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Aaron Brock, The Sound of Success

AAron brock

Aaron Brock, The Sound of Success

As the nation’s largest minority — comprising almost 50 million individuals — people with disabilities contribute to workplace diversity. They help businesses address challenges through varied perspectives and enhance their competitive edge. At Nolij, we work to ensure people with different skills, abilities and communication styles are integrated into our workforce and customer base.

Aaron Brock, a senior analyst, is a leader in Nolij Consulting’s Development Test and Evaluation team and supports our IT and cybersecurity strategies. Oh yeah, he also happens to be deaf.

Were you born deaf? How did you learn to navigate school and the world without your hearing at an early age?

“I became deaf at two years old from spinal meningitis which damaged my vestibular nerves that impaired my ability to hear sound. I was blessed to learn sign language at a very young age and attended ASL-based schools. I attended the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. I received my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts institution in the world for the deaf and hard of hearing. After graduating from college, I went into Defense Health Information Management System.”

What are some of the daily challenges you encounter at work, and how do you deal with them?

“As a deaf person, I have never felt disabled. I have gained so much from my deafness, much more than I’ve ‘lost.’ We, as deaf people, call it ‘deaf gain’ or the ability to communicate without sound. Communication is always a challenge in the workplace because of meetings. In a sound-driven culture, people are often talking over each other. In many respects, deaf people are better communicators because we talk one at a time—sequentially. We can stay focused on the interaction without being disconnected. Deaf communication culture allows me to educate others on an alternate form of communication because people often forget the barrier that exists between us – my deafness or their inability to sign.”

How did you become interested in IT?

“My father influenced my interest in Information Technology. He worked as an engineer for AT&T and always brought his work home. I was around computers before it was cool. Along the way, I met a software developer who further drove my interest in computer science and software engineering. My initial work experience in IT was in Video Relay Service that provides ASL interpreting services for the deaf. Eleven years later, Nolij has expanded my technical skills by entrusting me to lead key projects. My colleagues are very accommodating– I’m lucky to be working with such a great group of people.” 

What are your interests, hobbies, aspirations?

“I enjoy cycling and playing video games. I am engaged and have two children and four cats. I volunteer at the Metro Washington Association for the DeafBlind doing some web development and IT support.”

What advice would you share with others who also have challenges that most of the population does not?

“Don’t view your disability as a challenge but something you can gain from. I am deaf, but I gained the ability to communicate without sound. You’d be surprised how accommodating people can be when you’re open about challenges you have in any aspect of your life.”
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Leadership Thoughts

Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!

telemedicine
telemedicine

Can’t we just TeleEverything? I’ve got Netflix to Binge Watch!

While money cannot buy happiness, it can certainly buy time. This truism is the driving philosophy of successful companies like Netflix, Uber, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Peloton, Amazon, Instacart and HelloFresh. These companies have come to define the convenience economy with business models based on giving back time, today’s leading currency, to customers. As a busy entrepreneur, I certainly take advantage of many time-saving services like prescription deliveries and telehealth visits.

In fact, the time Americans waste while waiting to be seen by a doctor equates to $1.5 billion a year. Anyone who has ever checked out of a hospital knows that “you’ll be going home today” really means maybe by 4:00 pm. Yet, despite the downfalls of in-person appointments, telemedicine did not take off until the pandemic hit in 2020. The question is, why?

Why Did It Take A Pandemic For Telemedicine To Flourish?
I think the answer lies in the convergence of convenience, willingness to take risks to get it, and policy changes spurred by Covid-19. If a man paddleboarding across the Hudson River to make a meeting or jumping into an Uber (although our mothers told us never to get in a car with a stranger!) is any indication, consumers are ready to take risks for the sake of convenience.

Before the lockdown began last year, people were afraid it might be too risky to see a doctor online due to fear of receiving an inaccurate diagnosis. Because of the shutdowns, however, telehealth became the only way to get medical attention and was a safer alternative to in-person care.

To facilitate the expanded use of telehealth services for healthcare delivery, the government issued temporary regulatory changes. These changes, including adjusted payments for telehealth services, have allowed doctors to stay in business and continue treating the sick. These changes most likely will become permanent.

The Future of Telemedicine
In the 1964 illustrated sitcom, The Jetsons, Elroy Jetson complains that he is not feeling well and has to stay home from school. Rather than take him to the doctor, his mother Jane calls up the doctor on the videophone. Today this retro-futuristic vision of telehealth visits has become a reality.

The digital health industry has improved the patient-provider relationship through mobile apps, patient portals, wearable health sensor devices, and app-based symptom checkers. We will continue to see more AI-driven tools that bring the tactile senses to telehealth visits.

The most important change coming down the road is the transformation of the healthcare delivery model to a value-based one where providers, hospitals, and physicians receive payments based on patient health outcomes. New value-based programs stress a team-oriented, network approach to patient care management that involves coordinating care through the responsible sharing of patient data. Adopting healthcare technology like electronic health record systems creates an online system view that allows healthcare providers to readily track and measure patient outcomes. In value-based healthcare models, primary, acute care, and specialty care are united in a coordinated group approach, led by a patient’s primary physician, who directs the patient’s care team. Telehealth will be vital to ensuring that medical teams can conveniently work with patients without the inundation of time-consuming in-person visits.