Women in AI
After her first husband committed suicide while completing his medical residency, Janae Sharp was frustrated at the “code of silence” she observed among physicians regarding physician burnout, believing it was detrimental to solving mental health issues among medical professionals. She wanted to make a difference by finding a way to use data and conversation to lead a cultural shift among physicians and providers.
Janae founded her non-profit organization The Sharp Index in March 2018 in order to help increase awareness of and reduce physician suicide through increased use of data science and AI. It was Janae’s assertion that by identifying and addressing problems in medical workflows, she could improve and even save lives.
The program started with finding a bridge between technology and real-world applications in healthcare. “There was a gap between coding and communications in real work,” Janae says. “Often the reality doesn’t match with expectations.”
Janae has since helped explore several AI use cases including procurement and billing through The Sharp Index, and has created a unique data analytics tool called The Index, which is designed to maximize workforce satisfaction among partner healthcare organizations and medical schools.
For Janae, this process is about more than just adding a static chatbot to medical applications. The goal is to improve operations and patient knowledge through faster information-gathering and process automation, all enabled by AI.
Janae’s Path to Medical Innovation
Prior to founding The Sharp Index, Janae held a variety of senior-level and executive positions, including the launch of her own medical IT consultancy, Coherence Medical. She has served as an adviser for AI healthcare company Lightning Bolt Solutions and as the Chief Strategy Officer at Lifely Insights, we well as holding several roles at Solutionreach, a medical software company.
“I always enjoyed learning from the engineering team from technology companies and I found that I fit among them. I understood their need for precise organization,” she says. “Everyone should learn to code and have a basic understanding of back-end engineering.” Janae says it was a “quest for lifelong learning” that inspired her to learn more about technology and build a career in it. She’s on a mission to help build ethical AI, or, as she dubs them, “benevolent robots.”
“I have so many opportunities to work with brilliant people who want to make things better and will make positive change,” she says. “I’m happy to work somewhere that allows me to be excited about the work but also still provide for my family.”
Janae hopes young women follow in her footsteps and choose careers in technology. When asked what advice she’d give young women looking to start a career similar to hers, she said, “Be aggressive.”
“Be who you are and channel the energy of people who are good at bragging,” she advises. “Take on opportunities that are a challenge. Use what you have and work to make things better. And have confidence in your ability and knowledge.”