Chicago CTOs to know: Meet Emmi's Nimesh Patel

October 27, 2015

The team at Emmi is committed to fixing one of the nation’s most problematic of industries: healthcare. With Emmi’s suite of healthcare solutions, patients have a robust and user-friendly platform upon which they can become more involved in their treatment and care plan. Healthcare providers can track patient engagement and compliance, leading to a more successful treatment plan that ultimately improves clinical and financial results.

Leading that team of innovators is Emmi’s Chief Technology Officer Nimesh Patel, a graduate of the Chicago Booth School of Business who’s been working with Emmi for about two and a half years. We caught up with Patel to learn more about the technology he’s developing that makes Emmi one of Chicago’s most promising healthtech companies.  


What technologies power your business?

Our company helps people be healthier and be involved in their own care by enabling healthcare organizations to deliver information at the right time in the right way, Emmi is powered by assorted technologies that facilitate scalable and personalized communications and also track the impact we’re making. 


What technologies are playing the biggest roles in Emmi this year?

The technology platform at Emmi is evolving and going through a significant shift. Our approach is to first and foremost recognize market demands and product innovation to position ourselves as leaders in patient engagement. Our technology choices are dynamic. We try not to marry ourselves to a certain technology or process but have created an environment and a culture where shifts in technology choices to support the business is encouraged and embraced


What are the biggest tech projects your team is working on this year?

Whether it is multi-media content, email, interactive voice response or text messaging, we have an assortment of projects going on that support the aim of building a dynamic, personalized, rules driven platform for creation, delivery and tracking of our unique outreach programs. These projects all ultimately are driven by our mission to help our clients build longitudinal relationships with their patients or members so they can support them in their wellness throughout their lives. 


What are the biggest technology challenges you've faced in the past? How did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is building a completely new platform. It involves new workflows, user design, frameworks and architecture. The challenge lies in designing an architecture that the market will be ready for in 12 – 18 months but also balancing that forward-looking vision with features that clients can leverage right away for an immediate impact.

To overcome the challenge of wanting to stick with the tried and true, because meaningful innovation won’t occur if you do, it is important to establish and reinforce a culture of curiosity and comfortability with risk. You have to help your team feel comfortable with exploring and testing new methods that may not necessarily succeed but they’ll learn something along that way that can be applied in the future.  


What are lessons you've learned about working in Chicago that other local entrepreneurs can learn from?

Chicago is fast becoming a major technology hub in the country. Finding good talent, keeping them engaged and providing a stimulating work environment is a challenging and ever changing task. At the same time, the entrepreneurial community is well knit and lots of efforts are being made by various organizations and the city to exchange ideas. I recommend to entrepreneurs that I meet that they should find ways to plug into the collaborative environment of the city whether it is attending meet ups or teaching sessions occurring at incubators like MATTER, take advantage of the variety of resources available and it’ll only help you succeed.


Chicago is known for having a large talent pool of thirsty, young workers. What are the top characteristics you look for in a potential hire?

During interviews, I try to look for motivation behind taking a certain role whether its interest in the technology, industry, product or money. I’m especially interested in engineers who like to solve different problems and are not tied to their expertise in a particular technology stack or domain. I like curiosity, I like people who want to try new solutions and are not afraid to fail. Most importantly I want someone who is a team player, not only in his/her own team but across the company. My most important philosophy that I tell everyone on my team is that you work for the company, not for your manager, or any one person in the organization. When making a choice, make what’s best for the company.


How would your team describe working with you?

I take pride in creating an environment that is engaging and open. I want everyone on my team to be here because they are learning something and are growing in ways that will help them prepare for the next phase of their career. I’m hands off and prefer to let someone run with something and it is okay if they aren’t completely successful in the first attempt. At the same time, I do get into the details where and when I feel its needed. I’m patient and believe in giving people chances but of course, I have my moments where I can get frustrated. We’ve built a really talented team at Emmi and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the team that I currently do.


What trends do you see happening in health care and health tech over the next three years? How is Emmi anticipating those trends and working towards them?

Technology is on the rise in healthcare and we’re in early stages of a fundamental shift in the industry. This is evident from the number of startups in the space, I believe it was Rock Health that said venture capital funding for healthcare technology in 2014 reached $2.4 billion, more than 10 times the amount that was invested in 2007.

Technology is being embraced to solve various problems such as increasing efficiencies in workflows, facilitating patient engagement or enabling inter-operability across systems. Emmi has been in this space for 12+ years and we have in depth expertise including medical knowledge, understanding of how people are motivated and what type of information or tools people are seeking from their providers to engage in their own health. Now, we are marrying that expertise with our ability to deliver best of breed technology solutions. Our agility, vision and creativity positions us uniquely and puts us in a good spot to help support and guide our clients as they themselves adapt to the new era of healthcare technology. 


What else do you want the Chicago startup community to know about Emmi?

There are many great startup organizations in Chicago. We’ve been in the early stages ourselves and learnt a great deal along the way. Emmi believes in creating a very collaborative environment and giving back to the community. Everyone here buys into our philosophy, our cause and the positive impact that we’re making in healthcare. Come check us out. If you are interested in exploring opportunities in joining our team, check out the following:

Some responses may have been edited for length or clarity. 


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