Outcome Health's chief engineer on her new role, the glass ceiling and patient-driven healthcare

The Former VP of Engineering for Twitter opened up about her plans for her new role with the tech unicorn, which include working directly with providers, pharma, patients and payers to improve patient care.
Nandini Ramani Outcome Health

Nandini Ramani, now CEO of Outcome Health, is tasked with strengthening the company’s current tech model and expanding its reach.

Last month, Outcome Health announced the addition of Twitter’s Former Vice President of Engineering Nandini Ramani to its chief engineering officer position. Ramani is tasked with strengthening the company’s current tech model and expanding its reach.

Co-founded in 2006 by Shradha Agarwal and Rishi Shah, Outcome Health is one of the few health IT startups seen as a unicorn with a $5.6 billion valuation. The company’s mission is to place iPad-style tablets or large-format touch screens in provider waiting rooms and offices, with the idea of educating patients on specific needs.

[Also: Outcome Health value climbs to $5.5 billion after first funding round]

So far, Outcome Health has landed the tablets or wall-mounted screens in about 40,000 doctor’s offices -- or 20 percent of all U.S. offices. The company is rapidly expanding, and the addition of Ramani will build on successes and improve the tech with the patient in mind.

“My vision is aligned with the company’s: How do we provide better outcomes for the entire workflow?” said Ramani. “We need to strengthen and build upon the specialty platform to address these needs.”

“First and foremost, we need to be extremely customer-driven,” she continued. “To do so, we need to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. It’s not about encouraging engineers. But to talk to doctors: be there and live it to understand what they deal with on a daily basis.”

In doing so, Ramani and her team will have a customized view and insight into the problems Outcome Health is trying to solve. She’ll work with payers, pharma, patients and physicians to understand what they go through to give her team a way to creatively think about solving their problems.

Both Twitter and Outcome have parallel missions: Connecting people and giving everyone a voice. For Ramani, she plans to use her experience from Twitter -- a platform that puts out 5,000 tweets per second -- to zero-in on improving Outcome Health’s platform.

Outcome Health is breaking ground with its approach to providing patients a voice. Ramani hopes to determine the best way to achieve its mission, ensuring that what Outcome brings to the table aligns with how it’s always been done in healthcare -- but improve upon it.

“Healthcare is something that stays with you throughout your life and touches every human being,” Ramani said. “Every human is touched by it to various degrees -- and that’s where I see parallels. We need to adapt and embrace what exists, but use technology to improve upon those.”

One of the biggest reasons she chose Outcome was the ability to “roll up your sleeves and get to work,” explained Ramani. While most companies can be stuck in a routine, Ramani and her team are encouraged to define what they build and use some of the greatest technologies.

“I can’t deny it: I’m an engineer. And to be empowered to do that and create something new would make any engineer light up,” said Ramani.

But the road to becoming an engineer wasn’t always clearly paved.

“There really is a glass ceiling. It’s challenging for women in engineering, as there are very few of us in the industry -- especially in code and engineering,” she said. “We need to fix that.”

To Ramani, this can be accomplished by nurturing women throughout their entire journey. The idea isn’t just to get more young girls into coding and engineering course, but to be supported by women -- and men.

“Clearly women like myself exist: We need to find them and bring them in. And once they’re in, we need to create an environment to nurture them,” said Ramani. “We need to be mindful of this, and the discussion needs to be part of the mission of that company.”

As a result, Ramani brings this discussion to the table at every company she joins.

“Half of the population are women. And if you only design with one thing in mind, you’re missing out on the other half of the conversation,” she said. “Why should there be only one seat for women at the table? We should be empowering each other… It’s amazing what a ripple effect that it takes.”

Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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