TOP (Technology, Organization, People) management requires systems savvy -- the ability to grasp the capabilities of a technology and how that technology might be meshed with organizational practice.  People with systems savvy understand that technologies and practices are intertwined — and they know how to make adjustments to both the technology and the practice to effectively weave them together.  In some of my earlier posts I've mentioned people I believe have systems savvy.  Here and in future posts I'll be be presenting how how systems savvy (capability) can be used to practice TOP management (action). Yesterday, the WSJ included Don Clark's Take Two Digital Pills and Call Me in the Morning.  Andrew Thompson, CEO Proteus Biomedical Inc., and the other executives described in this article must practice TOP management to lead their ventures successfully.  For example, Proteus is testing a miniature digestible chip (the chip can be attached to conventional medication for less than a penny per pill) that communicates with a skin-worn sensing device that communicates via cell/internet with doctors.  The information includes confirmation that the medication is being used as well as vital signs.  Thompson (see the YouTube video below) says they are working in the field of "intelligent medicine."  Intelligent in that information is tied to the therapy. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQhj3QRxK9s These intelligent systems tie together technology (the chips and their communication systems), organization (Doctors engaged in remotely monitoring patients, insurance companies involved in the reimbursement for the system), and people (taking human error out of the reporting process).  The effective use of these systems may have broad impact:  Clark writes, "Dozens of large and small companies are turning to wireless technology to achieve what the Obama administration is seeking through legislation: a health-care system that keeps people healthier for less."  One of Clark's sources describes "annual savings from remote monitoring at $10.1 billion for U.S. sufferers of congestive heart failure, $6.1 billion for diabetes and $4.9 billion for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." Andrew Thomson, William Chang, Randy Thurman, and Eric Topol (all mentioned in the article) practice TOP management in that they steer their ventures through a complex environment including:
  • Safety & privacy -- Subject to Federal regulation
  • Costs & negotiations -- Insurance reimbursement and doctors' related willingness to perscribe
  • Technology understanding -- For example, cell phones used to be banned in many hospital settings, now they are used as portable information devices for doctors
A leader in this setting cannot only be a lobbyist, liaison, or technologist.  They must be able to see how adjustments in any one area can be effectively intertwined with adjustments in the others.  Proteus even has a promo video making some of these points as they describe intelligent medicine as "technology + communication + healthcare."  I found interesting the variety of ways they are thinking about communication: Monitoring device to patients, family, doctor... as well as technology to technology: (e.g., hip implant to running shoes). TOP management is important in all organizations.  The executives in these intelligent medicine ventures can serve as exemplars given their extreme needs to manage technology, organization, and people together.  Particular examples of how they or others do this would be of great interest.