We recently sat down with Amy Gleason, COO of CareSync and newly named White House Precision Medicine 'Champion of Change' to find out how she and her company are disrupting the healthcare system with a mix of technology and patient advocacy. Here's what she had to say.
Ellen T Matloff: You were one of nine people recently honored at the White House as a Precision Medicine ‘Champion of Change’, which is a huge achievement. Congratulations!
Amy Gleason: Thank you very much.
ETM: Give us a brief overview of CareSync.com?
AG: Care Sync combines human powered services with technology to provide a health summary and a care plan for physicians and consumers so that all medical records are accessible to everyone on that patient’s team. If the patient isn’t tech savvy or connected to technology, we can get their family or friend involved and that person can be the point person.
We also solve each patient’s problem, if we can. For example, if a patient can’t afford medications we can help them find ways to get their medications.
ETM: What gave you the idea for CareSync and how has the company evolved?
AG: We started in 2011. My CEO and I built an electronic medical record (EMR) several years ago, working mostly with providers. Then my own daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease in 2010 and I saw what it was like from the patient and family side. My daughter had 11 different providers and they didn’t communicate with each other. I was carrying a huge binder of records from provider to provider and trying to explain to each provider what the last provider said. It was then that the idea for CareSync was born.
ETM: How is your daughter doing?
AG: She still has a lot of health issues, but is doing okay and is a patient advocate herself at age 16.
ETM: Your company has received a lot of awards in a short period of time – what is your secret?
AG: Our entire company is all for the patient. We all have a strong passion for helping people in need. Our health care system is fragmented and we are all hard core passionate about helping the patient. Because we built EMR we are very big on standardized terminology, which has been helpful in creating our model.
ETM: What is your background?
AG: I started out as a nurse and began implementing EMR and then designing EMR…
I worked for a small EMR start-up company and the next thing you know I was developing an EMR about diabetic care with a technician.
ETM: What advice do you have for female COOs?
AG: Follow your passion and the rest just kind of happens. I was inspired when we designed an EMR and you could just print out a requisition – I could see that this would save so much time for nurses, and that they could spend that extra time with their patients. That passion is the key to success.
ETM: How have you used social media in Care Sync?
AG: We have FB page, Twitter, Instagram accounts as well as a blog. We use this as a space to educate people that patients are a big part of the health care team. We share stories, educate, and do tweetchats. Also, CareSync is somewhat of a social network for patients --- for example, my daughter can tell all of her caregivers and support system what she is going through, and it is a very supportive environment.
Cure JM is trying to find a cure for my daughter’s disease. We can fundraise for specific research projects that matter to us – we can fund the things we’re interested in. An important part of Precision Medicine is to get patient power behind us to fund research that we care about. Sometimes people look for institutions and the government to do the research and the work, but patients can do a lot themselves. You have power. You have the power to make a huge difference.