Meet the people who help our clients design and build innovative technology solutions to benefit their businesses as well as their customers: our subject matter experts aka SMEs. In this series, we’ll discover how they came to work in the industry and the changing role of technology in our lives. We’ll also get a glimpse into what makes them tick as people outside of work.
Our SME in this edition is Isabela Buhai, Delivery Partner for our European and UK Healthcare and Technology Group and part of our global Healthtech industry team. With her homebase in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Isabela helps our clients and their end customers to benefit from better, more innovative healthcare and manages to seemingly fit several lives into one.
So great to have you here, Isabela. What has brought you into the tech industry and the Healthtech sector?
I have always been fascinated by mathematics, physics, and science in general. I also used to play chess quite a bit, so I thought completing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science would naturally be a continuation of my interests. My first job, in parallel with teaching at university for a couple of years, was in Healthtech, working on the cardiology module of a hospital management system, and soon after, on a picture archiving and communication system.
Through the years, I have expanded my expertise across a couple of other industries and tapped into various opportunities within Endava that allowed me to develop strong people, organisational, client, and commercial skills and competencies.
Contributing to society as a whole has always been on my mind, so a few years back, I felt I would like to bring together the things that gave me the most energy: my passion for innovation and technology, and my drive to change people’s lives for the better in a more direct way. So, getting back into Healthtech felt very natural, and I am glad I got to experience the rapid transformation of healthcare, both as a consumer as well as a service provider, driving the digitalisation for our clients and ultimately improving the patient outcomes and experience.
What has been the biggest innovation since you have been working in the industry?
COVID-19 response has led to a rapid transformation of healthcare that will continue and be further accelerated in the years to come.
We have witnessed in the last decade an evolution of the healthcare space: from the traditional method of episodic care – patient interactions only during physician visits or hospital stays – to continual care which can be achieved by enabling condition-specific, clinically validated digital infrastructure, which, in turn, allows the healthcare system to do more for the patient.
Artificial intelligence has improved the patient experience, leading to an increased level of personalisation, with healthcare providers supporting a strategy of prevention, early detection, and early intervention. That, in addition to using machine learning to interpret large genomic data sets and linking it with clinical data, has and will continue to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and rare and degenerative diseases.
What is the biggest challenge or opportunity you are seeing and what should businesses be doing to prepare for this?
As we continue to witness an avalanche of digital solutions for hospitals and patient engagement, as well as a rise in the use of digital tools in healthcare, data will continue to reside in disparate systems for now. Streamlining all patient data, ranging from clinical support to acute care systems, into one platform for all patients and physicians to access, and democratising access to medical data while ensuring data privacy and patient safety will be at the forefront of every technology provider delivering into healthcare.
As digital presents opportunities to transform services by making them more efficient, more secure, and more data-driven, whether in direct patient care or working to research better ways of providing care, healthtech companies have a responsibility to build a culture based on clinical safety and governance.
What is the Endava project you are most proud of and why?
Hard choice. I am equally proud of all the projects I was part of, as I enjoy what I’m doing, especially as I can see the benefit to the end user. One recent project that comes to my mind, though, is the concept design work for a product aimed at delivering mental health support and treatment digitally to enable wider access for young people. I worked alongside a multi-disciplinary team, formed of some of my colleagues, the co-founders of the client company, chartered and clinical psychologists as well as researchers and behavioural specialists. I loved the incremental approach to shaping the building blocks of the product emerging from all the diverse viewpoints shared along the way and turning the ambitious idea we started off from into a great concept design.
On the flip side, what is the project or technology that challenged you the most and where you had some setbacks? What did you learn from this?
All the projects come with their own challenges, sometimes around technology, sometimes around processes in general. I like to think creatively and bring innovative solutions to any challenge, and I keep myself guided by our core purpose and values. I always seek to understand our client’s vision and look at ways to enhance their value to their end customers and users, while caring for our customers as individuals and enabling our people to be the best that they can be.
Last, but not least, I am at my best when I am surrounded by a diverse team of professionals, so the inherent value of teams has always helped me overcome challenges and achieve our goals. As an example, we have been chosen by a leading provider of advanced healthcare solutions for the management of blood plasma, tissue, and cells to support them with the design and implementation of the application infrastructure in AWS for one of their clients in Germany. We had to migrate the on-premises infrastructure to AWS in a very short timescale.
Every minute mattered, so that required strong coordination between the Endava and client teams, which was only possible because we shared the same goals and collaborated efficiently as one team. Our solution now allows for faster future cloud implementations, as we automated the provisioning of infrastructure by building an infrastructure-as-code pipeline.
Now, we’d like to move on to a few more personal questions. Would you be brave enough to share one of your guilty pleasures with us?
I love swimming at sunset. It feels like peeking over the edge of the world.
Who would be your 5 famous dinner party guests – real or fictional?
I would probably go with Elon Musk, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Frida Kahlo, and my grandma.
If you were not working as a Delivery Partner at Endava, what would you be doing instead?
There are a few things I can picture myself doing and getting energy from, aside from what I am doing right now, which I love. If only I had more lives…
I would probably have enjoyed being an artist – mainly following a painting career.
I think working for a charity can be incredibly rewarding.
I would have loved to work in research to drive change and improve the lives of others.
I would start my own business.
Last, but not least, as a young kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. So, anything related to space exploration would capture my interest.
However, I only have one life, and I am a Delivery Partner at Endava, but…I do paint from time to time, I absolutely love to help others, I do seek to improve the lives of patients through my work in Healthcare, I get a lot of empowerment and autonomy to start new initiatives and generate opportunities within Endava, and…I do look at the stars before I go to bed.
What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
On some of my interests mentioned above. However, as I am reading this, I am being told I could easily talk about emotional intelligence and motivating people as well.
What was something you thought would be easy until you tried it?
Probably…painting. I used to love drawing as a child, but I never took any dedicated classes to improve my skills. I assumed painting would just come easy to me. But aside from passion and drive, I came to realise being good at something takes a lot of hours of work. Maybe Gladwell’s famous 10,000-hour rule for mastering a skill would do the trick. But then, I would need more lives…
If you could go back in time and visit any historic period, where – or rather when – would you go?
I would choose the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thinking of Modernism and the avant-garde movements that followed.
If, however, I would be given the option to travel one way, I would choose to go into the future – not far away, a hundred years into the future. Imagine gazing into that crystal ball of life in 2122!
Finally, would you share a favourite quote with us to send our readers off with some inspiration?
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” (Steve Jobs)
Many thanks to Isabela for sharing her passion, talent, and insight with us. Stay tuned for more insights into the work and life of Endavans in the next part of our Meet the SME series!
Delivery Partner, Healthcare and TechnologyIsabela has 15+ years of experience delivering successful IT solutions in multicultural and international setups across Europe and the US. She is specialised in programmes of technology renewal, programme and portfolio management, and is experienced in setting up and running delivery organisations – from small satellites to large distributed delivery centres – and supporting M&A processes with due diligence and post-deal integration. As Delivery Partner, she oversees our Healthcare delivery across Europe and the UK and is part of our global Healthtech industry vertical team. Isabela loves her work and is also passionate about innovation, space exploration, painting, chess, and creating a positive change in society.
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