The Importance of Technology
I’m a techie. I’ve worked for decades with all types of companies – from large internet service providers to small technical start-ups. I am completely enamored with the idea that technology can help people. I mean really help people, not just get them access to their social media fix or the latest Kardashian news. It’s hard to feel that sense of connecting technology to people when you spend all day updating software, cleaning out computer viruses, or fixing broken internet connectivity. Even when I had the opportunity to work directly with clients building solutions for their unique business challenges, I was often still one step removed from where the rubber meets the road (one of my favorite clients was a major community food bank).
One account I worked with had some extraordinary people working to help identify and treat concussion victims. The concept was cutting-edge and the technology was mesmerizing. I had an opportunity to assist them with all things technology from the time they built the building to seeing their first screenings. One of the PhD’s who was working there moved home and took a position with a local Austin company called Iris Telehealth whose mission was simple: provide desperately needed psychiatric services to populations who otherwise would get no, or severely delayed, treatments. This gifted PhD and I had worked closely together at the concussion clinic and since Iris was growing quickly and needed good talent, she asked if I might be interested.
The American Psychiatric Crisis
Thoughts of hi-tech video conference rooms and mobile crisis vans to help victims of traumatic situations swam in my mind. I envisioned the application of a wide variety of technologies to really make a difference for the people that are most in need. I wanted to get into a small, fast-growing company creating huge inroads for reaching the underserved of the American psychiatric crisis. There are just too many people that need help and not enough psychiatrists to fill the need, particularly in rural areas.
Joining Iris Telehealth
I did join the Iris team. And before I did, we vetted each other thoroughly. But I didn’t join for the reasons I thought I would. It didn’t take long to learn that it’s not about the technology at all. Sure, Iris is using encrypted video conferencing to connect remote clinicians and patients, but there is no magic technical gizmo or fancy expensive evaluation hardware. What I discovered is that the real magic is finding the very best psychiatric clinicians and navigating the sea of red tape required for them to practice in any given state or facility.
What Iris does extraordinarily well is hire exceptional clinicians and let them practice in an environment where they can comfortably and efficiently reach patients while we facilitate credentialing and scheduling. We pave the road for services. We carefully match clinicians and facilities and we stay involved in those relationships to make sure everyone is happy.
I still get to explore technologies and technical avenues to improve what we do. There is no blueprint that we can use to guide many of our decisions. We just stick to our core values and build a better way. I spent two days last week facilitating telepsychiatry consultations in one of our larger hospital systems – now I’m where the rubber meets the road, and it’s remarkable.
Ted Bryant is the Clinical Operations and IT Manager for Iris Telehealth.