"My work is to ensure our clients get the maximum possible value"

"Guiding the client through upgrading the system, connecting end users for more knowledge sharing, and really standing for the purpose of Better, which is better care, is undoubtedly the most satisfying part of my job," said Ashok about his work at Better.

Ashok is an implementation specialist for Better Meds, our medication management solution, which means he is responsible for the timely and impeccable implementation of the solution with our customers. Working from the Ljubljana headquarters, he divides his work time between the UK, Catalonia, and Australia, and finds solving real-time issues for the end users the joy of his work. When he is not working, he spends a lot of time in the kitchen, as "cooking something which could be defined as a fusion of Indo-European cuisine" takes up most of his free time. Read the interview and get to know more about Ashok, his aspirations, and his journey from India to Slovenia.


Can you tell us about your career journey and how you became involved in the field of implementation and project management in healthcare IT? 

I have been working since a very young age. However, in terms of my professional career journey, I would say it started in Slovenia. As a student, while I always did the student jobs of running in and out of a restaurant kitchen and preparing cocktails and coffee, I had always been involved with business related to inbound and outbound tourism, import, export, coordinating events, etc. However, being an Indian, the focus was always on academic education, which took me on a journey from engineering to marketing/management and then eventually pursuing my M.Sc. in Business Informatics.

During my master’s studies, we had a course during which our Business Development Director Anže Droljc presented Better and topics related to the digitalisation of healthcare. I ended up on the LinkedIn page of Better, found a job opening, applied, got appointed, and found my amazing mentor Alja Babič, who mentored me and eventually guided me to the road of implementation and project management in healthcare IT.  

As an implementation specialist at Better, could you explain briefly what you do? What are your primary responsibilities, and what does your typical day or week look like?  

As an implementation specialist, I actively support the project manager/delivery manager from our end to implement our ePMA solution Better Meds. I collaborate closely with clients and partners to assess the requirements and then, together with the team internally, outline the MVP, which can be implemented as part of phase 1.

My primary responsibilities are to understand the clients’ demands or requirements and to provide and coordinate all the necessary support required from our team to them. Additionally, I also conduct and overview workshops, which are required for the clients to get a better understanding of Better Meds. Overall, my key responsibility is to make sure of a quality implementation of Better healthcare IT solutions, ensuring that our clients get the maximum possible value. 

The role of an implementation specialist involves working with cross-functional teams. I have to communicate clients' needs and challenges internally, then collect feedback from multiple teams, and in the end, get back to clients with the most valuable and appropriate solution to their needs and challenges. So, a typical day or week is spent doing a lot of internal and external communication, reading and re-reading emails or meeting notes, analysing, and getting ready for the next meeting/day.

What are some of the challenges you face in your role, and what aspects of your work bring you the most satisfaction or joy?

Solving the real-time issues for the end users, as it directly fulfils our purpose, which is patient safety, is the joy of my work. Guiding the client through upgrading the system, connecting end users for more knowledge sharing, and really standing for the purpose of Better, which is better care, is undoubtedly the most satisfying part of my job.

As for challenges, as our business model is like B2G, it deals with government-funded hospitals, which tend to have long procurement processes. The progress of projects is often affected by budget constraints, and in many cases, there is a very complex stakeholder dynamics that make decision-making complex.  

Working with partners, clients, and teams from different countries must be very interesting and challenging at times. How do you navigate this and ensure effective communication between all the parties? 

I have divided my work into 3 groups: the UK, Catalonia, and Australia. I have specific days of the week dedicated to these 3 markets, and I tend to conduct all the internal and external communications, coordinate meetings, and act on the action items (excluding urgent ones) on the dedicated day of the week. This way, it gives me ample space to focus and indulge myself in action items for the specific market/group.  

How do you meet the specific needs and expectations of clients in Catalonia, England, and Australia? Do you have any particular anecdotes that you remember? 

One rule that I surely follow during my interactions and communications is to understand and respect the cultural norms specific to every market. Moreover, for specific needs and expectations from clients, together with the team, we assess the urgency and use cases for the needs of each client and then act accordingly.

Is there a specific project or goal at Better that you are particularly excited about in the future?

At Better, after having a solid foundation within the UK market, the plan and goal to move to other markets, especially the US market, is something that brings me a lot of excitement. Currently, expanding and establishing ourselves in the Welsh market is also the focus. 

With your parents being in the military, you have travelled and lived around India in various parts and cities. Has this variety influenced your professional and personal life, and how? 

This experience and journey have had the most profound influence on my professional and personal life. It has taught me that every culture has its own beauty, and we must truly respect it in order to assimilate it. It could be the culture of a region, a country, an institution, or a company. I also gained my communication skills throughout this journey. In the professional sense, the most important aspects that I learnt were teamwork, resilience, and ethical values (like integrity, honesty, and respect for others). Being a part of that journey always makes me proud of who I am. 

You originate from India, and now you have been living in Slovenia for more than 8 years. Could you compare the two countries, and what aspects of each country do you like the most?

In all honesty, if we consider the outlook (how things look from the outside), the two countries are very different, but in the end, countries are defined by their people, and people are the same. People in Slovenia or in India, from the inside, are all the same; you find funny ones, grumpy ones, the ones who care less and are laid back and easygoing in life, and then there are some who are always in a rush for the reasons well known to God only. That’s exactly what I like the most about both countries - people, who have different ways of living their lives, different standards of life, and different approaches to life, however, in the end, we are all proud of our cultural heritage and diversity, family and friends are important to us, and there is the entrepreneurial spirit all around. And to have the quality of life (the definition of this may be different in both countries) is the end goal for all. 

Is there one specific moment in your life that you would say determined who you became and where you are going?

This was surely when I left India at the age of 19 and moved to Slovenia. This transition has surely determined who I am, what I have become, and where I would like to go, both personally and professionally.

What does Better mean to you? 

For me, Better is a visionary and resilient company, and I feel happy and lucky to be part of its growth.  



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