Our first year of What’s the Fix? welcomed an awesome group of speakers that were willing to take a risk on a conference that was totally new and that was attempting to do something completely different. We sat down with one of them, Andrew Richards, Chief Technology Incubator Officer at the The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, to hear about why he was excited to participate and what he’s taken away from the conference.

Why did you want to participate in What’s the Fix?

I was excited to participate in What’s the Fix? because it was presented as being different than other health care conferences. No booths with vendors pushing their latest offering, no industry leaders giving presentations about solutions that they just happen to sell. Instead we would hear real, passionate stories by those who interact with the health care system. True stories from the patient’s (and parent’s) perspective. Practical examples of how individuals aren’t just talking about change, but actually implementing it.

Honestly, I was a bit worried about being invited to present; working for a major university at a new medical school, I seem to fit all of the stereotypes that the conference was trying to avoid. That being said, the concept and approach of What’s the Fix? made me stand back and truly look at what we were doing at our new medical school. Were we just talking about a “fix” or taking action? What had we learned? More importantly, would what we learned help others to “fix” health care?

What was the biggest insight or learning you had from the conference

Attendees and presenters spanned from patients to parents to innovators. All had a unique experience they wanted to share. Above all, everyone wanted to hear each other’s stories. People weren’t just waiting for their turn to speak, they were honestly listening to one another.

There was a sense of empathy, a feeling that is commonly missing from other health care events. I quickly learned that my concerns about the conference were misplaced; my experience and insights were welcomed. Our shared experiences led to new ideas and helped me consider different approaches to issues I am working to address.

Has it inspired you to make a further commitment to helping change health care? If so, can you explain what that commitment is?

After a whirlwind of presentations, conversations, questions, and hugs, I left knowing that I’m part of a global effort to make things better. No one person can shift the health care industry alone. Even with the support of universities, medical schools, and a huge innovation community, the challenges we face seem insurmountable. After seeing people hack their own medical devices, find ways to work around restrictive legislation to get the right medications for their children, and take to social media to educate providers on a more empathetic ways to treat patients, I was reminded that all it takes is one of us to just start doing something. What’s the Fix? inspired me to quit talking about challenges and solutions; all I need to do is roll up my sleeves, work the problem, and get stuff done (#GSD).

Learn more!

Interested in hearing more about what Andrew discussed at What’s the Fix? Watch his video below and be sure to catch him on Twitter at: @andrewintech