Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 109 · 8 months ago

Don’t boil the ocean: How to launch with success w/ Patrick Tarnowski


Over the years, we’ve had leaders, consultants, advisors - just about every manner of representation in the healthcare leadership ecosystem - but never one that had them all covered!

And then there was Patrick Tarnowski, founder of PTx2 Healthcare Consulting - a healthcare ecosystem veteran with over 30 years exposure to healthcare and innovation.

With more than half our listeners and viewers trying to sell to a provider market, hospital system, or a health plan, there’s been many challenges we’ve faced and opportunities missed.

Patrick sits down with us this week to share his insights and experiences in bringing successful healthcare solutions to market - from every side of the coin, and without trying to boil the ocean.

It doesn’t matter who your target market is for this one, because there’s something for everyone.

Here are the show highlights: 

  • This is how to successfully navigate long sales cycles (8:10)
  • Understanding your solution is as important as understanding your technology (15:13)
  • Is it a sale or is it a discovery? (20:55)
  • Why you shouldn’t try to boil the ocean (27:30)
  • Seek market understanding over product validation (30:06)
  • Don’t bypass the healthcare ecosystem hooplah! (38:03) 

Guest Bio 

Patrick is the founder of PTx2 Healthcare Consulting – a firm that specializes in helping small/early-stage companies understand and successfully navigate the healthcare ecosystem.

Over 30 years in healthcare leadership roles has culminated in a passion for helping innovators and founders navigate the complexities of the healthcare ecosystem.

Pat has successfully launched and scaled care delivery companies, digital solutions that included health and wellbeing, disease management and virtual care and worked with providers to achieve success in value-based payment models.

If you’d like more information about PTx2 Healthcare Consulting, you can contact Pat directly on LinkedIn at Patrick Tarnowski.

You're listening to health innovators, a podcast and video show about the leaders, influencers and earlier doctors who are shaping the future of healthcare. I'm your host, Dr Roxy Movie. Welcome back to the show health innovators. On today's episode I'm sitting down with Patrick Tanowski, who is the founder of ptx to healthcare consulting. Welcome to the show, Pat. Thanks, Dr Roxy's pleasure to be here. I'm looking forward to this conversation. I'm so glad to have you here. You bring a very unique experience to this conversation. You know, we have healthcare leaders that have been on the show and we have advisors and consultants, but not, I think, no one that as well versed in the healthcare leadership ecosystem that is now become a consultant and so then to be able to bridge those insights. I think it is just going to make for a very powerful conversation today. Yeah, I think so as well. I've been so fortunate to be able to really live and work for thirty years and every part of the health care ECO system, like you mentioned. So I'm looking forward a conversation. So let's go there. Tell her audience a little bit about your background and experience and then you know what you're working on these days. Yeah, fantastic. So, yeah, I started off in the provider space. I'm a physical therapist and really love what we're doing with our patients. Did that for about ten years and did a lot of teaching, both continuing at and academic appointments at a few universities. Absolutely loved it, but just got a bit pooped with the day to day patient care and really realize that I still want to stay involved and found a bit of a pension for the business of our business. So I took a bit of a left turn at that time and in the healthcare care and in an MBA and spent moved into medical devices and spent seven years there working with a one of the largest medical device companies at that time. Then it was pretty exclusive to Orthopedic Surgery and rehabilitation and younger company. We were private. We were taken a republic, were taking private by a large private equity firm. So I got as my first exposure into what private equity looks like. You know the good, the bad and the ugly with it, but mostly mostly good. And you know in that experience got to touch an awful lot of parts of the organization, whether it was from quality to sales, to marketing, to product development and research, working with our national accounts payers, doing advocacy work in in in Washington DC and at a state level and absolutely loved it. Couldn't been a better learning lab for the time. And doing an MBA as well, right, you know. But I was traveling a bunch of my kids were young and it just didn't make sense to see on the road. So I was fortunate enough to be a CO founder of of a occupational medicine practice here in the twin cities and we had great success. We scaled quickly and exited from there and and can was invited to join the one of the largest health systems here in Minnesota to lead. This is really the early days of the development of clinical service lines. So the Diet leadership model with physicians and we was fortunate enough to be able to work with an incredible team of leaders, physicians administrators that were really dedicated to this concept of how do we create an exceptional experience that is consistent, that is affordable, evidence based across multiple providers and multiple geographies, and we had really, really good success with that. So it was just an amazing opportunity early stages of centers of excellence on. Yeah, yeah, conceptually like that. And then how do we how do we take what's what's, you know, at the core of a center of excellence and scale at into multiple geographies and some of the really, I think, kind of unique challenges to that. There's certainly the administrative side that says, let's we can get system advantages and, you know, some of the the economies of scale. But but what became really interesting and informed enough a lot of the work I'm doing today, was branching into the more rural communities and understanding the unique and important position that rural providers and rural hospitals have in their communities. You know, unlike what we see in some of the more urban environments in where there may be multiple systems, multiple hospitals, when you get into a more rural community, that hospital and that Nick and that small nursing home are really the fabric of that community. And so we realize that we could bring out a you know, here's sort of the package for clinical consistency and such an a clinical service line. But I didn't always fit, you know, maybe eighty percent of that would fit, but twenty percent we need to respect that, which makes you know that that clinect that hospital unique to that community, and that was a great learning and great opportunity. So after, after that, I spent a few years with a with a venture group created a spending up one of their portfolio companies dedicated to Musculo skeletal care, which is certainly certainly a very hot segment and expensive segment,...

...and then multiple years with another health plan where I was fortunate enough to lead a digital health portfolio. All of the products that we we would choose to bring in that we would then bring to our self insured and sometimes a fully insured and sometimes the government markets, and it was just an amazing time at the explosion of all of this digital care, to be on the buy or side of that and understand the things that are really important not only to the to the health plan, but also to the to the employer partners that we have and ultimately to our members. What years of that that would have been started about two thousand and seventeen up until about a year ago. Yeah, and so really is, I said, the explosion of the digital health and then layering on a pandemic where we're not only did to than the number of technologies coming to market increase, but so to did the adoption and and so from the health plan we there was really some unique opportunities and unique challenges there as well. You know, how do we how do we vet these for safety and security? How are they going to fit into a provider provider community? How will they fly with our members? How and how, now that our most of the employers are remote? You know, there's both opportunity and challenges there. So all you know, all of those things were very formative and left there about a year ago and began getting calls from founders saying what you've been in these different the holy ecosystem. Most recently union, as I mentioned, you were buy or a health plan and we would love to work into a health plan. We would love to work with employers. Can you help us understand how they how this works, how they think? And what I have so enjoyed is working with founders, whether they're they're early in their career or, you know, this is their second or third founding, who who see the opportunity for disruption in healthcare and the opportunity for improving care delivery, but they just might not understand the the sort of underbelly of how healthcare works or doesn't works, with the complexities of it. So being able to help advise, informed, guide and do an awful lot of customer discovery has just been a has been such a pleasure. That is remarkable. So is there anything that you haven't done and how many yers that you had in one lifetime? Yeah, let's say all of them. Yeah, and you're not just nationally based, you're doing some work globally as well. Correct. Yeah, I have been fortunate enough to work with clients from the Middle East, from the UK, from Canada, who have in unique needs, exceptionally smart people, great technologies, who are what I have appreciated about all of them is they're willing to say I don't quite understand the the US market and I'm not so enamored with my technology that I'm forgetting about the workflow with providers or the the experience of the of the end user, the member. Where are those probable those people? Yeah, we have to remember them. So I've really appreciated, appreciated working with folks who are open to those kinds of conversations and realize that they did. They they don't know when. They need some help understanding it, sure. Yeah. So then let's go back to the the the Lens of you being on the other side. You know, it's really not that long ago that you were on the buyer side and at least I think half of our audience here is is trying to sell into a provider market or a hospital system or a health plan. So what are some of the challenges or opportunity these that you would want to share with the community today? Yeah, that's that's such an important question. The opportunities are great in that we when we just when we look at the spend and health care, it continues to go up. You know, we have we have pockets of whether it's disease management or experiences, pockets in the in the and different geographies where there's been good success. But in aggregate we still see that there's great opportunity to change the way care is delibered, to reduce cost and improve quality. So so while there's great opportunity and a lot of lives that we just we simply can't touch today. I mentioned the rural health markets. Before we look at just whether it's socially or economically disadvantaged communities who we're just not serving. Well. There's amazing opportunity there. The I think the pandemic, and I've heard so many times other experts on this, on your on your show, talk about how the pandemic sort of pulled back the curtain and said boy, there's opportunity here for it, for digital care. So we see all of these these, I think, avenues for growth and avenue for accessing...

...and bringing more care, different care, virtual care, to two different lives. Some of the challenges, though, that I think I have, I've been able to share with with many of the the clients that I'm working with, and you know these founders. Is One. Let's just understand it's a long sales cycle and and I think folks here that. But we'd say, I know I can save money, I've done my pilot work and I've got I've got a few clinical studies to show that it has an impact. And while someone comes into the to a payer with that data, we'd say, well, that that's great, but we need to validate that with our own data. So that's those things down. We need to understand. How does it fit, because I, as I mentioned, I had a full portfolio of products and bringing something new into that. I need to understand how, how would it complement or potentially collide with something that I currently have? And for me, if there's, if there's a opportunity for it to be additive, I still need to be thinking, you know, the sales cyclist. So long. I need to be thinking for the next two and a half years, you know. So by the time I've made my decision, I'm selling for probably two years ahead. So those are some of the things that I think have been interesting for these founders. When you say selling two years ahead, you're not talking about as the founder, you're talking about as the buyer. So as the buyer, you made the decision that you're going guy and and it's still going to take you two and a half years, two to two and a half years, to sell. So do you mean like selling the other leaders within the company, the other department? No, yeah, that's important, important distinction. So yes, there's, as with any as with any enterprise, sale, it's how do we align and create find the resources internally and get those levels of approval. But when we look at, if so much of the market that were bringing these solutions to is the self insured employee. You know, it's say, because the health fans in that case are acting essentially as a reseller, even though there may be provider contracts or however. We're does. However, the reimbursement is working my so we're right. We're recording this in November. So all of all of two thousand and twenty one is sold. It's in the CAN, it's in the books and for many of the the large employers, the National Accounts Jumbos, whatever terminology we want to use, those decisions are typically made in February or March, right for then for the next calendar year, and that means I, as a buyer, need to have had contracting done and filings into state plans by probably August of the previous year, which means I probably started this URFP and and review and negotiations even the year before that. So that's some of the complexity and I think when we start talking about that with founders would say, you know, I've got I've got my seed money, I I've maybe you know I've raised some dollars and we say white it's going to it's going to take you a couple of years to probably get a first client. Now there are some some health fans that will say, Yep, I need it, I wanted you're you're filling a huge need and let's go fast. But for the majority it's a slower process and I think some of the founders are thinking, I didn't know that. So I need to better understand that and maybe there are some other avenues that we can take along the way to show show adoption. That would make the investors happy. And I think just even the term fast is really relative. It's very sec very subjective right right there. Their perception of fast, I need this fast, I need this now, is very different, I think probably you know, than a lot of these startup inventors and entrepreneurs. Yeah, so, so what? So some of the challenge is the funding right. So is it a different conversation with those investors? Is it a different type of pitch debt to set the expectations of the amount of resources that are really needed to, you know, be able to build a company around this? I knew idea it because you're going to need resources for so long. How how were they getting investors to support that? Oh, Yep, you're not going to have cash flow for three years. Yeah, I I I believe what I'm seeing. What I advise is just that let's let's be very upfront with the investors. Yeah, and I know for and I'm not that's not an area of great expertise for me. So there may be some others that would that will counter this and say no, here's here's the better path. But I've always been a believer in saying in just being very, very transparent with whomever is investing that we've got an idea, we've validated it, it, we're working through these processes. If our channel is with an employer, I'm sorry, with a health plan and then ultimately to the employer, it's going to take us time to get there. So I think being upfront with that seem it seems to me,... know, just always deferred to the let's let's be realistic and honest about it. So yeah, you know, otherwise I think we have investors coming back to founders and just being very upset and, you know, dissatisfied and that leads to more tension within the organization and perhaps we know those organizations are making poor decisions as a result. Yeah, and great ideas in the Zombie graveyard, not because it was terrible technology. Yeah, yeah, so, so, you know, as you are working with innovators who are figuring out their business model, is there a particular payer, and I don't mean it like a managed care organization, but is there a particular payer where you're saying that if you can figure out a business model for this target market, you're going to be better suited then trying to sell into this because you know you've just saved yourself eighteen months of sales cycle here. You know. Is there any learnings around that that might be useful for the community? Yeah, I think there are, and there's there's probably a few different ways to look at that. Yes, understanding the unique needs of a payer, because once you've, once you've sort of made in roads or made connections, are unders and one payer, you have understood one payer. Everybody has their unique needs, and so understanding what their drivers are, what are they're key initiatives? How are you fitting into DEI initiatives or whatever, you know, whatever those those are, and what needs do they have? So that that's one piece of it. The other piece that I think has to happen before that is for these founders to really understand their product and what, not only from a tech perspective and care delivery perspective, but what problem are you solving? Because what, in sorte of my mantra has always been I'll take the call if someone wants to talk to me, you know, when I was either the buyer or today. I'll always talk with him and let's just see and being very honest and hey, this makes sense, or you're not ready yet because of this. Yeah, and oftentimes what I what I discovered, was that they weren't ready because they didn't quite understand the problem. They hadn't done the homework, they hadn't done the discovery work to talk to to the potential buyers, the customers, and not even sell their product. Don't go into sell, go into say I have a hypothesis. Help me understand if I got it right or wrong. Tell me about your day to day. In fact, it was just doing that this morning with a with a client. It's got a really, really, really impressive idea around senior preventive care. Fascinating eating and and if, if they could, I believe that they can, find the right clients or the right buyer, they will have great success in reducing hospitalizations. But the yesterday we were we were talking with a with a buyer and administrator in a certain segment who said, I'm not sure you're going to like what I'm going to tell you. And you know we say in Minnesota, sort of Minnesota Nice thing, right, and we said no, you know, feel free to tell us that the the baby is not the best looking one here. Tell us so we can avoid mistakes. And then today we spoke with a with a physician in a different part of the country who said, I think I think people like me would be all over this, we would love this. So it's that sort of thing. But we what we're learning in this discovery is not just walking in with a I can fix at all. But here's I understand you. I understand you, understand your problem, I understand where I can fit and I understand the the the real challenges that that you have. So that's I think, I think that's an important piece to be more successful in targeting the the health plans is coming in with a really focused and you understand not only your business model or finances, your technology, but you understand the solution. And what's what solution? I'm sorry, what problem? That solution is solving. Yeah, and obviously that's very critical really, no matter what market segment. Funny to yeah, that's not a new concept, but it's, I think, to me how how we tend to forget that too often. Yeah, I think there ends up being a lot of ego and a lot of biases that are woven in to the fabric of this initiative that become really just difficult, just a lot of emotional investment in the idea, in the technology, in the pathway. That gets really difficult to kind of unravel in yeah, and I also find that founders really want to move fast and and so there's this perception and and the reality that customer discoveries, you know, slows things down. Yeah, and it could, but it doesn't have to. You can do a very...

...rapid customer discovery and the process that that that I use is really based on. I was was fortunate enough a few years ago to be part of the National Science Foundation in their eyecorp program and I know many of the folks on that listen to your show have referenced that. And you know, the old adage there is get out of the building, go talk to people, and it is it is so much fun to talk with folks from all over the country and we're not, you know the we'd say, we're not here to sell anything, we're just here to pick your brain. Yeah, talk about talk about you, talk about your your your environment, talk about what keeps you up at night and and you know, if you are on the other side of this conversation, what do you think would be really important for us to know? Yeah, so, so that can move really quickly versus some of the more it's a more traditional, expensive twelvemonth let's go explore a market. I think you can do those things very quickly and and with a with a get meaningful information from relatively small samples. Eye. Hey, it's Dr Roxy here with a quick break from the conversation. Are you trying to figure out what moves you need to make to survive and thrive in the new covid economy? I want every health innovator to find their most viable and profitable pivot strategy, which is why I created the covid proof your business pivot kit. The pivot kit is a step by step framework that helps you find your best pivot strategy. It walks you through six categories you need to examine for a three hundred and sixty degree view of your business. I call them the six critical pivot lenses. As you make your way through this comprehensive kit, you'll be armed with the tools, tips and strategies you need to make sure you can pivot with speed without missing out on critical details and opportunities. Learn more at Legacy Dacom backslash kit. So let's let's talk about that. I want to dig in the weeds a little bit because I think that such a valuable conversation. So we let's say we've convinced folks that you need to do customer discovery. So some of the the roadblocks that I have witnessed and have heard about is recruiting, you know, depending on who they're trying to get to sit down and give them twenty minutes of their time. A lot of times it's more of these svps or the sea suite that they're selling to maybe, or physician providers that are going to be the users in this, and so getting access or recruiting them for those oneonone conversations or, you know, those facetoface encounters is is really a challenge. So what are some of your recommendations for being able to overcome some of that. Well, I would I would challenge the assumption that the that the right the right level of discovery is the sea. Sweet okay, Yep, because let's let's let's envision that we're found while we are founders. But let's visue we've got a product today and and we it will solve this particular problem in healthcare. If we go to the sea suite that that population has, you know, eight thousand things on their plate right now that they're they're thinking about, worrying about, future state, current state, all of those all of those areas that are inherent to that position. Are they going to be the users of the product? Will they be able to really help you solve and understand the the the daytoday ecosystem? And oftentimes not. I mean they're just they just might not be connected to that frontline work that needs to be done. So going, yeah, going to that level. To me that almost feels more like a sale then it does a discovery. So if we can get to a to a front frontline in this part of the discovery is, you know what, who is the buyer? We start with, we think it's we think it's this and another adage from the from the Natural Science Foundation is, you know, buildings don't buy, boat don't buy products. Right, people who goes don't either. Right, yeah, right. It's nice to put a logo on your site, you know, your website, and say that there are a customer, but the logo isn't buying, it's a it's a it's a person. So who is that person? What is their title? And then understand what's important to to them. If you figure that out, often times in part of that discovery they will say, Oh yeah, if you're on and someone says they are, you know, their eyes light up and say I'm buying today. Good. Who Do I need to talk to now? Right, well, let me walk this down the hall to so and so. So, you know, I think that, you know, just challenge the assumption that we need to start it to see sweet or with the key opinion leaders, because they get the pitches all the time and and I'm not sure that you're the founders would necessarily learn what they need to at that level. Yeah, yeah, I think that's a really valid point. The other one that I...

...hear a lot about is compensation. So Am I, you know, expecting folks to be able to have these conversations were free to do. What kind of budget do I need to have allocated for this sample size? How many people do I need to have these conversations with until I get some kind of statistical, significant learnings that I can kind of make informed of decisions on? Yeah, sample size. Generally, the more of the better, right, because if you talk with ten people, you're probably going to get, unless you are so totally dialed in, you're going to get eight different responses which at that point you may have just figured out the the discovery process, you might have figured out, oh, we're asking their own question. So more is better, but not everybody can afford more. In in my experience in this discovery process we're asking people for fifteen minutes. This isn't a sit down, give me two hours. So it and and I think we're in as we become a much more virtual society. It's okay in back and you know, pre pandemic, pre virtual, ideally was great to sit down facetoface with you, and so there's travel expenses and all of those sorts of things. But now we can do it here. We can do it when someone sitting in their car. It's good to have some to have a face, facetoface, at least virtually, because then we can we can watch your pupils. Let's say, wow, you're on to something, or we see the nonverbals that give you the I don't know where you're going with this, but we can say just that. Yeah, I see that this, you know, this doesn't seem to resonate. So I think from from a budget perspective it's more about it's the time to do it, but to find fifteen minutes with folks. I've just found people to be very, very willing to talk for fifteen minutes. Yeah, and you can learn a lot in fifteen minutes of somebody if you're if you're targeted in in the questions, and you know it's not rambling, rambling, just be very respectful of their time. Yeah, I completely agree. I think that it's worth it. It's the their entire business is really reliant upon the foundation right, the these decisions that are being made based upon so many different assumptions, and so if it takes you an extra tenzero dollars, if it takes you an extra sixty days to actually have some validated assumptions or validated hypotheses that then you're building all of your other resources around. I mean that's just a no brainer. Yeah, that seems like it's the ounce of prevention, you know, concept and and it was just even this morning I was talking with with a founder and his cofounder. Potential, potential, we could do some work together. But we spoke three weeks ago, just an intro call, and as they were explaining what they were trying to do, they could see my nonverbals because I did give them the you know, the eyebrow one up right. I started to sit back from the screen and and we at it again today and they said, here's what we've learned, because I've given are just a couple of suggestions, and they said today, here's what we've learned. We've gone from a boil the ocean strategy to this and it is, at least on the surface, looks to be elegant and in solving a big problem. Yeah, so it was just so exciting to see folks take that on. And what did it cost them? Three weeks and twenty phone calls and probably fifty hours of reading. Yeah, you know, and I want to like have a conversation around that. Boil the ocean. You know, I think that's another challenge that so many founders are facing when they really are onto something like it's very common that there is a problem that's pervasive and and maybe it's other markets besides healthcare, or maybe it's just many mini sectors within healthcare that they could sell to or many variations of that product and in sometimes, you know, I think they're just thinking that bigger is better. And so if I'm, you know, Oh, I've got ten markets and three products, like that's so much better than one market and one product. And you know, it's not to say that you can't have that big grand vision, but you got to start somewhere, right and I think it's always, it's very often alarming when someone's trying to boil the ocean. Yeah, it, and it's really it's really attractive. When you mean, how many times have you heard from people, you know, the the the Tam the total arrest address? The market is, you know, billions of dollars and if we can just get two percent of that, we're going to be great, exactly. And it's like, and you're right, your math is right, but let's talk about what it what would... actually take to get there. and well, what if it's half of that? And and how do we? How do I think there's great value in narrowing it down. Let's let's prove our concept, let's prove our technology, let's prove the value. However, we define value, you know, whether it's a improvement in cost or safety or or security or engagement, whatever it would be. Let's demonstrate that there's value and that becomes a much I think that's a story that would resonate with me as a buyer, much more than I can fix all of your problems, you know. So let's come in with with a target and and that actually lends itself to and you know, there's the only eddage, you know, the death by a death by pilot and the number of pilots that we do. But but I believe they are willing providers are willing, health plans are willing health systems to pilot something. And it's a lot easier when it's very targeted, because then we can identify the patient population, of the member population, or the employer employee population whatever. However, we're segmenting those groups and not only I done by them, but start to see did we make a difference pre in post. Yeah, and if there's a difference, odds are that's going to lead to something, something bigger and better. Definitely. And I think the the positioning in the messaging is so much easier when you're very narrowly focused, right, you can really have a much stronger value proposition and positioning strategy than if you're trying to, you know, maybe be all things to all people. Right. Yeah, we I recently worked with a with a client that when we started some of this discovery and some other activity, we kind of heard. So I don't really get what it is that you do. And and then that has changed over the course of a couple of weeks to Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So it's just it's the refining. And again I think that's that's the it's the slowdown to go fast anything. Let's let's learn quickly, but from there it's not just not just learning, but now it's the application. You know, we talked about that with with with patient care all of the time. We don't necessarily need more information. As healthcare consumers, we have all sorts of ability to gain information. It's now how do I how do I activate? How do I use that information in a meaningful way, and that's the founders need to apply that to their own businesses. They need to apply that as we look at well, this is information that's going to be meaningful to the providers. This will really really change the providers world. And when we actually sit with leaders or frontline providers, I say I'm so overwhelmed, I don't know how this information, how to use it. It's not necessarily actionable, it doesn't fit into my workflow and I'm so busy today I don't quite know how to apply those. So, I mean those are just the things that I think are so important for the founders to just spend a bit of time learning and understanding. Yeah, yeah, in going into it with the mindset to seek understanding as opposed to validate what they already believe, right, hmm. You know, like I'm on a mission to learn something new instead of I'm on a mission to confirm that all my ideas are correct, right, and and and so, you know, we seeing over the years those kinds of those kinds of discovery sessions where when when a customer is saying now it's this and this, and you see a founder say, yeah, but no, but I think you've got it now. I don't think you're getting it. I don't think you know. And so they're really trying to sell and and you know you just want to do that hate time out. Listen, this is what they're telling it's okay, this is this is what you need to hear. Yeah, but that's hard. It's really hard when you've, when you have put so much of yourself, you know, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, into this, and then someone says you don't have a quite right. That's really, really hard to hear. And it unless you're unless to take a very you know, the approach. He dispension. I'm here to I'm here to learn. Yeah, yeah, and you know, I don't think that we can talk about that enough. When it comes to entrepreneurs is is just shouting this from the rooftops, because the sooner they like, acquiesce to this strategy in this process, the sooner that they will be on their path to profit. Versus I'm going to ignore that. I'm going to, you know, launch into the market place. I've got to have a million or a million dollars invested, or maybe even more, and I'm two or three years in I kind of had some false positives with a few customers that bought. So it felt like I'm on the right track and now all of a sudden I can't. I lost all my traction. I'm stuck and I can't really grow. What's happening here? And it's just because the whole house is built on the wrong foundation. I think there's a lot of truth in that. And it might not even be the wrong foundation. It just might be that that it's the...

...right foundation but it's just not executed correctly. True, very true. Yeah, and I just I continue to be impressed by how amazingly smart, passionate committed so many founders are and how how frankly courageous they are to say we're going to go do this, I'm going to change the world. Yeah, yeah, that's a right. It's a big leap and I so appreciate their energy along the way. So yeah, it and it might not be that the ideas completely wrong. It just might be that it's not. It's not executed right, but it might be that the idea is really wrong too, and let's learn that faster before there's a catastrophic mistake. Well, and you know what I think sometimes the mindset is is that I don't know if I want to say something's wrong with me, but you know, like something's wrong with me if I don't already have the answers, something's wrong with me if I don't just know what path I need to go, or even thinking that this is like a startup issue. It mean, it really isn't. I mean no matter what size company you are, no matter where you are in the product life cycle or in the company life cycle. You know, there's a book I read called experimentation and it's just endless stories of even companies like Microsoft who experiment and experiment and they change and they tweak and they conversate and all of these little things and they mean the change of one button, you know, was like ten million dollars, you know. So it's it's not something that just entrepreneurs have to do. It's just smart business for anyone today. Yeah, absolutely, and you you raised a point earlier on with it. It can be hard to do and I think especially in the founder space, and there was someone on your show recently who was who was talking about you know, we see these companies that were founded today and then in three years, their valuation is a gazillion dollars and such. But but she made such an important point when she said no, we started our company ten years ago, right, and it wasn't really until we incorporated this way or became our escorporate, whatever it is. That's sort of like the official on paper date. But what we tend to forget is there's been a long, a long lead up to that point. And and so, yeah, I think the founders often times who just feel that they feel a bit exhausted or they feel that there must be something that that I'm doing wrong or I'm not getting the traction that I want. It's real and and you know, I think they can get stuck sometimes by seeing these sometimes rocket chips that are that that, you know, we may not hear the whole story there, the full back story. You know, I think that's a big role that this show plays in the very is is, you know, for those folks that want to be honest and candid to come on, you know, to come on here and really be transparent about the realities of it. You know, not because we want to be negative Nancy and doomsday here, but we just want to be real so that we other folks are encouraged and not thinking that, oh, I just need to go a BC and Eureka, because it's just not realistic. Right, right, and I think you know you you founded and done your own thing and you know that it's never it's never linear. Right, it's not. It's not A to J it's a to wherever. It's a to Pluto and back. We're all over the place and the same boat here. You know, I I'm learning every day, not only from my clients and from from customers, but I'm learning every day about how to, how to be a better founder, how to run a business differently. I've got such a amazingly supportive group of peers that we can sit down and share stories with. You know, there's great learn great readings, podcasts like this that are just filled with information about, maybe not necessarily to how to, but here are, here are mistakes, here's learnings along the way, and let's share those. Yeah, let's just, you know, encourage each other. It's wisdom, but also some inspiration and some encouragement to yes, exactly, there's this invaluable yeah. So so let's, you know, talk about I want to kind of go back to, you know, this business model and kind of gleaning some of the insights that you have. So, knowing a lot of the complexities within the traditional healthcare ecosystem, I think you see a lot of innovators that go direct our going direct to consumer, that I'm going to circumvent all that healthcare ecosystem, Hoopla and I'm just going to go direct against the POPLA, just going to go directly to the consumer and life is going to be so much easier. Are you know what kind of conversations are you having with founders like that that are kind of at that cross road where they really could go direct consumer or going more of the Bab Route?...

Yeah, so, so my personal conversations with those folks is I'm not a direct a consumer expert, so I would be really cautious about taking advice for me on that strategy because there are people much, much better prepared to have that. But but what some of the next part of the conversation needs to be. Well, let's understand why. What? What do you think that opportunity could be? Why? Why would you make that decision? Is it because you haven't gotten traction in the more traditional Hookla model? That's a reference. Is it is because you you can't get in the door? Is it that folks are just not understanding your model or whatever it would be? So let's let's understand why you're making that decision. And have you have you? Have you been as efficient or effective as you could be on that, on the traditional model? If the answer there is yes, where we've exhausted and we just aren't finding a way in, then let's look at a little a little differently with well, now, how does your model need to change? Because on this side, the more traditional, you probably have things like you could be a provider, you know pay your contracts. That you might have to look at. You may have different billing models, you know, permember per month or based on a success speed or whatever it is. And now that models going to change in a direct consumer. Again, I can't speak to what it cost, your acquisition cost and a direct consumer could could be meaningfully different versus over here. So I think the conversation is really about, well, let's just understand the why. And they have previously worked with it with a client that was trying to do both. We think we can do a medical a medical side, and we can do a direct consumer. That's you know, a click down in terms of cost and complexity and that sort of thing. And kind of back to your point earlier, that's a really, really broad strategy and not not unachievable, but it needs it needs resources, both, you know, people and connections and and financial to manage both of those. Yeah, yeah, and you know, I think you go back to we're talking about earlier. It doesn't have to be either or, but it really should be either or to start and gain some traction there and then we can add that other layer into it. Otherwise your resourced so thin a I think you, you know, end up not being successful in any pl you know, really financial resources, but all we also just time and attention. Yeah, and I think we can get a mile wide and inch deep, but that's really challenging to run. Yeah. Yeah, so, what are some other things as we kind of just start to wrap up here, because I feel like we really could talk for days. I could just you know, you're just so easy to talk to and have such a wealth of knowledge. What are some other things that you want to make sure that you share with the community, both those, you know, innovators that are corporate innovators, as well as those more are early stage startups. Yeah, I think a couple of things that. But some of my I think that my clients have maybe been a little surprised about, especially those that are really early in or maybe are entering healthcare for the first time. Yeah, is, as you mentioned before, the just not understanding the complexity and the interconnectedness. And you know how many times we say well, because because this you know this one and this one and this one, and you know, if you try to put it on a whiteboard somewhere, it just start to look like a mess. But but one of the other things is is being able to speak the language and spending time with people who know the language. You know, because the the health plan is going to talk about members, they're going to talk about their clients, being the being the employers, they're going to talk about their their government line of business, and you know the different the different lines of business within the organization. If we're talking with providers, we're talking about patients and we're talking about workflow and we're talking about productivity and we're talking about moving into value based models and you know, I'm so overwhelmed with daytoday. If we talk with health systems, it's a little different conversation. If we're talking about devices, it's a little different conversation. Or not made my conversation. The language is a bit different. And and so I think for founders that are moving across multiple parts of the of the healthcare ecosystem, spending a bit of time to just understand the things that are unique to each of those and and again, eighty percent of your message might be just fine, but twenty percent probably needs to be unique to that individual market. And that's an area that, especially for folks who are new to healthcare, is is a challenge that can make a difference. I don't think we realize how many acronyms we have because, my God, all customed to speaking.

There's the military and then there's healthcare. In terms of the ACRONYMS, right, and for those for those who have have kind of grown up in this and spent our whole our whole careers here. Yeah, the acronyms are easy, you know, they just sort of they roll off our tongue and we and we get it and there are times when we just say well, because of this, but for someone who's new, that has an amazing idea and is passionate and could really disrupt and eliminate waste or whatever the focus area is. A little time there, I think could just go a long way. Yeah, so I want to end on this question. What is your outlook for two thousand and twenty two? Rite we've had a really rough couple of years and some ways, because of all the challenges from the pandemic, we've also had a lot of disruption and a lot of opportunity. So what do you most excited about in two thousand and twenty two when it comes to health care innovation? So I'll answer first I still think we're I still see that we've got we're not out of a pandemic. We still have some meaningful things happening and the providers that I that I speak with, are exhausted, yeah, for all sorts of all sorts of reasons, and so we get that. So so I think some innovation will still be tempered by the fact that we're not we're not done yet, know with the pandemic. So that that I would just cave out to everything. There's still some work to go, especially for the providers that are listening. You know, we hear you and we thank you for all the work that you're doing or that weird. Have covid right now. You know a man? Yeah, absolutely. Where where I'm very optimistic is that there's still amazing opportunity to disrupt, to change, and where I get excited is when I talk with people that are seeing it's not just a technology but it's a technology and service, and I hear more folks talking about the importance of of be moving beyond engagement to activation into whatever it is. So I can get someone to download my APP and use it or to download and turn it on and register, but are they actually going to use it? So it's this activation and I see, I get excited when I feak see folks talking more and more or here folks talking more and more about the the activation and the importance of behavior and behavior change in what we're doing. So that that gets really, really gets me excited because I think there's amazing opportunity there. That's awesome. I mean, that's that's that's the ALO holy grail. Right, we're really going to only transform healthcare and until we have some behavioral change as a whole. Yeah, the other the other piece that gets me very excited is to hear more and more people talking about. Let's remove the disc connections between whatever my technology is, the health plan, the employer and the and the provider. And you know, again, that's that's the other holy Grail, if there is one, if we can have two of them, that's the other one at the table. We can only dream, pad, we can only dream, but I but, but the conversation is is different, you know, it just seems as though we're recognizing that and and I think in the next couple of years more and more employers that have really embraced the value of digital digital care will start to push and demand that that these these services start to connect even more, even better than they do today. So that's really exciting because that conversation is on its way. Yeah, I completely agree. I mean I think that organizations are going to figure out that they have to play ball and order to maintain their presence, may build a sustainable business them that continuing in the silo ecosystem is will get will get rolled over by the Amazon care and the you know, the apple care and you know, with and by the consumers. Mean that the consumers are yeah right, they're demanding and thinking different, which is which is great. That's just great and again. That's where I come back to with the founders looking at this environment and saying we can help, we can do this differently, but but we can't just come in without understanding how ecosystem sure. Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your experience with us today. I really appreciate it. How can folks get Ahold of you? If anybody wants to connect with you after the show? Yeah, best way to find me is on Linkedin and all my contact information is there. I said earlier, I will always take the call. I love talking with folks. If someone just wants to pick up the phone, email me and say can I bous an idea of off of you a hundred percent. Please feel free to do that. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you so much, what a pleasure. Thank you so much for listening. I know you're busy working to bring your life changing innovation to market and I value your time and attention. To get the latest episodes on your mobile device, automatically subscribe to the... on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyone who shared the show with friends and colleague. See You on the next episode of Health Innovators.

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