In our Stories of Social Change series, we are sharing stories from ThoughtWorkers around the world who have leveraged their skills and experience to build technology that truly impacts people and effects social change. These stories show that technologists are in a unique position to change the world and inspire action in others.
Name: Armando Collazo
ThoughtWorks home: Ecuador
Preferred pronouns: he/him
Joined ThoughtWorks: 2019
What brought you to ThoughtWorks?
Before joining ThoughtWorks I worked as a freelancer. I remember feeling like I wasn’t learning as much every day as I wanted to. So, I decided to look for new challenges in a new environment. I found ThoughtWorks by chance. I happened to be reading through some Q&A on Stackoverflow when I saw a job ad for ThoughtWorks, which caught my attention. After checking out ThoughtWorks’ website and seeing a picture of a ping pong table in the middle of the office, I said to myself, “I need that!” Within a few weeks I was working at ThoughtWorks and here I am three years later. So far it has been a great experience.
Can you tell us about the work you and your team have been doing that addresses some of the issues hospitals face with COVID-19?
I’m currently on a team that is working with a leading healthcare provider in the US. Myself and fellow ThoughtWorkers have been helping them enhance and maintain their website dedicated to donations, where they encourage people to donate to a variety of causes for the hospital. The site has been receiving many donations recently from people who want to support the fight against the virus and, more importantly, support those who are fighting on the front lines.
We're currently working on keeping the site up and running, given the number of people who are visiting the site looking to make a donation that could make a difference in the fight against the virus. Also, along with our stakeholders, we’re designing better and more inspiring ways to give, such as a photo gallery of people who have already made a donation to one of our many COVID-19 funds.
In 2018, we partnered with this client to deliver a number of applications/products for delivering digital experience for their patients. These applications captured the customer journey from finding a doctor to actually going through the appointment virtually using a video. These digital applications have helped our client deliver better patient experience as they deal with COVID-19. The Virtual Appointment Platform is acting as the first line of defense and helps health care professionals to see more patients remotely and helps add more bandwidth to doctors. This also helps them triage the issue and ascertain the need to visit the hospital.
And what was your specific role in this work?
In late 2017, I joined the account as a Developer. My team was working on two solutions: a platform to improve booking online appointments and a separate app for telemedicine. The online appointment-booking platform allowed patients to see a doctor whom they had selected from a previous search. We also created a platform to help patients search for doctors. Through this process, the patient could select his/her desired date and time based on the doctor’s availability. On the other hand, the telemedicine app was a similar solution but, in this case, the patient is able to have a video call with a doctor.
After that, I was assigned to another appointment-focused project first as a Developer and then as a Co-tech Lead, sharing that role with another ThoughtWorker. This project is a mobile application that allows patients to schedule appointments for specific treatments. Imagine you go to see a doctor because you have hurt your leg and this doctor tells you that you need to have a radiography before he/she can diagnose what is wrong with your leg. Normally you would need to go to the hospital, or any other medical center, to schedule a radiology appointment based on the availability at the time. The application we built allows you to do that from home or any other place.
Finally, after two years, I was reassigned as a tech lead to the Office of Development project on the account where I work today.
How does it feel to work on this initiative?
I personally feel so much joy in what I do for every project because I know that most of the time the work we do as developers is about helping others do their jobs better. But, in the case of my work with the healthcare industry, this could also mean saving someone’s life. I’m very glad that the work we have done—and continue to do—for our client is helping not only our clients but also regular people who may seek treatment through them for COVID-19 or other diseases.
What are your observations regarding COVID-19 and how technology may be used to adapt to current challenges?
I think COVID-19 is showing us that the world isn’t always a safe place for human beings in terms of how it’s structured politically, economically, and more importantly, socially. It’s showing us that many government systems around the world are often ill-prepared to take care of their people. Technology can help address these issues by shifting how we interact with each other, especially when it comes to healthcare.