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Data can help us know what not to do…

9 Feb

So much of analytics and healthcare IT becomes focused on understanding what we should do, that we miss that data and analysis may identify things we should not do. 

In my recent physical I had a few days ago, my doctor spent a fair amount of time talking about the routine tests that I did not need to get.  He cited how certain tests and “standard procedures” may actually cause more harm than good.

We tend to think of tests as innocuous, but based upon my genomic information (which I shared with my doctor) my risk factors for some things were so low, that certain tests are not deemed necessary. While other areas, like my 4.8X factor for certain heart conditions means that I will likely be more focused on aspects of heart health (and yes, I just finished doing my cardio today).

The value of personalized medicine, clinical informatics and data-driven medicine is that we will have the facts we need to apply the tools of modern medicine in a more focused manner, and in doing so fulfill the ancient tradition of “first, do no harm”.

This article describes the pros and cons of getting treated in a great manner, and illuminates how we would approach our decisions for treatment differently if we thought about the combined benefit and risks (via The New York Times).

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Jim VanderMey, Chief Innovation Officer at OST

Jim VanderMey has served as VP of Technical Operations, CTO and now Chief Innovation Officer for OST. Jim has provided the technical leadership and product strategic planning for the organization since the very beginning. Jim is a technology visionary who sets the long and short-term direction for OST. He specializes in seeing the “big picture” of technology, industry trends and the business objectives supported by IT. As OST has gained an international reputation, Jim has taught and spoken at conferences in Europe, Japan, and throughout the US. Lastly, we must confess that some of OST’s peculiar culture is a direct derivation of Jim’s unorthodox style.

Privacy is an Illusion

3 Feb

At a recent event at OST, I had an opportunity to speak to STEM teachers about application development, technology and the opportunities students have in our industry.

One of the teachers asked me what keeps me up at night – and had a follow-up question on the loss of privacy.  My response is that privacy and personal information has shifted in that it used to be up to me to make sure that that my private files were locked, that my receipts were shredded, and that I kept personal information private within my own circles.  Now, my privacy is dependent upon the capabilities of the people and organizations I entrust personal information to – Target data breach, emails I send to executives at Sony, etc.

Today, in Science Magazine, there is published a series of great articles on privacy and personal information.  Applied mathematicians and MIT scientists using four random data points and anonymized personal meta-data were able to identify de-identified data with high fidelity.  As a technologist with interest in analytics and the social implications of technology, I find this fascinating and wanted to share it with you.   The associated articles on facial recognition and other privacy matters are also very interesting.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6221/536.full.pdf

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6221/468.full?intcmp=collection-privacy
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Jim VanderMey, Chief Innovation Officer at OST

Jim VanderMey has served as VP of Technical Operations, CTO and now Chief Innovation Officer for OST. Jim has provided the technical leadership and product strategic planning for the organization since the very beginning. Jim is a technology visionary who sets the long and short-term direction for OST. He specializes in seeing the “big picture” of technology, industry trends and the business objectives supported by IT. As OST has gained an international reputation, Jim has taught and spoken at conferences in Europe, Japan, and throughout the US. Lastly, we must confess that some of OST’s peculiar culture is a direct derivation of Jim’s unorthodox style.

GR GiveCamp 2014

14 Nov

Ruth HoltropWielding a staple gun to frame a house with Habitat for Humanity or assembling sack suppers at Kids’ Food Basket is awesome, but as an application developer I find it especially fun when I can use my skills to help out local non-profits with technological projects. Many non-profit organizations are in need of a new website, or a real database to keep track of volunteers or donors instead of the way-too-many-spreadsheets method, but often these technological needs get pushed out of the way due to time or budget constraints.

Enter GiveCamp. GiveCamp is an annual event where around 15 local non-profits are chosen to be a part of a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, database administrators, marketers, etc. all come together to volunteer their time working on whatever tech projects these non-profits bring to the table. Volunteers can choose to work with others from their company or just be placed onto a project team that could benefit from the skills that they have. From 5pm Friday night until 2pm Sunday there were people working on these projects, typically heading home to sleep for a few hours, but other times claiming a cot upstairs, or just skipping sleep entirely. The weekend long event took place at OST this year.

Nonprofits that participated this year include:

My team jumped into work right away Friday night; everyone was excited to get going, learn new things, and contribute in any way they could. On my team this meant Squarespace account setup, email migration, website design, calendar and event building, and Stripe integration for donations and ticket purchases. Other teams built databases and Angular apps, created new WordPress or Squarespace sites, updated their so-old-they’re-barely-functional-and-I-thought-we’d-escaped-this-style-in-1998 ‘current’ websites, etc. For the record, the volunteers are taken care of pretty well here too – from the wonderful food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) provided for us by StoryLane Catering to the never-ending supply of coffee, pop, and candy, we were set for the weekend.

GiveCamp 2014

I enjoyed helping with the kind of thing that I actually went to school for and contributing to the community at the same time. These non-profits are doing a lot for our community, and it’s great to be able to give back through GiveCamp. In the coming year I will be spreading the word to other developers and non-profits in the area, and I’ll definitely be signing up for GiveCamp 2015!

Click here to learn about OST’s Heather Bremer’s experience at GR GiveCamp 2014.

To learn more about GR GiveCamp, visit www.grgivecamp.org

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Ruth Holtrop joined the OST team as an Application Developer in August 2014. Ruth is a recent Calvin College grad who majored in Computer Science and minored in Computer Engineering. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family. She especially likes reading, Minecraft, and spending time outside biking, hiking, canoeing, and camping. Ruth graciously volunteered her expertise to assist The GR LGBT Network at GiveCamp 2014. 

Fun Facts about OST

20 Oct

OST Day of Refection – Celebrating What We Have Accomplished Over the Past Year   

Does it feel like you are constantly running hard, giving it your all, and when you finally finish a project you jump onto the next one without ever celebrating what you have just accomplished?  It seems like most of us are like that in our personal lives and in our work lives, and OST is no exception.  So we decided to designate a day, Friday, October 3, as a day for us all to reflect back on the past year and all of our success.  It was a normal workday except that we decoded to spoil ourselves with great food, massages, shuffleboard, and more throughout the day.  It is an overused phrase, but we wanted each of our employees to be able to take the time to “smell the roses” and savor their accomplishments.

At OST, we take great pride in our culture. There’s something special about OST – and its people. Over the year, the OST family has crossed some interesting milestones – some remarkable, some just fun.  As part of our OST Day of Reflection, we asked our different teams to provide interesting and fun facts and figures, which were then presented in a digital presentation that ran throughout all of our offices the entire day.

Take a look at some of our favorites:

OST Names

There is a 47.5% chance you share your name with someone else at OST.

 

 

Clock Hero

The ERP team has traveled 293,848 miles across the globe this past year to better serve our clients.

 

 

Managed Services

Managed Services handled over 14,000 high severity issues through monitoring since September 2011. They also currently manage 2,423 servers and 2.4 petabyte of storage, hold 342 certifications, and hold 6.4 billion records of data in their analytics data warehouse. Members of the Managed Services team have also been woken up in the middle of the night 1,192 times in the last three years.

 

 

Operations

Operations consumes a daily average caffeine intake of 4,631 mg.

 

 

News

OST has been written about in over 126 articles.

 

 

emails

OST has received & sent over 1,164,000 emails this year (outside of OST).

 

 

Team

The OST family has grown by 58 employees in the past year.

 

 

meme

The OST family has grown more than by its employees, but by its babies/grandbabies. 18 new babies/grandbabies were born into the family in the past year

 

 

OSTInterior

Over the year, we have had over 11,000 cans of pop.

 

 

March Madness-33

The security team has cracked over 3,000 passwords in the past year.

 

 

finops

So far this year, OST Staff have sent 562,800 instant messages.

 

 

OSTcandy

We’ve had over 834 pounds of candy (which includes 375 pounds of peanut M&M’s)

 

golf

The sales team has lost over 73 golf balls during golf outings in the last 12 months.