I began my job-search about a year ago. One big advantage I had was that I liked my previous employer and hence could take my time looking for the right place. I explored several opportunities, gave interviews and, most critically, dug deep to explore my values and aspirations. I did not have a particular employer or domain in mind, but I did have some criteria of my own.
The first criteria was that I wanted my contribution to be and feel meaningful. It’s a cliché that holds true for me. We live in a world where software is eating the world  and software developers are needed everywhere to fix those nasty security bugs and develop those critical features. In such a scenario, where one could potentially work anywhere, I believe one should introspect even harder to find a workplace that feels most ‘at home’.
I wanted to work at a company with no more than 50 people, and was particular that it wouldn’t call itself a ‘startup’. When a word gets thrown around so much it loses meaning. So a small company with big ambitions.
It’s widely known that most innovation happens on the fringes of disciplines where experts from disparate fields work cooperatively. One gets accustomed to the everyday problems in one’s own field and hence fresh eyes bring perspective. One of the most quoted examples being engineering + art = design . So another personal criteria was that the company would work to bring the benefits of IT to another domain and work closely with experts from that domain.
I initially joined Kaiku Health because they didn’t oversell themselves with the usual start-up buzzwords, and the interview process was pleasant. I hate to admit it, but the open office space and the Kaiku yellow had some positive influence on my decision as well. I additionally liked the fact that there was an in-house design team of four, which to me was unheard of in what is basically a software product company. A software company where only engineers and sales make product decisions is not a place I want to be. Health tech was unknown to me, so there was the curiosity factor as well.
I’ve been here for about 9 months and my experience has remained pleasant.
Information technology has permeated almost every aspect of our daily lives. It has rejuvenated several old industries and created many new ones. However, there still remain several areas that could benefit immensely from IT, but which nobody has taken the effort to cater to specifically. Healthcare is definitely one of them. Finance is another, that has recently felt the wake-up call in the form of fin tech.
Coming to health tech, it’s astonishing to me how little patient experience has changed over the years. Hospitals’ internal IT has probably undergone some changes but patients still call and queue and carry around papers reports. One doesn’t have to wonder much to see why this is. Healthcare is heavily regulated and understandably so. The typical IT motto of ‘move fast and break things’ will not take you far. What you need is a dedicated group of individuals, who are willing to play the long game, work closely with stakeholders, follow regulations and quality assurance while still having a solid business plan. I can say that Kaiku Health ticks all those boxes.
When I initially joined, I was astounded by how simple the core of the product was. PRO’s or patient reported outcomes are essentially forms that patients fill regularly. With time, I have come to realize that gathering PROs is just the first step towards building personalized health interventions for cancer patients. Cancer is an incredibly complex disease and treatments are moving towards personalized care. This calls for increasingly advanced technology and algorithms.
At Kaiku Health, we work closely with oncologists, cancer researchers, nurses and patients and use their feedback to constantly improve our product. Additionally, we use machine learning – for real, not in a powerpoint – to help doctors understand patients’ symptom progression & trends. This helps in earlier interventions. Now this is an application of machine learning that I can totally get behind.
The company recently turned 7 and is now an established name in health tech. As I hear about the positive feedback we receive from clinics, and realize the enormous impact that our work is having on the lives of cancer patients, I can look back and confidently say that I chose well.
Arjun Kamath, Software Developer
 My personal observation