09 Feb The Philosophy of Development
Nagarjun Anantha Padmanabha has been part of the VisionHealth team for four years. As Head of Software Development, he has a lot of responsibilities and a varied scope of duties. This includes, but is not limited to, organizing and leading development teams in the creation of software products, planning, scheduling, and estimating software projects, designing and developing software solutions, and ensuring compliance with various medical device and ISMS (Information Security Management System) regulations. Given Nagarjun’s interesting line of work, we asked him a few questions about his job and himself.
What are your technical areas of responsibility?
Backend, Development Operations (or DevOps) and Cyber Security are the three core areas that I am personally focused on. As a team leader, I also do some frontend and help the team in general.
Cybersecurity how is it going?
We know that data protection is becoming increasingly important on a daily basis, because everyone is now aware of what data is and how important it is. As individuals, we are aware that we provide it to various external parties, and we rightfully want to control and protect it.
As a digital healthcare company, the topic of cybersecurity is particularly important. In the healthcare sector, there are several stakeholders involved that share patient’s health and personal data. VisionHeath´s Kata® app is in the middle of the atmosphere of data privacy/data security. For this reason, VisionHealth follows certain processes and has implemented certain security standards:
In addition, Kata® is also certified as a Class IIa medical device.
Cybersecurity and data protection also go hand in hand with software development. When we develop software, we carry out risk analysis and put processes in place to consider cybersecurity in software development such as threat modelling, penetration testing, vulnerability analysis to name a few. We monitor our system and any software packages we use in our product for security vulnerabilities and then fix them. Finally, we also have encryption in place for patient information.
What fascinates/motivates you about digital health?
Digital health is an area that is currently underdeveloped and therefore still has a lot of potential, specifically in Germany, where digitalization is not yet at its highest level yet. The stigma that the general population has on insufficient protection of personal data in healthcare and in the digital domain complicates it further.
Nevertheless, the improvement of digitalization in the healthcare sector would make things much easier in the future. An example of this is the Corona pandemic. Of course, it was a health issue, and many measures were taken, however, how helpful digitalization can be was displayed by some of the apps that were introduced during the pandemic, like the Digital vaccination certificates via QR codes made everyone`s lives much easier. There are several other digital healthcare apps in the market that help improve patient’s health.
We’ve just started to scratch the surface, and there’s so much more in healthcare that can be digitized to make it easier for patients and health care professionals in the future.
How has Kata® changed in your eyes over the last 5 years?
Kata® has changed tremendously over the last 5 years. This can be seen from two perspectives. One is from a product perspective and the other is from a technology perspective. If you look at the technology perspective, we first used Xamarin and also C++ for development and then we migrated to Xamarin Forms and later to React Native. The backend and security have also changed a lot over time. When I first started, our whole focus was to finalize the prototype of the app. The goal was to show that Kata ® works. And now we’re more of a holistic company where we must make sure that we have strong software development processes with QA and compliance. We’ve moved from the prototype phase to a full production phase.
From a product perspective, a lot has changed over time as well. We had a simple product that was not very user-friendly in the beginning. And then we did a complete revamp and now we have the new Kata® app, which is much more user-friendly.
One surprise that came out of this was that Kata ® as a product can add value not only to single patients but also to the pharmaceutical industry. Indeed, Kata® can help companies run clinical trials. Four years ago, we didn’t even think that this could be something we could use as a business model. From the normal version of Kata®, a clinical version of Kata® Kare was created. Based on the product perspective, Kata® was intended for patients who are sitting at home and are now able to inhale better. Now it is additionally used by pharmaceutical companies who want to test their drugs and monitor them remotely and be able to manage the whole clinical trial with hundreds of patients.
What motivates and fulfils you most about your work at VisionHealth?
Since we are a small startup, we each have core responsibilities and being able to witness the direct impact of my efforts is interesting. The company and the management are also very open to new ideas. We are a company where everyone is heard and their ideas are considered when decisions are made, which also motivates me a lot.
Since VisionHealth is a small company, there is a possibility to take on many roles at once. Half of a week I might be working on software development or cyber security and the other half I might be working on some compliance topics or project management. So, it’s not the same every day and you don’t get bored with monotonous routines, you have a wide variety of tasks to accomplish.
It fulfills me to have a direct impact on the growth of the company and the growth of the app.
What do you feel are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your field so far? Do you have any advice?
In our field, I would say, focus on the basics of software development/computer science first and not on any particular tech-stack because ours is a fast growing and volatile field and it can always change, whereas the fundamentals remain.
Another lesson I learned is that one shouldn’t chase the cool and trending technologies only for the sake of it but focus more on solving a problem regardless of how old or new the technology is. Those are the two thoughts: stick to the fundamentals and don’t always think about the latest technology but focus on the problem and solve the problem with most suitable technology.
Is there a person or a book that inspires you?
“Wings of fire” is a book by APJ Abdul Kalam that inspires me and Ratan Tata for how he has led his life and built the Tata empire.
What is your favourite podcast to listen to?
I am currently enjoying “nav.al” by Naval Ravikant, who is an entrepreneur and an investor, where he talks about entrepreneurship, wealth and happiness.
One quote you love?
“When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails”
More information on Nagarjun, our team and our work on our Team page.
KW: #cybersecurity #teamlead #frontend #backend #softwaredevelopment #medicaldigitalization
Author: Anna Vögtle