We chatted with Dana Levin-Robinson- the chief of staff at New York-based company VirtualHealth about her career, the challenges she faces and her favourite tech:
Through our platform HELIOS, VirtualHealth helps identify which patients will become high risk, and therefore high cost through extensive data analysis and help healthcare organisations optimise their care. It’s a rare win-win in a very messy industry.
I started my career in advertising, managing multiple campaigns for clients such as Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Otsuka. While I enjoyed the work, it soon became repetitive, and I knew that I needed to move to a career path where I’d never be bored. Being in the healthcare space, I felt technology had so much opportunity to change how people receive their care, so I knew I wanted to be part of the solution.
It is the variety – I oversee four departments, which keeps me involved with all aspects of our operations. That kind of variety probably wouldn’t happen in a more corporate setting, and I love growth-stage companies for those kinds of opportunities.
The most challenging part is making sure that we hire the right people as the company grows – it’s difficult maintaining company culture as you scale.
I’m really fortunate that I get invited to speak at multiple events and share my career story and advice, which has meant I get to meet lots of smart, ambitious women. Any time someone reaches out to me, I always try to respond and, if possible, have a coffee with them. Beyond good karma, it’s important that women help younger women rise up through the ranks and see leadership groups become more diverse.
This advice comes in many phrases, but it boils down to “focus on work”. Company politics, daily stresses, and personal lives make any career difficult, but focusing on the work itself will always pay off. I was never the person people go out to drinks after work with- I’m OK admitting that. But if a client or supervisor wanted something done, I’d always be the person they came to.
Beyond the job qualifications, I look for a certain proactive personality that doesn’t need to be told what to do at every stage. During interviews, I always delve into what kind of management style someone works well under, how they handle mistakes, and how much responsibility they take for their work instead of expecting someone else to give direction.
I’m an acknowledged inbox zero fanatic, and Boomerang is my favourite tool. It allows you to have emails return to your inbox at a designated time, which means I never forget to follow up and that my inbox is as clean as possible.
Companies like VirtualHealth are perfect examples of how tech changes lives – we are optimising the care for 7 million patients. There are of course privacy and security considerations for companies to take into account, but I’m really excited to see how much data predictions will improve healthcare.