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Khin Latt joined Overlake Medical Center in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Khin Latt)

When Khin Latt was a young girl growing up in Myanmar (Burma), she wanted to be an engineer, work for NASA, go to the moon and visit Mars. Perhaps’s she’ll still get there, but that plan did diverge a bit.

“To please my mom, who was a stay at home mom who devoted her entire life to take care of us, I went to medical school to become a doctor,” Latt said. “All my childhood, I did everything I was told to do without any complaints or questions.”

Our latest Geek of the Week is now a director at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., where she oversees quality, patient safety, regulatory, infection control, employee health, informatics and clinical data analytics, the stroke program and grievances.

Latt moved to England after her completing her medical degree and got her board license in London. In 2004, she married a Seattleite and moved to the city. While studying for her U.S. board exam she worked in administration at Seattle Children’s Hospital where she took a liking to health care management. She decided to change her career did her MHA at the University of Washington.

Latt joined Overlake in 2014. The work her team does around data analytics helps support the entire organization.

“Health care has an abundance of data but it is hard to turn it into information without proper analytics,” Latt said. “We use Tableau to analyze data and for data visualization. When we give the data and the control to the user to slice and dice in the way they want, the opportunities are endless. The organization can make informed decisions and avoid gut feelings and hunches.”

While the GeekWire profile below does ask for a preference among “Star Trek” captains, Latt turns to Mr. Spock for one of her favorite quotes:

“Insufficient facts always invite danger.”

Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Khin Latt:

What do you do, and why do you do it? I oversee programs, projects and initiatives related to clinical quality and safety for patients and staff. Health care is a very complex business and there is a lot at stake. Even though hospitals and clinics are not a place people would want to hang out, it is a place for people who need help. When different groups of caring people work together with the common goal in mind, it is like a perfect choreographed play that produces great outcomes. Even though I am no longer treating patients as a physician, I feel that I am still a part of the greater good.

What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? Wow! Single most important thing. That is a tall order but I will try. Healthcare is changing at a rapid pace. There is no end game. We constantly need to improve and we don’t have a half time or a break. We are building planes while flying and change is the only constant. The world of health care is moving in the direction of prevention illnesses rather than to cure the sick. Society is adopting multiple ways to encourage healthy lifestyles and choices especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The way to help the community, public and country as a whole is to educate people on how to live healthier lives and technology has a lot of ways to support this movement.

Where do you find your inspiration? From the patients and families we serve. Whether it is the parent who holds their baby for the first time, or someone who is recovering from or fighting a sickness, or a family member taking care of their loved ones or saying a final goodbye, they all teach us how valuable life is, how important it is for us to stay resilient, live our lives meaningfully and take care of others. It puts things into perspective.

What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? My phone (plus good data plan and Wi-Fi of course). I have everything I need in that small thing. I can listen to music, read, learn, talk and see people I love who are all over the world in a second, pay bills, buy movie tickets, track my daily calorie intake, how many hours I sleep, walk … the list goes on.

(Photo courtesy of Khin Latt)

What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? I want to say my workplace is green (literally and figuratively speaking). I love plants and I have lots of orchids in my office. I also absolutely hate paper trail so most of the information I need is stored electronically instead of files in my office. I however appreciate small notes of appreciation like thank you cards and birthday cards which I keep in my office to encourage me on trying days. The only messy place I have in my office is my whiteboard where I have my notes, to-do list and projects. It is a cabinet enclosed whiteboard so no one sees that messiness.

Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) I’d be lying if I said I know how to manage it because I’m also still trying. I used to have a hard time separating my life and work. It did not serve me well. I was always moping, grumpy and stressed. I now have specific “me” time and make plans to do things for myself and my son without electronics. I’m learning how to ride a bike (yes, I do not know how to ride a bike!), learning to play saxophone and just joined a kickboxing class.

I also follow Dr. John Halamka’s blog called Geekdoctor and one of his blog posts called OHIO (Only Handle It Once) is very useful.

Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows.

Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? Kirk (Chris Pine not Shatner) :-)

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Definitely time machine.

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … Start a universal data registry that stores advance care planning, POLST, living will, DPOA so no one ever has to guess what our loved ones’ wishes would have been.

I once waited in line for … I don’t like amusement parks but my 13-year-old son made me wait in line for over an hour to ride the Riptide (Toilet Bowl) at Wild Waves (not my proudest moment).

Your role models: Alan Turing. Authentic genius, talented mathematician and cryptanalyst with strong work ethics, father of computer science.

Greatest game in history: Tetris.

Best gadget ever: Apple watch.

First computer: IBM (boxy one).

Current phone: iPhoneX.

Favorite app: Amazon shopping.

Favorite cause: American Heart Association – stroke and heart walk.

Most important technology of 2019: Telemedicine

Most important technology of 2021: Telemedicine! Will be telemedicine in 2025, too.

Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: I find advancement of technology and the artificial intelligence fascinating but I still very much appreciate the hand written greeting cards, thank you cards, a phone call on birthdays instead of Facebook messages. When you produce something from your heart and with your hands, the joy you get is immense and there is nothing artificial about it. When I need my alone time or unwind from work and life stresses, I go to the glass workshop in Woodinville called Moltenworks and create handmade glass artwork. It is so rewarding to see random pieces of colorful glass coming together as a beautiful artwork. We need some joy like that in this fast paced, everything online and everything electronic digital era. Don’t forget to take care of your emotional wellbeing and feed your soul.

Website: Overlake Medical Center

LinkedIn: Khin Latt

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