHRs are still a major cause of provider burnout throughout the industry — adding further obstacles to an already massive, overwhelming system littered with complexities, friction, and dead ends. We’re leveraging technology to make that enormous, terrifying system fade into the background so all that’s left is the relationships between the people getting and giving care.

Our engineers affect the quality of people’s lives — not through an entertainment device or a socializing tool, but with services and products that enhance and improve patients’ physical and mental health, helping people feel better in every aspect of their lives. Our software’s job is to let our real product — the service of providing intimate, personal, compassionate health care—come to the forefront.

That’s a unique gift, but also a tremendous responsibility that’s rife with challenges: health improvements often require patient involvement, behavior change, and seamless communication with a support team. We’re all about finding new solutions to tough, knotty problems so that our clinicians can better care for people.

We’re the tech that’s actually fixing health care: join us.

We know that’s a big goal. We’re proud of what we’ve done so far and we’re energized by the challenges still ahead, both within One Medical and the healthcare system as a whole.

We’ve got an amazing team of providers, admins, engineers, and leaders on our team who are up to the challenge, but we know we’re going to need a lot of help. We’re growing and looking for other folks interested in finally bringing useful technology to health care. We’re extremely excited about the good we think we can do.

Whether you’re a patient, a fan, or you want to be part of our team, we hope you’ll join us on our mission to transform health care for everyone. Learn more on our careers page.

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Stuart Parmenter

Stuart co-founded Rise, a mobile app for dieting and health, that connects users with their own personalized diet plans and daily feedback from nutrition coaches for a fraction of the usual cost. Rise was acquired by One Medical in 2016. Before Rise, Stuart ran mobile at Mozilla.

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.