Meet a Dragon: Kim Jacoby
Meet Kim Jacoby, PharmD, MSHI, a Senior Clinical Product Specialist at Komodo Health. She shares her journey to Komodo, her love of Lindy Hop, and a few creative tips for parenting during a pandemic.
You have a diverse background that includes deep experience as a clinical pharmacist, a certification in life coaching, and a Masters in Health Informatics. Tell us about your professional journey through all these incredible accomplishments and how you landed at Komodo.
In my twenty-some years as a pharmacist, I spent time as a clinical pharmacist working with older adult populations, community pharmacy settings, and large hospital systems, as well as in Medication Therapy Management (MTM). I got my first entrepreneurial spark while I was managing the Berkeley Elephant Pharmacy, where I got to lend my voice to a new and innovative model for community pharmacy practice. Eventually, I realized I needed a change and found it through coaching. I became certified as a professional coach and founded a relationship coaching practice with a friend before taking a year off to travel the world with my husband.
Several twists, turns, moves, and two kids later, I began to explore the emerging health tech scene in San Francisco, and eventually this led me to an opportunity at athenahealth. While I was there, I became fascinated by health data and analytics, and I went back to school for a Masters in Health Informatics while continuing to work full time on top of parenting. It was stressful! But my classes exposed me to data science, data standards, product development, and coding. I was in awe of the power that a single line of code could provide.
Leading up to graduation, I was still unsure where I fit. Not quite a data scientist, but a budding informatician, and moving further away from pharmacy. A few months after graduation, I was lucky enough to find a role that was a perfect fit for my clinical background and technical skills at Komodo Health! The mission here really resonated with me, and I have found the work and team of people to be incredibly rewarding.
You work on our Clinical Innovations team – what does this entail and what are your favorite parts of your role?
Starting with our Healthcare Map™, a lot of our work in the clinical team focuses on defining a cohort or population of interest and translating clinical information into encounter codes we can use for analysis. We work on everything from product development to sales. With my recent background in data informatics, I collaborate on projects related to reference data or knowledge base. I love the cross-functionality of my role because it allows me to continue learning every day and serve as a connector between disciplines across the organizations.
What is your favorite project you’ve worked on at Komodo, and what made it special or meaningful?
In the fall of 2019, I co-developed a drug data object, a large database of drug codes describing prescription products at a really granular level. For example, now we can easily pull out only the steroid products designed for the eyes. It was an awesome experience and a great example of where the “innovations” part of our team’s title comes in; if we see a gap, we can try to fill it. And because our team supports so many groups, we are connected to people across the company, so we often know who to turn to with a question, who to route something to, or what a team or individual needs next.
What advice would you give to someone, especially someone from the clinical side, looking to move into health tech?
Go to meet-ups to find different people interested in or working in health tech! This is obviously harder now during the pandemic, but opportunities to make those connections are still out there.
I would also encourage others to take advantage of online training through Coursera, Udemy, Data Camp, and the like, to learn about aspects of the health tech industry that you’re not seeing in a clinical setting, like product development or data science. If nothing else, it’s really valuable to gain exposure to the terminology and fundamentals from the analytics and data side.
As you pursue a path in health tech, it’s imperative to seek out a mission that motivates you and will keep you dedicated to and invested in your work for years to come.
On top of your work with Komodo, you are also a licensed life coach. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from that experience, and how do they play into your day-to-day life now?
Going through my life coach certification, I learned a lot of skills that would be useful for anyone (especially a parent!), like how to be supportive and a good listener and reflect back what you’re hearing, rather than simply pushing your own agenda. This skill set also gives me the ability to connect the dots between my own priorities and someone else’s. We can always find commonality and work from there.
A lot of what a life coach teaches you is about how to hone in on what you want – in your life, in your work, and so on. Once you identify those things, the next step is always to identify the “blockers,” the things that are holding you back from achieving those goals. Is it fear? Fear of success? From there, you can pay closer attention to how you’re feeling, and use that self-reflection to move forward toward what you want. It’s a constant process and practice – and it has served me well in so many aspects of my life.
Changing gears a little bit, I know you have two kids doing at-home schooling right now. Do you have any good strategies for keeping them focused and busy during the day while you work?
With two young children, my husband and I have definitely had to get creative to keep our kids entertained! Besides a thriving “token economy” system to reward good behavior, our biggest success has been dance parties: We put extra twin mattresses on the floor of the garage and tell Alexa “It’s Showtime!” A rainbow of lights flash and dance music plays. As a break from school, the kids will go out there and jump around and yell and dance – staying entertained and burning up a lot of their energy!
During this year, we’ve also been reading a lot with them. I just finished Hello, Universe by Erin Kelly with my 9-year-old son, which is such a cute book about friendship and bravery, and I am almost finished with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my 8-year-old daughter.
Can you tell us one thing you’re excited about for when vaccines have been fully distributed and we can interact in person again?
I’m an avid dancer, with a particular love for Lindy Hop! Pre-pandemic, that was a huge part of my life – I even met my husband dancing! I can’t wait to get back to that.
At Komodo Week in Las Vegas last year, a bunch of us "dancer Dragons" found each other and got together over the course of the week. It was something I’ll never forget. We were hoping that as we continued to have company-wide meetups in New York and San Francisco, we could take advantage of the dance scenes in both cities. That’s obviously been put on hold, but I’m really looking forward to dancing with both my long-time dance buddies and my new ones from Komodo!