People Behind the Product: Chris Carruthers

This post is part of a series of interviews with the DIG team. We introduce you to a DIG team member and give you a peek into what it’s like to work for DIG. If you’re interested in a career with DIG, check out our current positions.

Meet Chris. Chris is a technical program manager working across product commercialization and engineering efficiency in Seattle.

What brought you to DIG?

I was a consultant for a long time and had grown tired of the fluidity and constant changing of projects. I had done that for so long that I got to the point where every time I built something it was handed off. It was like passing your child off to a stranger.

I was ready to get into building stuff for positive change, projects that are impactful but that I could own more long term. Beyond that, I’ve always been of the entrepreneurial influence. The ability to have the security blanket of a large company (Providence St. Joseph Health) while still moving quickly in a startup environment was appealing. All the incubation without the volatility.

What was your experience in the health care industry prior to DIG?

Right before DIG, I was consulting in health care space for a few years. I was working at a health care organization that was failing to pivot into the modern space, which is pretty common. We had done a lot of work to show what the company needed to do in order to keep up and modernize, and unfortunately IT and leadership just couldn’t move fast enough.

At the same time, my dad was a patient at the same health care system. Long story short, it wasn’t a great experience.

Between the business and personal experiences I was having, I realized I wanted to dedicate myself to improving health care and have more of a say in a product vision.

So, what does a technical program manager (TPM) do at DIG?

Part of my role as a TPM is nontraditional. I oversee commercialization of our express care platform. I get to lead the charge on how to get the product ready for market as a SAAS product.

In a more traditional sense, I work as a TPM with the engineering efficiency team. That’s everything from process maturity and operational effectiveness, to how we can think of infrastructure as a product. Specifically, how to make infrastructure that current and future teammates will enjoy using. We want to best in class for developer experience and cloud infrastructure. That means ensuring the tools we have in place to develop and push to production are like good Wi-Fi- you’ve forgotten all about it and it just works!

What’s been your favorite project on the engineering efficiency team?

We needed to develop a cloud native infrastructure strategy that allows us to be a hyperscaler for health care SaaS Start-ups. I enjoyed developing a strategy that allows us to create highly functional and repeatable infrastructure for rapid incubation of start-ups using highly secured and governed data sets. Essentially providing the essentials for a software engineering team to get off the ground with minimal scalability challenges and easy sever-ability from DIG.

We needed a way to ensure everything from CI/CD pipelines to multi tenancy support was covered. Also ensuring that this was all software defined infrastructure that could be torn down and spun up easily and repeatedly. These efforts are hugely foundational to our capabilities and it has been fantastic working with our engineers to help roadmap the important developer tools and infrastructure capabilities that increase initial product maturity, engineering efficiency, and decrease time to market for our start-ups.

Is being a TPM at DIG different than other industries?

If you’re coming from health care, way different. If you’re coming from Amazon, Google or a rapidly growing startup, it’s more similar.

The #1 defining difference is that DIG’s products are scaling to be their own company. TPMs here think about scalability and commercialization at a different level and context.

While Providence St. Joseph is our customer, we aren’t just building for them. These products are managed with global patients in mind. It’s a much more universal thought process with a higher level of impact.

How do you feel you make an impact in healthcare in your role?

An easy answer is that we see patients benefiting from Virtual Visit. It’s amazing to hear about a mother of 2, for example, using our products and having better access to care.

This unified experience in healthcare that we are working towards is what is feels most impactful to me. The end goal is enabling patients to receive care without understanding what “low acuity” or “PCP” mean. That future of simplification aligned with the organization’s values of ‘easing my way’ is huge.

What are you most excited about in the future of health care technology?

We’ve talked a lot of patients today, but I’m also excited to focus on a great provider experience.

In the same way that sales folks hate CRMs, doctors hate charting tools and EMRs. The business side needs to support doctors, not take time away from their patients. There are a few things in the works at DIG around this — but that’s for another time!

Fun fact about yourself?

I’m a Seattle native and love all things outdoors so it probably comes as no surprise that I’m the founder of DIG’s #outdoors slack channel.


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