Expert Spotlight: Brad Taylor – Technology For Eliminating Drudgery in Healthcare

Brad Taylor, a mission-driven, hands-on technology leader talks about clearing the reliability and accuracy bar in healthcare with technology, the need of empathy and customer understanding as a HealthTech leader and more. Connect with Brad on LinkedIn here.

1. How do you see the role of technology evolving in patient care over the next decade?

There’s so much to get excited about in the future of patient care, but I’m most excited about two advances:

First, for technology to eliminate the drudgery in medicine. The way modern medicine is practiced today requires a clinician staring at a computer to chart, order and coordinate care, instead of being able to look a patient in the eye, and deliver high-quality, personalized care.

While some see a future where doctors are replaced by AI agents, I’m much more excited about a future where clinicians no longer need to document, and can utilize an AI co-pilot that can accurately summarize a patient history, document a visit, order medications and labs, and act as an intelligent interface to the medical record, allowing the clinician to be fully present during the visit.

Second, I’m excited about the potential for AI agents to improve outcomes at a population health level. While I was at Galileo Health, we started to scratch the surface here by combining health information exchange data with a clinical decisioning engine to close HEDIS care gaps. We were focused on pretty basic gaps like an annual well visit, breast cancer screening and the like, but there’s so much room for innovation here to improve patient outcomes and lower total cost of care.

2. Which emerging technologies do you believe will have the greatest impact on healthcare in the near future?

AI is obviously very exciting, but as someone who has been in Health Tech since the early 2000s and has the scars to prove it, it’s the less shiny technologies like FHIR interoperability and the Health Information Exchange that I think will have the clearest impact to patient outcomes in the near term. There is so much power in the data that we as an industry have yet to unlock.

3. What role does/will artificial intelligence play in your current and future projects?

I’ve evaluated AI and Machine Learning for most of the projects my teams have worked on in the last decade, but our practical use of it has been limited. Healthcare has a reliability and accuracy bar that can be hard to clear.

That said, we have seen success applying ML techniques to augment and replace human effort where there’s a discrete, well-defined problem, and a clear success criteria. I look forward to a day where we can use AI to solve more generalized tasks, predictably and reliably, putting patient safety first.

4. Can you share an example of a major project or initiative in healthcare technology that inspired you?

I started working in Health Tech right out of undergrad, back in 2005. Technology was brand new in hospitals, so new that electronic medical records training included a unit on how to use a mouse cursor!

Back then, I was inspired by technology’s potential to reduce medical errors, improve the speed of care delivery and ultimately improve outcomes. We’ve made impressive gains in the last 20 years, and there’s still so much that can be improved.

5. How do you foster a culture of innovation within your technology teams?

Setting the right context is critical for engineers in Health Tech. It’s a complex field with multiple varied customers and often the customers have advanced degrees and deep domain knowledge. To truly innovate, engineers need to  to understand the entire customer journey, what the customer’s goals are and have access to subject matter experts so they can answer detailed questions on how the product is used.

When possible, I like to embed subject matter experts (Clinicians, Operators, etc) in scrum teams to facilitate a deep understanding for the team. With the right context, and a grounding in the team and company’s goals, great engineering teams will suggest innovative ideas. Then the leadership challenge is how to provide ample encouragement and roadmap space to quickly prototype and bring those ideas to light.

6. What are the key skills and qualities you believe are essential for a successful CTO in the healthcare tech sector?

Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to shadow ICU nurses using the EMR that my team had developed. It wasn’t pretty. Seeing them struggle with UIs that I thought were intuitive made me realize that I didn’t spend enough time understanding their pain.

Empathy and understanding are crucial in Health Tech. To be effective, a good CTO should dedicate time to each type of customer, understand their needs, and with that deep understanding, have the technology meet them where they are. Too often, this is seen as “product’s work” but only with deep experience about the customer will good products emerge.

Brad is a hands-on, mission-driven engineering executive who has led teams across a variety of industries, including healthcare, accessibility, gaming, pets and payments. He is currently a fractional CTO and advisor to tech startups in healthtech and climate change. Previously, he served as CTO of Nursa and Galileo, and led multiple engineering verticals at Marqeta through their IPO.