WAHIDA BHUYAN ’12 INTENDED TO BE A TAX OR EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY. But while she was in law school, she was in a car accident—and got a firsthand look at the health care industry. “I saw how messy it really was with regard to information sharing,” she said.
Medical workers had difficulty accessing her records, which led to her going into anaphylactic shock three times from prescription mistakes. So she took the general health care class Albany Law School offered at the time and, after earning her J.D., pursued a graduate school program in health care IT. At first, her application was rejected; the program was only open to doctors and programmers. “I told them they’ll need lawyers, too,” she said. They let her in.
She also started volunteering at a health clinic in Harlem to understand the complexities of the industry. “I wanted to see the real thing,” she said. After that, she received a tsunami of offers. It turns out, health care does need lawyers to navigate innovations and information technology. The federal government asked for her assistance drafting policy on information sharing and privacy issues. Then she began consulting for startups, guiding them through privacy laws as they used data to improve health care.
Now she is general counsel at THRIVEE, a company that is breaking new ground in opioid addiction recovery. “We’re building our own tech, including artificial intelligence, to help determine if someone is at risk of relapsing,” she said. “There are no laws really around it yet.” She works hand-in-hand with THRIVEE’s technology and design teams, helping them to develop vMAT—virtual Medication Assisted Treatment—tools that are legally acceptable. “It’s a little tricky because the law, when it comes to health care, is state-specific,” she said. “It’s a lot of research.” But she loves it. “You know you’re doing something that’s actually helping others.”
Editor's note: Since the time of publication, THRIVEE has rebranded to Kaden Health.