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  • Writer's pictureOscar ONeill

Oscar ONeill on Dr. Annette Richard's Origin Stories

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Annette Richard and I had a great talk on her new podcast, Origin Stories. Check out the post on her blog here. And click here if you want to listen to our discussion through your favourite listening app (Spotify, Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts, etc).

We talked about a number of things, ranging from how I got started on my current career; how Dr. Richard is benefitting from Norm the Robot working in her practice; the future of automation and artificial intelligence for the healthcare industry; and a whole lot more!

Here's a transcript of our talk:

Annette: Oscar, thank you so much for taking the time to agree to this interview.

Oscar: Thank you for having me.

Annette: Origin Stories is a personal project for my own interest and curiosity, nothing more. I’m approaching people who I find fascinating and whose origin story I’m interested to explore.

I met you approximately three years ago, I believe, as a referral from my great friend, Alenka Manners, whose business is Life Made Easier. I am beyond grateful to you for all the amazing work you’ve done. It helped me get to where I am with my medical practice.

Can you tell me—tell me about your business and how do you create a digital staff?

Oscar: Years ago, I started a business back in high school, and I was initially helping seniors with small computers tasks. I found that a lot of people didn’t have the IT skills, and they needed someone to help them. So I started there, but I learned that, overtime, businesses actually also didn’t have these IT skills, so I started moving more and more into where I am now with the business.

I really like the kind of area that I’m in now because of the kind of automation that I’m building and how essentially DigitalStaff helps businesses and people to automate certain repetitive tasks that are just time-consuming, repetitive, maybe not very value-added. Really, I created it just through like a series of happy, little accidents and then just learning every day, trying new things, and then seeing that people really value automation.

I also really enjoy automating things. I like the idea of breaking down a process, breaking it down and seeing how it works and then building a solution or software that actually can do that thing all by itself.

What I really like about that is I could be sleeping and then these software robots can be doing work and helping other people. That’s kind of how I created it.

Annette: From a young age, it sounds like you were interested in taking complex things and making them simpler? Also, you’re an amazing teacher, and you’re very gentle with your teaching. You have great clarity. You do a lot of deep listening and then reflecting back to the person for understanding.

Why was it that here you are, a high-schooler helping seniors, how did that start?

Oscar: Actually, it started a bit like the government of Ontario has this business program, the Summer Company Program. Instead of getting a summer job at a small business or some franchise flipping burgers, I started my own little computer repair, computer coaching business. I think that’s where I got started.

I mean that wasn’t a very good response, but…

Annette: No, you did. Every response is perfect.

What is it about—did you ever have, at a young age, someone in your life that acted like a coach for you?

Oscar: I think over the years, I’ve had a number of mentors. I learned from books, from people, but notably, I’d say you’re one of my biggest mentors.

The reason for that is I’ve learned that you just want to focus on what your unique strength is, what you’re very good at, which is talking with your patients, helping them to solve their health issues, understanding their issues, and then really just helping them. That’s really taught me how people just want to do what they’re very good at. They really enjoy staying in that area.

I think I learned that from you as well as reducing the amount of work that you’d have to spend on things that are outside of that area.

I also have a couple of other mentors. Rob Brunet who run Brunet Co. Intellectual Property. They do patents and trademarks. He’s just always helped me to see my business and see where I’m going and to always get me to think of like, “What am I doing? Is this repeatable? Is this really valuable? What do people actually want?”

I have another mentor, Patrick Poulin, from TechAlliance. He’s just helped me to really keep going, to always just get things done, to keep moving, to be marketing and really get the idea out there, and also to even simplify my offerings.

Finally, I think my dad and my mom are both pretty big mentors, and I learned a lot from them. They’d really helped me a lot.

Annette: What is your unique ability? If you could do one thing all day long that just fascinates you and occupies your attention. You could do many things, but what is your absolute unique ability?

Oscar: That’s a good question. I think it really is—it’s more about how lots of different ideas or technologies or systems connect and then making them all into one seamless workflow, to really think about, “Where are we right now? Where would we like to be?” and then figuring out what’s going on in the middle. I really enjoy that.

I think my ability also is to make technology more seamless for everyone involved. Like you said, making things a bit more simpler, making things that maybe require 10 clicks for 10 minutes into something that requires one click in a single minute. Really, it’s process thinking. Essentially that.

Annette: In the world, I believe that there is increasing complexity in the world, and what people want and need is simplicity. If you can come up with something that can take complexity and make it simpler for people, that is what people want and need. They may not even know they need it yet.

That’s one of the reasons I was interested in doing this interview with you, because I think you’re fabulous. I think everybody should know about you.

My next question actually to that end is around AI and the use of robots. Thanks to you, we’re using a robot in the practice, who I nicknamed Norm. Tell me about your approach to AI and what you think the future is for yourself in terms of AI.

Oscar: Great question. I think the future for me right now, it’s blending artificial intelligence with having the computer think on being able to make decisions by itself in certain areas, as well as robotic process automation, which is more just like the clicking, the typing, the doing of tasks on the computer. Really, I see right now where we’re at, actually, it’s like industry 4.0.

Way back when we were like cavemen essentially, we were just working in the fields. Actually, we didn’t even have fields. We just picked berries off little shrubberies, right? Then we learned, “Oh, we can actually grow crops,” and then we’ve developed through time to really advance in certain ways.

I think AI is kind of industry 4.0. That’s why I’m so interested in it because it completely changes the way that we’re working.

What I really enjoy about it is how there’s a lot of value that can be created. There’s a lot of people that we can help with this AI.

For instance right now, with the whole COVID-19 pandemic, in Ontario actually, Ontario’s releasing like COVID-19 cases and death numbers every day. What I notice is that, actually, they release them, but they’re 24 hours old, maybe a bit older. What that means is that people who are making decisions about the pandemic would be making decisions on information that’s a little bit maybe out of date.

I’ve actually built an automation the past week that goes in to these public health units, and it actually—basically, it makes sure that the counts that we have are the most up-to-date as possible as reported by the health units, which means that people can get the data within an hour instead of 24 hours or longer, which means that we can possibly reallocate resources, make sure certain hospitals or areas have masks, ventilators more quickly essentially.

I think that’s one area that I’m interested in where AI can actually speed up processes that previously would be kind of slow because people aren’t necessarily slow, but a computer can just do things faster. That’s one thing that I really enjoy about this AI that you can just have this computer do this processing, and then we can actually use that information faster and help people more accurately in less time.

Annette: Actually, what you’re coming up with is something that, once again, people didn’t know they needed until something came about. It’s what I call—I mean I understand that there is great loss of life and sadness and illness for people facing this virus, so I’m not in any way minimizing the tragedies it has represented for people. But this I think is one of the many gifts I could see because we’re in the midst of something now, but it is completely probable that there will be something else sadly.

I mean this has always been predicted, and it’s a fascinating thing in that I was around for SARS in Toronto, and it really didn’t seem to have the effect that this has had even though if you look back historically, we as humans have dealt with the coronavirus for hundreds of years.

The difference is that this particular is kind of a mutation from an animal species, and the coronavirus, the typical coronavirus that can cause symptoms of the common cold, likes to replicate. These viruses are in cells, likes to replicate at 33 to 35 degrees, which is in our nose and the back of our throat. It doesn’t typically like 37 degrees, which is the temperature in our lungs, but this bad species mutation does.

Clearly, this is something that’s happened, and there will be something else. So it’s preparedness in the face of sort of not knowing.

How do you think this tool that you have created—I love the idea about resource allocation. Let’s go forward three years, and we’ve passed this, and nature love humans 15, or we’re at Love 1515. What do you think can be the use of this going forward?

Oscar: I think this kind of automation can be applied to almost any industry really where there’s reporting going on or where there’s just straightforward processes.

For instance, in a hospital, at the moment, there are tests that have to be carried out by doctors, technicians, and just taking the test is fairly fast, but then there’s a lot of data entry involved. There’s even if it’s like the end of your lungs to try to diagnose pneumonia. These computers can actually now look at images of pneumonia and actually diagnose it and say, “Yes, here is pneumonia in this picture,” and it could happen literally in a matter of minutes. Whereas previously, you would have to wait days or a longer period of time to find out and actually diagnose certain health issues.

This technology can essentially speed up certain processes. It can make it faster so people can get healthcare sooner. As well I think, just even from the patient or the user’s perspective, with things being easier, they can have a better time of interacting with hospitals.

For instance, we could automate patient booking even more so, so that’s even easier for patients to find appointment times. Instead of having back and forth, you could actually automate that.

I’d like to, in the next three years, hopefully get more hospitals to know about this kind of technology to get public health units to know about it, because I think really, helping you with it I think is awesome, but I know that if we’re working with an organization that has 10x, 100x, 1,000x more patients, there’s even more value that we can create.

And even if we could save just one life with this technology and timesaving, I think that would be amazing. That’s what I’d like to eventually do in the next couple of years.

Annette: I completely agree with you. I was saying to someone else that I think part of what I practice sadly—I mean in the Western medical model, it’s more sick care rather than healthcare. It’s not the way I necessarily want to practice. I want to change the way I practice, but that is sadly the way things are.

You come to a doctor with a symptom, and we try to figure out the cause of that and treat it and tell you a way and then maybe come up with another symptom. I believe in technology, and I believe that healthcare should be more squarely in the hands of the individual. What are your thoughts on that?

Oscar: I think with this kind of automation, definitely it would be putting more power into the hands of the patient.

In the past, when patients have their charts for instance, it’s on paper. It’s at a certain doctor’s office. And if they want to be able to see their chart, they would actually have to go to the office. They’d have to photocopy it and get that. It can take some time. It’s going to cost them some money.

The other thing is that actually, with having the patient’s chart in that physical doctor’s office on paper, it’s not very accessible to other people who could actually help that patient with their healthcare.

Whereas I see, Ontario is actually moving more into this area where this kind of chart would be shared amongst hospitals and other organizations so that if you did have an emergency situation, the hospital would know immediately, “Oh, this person is allergic to this thing. We shouldn’t give them that. Instead, we should do this,” and would be able to actually essentially help patients better.

If patients want to have access to their chart, I can see us having a secure, safe portal for them to access all of the records, all of their tests, all of the medical history that they have. Right now, it’s still not as accessible.

Where RPA and AI could come in play here is connecting the various systems and bringing them all to work together, because often, technologies don’t really connect very well, and it can be a lot of work to get them to connect. But I think this automation can make various hospital and healthcare systems more connected, which would in turn help the patient.

Annette: I agree with you because we all want good healthcare. We want to actually live our lives without having fear and worry or the unknown of our health.

And I think when you have access to information—I mean I think we’ve learned so much about Fitbits that when people actually monitor their own steps, they take more steps. They know, “Oh, this is 5,000 steps. This is my 10,000th step, and they actually act upon it. You give people the information—now, they can choose not to buy a Fitbit, but if you want to actually have change, it’s got to be in the person’s hand, and they have to understand what it means.

What I would like to do going forward is have people be able to access their results and then have a YouTube or some sort of a video that will help them understand what it means, because right now, if I go for a chest X-Ray to a lab, I can actually maybe get the result. I may actually be able to look at my own X-Ray. But unless I understand how to read an X-Ray, it really won’t make much sense to me.

So you’re right. I have to wait until an individual, a radiologist looks at that X-Ray and then creates a report, and all of that takes time. So nobody can act upon it. I can see it within maybe 24 hours. So what you’re suggesting is using AI to mechanize that, to automate that, to come up with diagnoses so that there’s a response. Does that sound about right?

Oscar: Yeah, exactly. I think AI can solve a lot of problems for us, but I think there’s still going to be space for people in this whole system. I see we could automate a lot, but the whole reason we’re automating this is for the patient. It’s for their health, so it’s for their good, for the benefit of them.

I think with this technology, we can basically make things happen faster, more easily, more connected, more thorough, even more accurate because these AI diagnosing robots, they’re actually even more accurate than some radiologists or technicians who are actually diagnosing it because these robots are basically being trained—they’ve seen 100,000 or a million different scans of what pneumonia looks like, and they have a very accurate picture of what it looks like. I don’t think people can actually do as many scans as a computer could in the same amount of time.

Annette: And I think when it comes into a situation where there is, all of a sudden, now, like COVID, a massive requirement on the healthcare system for resources and X-Rays, etc., it doesn’t undermine the need for human beings.

I mean medicine to me has always been like many things. You do exactly what I do in some ways. We’re the same. You see a problem, you listen to the patient, you get a full history, you reflect back to them your understanding, you look for solutions and then find something. Of course, the individual has to agree to it, and then you have a relationship. And hopefully, if there’s one of trust, they will take your advice because you are a mentor, you’re a guide, you’re someone taking them along the journey, someone who has expertise that they’ve come to.

In so many ways, we’re all the same. We’re all servants of how can we have the human capacity and using our relationship skills and clinical acumen that the person needs and then have technology handle so many of the other parameters that are repetitive. I don’t know if I’ve had said that very well.

Oscar: I think I understand what you’re saying. Essentially, it’s still the patient relationship between you and your patient. You’re listening to them, you’re understanding their needs. They’re listening, they’re understanding what you’re telling them. And then really, it’s all about the technology being a part or a tool of that relationship and you helping the patient.

This is exactly how I see this automation, AI. I don’t want some AI overlord to control our everyday lives and tell us what to do all the time. Rather, I think it’s better when, like yourself, the doctor, you’re in control, and you see the patient, you see what needs to be done, and then you’re referring to this AI to figure one small bit out for you or to move information through to then help the patient better.

Actually I think, probably in the future, we could even have chat-bot doctors, but I still don’t think too many people would be interested, because while you can talk with a robot, people know it’s a robot. People don’t trust computers as much, and computers also don’t understand—they still can’t understand a lot of nuances.

When you’re talking with a patient, you can see what’s going on in their face. When they talk about the kind of pain they’re having, you can see that. You can feel, you can hear the tone of their voice. Computers maybe can do that, but they still don’t really have that personal connection. I see you and the patient have the connection, and then these computers are really just helping you to provide better care essentially.

In the end, it’s all up to the patient. If they want to go ahead with what you’ve suggested or what kind of thing is being discovered, then it’s up to them. They are free to deny or not go with any recommendations or even to get a second opinion from other doctors or computers potentially.

Annette: That’s true. That’s why I think it’s almost as if this system—we’re just talking about Western medicine—has evolved that we are afraid to give everything to the patient. We don’t trust that they will make good decisions. It’s sort of like you mentioned. It’s kind of like an overlord or patriarchal. They have to be told what to do. They don’t know any better.

And I think when people have access to information as it specifically pertains to them, they will make good decisions. And then people like you and I, we’ll be like guides, guides and mentors.

If we were having this conversation three years from today, and you were looking back over these last three years, what needs to happen in your professional life for you to be happy with your progress?

Oscar: Definitely I think its continually growing, it’s solving new problems, and it’s working with new customers and clients and people every day.

Ideally, I almost see it like the technology part, it’s there. I know we can build technology that will handle certain problems, but I think part of it is gaining trust with people, with building trust, helping hospitals to see the value, public health units to see the value in this technology that it’s not actually a bad thing, that it can help them, that we’re not replacing people, we’re not getting rid of people, but rather, this technology is just there to automate or rather to augment the work that they do.

Three years, ideally, it’d be great if I could have 100 customers, lots of these automations going every day, and just working very reliably and helping people. I’d love to get feedback from the people we’re actually helping, from the patients or from the users and just to hear how their life has been improved by these automations.

I think it’s already happening in a little way, which I’m really happy about, and I just want to see that happen more, because automation isn’t the end goal. The end goal is more the patient or the user and what kind of outcome they have.

Ideally, we could make people’s health better. Maybe save lives, help people get better faster, and then just make everything a bit easier and less cumbersome. I think that’s where I’d like to be in three years.

Annette: Well, apropos to what we’ve been talking about, I had the great good fortune of meeting you and seeing how brilliant you were and how you could help me be better.

I have an electronic medical record system. Even when I graduated, I trained with some guys that used electronic medical records. This was back in ’95 when the vast majority of doctors were still using paper and pen. And so I’ve always been interested in technology and how to make things easier and more reliable. I’ve always been on that journey.

The most recent electronic medical record system I have is called Accuro. It’s from a company out of BC. The reason I switched was there was a company I was using since I graduated, ’98 or ’97, called York-Med, and it was connected to a system out of Quebec. So there was a booking system where you had the patient’s demographics, etc., and you could have a scheduler, and then there was another part that was called Purkinje that was called the electronic medical record. Somehow, they got divorced, and I ended up going to Accuro.

Accuro had an online booking system called Medeo, and for several reasons, many reasons, patients came to me with dissatisfaction. Partly, not to cast dispersions on the company, but it was also the technical. It was the support people are in BC, which is three hours behind. There were some issues back and forth.

So I approached you to say, “How could you help me help them?” like in Jerry Maguire, “Help me to help you.” And so I came to you, and you came up with this absolutely brilliant creation. Can you tell me about how you did that?

Oscar: Sure, yeah. Like you mentioned, you were using this Medeo Health as the online booking system. It worked, I would say, 95% of way there. Overall, it was a very good experience, and actually, I even suggested to you that we should just stay with it because it’s good enough, and I think it’s fine.

But you know yourself and you know your patients best, and that’s why we went ahead to see how we could improve the online booking experience.

So we set up Calendly, and we’ve used this with this automation software to basically connect the online booking system, Calendly, with your electronic medical record software, Accuro. So really, creating it was all about having a seamless or easy user experience.

For instance, one thing we did was get rid of passwords and get rid of accounts. The reason we did that was just to make it even more easy and accessible because a lot of your patients were having trouble managing accounts and passwords to set up appointments.

But the thing is, if you’re booking an appointment, why do you need to have an account? You don’t have to actually—you’re not sharing any information that you don’t want to. With Calendly, you’re not putting your health card number in. There’s no confidential—the confidential information would be your email, your name, your phone number, but other than that, there isn’t really anything going in there, right?

We use Calendly, and then essentially, the automation. It knows when someone books an appointment in Calendly, and then what it does is it goes ahead and then adds it into Accuro for you. So essentially, this automation has connected these two disparate systems so that they can work together better.

And Calendly also, it has more features than Medeo Health, which allows us to create a more seamless experience for you and your patients. For instance, previously, when people were booking appointments, we wouldn’t be able to have different kinds of appointments at the same time. But the issue—

One thing you’re doing which a lot of doctors haven’t really been doing is the online appointments. So Calendly actually allowed us to have the option to either, let’s say at 10:00 am to 10:30, we could either have an in-person appointment, we could have an injection-type appointment, it could be an online appointment, it could be a physical. It doesn’t matter what kind of appointment it is. We could just book it in there, and the patient could choose and whichever time.

Because really, that makes sense. When you call your doctor and you say, “Hi, I’d like to have a physical,” they just book you in for a time. It’s not like 10:30 to 11:00. It has to be physical. It could be you’re open, you’re available for whichever kind of appointment you’re having.

Really, it was connecting Calendly with Accuro and then just allowing and having an easier user interface.

Some of your patients, they actually weren’t able to use Medeo Health because it was too complex. There were too many buttons they had to click. There were too many almost dead ends where they book the appointment, and now, “Now what? I have to sign in? I have to log in?” It just wasn’t as straightforward. It wasn’t a very easy user interface for your patients.

And then the final thing is that we’ve created this new website for you as well,, and we’ve made the online booking even easier and more seamless.

Now, a patient can go directly to your website, they can click “book a 30-minute online appointment,” and then they can book it within, I’d say, less than a minute with very little overhead, very little thinking required of how to use the system because it is so seamless now. Whereas before, it was I think a little bit more complicated. There were more steps. It’s more cumbersome.

So now, patients who previously were not able to book appointments in Medeo are now booking with Calendly, and they’re able to see you, and you’re able to help them. It’s really a win-win.

That’s pretty much the system.

Annette: Well, you’ve eliminated the frustration for patients, because in Medeo, again, I’m very unusual as a GP in that I work completely alone. Accuro, like many electronic medical record systems, is really geared toward the multi-user. It is geared toward the typical general practitioner practice where there are multiple staff where there is a receptionist.

And the model is that a patient calls a receptionist person, and that person makes an appointment for the patient. So the patient doesn’t actually come directly, doesn’t interact with the doctor. They interact with the person in between.

So with Medeo, the way it was set up, it presupposed somebody was booking an appointment, and that appointment had to be accepted. So then, I would have to take an extra step and accept the appointment, which I would readily do. But the interesting thing was the accept and reject button were so close together, that if I did it quickly, sometimes, not meaning to, I would hit reject. And then patients would say, “Why was I rejected?”

This way, you’ve made it so streamlined and perfect for me that patients go in, and they immediately make an appointment. It’s theirs. They know immediately, “This is my appointment.” I don’t have to wait until somebody tells me I have the appointment.

I would think, if I went to my hairdresser or I went to get my whatever, we could book an appointment online that businesses are so far ahead of us—because I’m essentially a glorified public employee, and I’m grateful for that—but businesses are so far in advance that you wouldn’t think of having a problem booking to see your barber for instance. But to see your doctor is a big production, so I thought it was amazing.

Because you’d help me doing the online booking and online appointments, now, patients don’t realize that when they book an appointment for online, it’s done—well, you created Norm. He’s your brain child.

Oscar: My baby if you will. [laughs] Not really but…

Annette: He’s your baby, exactly. But he works night and day. He never complains. But he’s the one that’s actually creating the appointment. So when somebody might get something saying or I get an email saying, “Hey, it’s Norm. I’m letting you know I booked an appointment for Sarah,” it leaves me out of the equation altogether. And once again, I can do my unique ability, small though it is, and focus on that.

So when I met Alenka Manners, who has a business called Life Made Easier, I would always go to Alenka and say, “Alenka, I need help with dah,” and she would refer to me—and each and every one that she’d referred me to are great people, and you are one of those great people.

It’s interesting because your company is called DigitalStaff, but you really make my life so much easier and seamless. And you do it in such a lovely, pleasant way, so I would say to you, if you were a word, what would you be?

Oscar: I think “seamless” for sure, because what I really enjoy about this automation is how, no matter what you’d like to have happen, like in the case of Norm with the Calendly automation, patients now can book any time of the day. They don’t have to call in, wait on hold. They don’t have to leave a message, like think about that thing. They can just immediately book it, and then they can be in your schedule and know when they’re going to see you.

I think “seamless” is the word because you don’t have to actually change your working methods very much, but rather, what’s really cool is that, with this automation, we can customize it to suit your exact needs and to work exactly as you would like. So I think “seamless” would be a great word there.

Annette: Yeah. This is one of the reasons I want to do this Origin Stories. I wanted to know more about you. I think you’re amazing. I want other people to know about you. What would be your ideal client?

Oscar: That’s a good question. I think my ideal client—there’s different kinds of clients. I don’t think there’s only just one ideal client. But my ideal clients, every day, they’re using some kind of electronic system for running their business, that everyone in the company is using. In your case, it’s Accuro, but you use that every day. It’s your master hub that you use.

My best clients, they have software that they use every day that’s very organized. It’s very structured, and it does a lot for them. But these clients, they want even more specific or custom-automations that that software can’t provide. Like in this case, you have Accuro and Medeo Health, but it just wasn’t working for you and your patients and your needs. So we were actually able to connect Calendly in and then make it work exactly for you.

So my ideal clients, they do use computer software every day. Usually, the kind of tasks that they would have as well, they’re kind of time-consuming tasks or things that they have to do on a repeatable basis. Doctors, insurance companies, they have to fill out a lot of forms in a repeatable manner. We can automate that kind of form filling out or copying data between places or setting up new activities.

But my ideal clients, they also actually trust computers. They trust technology. And I think now as well, the ideal client would have to be a bit more—I’m not saying adventurous, but not many companies are using this technology now. I think we’re still kind of ahead of the curve. We’re still very early days for this technology. So these ideal clients would want to try something new that other people aren’t doing right now, that not everyone is aware of, but they just see the value, and then that’s how we can help them.

I think also, ideally, everything that they do is digital. If it’s on paper, we can automate that, but not as well. Like I said earlier, they have this kind of software hub that they use. And with that, we can actually really very effectively connect different things.

So I think those would be kind of ideal customers.

Annette: Well, my intention then is to send more of those people your way.

Oscar: Okay, that would be awesome.

Annette: Because many people don’t know—once again, we don’t know what is possible. We’re so in the middle of things that we don’t have the ability to just dream or think, “How could I do this on top of all the work that I’m doing?” So you have to have the ability that knows someone and to think, “How could it be? How could it possibly be better?” Sometimes, we just get so lock-stepped in doing the work every single day. We moan about it, but we can’t think of a better way to do it.

Oscar: I think these ideal clients as well, they might only have a couple of employees, but they might have 100 or even more. And I would say if you have a large amount of people working at your company, I think we could even have even more value to provide.

Because in the case of automation, if there’s something happening, let’s say, 100 times a month, that’s a good starting place. But if it’s happening 1,000 times, 10,000 times a month, that’s where automation can really have huge benefits because automation doesn’t really make mistakes as long as we’ve coded it properly. It can happen much more quickly.

And these automations can also work alongside people to help them out. Like I’d like more people to be aware that we don’t have to completely replace a person and have just a computer do it, but rather, we can have this automation work alongside you and help you just do more faster.

It’s almost like if you’re wearing this super advanced spacesuit, and you can jump around, you can fly, you can breathe in space, but it’s helping augment your abilities. It’s not replacing you. That’s kind of how I see this automation as well.

Annette: Well, and by not having to do as many administrative capacities, which is not my unique ability and not my interest, and knowing it’s done reliably by you and Norm, it gives me more time to focus on learning and just being with the person.

Because so much of my job did not finish with the patient. There was just tasks that obviously I have to do when a patient comes to see me. They may require tests, they may require referrals or investigations or treatment of some kind, so that would be all kinds of add-ons and faxing and doing all many things that would be pivotal but took a lot of time and could make my day a lot longer.

And so I want to be fully present when I’m with people and not know that, at the end of the day, I had to do 17 other tasks. You’ve enabled me to do so many things really quite seamlessly. And now, you have me using Fluency Direct, which is a dictation device which has also sped things up so I can be present with the patient. I don’t have to be typing to the same degree. I can actually be present.

Because we have to take notes. We have to have excellent notes, and those are the requirements. But if I’m dictating—these are just things, more and more things that you’ve put into place that have helped me. And I know if it helps me, it helps the patients.

Oscar: Awesome.

Annette: So I’m so grateful to you. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.

Oscar: Well, thank you! Thank you, Annette.

Annette: Well, you’re amazing. Keep up the fabulous work.

Oscar: Thank you. Yeah, I will do!

And I just wanted to mention one other thing, just like as a final note. You mentioned how there’s these admin tasks when you’re with the patient, how you have to follow up on those and make sure that those are carried out properly because those are the rules. And that’s where this automation can really help, because we can actually make sure that we’re checking all of the boxes every single time.

There’s no capacity for error as long as we build these things properly because these robots can really help us do even more. Not only is it faster or more reliable, but we can make sure that everything is happening.

Really, I thank you for having this talk with me. I love talking about automation. I can go on forever about it, but I don’t want to do that right now because I don’t want to bore anyone.

Annette: I think you’re incredibly fascinating. Thank you again for this opportunity.

Oscar: Thank you, my pleasure!



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