Tech Tonics: Rasu Shrestha – Living Inside the Culture Clash

December 12th, 2016 |
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Rasu Shrestha, MD, is one of those doctors who found his way from medicine to technology. As he puts it, he rolled downhill from his birthplace in Kathmandu, Nepal, across many continents and into medical school in India. But Rasu kept rolling, finding his way to London, Los Angeles and then Pittsburgh where he now serves as Chief Innovation Officer at UPMC, one of the nation’s largest integrated delivery systems.

According to Rasu a culture clash is playing out in healthcare, specifically a clash between physicians and innovators and the tension between what is known and what is new. Doctors are taught to “go with the evidence-based – the tried, the true the tested.” On the other hand, innovators are taught to do something totally new outside the realm of what is known. The two need to come together. Rasu is calling for a shift in mindset from doing digital to being digital and for a coming together of physicians and innovators towards mutual goals that incorporate design thinking, end user engagement and new ways of understanding each other’s perspectives. Rasu acknowledges that this shift is essential given the role that UPMC plays in defining digital health success stories as both purchaser and one of the nation’s most prolific funders of digital health products and services.

And like many physician-innovators we have interviewed at Tech Tonics, Rasu has a creative side that extends beyond the medical. He is a prolific painter and likes to express himself as much through canvas as code.

We are grateful to AARP for sponsoring this episode of TechTonics. AARP’s Market Innovation team works to spark innovation in the market that will benefit the quality of life for people over the age of 50.

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