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Kuang Chen Shares Captricity's Origin Story @ EmTech

Update: Click here to watch the full story.

Our founder and CEO Kuang Chen, who has been named on the TR35 list as one of the top innovators of the year, will be addressing the crowd at MIT Technology Review’s annual EmTech event today.

We wanted to share part of Kuang’s presentation with you, outlining the origins of Captricity and our company’s mission to drive the world forward by giving people and organizations fast, easy access to data generated by forms, faxes, email and paper documents.

The village doctor who inspired me to found Captricity

When I arrived in the village of Ruhiira, Uganda in 2009, one of the pivotal people I met was Emmanuel Atuhairwe. “Dr. Emma,” who signs his emails “village doctor,” was one of a handful of doctors making rounds across six clinics covering a population of more than 100,000.

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In 2009-2010, I helped the UN Development Program set up data collection for community health workers, verbal autopsies and patient visits at the village. The program employed a team of six data entry clerks, who meticulously typed all the relevant data into a solar-powered electronic medical record system (EMR). The international development researchers used this system to measure success of their interventions, but did not set up clinicians like Dr. Emma to use it.

I quickly realized that if Dr. Emma had faster access to these records, it would make his job easier and help him save lives—an incredible opportunity for data to take action. In my spare time, I created an application that siphoned data from the EMR into Excel, and spent a few afternoons teaching Dr. Emma to create Pivot Tables, enabling him to track simple trends such as health worker performance or the number of births happening at home (which are much more dangerous than births at the clinic).

Soon, he starting tracking me down for more tutorials, and then feature requests. Armed with these metrics, Dr. Emma became a much more effective manager and advocate for improving the lot in his village. His new reports kick-started timely conversations about increases in malaria diagnoses, and provided new insights on his staff’s performance. who on his staff was slacking off. Using the data also increased his concern for its accurate and timely collection—creating a virtuous cycle in improving data quality.

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I founded Captricity to arm the Dr. Emmas of the world with data that makes a difference.

So many organizations in both the public and private sectors are fighting expensive, time-consuming and ineffective paper processes - and resulting backlogs - while struggling to make better use of their customer data. My dream is for organizations to forget about how to access their data, like they forget about how electricity or Internet connectivity arrives at their office—always on, pay-for consumption.

With the help of my talented team back in the Bay Area, Captricity will continue to pursue our mission to drive the world forward by giving customers fast and easy access to high quality data, no matter what form it comes in.

If you haven’t yet had a chance, stop by and give Captricity a try for yourself.  It’s super easy to use and requires no training -- we’d love to hear from you: support@captricity.com!

KC

What customers
are saying

“For an organization like IPA, which processes massive amounts of paper-based data every year, implementing Captricity offers huge benefits. It changes the way we approach and use data for both our services and our decision-making.”
―Niall Keleher, Senior Director, Research Methods and Knowledge Management, IPA
“Without Captricity, we would have imported the files into a bulk directory and that would have been it. What we are trying to achieve would absolutely, 100% not been possible without Captricity.”
―Joel Perkins, IT Consultant, Georgia Department of Ethics
“It was originally estimated to take a very long time to overcome the backlog using manual data entry. Captricity was timelier, and we were able to achieve very high quality data at the fraction of the cost.”
―Taha Kass-Hout, CHIO, FDA
“Captricity was very quick and flexible. We were able to tweak the forms and extract the data we needed to complete our research quickly and efficiently.”
―Tavneet Suri, Associate Professor at MIT
“Captricity was exactly what we were looking for. It was very easy to get going and the customer service has been amazing.”
―Ian Cramer, Transportation Alternatives