Don Woodlock is the Vice President of InterSystems Corporation’s HealthShare® business unit. Coming with an impressive academic background in Electrical Engineering from the globally renowned MIT, Don brings years of experience in the healthcare industry and is currently responsible for InterSystems HealthShare business, including strategy, product development, commercialization, implementation, and overall customer success. Before coming to InterSystems, he held executive positions at GE Healthcare and IDX Systems Corporation, to name a few.
Mirror Review had a tête-a-tête with the multi-talented InterSystems Vice President. During our candid chat, we asked Don about his personal journey, choice of career in the healthcare industry, roles and responsibilities for HealthShare, and so much more.
What do you consider the main issues in healthcare today?
Today, we have electronic medical records (EMR) in hospitals and clinics around most parts of the world. The main problem is that the data is not truly connected. Moreover, we have silos of medical records in many locations, so the records are not useful to patients.
Mirror Review would love to know about your personal journey. What attracted you to the healthcare industry?
I have been a part of the healthcare industry since my first job. When I started my career as a software engineer, I didn’t really care what industry I joined, and, in hindsight, that was a mistake, because I think the industry plays a big part in the challenge and excitement you get from your career. Therefore, I was extremely lucky to have found my calling in healthcare from the start.
To begin with, one of the most fascinating and rewarding things about healthcare is that it has a social good aspect to it, where you are helping people to stay healthy and curing diseases. Secondly, modern healthcare is a very high tech industry with new technologies and fresh approaches. And lastly, healthcare is also a very complex industry with numerous challenges. From a business point of view, connecting the different parts of the puzzle is extremely beneficial when it comes to software, because we always have things to do and problems to solve.
I have been an active and contributing member of the healthcare fraternity throughout my career, and I intend stay that way because I enjoy it very much.
What role do you play in InterSystems operations and overall growth?
As you know, I work for InterSystems and lead the HealthShare business unit, which is basically a connected suite of healthcare information solutions and an EMR interoperability platform. Essentially, what we are doing is helping customers to solve the problem of connecting all the different medical records that a patient has and allowing that information to flow seamlessly and aggregate. The information, in turn, can be used by physicians or analyzed to detect trends. It can also feed machine learning. And that is what the HealthShare product line is all about. This is actually the next foundational step we need in healthcare. Step one is digitizing the paper records, and step two is connecting all the electronic records, so that you as a patient or you as a physician or government minister of health can really get a handle on patient care.
In what areas does InterSystems stand apart from its current competitors?
We have three business units at InterSystems: InterSystems IRIS Data Platform™, InterSystems TrakCare®, and then we have our HealthShare business. Today, we support the medical records of 500 million patients around the world, and our strength is really about the scalability and reliability of that information, because there is nothing more important than your health and medical records. At InterSystems, we have specialized in supporting large organizations by scaling up their systems safely and securely, as well as making the patient records and information available. In all, we are the principal engine running behind a lot of major EMR vendors, and that has been our company’s specialty in the marketplace.
Would you like to share any additional information about InterSystems latest product launch?
Absolutely! We recently launched a product called InterSystems IRIS for Health™.
The InterSystems IRIS for Health platform combines data management, analytics, and interoperability of our InterSystems IRIS Data Platform with healthcare-specific features, such as FHIR-based application development, healthcare interoperability standards, and an extensible healthcare data model. With the prevalence of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, data analysis and detection become equally important. Also, one of the trends that we’ve noticed is the separation of technologies for operational databases from those for analytical platforms.
We are excited about our latest platform, and I really think that it will help improve healthcare.
On a personal note, who are your sources of inspiration?
I have learned about business leadership from two mentors: Paul Egerman and Terry Ragon, who also happen to be the cofounders of IDX Systems Corporation, and Terry is also the founder and CEO of InterSystems. Paul and Terry have always focused on customers as the primary and utmost priority of their business. On the other hand, a lot of other people with whom I have worked focused on financial success or profits or predictability in the short-term and other kinds of metrics that are useful but rather secondary. The most important thing that I have learned from Paul and Terry is that you must focus on customers; you must make sure they are successful. This valuable lesson has immensely helped me and continues to be my golden rule.
Could you please share your motto with us? What are the key ingredients to success?
“Your customers’ success is your success.” The problem in business or any large organization is that there are so many metrics and distractions that define keys to success. If we visit a library for books on management, everyone has a different opinion about the keys to success. However, I feel that the real keys to success are focusing on customers and putting the best team in the field. And if you just have these two pillars, you will be successful.
Last question, our readers would love to know about your experience while studying at one of the most renowned educational institutions of the world, MIT.
Sure! I loved studying at MIT, and currently, I am sitting next to it. InterSystems is fairly integrated with MIT, and we also recruit MIT students. Recently, we sponsored the MIT Grand Hack, which was a weekend Hackathon.
I went to MIT 30 years ago and had a wonderful time. As a lifelong learner and a curious person, I found my time in the rich academic environment of MIT quite invigorating. I was and still am a rock musician and had a band at MIT. During those days, we played music at all the dorm, fraternity, and sorority parties around town. Additionally, I also found a connection between math-oriented people and musicians, creating a harmonious balance of science and art that was really stimulating and a lot of fun.