Careers: Young CIO Has A World Of ExperienceCareers: Young CIO Has A World Of Experience
Anthony Draye uses technology to improve medical care in Ghana, West Africa, and in his new position at a U.S. medical imaging company.
March 24, 2006
Anthony Draye, the new CIO at Liberty Pacific Medical Imaging, is only 27. But he's already packed a world of impressive work and good deeds into the eight years he's been involved with information technology.
As Liberty Pacific's first CIO, Draye is assessing new technologies and overseeing day-to-day IT operations and infrastructure, including systems for picture archiving and communications and radiology information used at the company's three California medical diagnostic imaging centers and four centers under development. But when he's not managing the tech at Liberty Pacific, the Seattle native volunteers his expertise to advance medical care thousands of miles away in poor rural communities of Ghana.
A math graduate of the University of Washington's class of 2000, Draye's interest in helping less developed countries through IT was sparked four years ago when his cousin, who was studying international public health, invited him to a dinner at the university. One of the guests was Dr. Anthony Ofosu, from Ghana, where he's a regional health director and the only physician in an impoverished district of 100,000 people.
Draye, who was working as a software engineer for a small telecom company that later went belly up, struck up a conversation with Ofosu, who had ideas for using technology to improve health care in Ghana but said no one there could implement those ideas.
That encounter got Draye going on his health IT mission. "It was a fortuitous meeting," says Draye, who in his free time has developed a Java-based drug-stock management system and later a PDA-based childhood-immunization record system, both now being used by Ghana Health Services, the government health care agency. The drug-stock management system gives health officials a better handle on inventories of medicines and the scant funding available for medicines, including helping to figure out where pharmaceuticals like malaria treatments are needed most.
"One to 2 million people worldwide die of malaria each year, and children under 5 are most at risk," Draye says. "During the rainy season, malaria cases go up, but there's a lack of medicine."
Draye, who now travels to Ghana twice a year, will return there in a few weeks during the rainy season to assist health officials with a plan to integrate the systems he has developed into a scaled-down electronic health record. The immunization system already has replaced paperwork that consumed the time of a half-dozen workers each month. "You can use the PDAs even where there's no electricity," he says. The handheld devices can be recharged by solar power and data down- loaded once the workers get back to offices, he says.
Draye also teaches computer literacy to Ghanaian doctors, nurses, and administrators, and believes technology can usher in massive improvement to health care, there and in the United States. "IT drives those improvements, providing access to critical information and freeing up more time to focus on patients," he says.
Meanwhile, back at Liberty Pacific, Draye plans to focus his efforts on maximizing workflow and enhancing patient care. Advanced medical imaging can provide doctors with thousands of images to help make a patient diagnosis, Draye says. With that enormous volume of data, technology needs to identify the most critical information, he says. "Technology does the heavy lifting, but it also needs to suggest where to put your eyes."
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