As Chief Strategy Officer, Adnan Qadir leads the team that helps us think, prioritize, plan and execute for our future.
Learn how he finds inspiration in the diverse career journeys of other South Asian leaders, as well as his mother, a true forever-learner. And get his take on the top developments health IT organizations should be watching now for fast-paced adaptability—plus his vision for a future state of healthcare that puts the power of prevention and wellbeing into the patient’s hands.
When you chat with colleagues, what topics, trends or advances are you talking about lately?
Three observations come to mind. The first is the sheer pace of innovation and disruption. The pandemic has made healthcare embrace new ways of reaching patients, and we’re seeing companies big and small seek the public market through IPOs and private investments to bring new ideas to market. Not all companies can keep up right now, especially if they’re doing it all themselves internally. So many are turning externally and asking “Who should we partner with? Who can we collaborate with? Who can we connect with to get faster results than we can on our own?”
The second is the power of information-sharing to unlock value for patients, providers and payers. For example, consider medication affordability. Data that was once only exchanged between certain entities is now being deployed across the Surescripts network as price transparency. It’s helping prescribers see the exact out-of-pocket cost of their chosen medication. It’s enabling pharmacists to engage more efficiently in finding affordable alternatives. And it’s all improving healthcare safety, cost and effectiveness for patients.
The third is more of a revelation than a trend: these two factors combined—the pace of innovation and the value of information exchange—make the value of standards higher than ever. Standards create the one path forward when many disparate entities are in play.
Standards create the one path forward when many disparate entities are in play.
Surescripts has done this with electronic prescribing in bringing together providers, pharmacies and PBMs across the country to work on one standard, and we can attest to the critical role standards play in facilitating progress—especially at this incredible pace.
How would you talk about health IT strategy at a cocktail party (or virtual happy hour now that we’re social distancing)?
I usually try to make it interesting by sharing something I’ve recently read or listened to, like the TED Talk Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers. He analyzed data from classical music to make the point that the musicians or composers who were most prolific in their output were most likely to have compositions that are considered great. “Even the three icons of classical music—Bach, Beethoven, Mozart—had to generate hundreds and hundreds of compositions to come up with a much smaller number of masterpieces,” Grant explained. So, whatever you make, making as much of it as you can— “prolific innovation,” if you will—and then sharing it, will increase your chances of a breakthrough.
Whom do you consider influencers, innovators or leaders?
At Surescripts, we are increasingly focused on diversity of thought, which is key to innovation, as well as a deeper commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive work culture. Understanding the journeys of people from diverse backgrounds can help on this front. I’ve been reading about Kamala Harris, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai. These are all individuals with South Asian heritage like me who’ve charted their path and found new ways to be successful in a new country. Satya Nadella talks about something that resonates with me in particular because of my heritage: a growth mindset. So rather than being a know-it-all, be a learn-it-all. Be forever curious and invest the time to become just a bit more informed, a bit more useful.
Who or what inspires you?
My mother who lives in New Jersey is a consummate lifelong learner. She called to ask me to explain how to set up a mesh network. She bought a Google Wi-Fi router, and while she certainly could have had someone else set it up, she would rather understand how it works so that she can fix it if it breaks down.
And my children inspire me and remind me of myself before I was shaped by the choices I made. They have the freedom to choose paths that are no longer available to me. But they help me tap back into a sense of freedom and possibility, and of doing something and being enriched by it simply because it’s fun. I took up pickleball during the pandemic and I’m really enjoying it. It’s something I’d never tried before and can do safely, (aside from the occasional minor twist or sprain).
It’s 2030. What are you most proud of having helped accomplish in healthcare?
Imagine being in control of your health and using technology to track it based on what’s right for you and your unique profile. You’d receive actionable data and trends so that you could intervene on things like cholesterol and blood pressure before they caused health problems. You could increase your fitness, adjust your diet, and make other choices in partnership with your doctor about what to do therapeutically. And you could observe the impact of those things on your health metrics in real time.
You could increase your fitness, adjust your diet, and make other choices in partnership with your doctor about what to do therapeutically. And you could observe the impact of those things on your health metrics in real time.
If we’ve done our part, the future is one where we build on the “knowledge is power” concept of wearables. But we’ll go further by using interoperable technology to integrate all of these piecemeal elements and deliver information in a way that fully engages and empowers patients in their own wellbeing.
It’s also important to acknowledge the here and now—the infamous year 2020—where healthcare is in the middle of a global public health crisis, and on the edge of an astounding achievement. It’s estimated that 400 million or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will need to be administered. Developing the vaccines in record time is amazing on its own. But the logistical challenge of both administering the vaccine and tracking that our country is safely vaccinated is one of the hardest problems the healthcare industry has had to solve. But it’s the thing that stands between where we are now and where we all want to be.
Each of us at Surescripts is thinking about how we can support doctors, nurses, pharmacists and healthcare organizations nationwide as we tackle this massive challenge—and I am confident that we’ll look back and be proud of how we weathered this storm and rose to the many challenges together.
Stay informed about technologies and policies that impact healthcare. Learn more about opioids, interoperability, price transparency, specialty medications and prescription accuracy.