My admiration for client Dr. Nwando Olayiwola increases every day! An award-winning physician and assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Olayiwola recently made headlines by saving the life of her Lyft driver:
As I watched and him becoming increasingly uncomfortable, miles away from my home in busy nighttime traffic on a large highway, I insisted that he pull over. I told him, “this is dangerous, you’re in pain. Pull over and let me get some help.”
By the time he pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway, he was clenching his right fist to his chest, writhing in pain, sweating, opening all of the windows and gasping for air. OH MY GOD, I thought to myself, this guy is having an MI (myocardial infarction/heart attack). As a doctor, I recognized the symptoms immediately and took swift action. But I had so many immediate thoughts! What if another passenger had not
recognized these symptoms? What if he was still driving on the road? What if we were not able to pull over?
Thanks to her quick thinking and expertise, Dr. Olayiwola correctly diagnosed the heart attack and kept the man calm and awake until emergency services arrived.
Her story was also picked up by ABC 7 News, and they were even able to interview the Lyft driver she saved.
As founder of Inspire Health Solutions, LLC, Dr. Olayiwola launched a nationwide series of conferences designed to empower and celebrate minority women professionals called Minority Women Professionals: MWPs are MVPs! I’m honored to be providing publicity services for the conferences, which are based on her incredible book behind the movement, MWPs are MVPs!: Ten Essential Ingredients in the Secret Sauce of the MWPs. She is a renowned speaker and leader in primary care innovation, dedicated to developing solutions for the intersection of healthcare and technology.
As a matter of fact, Dr. Olayiwola’s Lyft driver was taking her home from a conference where she presented ways that technology can provide patients with faster access to specialty care. The connection was not lost on her! Dr. Olayiwola writes:
We spend a lot of time in primary care trying to get people to come into the “doctor’s office”, and this experience challenged me to really think….what is the “doctor’s office”? As this story unfolded today, I have found out so much more about my Lyft driver turned patient turned friend. He did indeed have cardiac problems and an abnormal heart rhythm, and had been having chest pain for a few weeks, which he did not address because, as an immigrant from the Middle East with a wife and young child, he needed to work and support his family, he had poor communication from his doctor and some specialty care fell through the cracks, and he had a limited health plan that didn’t cover much anyway.
He worked day in and out to provide for his family, and, frankly, the “doctor’s office” was right there, in his car, where he needed it most. Reflecting on my experience at HIMSS and the intersection of healthcare and technology, with compassion at the core, I really wonder, what do we need to be doing in healthcare to truly make it authentically patient-centered, meet people where they are, and allow for incredible advances in healthcare and technology to impact people like my Lyft driver? Could we be using Lyft to save lives? Could Lyft now become the “doctor’s office” that people really need? Could this marriage between healthcare and tech be more fruitful than it is?
It’s an amazing story, and I encourage everyone to read Dr. Olayiwola’s full account of the lifesaving Lyft drive over at her blog.
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