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Weekly Byte: Changing the World, For Better or For Worse
I've been watching the HBO series Silicon Valley and it has reminded me of all the great, and terrible, and just-plain-weird things about the software industry.

The starry-eyed idealism is accurate. For example, the "What is Hooli?" promotional video by a software mega-corp features African children, a CEO holding a baby goat, and the saccharine line "We can't achieve greatness... without first achieving goodness." Like much of the show, this is over the top, but it's also eerily accurate - as though cobbled together from the cutting room floors during the production of every large software company's morale videos, combined with bullet points from a Forbes article listing 17 ways to attract millennials to your workforce. See also the startup founder who earnestly pitches, "We're making the world a better place... through paxos algorithms for consensus protocols." Big companies, startups, venture capitalists... everyone in Silicon Valley is making the world a better place. Everyone is changing the world.

But when you change the world, you don't necessarily make it better. Sometimes you just change it. There's no going back, but in return for ubiquitous, unlimited access to information, we've revealed the most intimate details of our lives to corporations whose only real purpose is to monetize that data. In return for instantaneous communication and increased productivity, we've created a culture where it's difficult to ever truly be away from our work. And in return for being connected digitally at all times with far-flung friends and family, we've spawned cyber-bullying and FOMO and social media addiction. Any software engineer who's paying attention must eventually come to terms with their own responsibility for the consequences - both positive and negative - of the change that they're creating.

There are ways to stay grounded, to understand the effects and side-effects of your software, and to adjust your approach to make sure you're really "achieving goodness." But it requires having users - which is a catch-22 for most newly-minted startups - and making the effort, especially as an engineer, to stay extremely close to those users. It requires a long-term commitment to what you're doing - in an industry where the leading companies have an average employee tenure between 1 year (Amazon) and 1.1 years (Google)*. And it requires working at a company with the discipline, control over its own destiny, and the financial independence to chart its own course rather than chasing trends, making shady deals, or finding ever-more-creative ways to monetize its users.

I just celebrated my ninth anniversary at pMD, and it's been an amazing journey. It's never easy to do the right thing in the right way, and we've chosen to turn down a lot of opportunities, investors, and partners along the way because they would have compromised our control over our destiny, or distracted us from our core mission to make doctors happy - which has never changed. Watching Silicon Valley has been a great reminder about the power of software to change the world - and how poorly situated most software companies are to do so in a responsible way.

*Source
5G ACA Account Management accurate coding ACI adoption Advancing Care Information Advice AHCA AHRQ AI Alternative Payment Model Amazon S3 Android API Apple appointment reminders Artificial Intelligence arts Audit Award Bay Area BCRA Benefits Best Place to Work Best Practices Big Data Billing Billing & Collections Billing Service Billing Services bootcamp BPCI BPTW Bundled Payment Model Bundled Payments Business relationships Care Communities care coordination Care Navigation Care Team Career Fair CDC Charge Capture Charge Capture App Charge Capture Software Charge Capture Solution Charge Capture Statistics Charge codes Charge Lag Charge Reconciliation CHIP CIO Claims Clinical Communication clinical data Clinical Data Registry Clinically integrated network Cloud CMS cms regulations Coding Collaboration Communication Company Culture Conferences Connected Health Record contact practice Coronavirus COVID COVID-19 COVID19 CPT codes Cross-functional culture custom reports Customer Interaction customer relations customer service customer success customer support Customers Cyber Security cybersecurity Developer DHHS Diagnosis codes Dialysis discharge instructions Doctor EHR elderly Electronic Charge Capture Eligibility EMR Encryption End-to-End Platform epidemic Expansion FDA FHIR Flu fundamentals Gen Z GI GI Outlook Goals group messaging Health Care Health Care Technology Health Care Web Health Care. Health Care IT health data Health Information Exchange Health Record Healthcare Healthcare Data healthcare interface healthcare interface integration healthcare software HIE HIPAA HIPAA Compliance hipaa compliant communication hipaa compliant communication platform HIPAA-Compliant Hiring HL7 Holidays Home dialysis Hospital Census Hospital Communication humanity IA ICD-10 ICD-11 Immunizations Implementation Improvement Activities in-app calling inclusive software incorrect billing increase revenue injury rehabilitation innacurate coding Instant capture Integration interface interoperability iOS iOS 8 iOS7 iPad iPhone iPhone 6 IT Lead Generation length of stay LGBTQIA Long Term Care LTC Machine learning MACRA Medaxiom Medical Billers Medical Billing Medical Billing & Collections medical billing denials and solutions Medical claims Medical Coders Medical Coding medical coding accuracy medical coding quality Medical Errors medical practice revenue Medical Record Medical Software Medicare Mental Health Mentorship Messaging Messaging with Patients MGMA MIPS MIPS Registry mobile Mobile App Mobile Charge Capture Mobile EHR Mobile Health Mobile Messaging Mobile Payments Mobile security Mobile Software Mobile Technology Mobile telehealth Modern Healthcare Native App natural language processing Network new feature new features news NIH nlp OCM onboarding Oncology Care Model operations opioid crisis Pandemic Parenting Partnership partnerships Patient Patient access Patient Adherence Patient App Patient Care Patient Chat Patient chat routers Patient Communication patient data Patient Engagement patient experience patient experience cycle Patient Generated Health Data Patient Handoff Software Patient Information Patient Messaging Patient payments patient portal Patient Record Patient Safety Patient satisfaction Patient Simulators patient support Patient Visits Patient-Centric PCP Performance bonus PHI Phishing Scams Physician Physician burnout pmd pMD Pro pMD Team population health Population Health Management Post-COVID PQRS Practice Management Pregnancy Press Release Product Development Productivity products Promoting Interoperability Protected Health Information QCDR QPP Quality Data quality reporting Quality Scoring Ransomware RCM Recruiting Recruitment Reimbursement remote jobs Remote Work Reporting reports Residents Responsibility revenue cycle management ROI Rural communities Ryuk Sales Secure Communication Secure Data Secure Messaging Secure Messaging Video Secure Text Messaging Secure Video Secure Video Chat Security Audit self care seniors sexual orientation and gender identity SF Biz Times SMB SNF SNOMED-CT SOC 2 software vendor SOGI Spear Phishing Specialty Care success support TCM TDM Team Team culture Teamwork technology telehealth telehealth reporting Telemedicine telemedicine in long term care Telemedicine skilled nursing facilities Teletherapy Text Messaging texting Thanksgiving Therapeutic Drug Monitoring time-based billing training transgender Travel Upgrades UX Design VA vaccination records vaccinations Vaccine Value-based care Video Calling Video chat video communication video conferencing Virtual Care Virtual Visit voice calling voice memos WannaCry Wearable Device wearing many hats Web App wellness wfh Wireless Work From Home Work Life Balance Workflow optimization Workplace Culture