“Meet Grand Rounds” is a series of interviews introducing some of the people working to make quality health care accessible to everyone, everywhere.
The Engineering team at Grand Rounds is a tight-knit group of software engineers, quality assurance engineers, architects and program managers dedicated to making a life-changing—and sometimes even life-saving—product for our patients, customers, and expert physicians. Learn more about our new CTO and SVP of Engineering, Wade Chambers, in the Q&A below.
What inspired you to join Grand Rounds?
Technology has been applied to a variety of problem areas with amazing results. I question, in many cases, whether technology has positively evolved culture and/or quality of life. That personally matters to me. I have seen what skilled craftsmen can do with technology to reduce cost while dramatically improving the speed of innovation and quality in an area. I believe the world needs its best people expertly applying technology to health care and I strongly believe that Grand Rounds represents one of the best opportunities for a technologist to make a difference in a meaningful way.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
The impact we (and I) can make with the Grand Rounds mission. We need to continue our ability to lead in the space by putting the best tools and technology in the hands of a world-class team and work with them to identify and focus on the projects that deliver differentiated impact for our members and customers. It’s exciting to work with a talented team on tough technical challenges that matter.
What do you think the unique opportunities and challenges are for engineers in the health care industry?
There are a lot of roles where you can have an impact to a company, but not as many where you can say the same for an industry, and even less in an industry that matters (in an evolutionary sense). In the health care industry, I think you disrupt by creating real value (solving specific pain points) in a 10x way WHILE doing so safely (health care is a highly regulated industry). This isn’t for the weak of heart and/or the cowboy engineer. It requires real science. It requires an understanding of scale. It requires applied intelligence. It requires accuracy AND precision. It requires urgency. It also requires an engineer to have the deeper sense of self that transcends the need for instant gratification (being part of the next fad) and instead commit to the attainment of a higher level goal. Those that can will build the skills necessary (and valued in any industry) to transform health care for their parents and children.
How did you get started in your career field?
While working in the Situation Room at the White House, I taught myself the HyperTalk scripting language to help automate some of the tasks I had as part of my job. In the process, I asked a few of the engineers a ton of questions related to programming so I could improve my skills and improve my results. In the process, I impressed one of the Directors who left to create a startup and asked me to join as one of the first five engineers. As the other four engineers were brilliant, I recognized it as an opportunity for me to learn the craft in a very applied way. It was painful and effective, and it started my career as a software engineer.
If you could change one thing in U.S. health care, what would it be?
Make it possible to conveniently have the best care needed when you need it. Today’s version of health care has so many inefficiencies and opaque quality measures, skill levels, processes, and costs that the average person doesn’t normally take the time to understand how to navigate the system to get the best/needed health care. If they do, it isn’t convenient, fast, or cost-effective. I don’t think we will organically get there in my lifetime unless technology is applied in a way that addresses cost, quality, and convenience.
What are you most passionate about outside of the office?
Experiences, Connection, and Craftsmanship (even better when an “and” is involved instead of an “or”). Almost every hour I’m not at work is spent in one of these three areas. I love experiencing new things and places (recently been to Machu Picchu, down the Amazon River, and dog sledding in the Arctic Circle), spending time with family and friends (my home life is optimized around this), and engaging in activities that require craftsmanship in some area (brewing beer, woodworking, cooking/smoking/BBQ, etc). The trifecta is when they all collide—cooking with friends and/or family while experiencing something amazing.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Group Vulcan Mind Meld. I find that almost everyone I have worked with comes to the position with positive intent, strengths, skills, and depth, yet so much time is spent on untangling the complexities of where a person is at (their experience, training, blind spots, ego, environment, upbringing, etc.). And this gets worse when multiplied by communication complexity (packaging things in a way that can be accurately decoded by others). I wish I had the superpower to instantly understand the richness and complexity of everyone I spend time with so I could fully leverage that person in a way that is meaningful and valuable (and vice-versa).
Read more “Meet Grand Rounds” posts here.