Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 2 years ago

Overcoming Innovation Hurdles & High Failure Rate w/Stacie Ruth


For many healthcare innovators, one of the biggest challenges is managing everything that’s required in the commercialization process. There are so many factors competing for priority. it can be extremely daunting and distracting. How do we develop an innovation to solve a problem the right way? What kind of structures and methodologies need to be put in place? What are the most important things to focus on?

In this episode, Aire Health CEO Stacie Ruth shares her transition from commercializing innovations in the corporate world to leading a healthcare startup. She shares insights into how innovators can increase the chances of market success.


3 Things We Learned 

The problem we’re solving is key to successful commercialization

One of the challenges innovators face is getting caught up in solving the problem without really considering if that problem is something the care community is seeking to solve. If the problem is not a priority for your target market, it can be a huge stumbling block even if we have a great solution. 

Successful commercialization is about product
and execution 

Health innovators can’t solely focus on the product and expect to succeed. Commercial success is more strategy development and execution and less about the product. We have to focus on developing clarity around the problem we’re solving, the identity of our brand, the implementation team executing the commercialization, and stakeholder buy-in.

Invest in opportunities for exposure and stakeholder interactions 

It’s important to take time to get involved in innovations and events that increase exposure for our innovations. If we have a clear vision of our ideal business, and we can articulate that vision with a story, we need to start sharing that story. We’ll start getting enough feedback to iterate our strategy and better understand how we can solve the problems in healthcare.

Successful commercialization starts with identifying the problem we’re solving and prioritizing the allocation of resources and capabilities. We can’t try to do everything. Once we have the problem clearly identified and we validate market fit, it’s about building the right implementation team and executing well. We have to align goals, people, resources and the greater market in which we’re playing. To hear more on Stacie Ruth’s perspective on successful commercialization, check out the podcast episode on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or get the full interview video on our website!

Welcome to Coiq and first of its kindvideo program about health, innovators earlier doctors and influencers andtheir stories about writing the roller coaster of health care and ovation. I'myour host doctor, Roxy Founder of Legacy, DNA marketing group and it'stime to raise our COIQ welcome back to the show coiq listenerson today's episode. I have the pleasure of speaking to Stacy Ruth Sheis, the COfounder and CEO for air health, and I am really excited to have thisconversation with her today for you that are other health innovators in thetrenches. I think that she's going to have a lot of wisdom and just herexperience about commercializing innovation. I think she's going to havea lot of wisdom to share with us today. So thank you for joining US Stacy.Thank you for having me, Dr Roxy. So you know what I like to do is juststart off for people who don't know who you are just to chaire a little bitabout your background and what you're doing so I am so excited. I have never sharedmy background so much. I have to tell you. I love it right. You, Cen, Titto,put twenty years into a little sound bite and I, like thatmy backgroundbefore starting our health. This year was in med device and I have been bothon the commercialization side. I actually carried a bag myself, so thefirst job that I had in health care was to sell capital equipment, and I didthat in the Tennessee, the Carolinas and Georgia from there I moved moreinto leadership roles with a sales organization, then really switch sidesand became more of a business leader and as a business leader and my timewas spent at Philips health care and as a business leader there, I had theopportunity to move all the way from the ice idea stage of products reallyin the Med device connected health, digital compositions, the way through the product developmentcycle and then responsible for commercializing those in a profitableway. So that's how I spent my last ten years launched. Adventure in Boston wasone of the biggest accomplishments of the last few years, and I'm excited nowto be in Orlando with their health. That's great! So I imagine that youhave seen the world of healthcare technology evolve quite a bit over thelast ten years. It has evolved quite quickly, and actually it was that thatevolution, if you look at telahealth what tell a health a thirty yearjourney and Afeel to people like it's new right and it's because they'reseeing now the fruits of all of that Labor and the commercialization process,you know, come to fruition- sure sow how I would say that, of course it'sevolve. OL It's evolved sine, one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine.When I started riinwit ACKERD, you know yphetical sales, but the reality of itis is that it's a slow noticing of that...

...evolution and then a very fast. Youknow way to observe it once it's been commercialized, so I feel a lot yep. Soso 's share a little bit with our audience about. You know what what areyou experiencing or what is it like? Writing this roller coaster of healthcarenivation, because I say it's like the wildwild west, it's just crazy outthere. So you know what is it like for you? Yes, so you're calling it a rollercoaster and certainly the startup life, it's up it's down it's every day andsometimes twice before lunch right, Yep Yeph, but I always looked at it as Ilike an ocean and the set of waves that are coming in and what I always lookedto do when we were scoping out the marketplace. Looking for what somewould call white space or looking for just that, little sliver of markgetopportunity where you could solve a problem that wasn't being solved verywell, I tend to watch the ocean come in and Ilike to see things when they're coming up on their crest ONSO. What it's likefor me at at our health is we're really looking at taking a digital technology.That's not so digital today, but it's a very well established medicaltechnology that has reached that crest of maturity. And then you literallyride the WAE. Then, with the digital health. FAM, that's exciting! It isexciting! That's reall, exciting! It's like You'R surfing, right, yeah, not agreat sturfer. I have tried ridting the wave, so you know one ofthe things that I think is so interesting about your story and whatyou're doing is you know your background? In coroporate America, OuMi mentioned HP. U Mentioned Phillips, and, and so you know what you're doingis really different, so you know how? How is it different for you,commercializing technology, innovation within a corporation versus you know,being the leader of a emergent startup? Yes, so I like to think that you'redoing the same, exact work, the resources available to you are verydifferent and I so I'm sort of refuseding off right. Those years ofbusiness experience, I'm not going to take that out of out of my way ofworking sure not going to take that out of my toolket to understand you knowwhat is it like to put process in place? What is it like to follow a methodologysure you? What is it like to understand if this business can even be profitablebefore you spend the first dollar of your investment, no its amout kind offollowing the rules, if you will and doing it in such a way that you knowyou have all this opportunity ahead and you're, applying the logic and therules of a bigger business? So so...

I think that that's definitely anadvantage that you have maybe to other entrepreneuers that didn't come fromsuch a maybe more structured background with systems, processes and methodologyand kind of thinking about that from from the very beginning. Yes, that'sgreat yeah. So what are some of the challenges that you think that healthinnovators face today when they're trying to commercialize an innovation? I think that it's seeing the problem with literal, you have to see theproblem literally right and you have to accept that if a problem is there, butit's not recognized by the care community, it's not a problem thatyou're going to be able to solve very easily ithink. One of the challenges isthat we get wrapped up in. We can solve a problem. Look at this problem look athow we solve it, but if the problem is not seen as impactful enough to solve,that can be a huge stumbling block, even with the most fantasticcommercialization plan. Ever you won't get adoption right right, yeah!Absolutely! You know I have that conversation with so many healthinnovators like yourself, who really spend years doing a lot ofarm twisting right. It's like you, know, Jand ar going. You have a problem.Don't you see it? Don't you see it? I see it. You have a problem, let's solveit and in hatly and either it's just. Maybe it's not as it's not a priority for them. It's not!It's not expensive enough. It's not causing a big enough pain. You knowkind of like you're touching on or you know, these organizations can just onlyfocus on so many things and it's just not one of their TPOPPO priorities forthe next three to five years. You're exactly right- and I would even add tothat so so my background in corporate America. It is no different on theindustry side, yeah right the initiatives come and go yeah. The commitment took to maybe a verywell laid plan. Maybe you run out of run way on that plan yeah and so it'svery, very similar industry and then the healthcare delivery side. So so Itotally respect that yeah. It might be the flavor of the day for a while againthe thirty year journey on Tela Health, but now we actually want that thirty,first flavor from you know, we actually want to take a bite, so do think it isabout shifting sand, shifting priorities and understanding that youhavet have to also shift your value proposition a bit to follow thatproblem all the way through yeah yeah. So I talk a lot about you know thisfailure rate, the the justincredible hurdle that health innovators have to overcome. You knowstatistically right and and kind of beat the odds of success and failure.You know from your perspective, why do... think some health innovators failwhile some succeed what's going on there? So I do thinkthat it is a little more about the method and a little less about. Youknow H, ow, how wonderful the product might be, and I think that in in inhealth innovation I think the team and the process that team uses toommercialize is as important as what you're commercializing so gain once youhave that big problem identified and you and you have a match to thatproblem- you've confirmed that match it really about the team. That's executingit. So the ability to raise enough money to get it to market Shon tenty toactually engage with healthcare providers in such a way that they havecredibility and that a health pair provider doesn't push that down thepriority list and it's about being able to deliver on the promises that you'remaking consistently to all of your stakeholders, and I think, that's a lotto get lined up for a small business. Yeah Yeah. Absolutely IT'S A lot yeah! It's definitely a lot ofalignment between people and goals. Yeah. Absolutely so so what advice doyou have? Actually you know what are some keys tosuccess? You know when we kind of talk aboutthese challenges that innovators face and why some succeed in why some fail?What do you think Orr some keys of success? So I think that Efirst of allinnovation can be defined in so many different ways, and I think that theway that you define your problem answering that problem can be definedin many different ways, and the keys to success are to understand, have extreme clarity again around theproblem statement and the alternatives to solving that problem. E next thingthat I believe in whether you're running a big business, a smallbusiness, you're innovating in healthcare or even beyond it's toprioritize right priorities, really just simply means make choices, yeahand you have to have a really really strong foundation to how you make thosechoices and how you implement the choices that you've made. So I know itsounds very simple: I it's not kind of a magic one or fairy dusk that you canput on the situation, but it's really about having some level of commitmentto the problem you're solving, and to do that by prioritizing not to try todo everything. So you know that's so true stacy, because it's so easy to get distracted by, like you said theflavor of the day right or you know this additional problem thatwe could solve, or you know, having a a pilot company come up with other ideasof things that you could solve for them...

...right or how you can solve itdifferently and there's so many things that are competing for your attention.As the you know, Esthe innovator and you've got gosh. You know a long listright, so how many things are on your list to get done absolutely, and it's really aboutdetermining what you aren't mand and not focusing so much on what you areyeah. So at Air Helph. We know we're a respiratory care company right, that'sthe big what we are, but then we start carving out what we aren't more. Whatwe aren't right now, yeah, even though it might get you that first customermore quickly to focus on something that you aren't in the long run againprioritizing and lining up all of those steps in your innovation process. Then,in your commercialization process, you'll be much better off fordetermining what you aren't and taking it off the table for people yep. Sowhat are what are some of the decisions that you've made that that you've already kind of started tosee some of the fruits of that Labor? So we made a decision pretty early onand we used a very alcoholiti business school proceses, where we did some very fast business case. Buildingaround respiratory care, Qe said drug delivery in respiratory care. What areour options? What can we do? Pairing this problem and this technology? Weactually came up with fifteen unique business, propositions and LE put the Warton hat on and wecalculated it and we wa general determinations and we landed on the topthree. We could do this. We could be this. We could do this okay, and withthat that was the very first set of decisions that we made of these topthree founders advisers, early team, which one are we going to be Yeah Yat?Are we not going to be, and those were the first decisions and then from thatwe engaged people and agencies such as yours, to actually say to us: okay,fantastic you've chosen the lane that you're going to be in now, let'sdetermine if the innovation does. In fact you know lead us to the rightproblem: Yeah Rights, polution, the right product market fit, and then howwould you commercialize this business plan that you have? So it's reallyabout it's just taking it one step at a time and a little bit of the background.You know having the experience that I have. I understand sort of what comesfirst, what comes second, what comes third yeah and for innovators thatdon't know those steps or don't feel like they have full commandof. Thosesteps grab an adviser, someone like me...

...out in the marketplace. I was extremelywilling to offer that type of help and a sister and and I'm still doing sohere locally for a couple of companies in the health care space. You know Iknew what lane I wanted to be in yeah, but you know, if you don't know how todo it, go find someone who does and bring them into your team yeah.Absolutely so you know because beecause we've been, you know, we've known eachother for a while. Now I'm familiar with a lot of the exciting things.Thatit's been happening with you in air health, so just share some of those successes right. Let's celebrate thosewins that you had right. Let's just talk about it and then also I want toknow you know how important do you think init applying and how important do you think those typesof initiatives are to your commercialization process? Yes, so I Iwas scared to death to pitch my business all right. So this is theFebruary time frame. We know what we want to be. We have a beautiful deckyeah some people, Lik beautiful some people, thought it wasn't, go pitch itright, nigt friends, so I just said you know: I'm never going to know unless Istart to get feedback on this, I'm going to pick one. The very first one Ipicked was one of the largest accelerator programs in the UnitedStates and it- and I was asked to come out to California and present at UclaTop thirty in the pool, and it was it was game changing for me F. First ofall, it didn't go very well. The first presentation- maybe I thinki O, couldsay that. Maybe don't go that big. The first time tat I that I took an advisorwith me. He watched me right. She gave feedback to me. She watched the otherpeople. She went to the reception after and asked questions about. What did yousay with stacy? What did you see with air health help make this better wonewe had that feedback. I just started applying like crazy. That's injuableexactly to events that would have me right, O second opportunity, locally,rowlan's, venture competition with Rollins College. In the crumber schoolof business, a one an award there, that was a th first money in the bank thatdidn't o from US pouders, which or a fantatic feeling, and then we wet wenton in the next couple of six weeks to win Steve Cas's revolution honor, whichis called rise of the rest. So we were the first winner in the Twsandanineteen bus tour that happened and they youknow we want a hundred thousand dollars. I mean it was fantastic. Did my firstTV did my first NPR radio? It was really a lot of first and all Ican tell you is if you know what you want your businessto be, and you have a decent way to...

...articulate that with a story get outthere and start telling the story, and you will get more than enough feedbackto move from where you are into true innovation and solving the problem.That's that is incredible. I don't know if health innovatorsinvest enough time in those initiatives. I think that sometimes they're focuseon building the business yeah and just you know because those things you knowtheres applications. Aren't you know five minutes to submit right? I can give you a little trick, though.Okay, so what you do is you build a content file right, the an itll volve,but the way that you want to present yourself in these programs. They ask itall kinds of different ways and what all kinds of different formatting, butthe fuel create. What is my elevator pitch? What is my business proposition?What is my market opportunity all the way down the line after you've done onetwo or three of those and you seeall the ways they're going to ask you: keepit in a file and cut ind paste it I can get through one of those applications.Now in ten minutes? Oh that's, fantastic, a hit's, a great tip. Yes, so so what other advice do you have forfellow innovators and entrepreneurs that are in the trenches right now?That are, you know some struggling some having somesuccess. Some, maybe really discouraged with have really you know stuck inpilot purgatory or just having little adoption. You know what what is some ofthe advice and encouragement that you would have for folks? Yes, so I'll,blended together, because we are not yet in the piloting mode, we do have anopportunity to start a pilot in the fall and we are well on our way toinsuring, through the appropriate master services agreements, theappropriate statements of work to really focus on being sure that thepilot, if you will, is a success because we've laid it out from thebeginning with purposend Wi sowe're ahead of that. So I don't have a lot ofadvice to say as a small company, I'm in the middleof that and know what to tell you yeah, I can tell you is the the last thingthat I did while I was at Phillips, was total launchawearables venture and thatthat wearables venture was a digital health proposition. We parted with acompany out of Silicon Valley and with that we set about on an eighteen month,piloting program and that I learned a lot from so what I can tell you. The big names aren't always the bestnames. Okay. So if you can find a good fit for the type of personality thatyou have as a business and as a leader and the personality and the fit of theleadership and the mission of the health system, doctor provider payerwhatever it is that you're going after with your innovation, match the peoplefirst...

Merfonalities, first, so important,bynd, so much more success. Save the big names save them for alittle bit later, save them for the big, bigger companies, because they've earned that reward of havingthose bigger headaches. Honestly, Oso they get the bigger business theyget the bigger personality. So so I made no disrespect to the bigbrands will get there one day, but even as a big company, we chose our pilots alittle more specifically around fit for purpose Vin for personality, notnecessarily how we'e going to get the biggest bang for our marketing buck. Bytalking about this pilot, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I think thatthat's some true wisdom that everyone could heed for sure, so they so if people want to get a hold ofyou what's the best way for them to connect with you. So I will give you myemail address directly and please send me a mail, I'm. I am still on thatcorporate mindset of before I get out of bed in the morning. I've alreadyplanned to answer everyone so that still snuck around. So it is my firstname and my last name so stacy St Acie Dot Ruth are uth and that is at air, Air e dot health, so stacy ruth at ardot health, please reach out to me and ourwebsite is simply air dot. Health spelled the same way and you can reachme directly from there as well and learn a little bit more about thecompany and our progress. What's the difference between waunchingand commercializing, a health care Novation, many people will watch a newproduct. Few will commercialize it to learn the difference between latnchand commercialization and to watch past episodes of the show head to our videoshow page at Dr Roxycom. Thank so much for watching and listening to the showyou can subscribe to the latest episodes on your favorite podcast, APPlike apple podcasts and spotify, or subscribe to the video episodes on ourYoutube Channel, no matter the platform just search Coyq with Dr Roxy untilnext time. LET'S RAISE OUR COIQ.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (107)