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Learning Globally, Acting Locally in São Paulo

Doctor sitting at her desk and looking at a laptop

There is nothing like visiting a country to get a true sense of how healthcare is organized and delivered there. Although I have formal training as a pharmacist and an MBA in health systems administration, I always find it invaluable to meet with and learn from healthcare and information technology leaders in other countries to truly understand how to build products to enable care transformation.

Map of Brazil

I recently had such an opportunity in Brazil. HIMSS Latin America held its first conference and exhibition September 18-19 in São Paulo, and InterSystems Brazil was an enthusiastic participant in both the conference and its interoperability showcase. We also also took the opportunity to celebrate our customers’ successes with InterSystems HealthShare during an evening dinner event. The energy and enthusiasm at both the HIMSS and InterSystems events were palpable!

A speaker presents at the HIMSS Latin America Conference and Exhibition

HIMSS hosted a speaker dinner in which I learned much about the distinctly Brazilian healthcare system from Dr. Wilson Modesto Pollara of the Ministry of Health. Dr. Pollara, who keynoted the conference, did post-doctoral training in the U.S., and offered telling observations on the differences between our two countries. For example, all Brazilian citizens in São Paulo receive cancer care through approximately 70 public cancer centers. What a tremendous data opportunity this represents! InterSystems is engaged in similar oncology-related efforts in our company’s native Boston. It is both energizing and informative to be at the intersection of those initiatives.

With my colleague in Brazil, Rochael Ribeiro Filho, I had the opportunity to speak at a session during which I used the phrase “Learn Globally. Act Locally.” My intent was to describe the opportunity, commitment, and obligation we have at InterSystems to be global students of healthcare, and to apply that learning at the local level to address not only universal challenges, but to solve problems unique to each market we serve.

Healthshare presentation at HIMSS Latin America Conference and Exhibition

Looking back on the events, the commitment to learn both globally and locally was expressed throughout the week. Our products are born global. HealthShare, our health informatics platform, has its roots in the Swedish National Patient Overview (NPÖ), has grown up in the U.S, and is now deployed in 21 countries. Our electronic medical record product, TrakCare, originated in Australia, is now based on HealthShare, and has a presence on five of the seven continents – all but North America and Antarctica!

One of our customers from the U.S., Dave Whitlinger, CEO of the New York eHealth Collaborative, was there to share what New York State has learned about sharing health information. We also heard great stories from the team at Unimed Ceara, the physician cooperative in Brazil and an InterSystems customer. The keynotes described the Brazilian national eHealth strategy and painted an exciting vision for connected care countrywide.

Social event at HIMSS Latin America Conference and Exhibition

In addition to HIMSS and our dinner event, an InterSystems team of 16 from the U.S., UK and Brazil took advantage of our time together to conduct a one-day workshop focused on the unique market needs in Brazil. Our Brazilian team of IT professionals, physicians, nurses, and program leaders serve as invaluable interpreters of local market needs for incorporation into our solutions. I love these sessions as they stimulate great thinking, innovation, and collaboration. To paraphrase Carl Sandberg, “Everybody is smarter than anybody.” We try to embody that.

It was a sharing and learning week for me, and for many others. And we all learned that our InterSystems Brazil colleagues can host a great party!