What do Verge generation fashion mogul Greg Selko and pediatrician Andrey Ostrovsky have in common? They both know that technology is bringing the world’s population together like no other time in history.
MedTech Boston caught up with the busy Andrey Ostrovsky in preparation for the launch of his new book, ABCs of the Web: A Child’s First Introduction to Programming. Ostrovsky is currently a pediatric resident at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He actually biked to our office before going into the hospital for his overnight shift. It was snowing, and so he wore his yellow rain suit with super fancy galoshes.
When he’s not dashing around the hospital trying to stay under his 80 hour work week limits, he’s running a start-up software company, Care at Hand, where he is the Co-Founder and CEO. Ostrovsky says that he’s committed to making medicine better for the patients. His company, Care at Hand, uses tele-health technology to empower lay caregivers to detect early health decline leading to fewer admissions and better medication compliance. Home care workers answer simple surveys and algorithms trigger alerts to care coordinators. Care is managed outpatient and payers save money. Ostrovsky says, “This enables $10 homecare workers to prevent $10,000 hospitalizations, and the patient stays safe in the comfort of his home.” Ostrovsky also tells us that they just crossed the 1 million mark in Medicare dollars saved through their services.
The Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Naomi Fried, PhD, says that Ostrovsky is a role model for how clinicians can be innovators.
“At Boston Children’s we are building a culture open to innovators at all stages of professional development. Andrey is one of a number of very innovative residents,” she said. “Andrey embodies the spirit of innovation in medicine. He is always looking for ways to improve the delivery of care. He is also committed to working with others to create a culture of innovation. He started a program for residents to learn about innovation so they too can be innovators.”
In his daily life, Ostrovsky takes care of many children who are primarily from the poorer areas of Boston. He says he’s always trying to think of ways to make their lives better, but he fears that “technology may be marginalizing the marginalized even more, when it could be a tool used to level the playing field. You can obtain education in computers and technology relatively easily and cheaply.” In fact, a few years ago, Forbes announced computer science was likely the highest paying 2-year degree available in the US, earning between $46K and $60K a year. However, Ostrovsky recognizes that many children don’t have access to tablets or computers, but they may want to learn to write programming languages.
Thus, Ostrovsky, also the father of a two-year-old boy, decided to work with web designer, writer, and father John Vanden-Heuvel to write a book called ABCs of the Web.
“Code can be beautiful,” Ostrovsky says. “If put in a developmentally appropriate context, we can deliver entertainment and education in an accessible way.”
In order to get the book published, they’re self-funding the book as a side project. They’ve also learned that landing a book publishing deal is difficult, so they launched a KickStarter on January 30, 2014. The goal is to raise $20,000 in order to print 5,000 books.
“Andrey is a fantastic example of a physician-entrepreneur wanting to get ideas that he sees every day in the clinic into practice utilizing entrepreneurial ventures as a way to accelerate that process. With Kickstarter, not only can he help raise funds to build and develop his book, it is also a great way to raise awareness and disseminate information about his project to a much broader community,” Ippolito said.
To give back to those who help fund his book on Kickstarter, Ostrovsky has paired up with other leading entrepreneurs with the same mission, including Bryan Sivak, the Chief Technology Officer and “Chief Disrupter” of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and hip-hop legend Akrobatic, a socially-conscious and prolific artist. One $5,000 pledge winner will win dinner with Greg Selkoe, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Karmaloop. Karmaloop is a multi-platform web retailer, community style and media company specializing in Verge Culture and streetware.
Selkoe received his Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He is a celebrated entrepreneur who began his business in 2000 in his parents’ basement. Selkoe started Karmaloop with the vision that youth culture, technology, and social media is bringing the world together and crossing cultural, social, and economic boundaries like no other time in history.
Selkoe said he was inspired by Ostrovsky’s mission. As an accomplished entrepreneur himself, he tell us that “successful entrepreneurs have a duty to give back.” Building a successful company means that you’re always responding to unique challenges–often without the safety net that large companies have. Selkoe says that entrepreneurs are particularly poised to come up with creative solutions.
Interestingly, in Boston, medicine and entrepreneurship are not as far apart as they seem. Selkoe’s father is The Vincent and Stella Coates Professor of Neurologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School and the Co-Director of the Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dennis Selkoe, MD, has a dedicated lab studying Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease. His lab broke new ground in 1982 when they developed a method to isolate the abnormal neurofibrillary tangles that are a hallmark of AD and described their unusual chemical properties.
Both Greg Selkoe and Andrey Ostrovsky have a mission to cut through social and economic disparities to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. At MedTechBoston, we are happy to tell their story and offer our readers an opportunity to land a limited edition of ABCs of the Web.
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