Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 1 year ago

Serial entrepreneur and mentor explains how collaboration could reshape healthcare w/ Lee Greene


When working in the world of digital health innovations has been your lifelong career, you tend to get some pretty good insights. 

Being exposed to both the entrepreneurial and startup side as well as the mentoring and coaching side? That sends those insights into the stratosphere. 

Lee Greene has spent his entire professional career on either side of the digital health innovation landscape and he’s dishing some great advice for us in this episode.

Come find out how emotion can act as a blinder to success, why it’s important to follow the flow of money, and how collaboration could be the key to reshaping healthcare on a global scale.

In this episode, Lee shares his knowledge on everything from success to the future of healthcare and beyond. 

If you’re thinking of starting a startup or entering the entrepreneurial field of digital health - or are already there feeling the pressure, you need to see this show! Strap in and enjoy the ride! 

Here are the show highlights:

  • This is why some health innovations succeed, and some fail (6:07)
  • Why it’s okay to be “all about the money” (7:46)
  • The difference between being the advisor - and running your own startup (12:33)
  • Understanding co-creation, taking advice and figuring out what to believe (15:18)
  • Coaching tip: know what moves to make (18:52)
  • The impact of collaboration and how it might change the future of healthcare (27:55)

Guest Bio

Lee Greene is the Co-Founder of Stuward, an award-winning digital health company offering a personalized eHealth platform with the ability to match family caregivers to expert coaches.

Lee is also the Managing Director for HealthInc, a 12-week full-time accelerator program that connects entrepreneurs and startups to a network of health and business professionals. 

Lee is a self-proclaimed “serial health entrepreneur” and has dedicated his professional career to coaching and mentoring entrepreneurial minds and startup ventures. 

If you’d like to reach out to Lee you can email him at, follow him on LinkedIn at Lee Green, or visit his website at

Welcome to Coiq, where you learn how health innovators maximize their success. I'm your host, Dr Roxy, founder of Legacy DNA and international bestselling author of how health innovators maximize market success. Through candied conversations with health innovators, earlier, doctors and influencers, you'll learn how to bring your innovation from idea to start ups to market domination. And now let's jump into the latest episode of Coiq. Welcome back to the show coiq listeners. On today's episode I have Lee Green with me. He is the CO founder of steward and he's also the managing director for health ink. Welcome to the show, Lee. Thank you very much, Dr Roxy. Good to have you here today. Thank you, it's very nice to be here. Very excited. I always like to start off the conversation with you. Given our listeners and viewers a little bit of information about your background and you know what's your role in the world of digital health innovation? Great, so I started a long time ago. I'm a serial health entrepreneurs. I started back in the late S. I created one of the first web based telepathology systems and then I continued on that path for many, many years. And then I decided about five years ago to go on the outside of startups and to start helping founders and other entrepreneurs to develop their own startups. And then I got a call from my mother. So I was living in London at the time, and she told me that my grandmother had six months to live, and I didn't for whatever reason, I didn't think that she had six months to live. So I booked a flight and I went to go stay with her. So she was living in Ohio with my with my aunt, and when I arrived, you know, she was always the matriarch of the family, and so when I arrived, she told me, slee, I'm going to be okay, I don't know what these crazy doctors are talking about, and so I said yes, grandma, I know. But then so I slept in the bed next to her for the two weeks that I was there and about halfway through the trip she woke up screaming in the middle of the night and then the next morning she said to me that she had something to tell me and I was like what, grandma, and she said that she's not going to make it, and I said yes, go, I know, and then she asked me about, you know, my mom going to be okay, etc. But then she asked me to to make her promise that I would use my skills to help people. And of course she knew all about my you know, my long history and health startups and and stuff like that. And so then it came time for me to to fly back to London and so I literally said the last goodbye I left. I landed in London, turned up my phone and I got a message for my father saying that she had passed away. And so I thought about it and of course I had to keep the promise. But you know, when when you promise to use your skills to help people, I mean that is very big. Where do you even begin? I mean what? So you know, I didn't know. I didn't know what the problem was. I didn't know really where to start. She...

...unfortunately had a form of Dementu when she passed away. So I thought, okay, then there's something around, around dementu, and I didn't know anything about DEMENTIU. So I pulled together an expert team and then Stewart, my telehealth company today, was born out of that promise that I made to my grandmother and an interestingly, I started coaching for an accelerator in New York City called lave of Nyc, and then I got a call from a colleague of mine in Europe, in the Netherlands, and so she said leave, what are you doing? Why are you asking? And so she told me that there was a new joint venture between the Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute and the founders of Startup Book Camp, which was going to be completely dedicated to digital health innovation and start up acceleration, and she asked if I would come on board and and run it, and I said absolutely, Why not, let's do it. That's that's where I am today. What a great story. Grandma's are amazing. My Ninety one year old grandmother lives with us and she has for the last two years, and I just there's just something amazing about grandmother's. They see you and you know, they don't see your faults and flaws. You know I mean I've been very fortunate to have a grandmother that just thinks I'm the world and accomplish anything, and so she's got great plans for my life, to my grating. It really is amazing. I mean grandmothers are are incredibly encouraging they have. I'm also very fortunate to have been tasting parents as well, you know. So I remember my father always telling my brother and I when we were kids, and we would say they had I can't do that, and you know, he said this phrase that really doesn't mean anything, but it meant something and it was like can't, never could, and we're like, okay, that's to just keep going. You know, I'm kind of way. That was encouraging and Da Right, okay, well, well, here we go. So, you know, you've been on an exciting venture and ride for quite some time now in the world of digital health innovation, both, you know, being a startup founder and then in coaching and helping other startups. So I you know, I want to ask you, in all the time that you've been involved in this phenomenon, why do you think some health innovators succeed and some fail? You know, that's a very good question, and I think those that succeed really understand the really understand the problem that they're solving, number one, but also the the flow of money, you know. So the healths is the for the health industry that we're in. It is very complex, right. I mean it's one of the few, if not the only, industries you know, that has somebody that that use it, the product, somebody that recommends the product, somebody else that pays for the product. And I think that the startups that do succeed is they they follow the flow of money and they put themselves right in the middle of that flow so they catch some of it as it's going around. In contrast to that, I think the startups that also...

...struggle don't understand who's paying for what and where their company or their solution would actually fit into that flow of where that value is that they bring value to. Yeah, and I think that that's so fundamental. I can think of several conversations that I've had, even just recently, with innovators who are so excited and so passionate about what they've built and created in their kind of even in the weeds on all the features and functionality, and then after you go through that whole you know, kind of presentation or conversation, you go okay, well, you know that's great, but who's paying for it? And and they're like, well, I know someone's going to pay for it, build it and they will come. Usually doesn't work right, yeah, exactly, and so, you know, I think that's one of those examples of, you know, maybe a great technology solution but you know, ends up in what I call the Zombie graveyard because they just don't have a viable business model tie to it, which is a shame because it is something that could be really meaningful and change vibes. Yeah, absolutely, but you know I think, well, being a founder myself, I know I don't think is that when when you create something, and let me add that when specifically in health, because founders can be very passionate about something like they're there's really like for me and my grandmother and you know, so the founders and entrepreneurs that I meant, they all are driven by the good of it and I think that's an extra challenge for them and, you know, the founders that we have in our accelerator as well. As like it's almost a bad thing when you think about making money. You know, they think, ah, but you know it's we're going to to manufacture someone's liver. But why should we? You know, somebody's going to pay for it because it's needed, so why? Or Wife? You know. So it's really that kind of internal struggle it's like, but we can make money off of this, that kind of thing. Right, right, very it's a very difficult in it's, I think, very difficult also for health entrepreneurs to to become, I would say, all about the money, but kind of all about the money. Either all about the money or not enough about the money in the spectrum instead of kind of, you know, somewhere in between. Yeah, I remember a conversation I had with with a lady by the name of Apology Lonnie, who is my personal adviser and she's a very wellknown businesswoman. She's on the board of Directors of the International Committee of the Red Cross, she's the board of directors of several publicly traded companies and suts of it, and she was telling me that it is about the money. Every single entity, even nonprofits, will not exist if they do not figure out how to generate money. And that's how it important. It is, and I think that the health startups they to be successful. For All of you that are listening, I understand the money, where it's coming from. Start with that, start with another that, yes, under serve market and who's paying for it before you and start building something. Yeah, no, but and that is really true.

So going back to my grandmother as well, now, that was the first time that I had built a company out of something so emotional, right, so I also struggled with where is the money going to going to come from? Where is the money going to go? And I also noticed with myself that, because it was a promise that I made to my grandmother, I almost didn't care about the money, or I lost sight of the money, because I wanted to help family caregivers who were carrying for a Lovon with the mentor. That was my soul, M yea. And then I kind of spun my wills in the beginning and and then I thought at one point, well, it's going to be the family get caregivers that are going to pay for it, and then I was completely wrong. And so you know, even me, which I've been doing it for most of my life, when emotions get involved, yes, also becomes very difficult. Yeah, so I want to kind of Peel a little bit of layers around this. You mentioned you. You know, you advise and coach healthcare startups, so you know you're next in that area, and then you're also an innovator, and so you know talk about what is the difference between all the advice and strategic guidance that you would give to other folks as maybe cut clients, versus the difference of running your own company as far as like what you see and what you don't see? Right, because you would think, man, if you've been coaching hundreds of health innovators startups, you know, and helping them scale and grow successfully, like you should be able to like touch it, turn it to goal overnight because you got this. So so what what is that like? Wow, so that's a very good question, because when you are building your own start up, you if you are, you're blinded, you know, and when it's much easier being an advisor because, and it was interesting, because when I made the decision to go outside of of startups and and I started coaching for for Elab, you know, it's much easier to to see the as cliches of my sound. I mean it's much easier to see the forest because you're not emotionally involved. Right, one mistake doesn't affect my life, it affects your life. YEA, when you're in it, you have such incredible pressure, you know, and I love entrepreneurs and I love founders, because we have to go forward under extreme uncertainty, not knowing where the heck we're going. We think we want to go there, and so it takes a very special person, I believe, to endure the incredible pressure, in the incredible uncertainty of being on the inside. Yeah, being on the outside. So you know, in my my role as the managing director of healthing, that is still a pretty stressful role, but I'm not involved in the individual startups. Yeah, and that part. Yeah. So that's the big difference. So I'll give you an example of what happened to me recently. So I have been preaching for several years now on the idea...

...of product co creation, and you know that the number one reason why health innovators fail is because there's not a market for whatever they're trying to sell, and the number one reason for success is product market fit. So I feel really strongly that one of the primary strategies to circumvent failure and reach success is product co creation. So when you're co creating with your customers, like you should get to product market fit like. Maybe no guarantee, but pretty darn close, because they are the ones that are helping you even at the idea stage all the way through. So I myself am an innovator and I'm developing digital products and I'm creating a CO creation workshop for all of the executives and founders and entrepreneurs that we work with, and I'm thinking, you know, Oh, you know, what are we going to do we do this? How we going to do it? You know what, how we going to create the offer? How we going to package it? And I'm talking to one of my team members, I swear this happened just this week, and they said, you know, why, why don't we actually like co create this co creation workshop, like whatever we're teaching in the cocreation workshop? Why don't we use that in the development of this? And I'm like, oh my gosh, unlike, what a concept like we practice what we preach. It's seeing it. Yeah, now, that is so true. And I've unfortunately had experiences as well with with advisors that they haven't traveled the road, or, let me say differently, they haven't walked in the steps of an entrepreneur. So, you know, they can they can advise, but the advice, I found, can also be very, very superficial and unrealistic as well. Yeah, you know that's true, right. So not just being a theorist but a practitioner. Yeah, exactly, what a big difference right in the trenches and no fun kind of firsthand. Different business may be different by you know, business model, but still nonetheless knowing a lot of the inherent challenges that, you know, we all face. Yeah, I also, you know, an entrepreneur, and specifically a founder of a a company. They will get a lot of advice from a lot of people and I've seen founders also struggle with WHO do they believe? This person said one thing, another person contradicted what they said, and now I'm completely confused. You know, who do I believe? And I think learning how to really take in all of the external advice that you are getting and consider it and then making your own decision is very, very hard process to to to learn for four founders, especially first time, first time founders. Yeah, them, you know. So that's kind of gets to one of the other questions that I wanted to talk about. was, you know, as a founder and you know entrepreneur, know, how do you know what moves to make right? So you've got all those different advisors telling you all these different things, there's there's generally, you know, can be some best practices on like the priority of that decisionmaking right. What comes first, what should come next? And you know, all of these different, different paths right that you could take, because it's not necessarily where there's going to be this one right road and then all these other wrong words. There's a bunch of want bunch of...

...them that could possibly lead to success, but it doesn't mean that one will get you there as fast or one will be as profitable. And so help you know, when you're coaching people, how do you help them understand what moves to make? So that's a very interesting question and I don't know that that there's a simple answer to that. You know, I think one of the things that as a founder is that you have to you have to analyze all of the all of the variables, and so you know, first and foremost, you you're building a company and you have to you have to get to profitability or you will not have a company. And so when I'm making decisions like that, I always keep in mind, okay, you know, up I have I've one goal. I have to get to profitability. I understand that there are many ways to get to profitability. But then I look at okay, what does the what does the path look like to profitability? What do I feel comfortable with doing? Is as well also, you know, in looking at you know, the kind of a subset of the market, you know that time that I'm addressing, and then really focus on that. And I think the key takeaway here is focus, because the other thing that that will happen is that with all of that advice will also come many ways of doing the same thing, or you will also be presented with many opportunities to make money. And then what happens is that you've become very defocused, you know. So you will sit in a meeting with, let's say, a health insurance company and you want that health insurance company as your client. And but when you're sitting in that meeting, they talk about a solution that is, you know, often left filled and if you had that, of course they would buy it from you. So then what do you do? You Go back, you tell your team, okay, this is what we're doing. We're going to get this client if we only have this feature, that feature in this and so you create it and you put those features in. Then the they say the Health Insurance Company says, uh no, we changed our mind, or the person that sponsor that has been fired or whatever. Right, and it's like, okay, we lost time, we lost money and putting it together and now it's not something that anyone else wants. But had you stayed focus and maybe that health insurance company it wasn't a fit, but the other in health insurance company was ready to to work with you. So I think they really it's about understanding what your true mission is and staying focused on that. I call it shiny new opportunities and I love that. I'm going to write that one down and love it like tiny new object. Right. Yeah, your opportunity can 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 Tivot kid. 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. And don't think that it's like even more prevalent today in this covid climate that we're leating living in. It seems like it's so you know, the marks. There's so many different changes that have taken place in people there. You know, a lot of decisions are being made on not necessarily how can I get to the I just want to survive right. It's not even, you know, about thriving and building a wildly successful company that helps millions of people across the world, but I just want to be able to survive this crisis and then to the example that you said, maybe kind of veering from their original mission and purpose to be able to kind of make do in the interm. You know what's what's your thoughts around that? So that is very important and so I'm I'm fortunate in that I have been on the judging panel for quite a few covid nineteen started competitions. Yeah, and, as I've seen, a lot of pitches and a lot of startups that are that are addressing the covid nineteen situation. And the problem is is that they they will change their product because and startups that are playing in also the telehealth or virtual care space are getting this a lot. Yeah, yeah, is that they their solution really doesn't fit, but they are going to completely change what they're doing to address the covid nineteen situation. And so I've said to them that, you know what, covid nineteen will eventually be under control. It completely elimiting. So then what will happen to Your Business? So you have to and again this goes back to your mission and and your focus, but the this shiny new Opportunity Syndrome. Love it and you know and your business has the scale. So if you're designing something that is for covid nineteen, you know make sure that and of course, it visit your mission in your focus. Make sure that you are designing it so that it addresses the future public health priss not just specifically the covid nineteen. But but that's a big problem now because there's a lot of money that's getting thrown around with covid nineteen and covid nineteen innovation and and things along those lines. And of course, startups, you know, it's their grants, also sor it's free money. So you know you're going to get a hundred thousand dollars, you know, to do this. Hey, why not? Right? That's very short sided because in the long term you will be out of business. It's like the telehealth gold rush, like droves of people coming in to like fine, tell a health gold yeah, yeah, yeah, so what I like, of course, being in the tell a health but you're like, no, I was here before. Was Cool. Yeah, this is my river. Get away from it, right, exactly. Yeah. So when you think about, you know, this current climate, what what are you think some of the the myths or pitfalls are that you know, guidance that you would want to share with our listeners and viewers, things to be watchful...

...for, similar to what we're talking about. Yeah, and so I really want to stress some what I was saying is that it's this this period will will end. So stay focused on what you are doing. Yeah, and don't don't get distracted with all of the free money that is get getting thrown around. Really stay focused. The second thing that I think that we should consider is that health as we know it is changing forever. Right. So the way that we deliver healthcare, the way that we create, the speed and which we create vaccines, the way that we access health, I mean, you name it, you know health. This is completely changing. So xcite of that, you know. So don't get behind the curve, m but make sure that that you do stay focused and and and you will be okay. HMM. So, so as someone who is involved, you know, with this in many different countries, what what do you see happening around the world from a global digital health standpoint and, you know, what are some of the market trends that you think that we should be on the lookout for? So one of the things that I see is collaboration and so so collaboration from from government's collaborating to startups collaborating. I really think that that the the world is is becoming a smaller place. But but if we look about, look at the you know, the vaccines and the test that that the governments and other other large companies are are creating. You know, it's coming from data that has been shared and in the past, you know, governments have been very protective over over that. So that's a trend that I see is it's collaboration. And it's quite interesting because I was sitting on a panel about the future of medicine and somebody asked me what I thought the future of medicine is and I said in global health system. And when you mean a global health system? And I said, well, it's one health system and it doesn't matter if you're a citizen of the United States or you're a citizen of a European country. You have access to, you know, all the same providers, etc. And and then they kind of act it's like, well, you know, that is that is never going to happen, and I said, well, we already have the technical ability to do it. The only barrier that we have are, of course, as the individual country regulations and stuff like that. Then covid nineteen hit and then governments started collaborating with entires. Right, I don't thinking so. I don't think it's so far fast. No, I don't think so either. But you know, obviously it will take a lot of work, but, you know, just like anything with tell a health with, you know, all of remote patient monitoring, with all of these digital health solutions that have been around for so long, where the pandemic has kind of been, you know, a stick of dynamite and some gasoline from an acceleration standpoint. You know, I think...

...that it certainly can be what you described as well. You know, prior to the pandemic, you know, let's say that maybe it would have taken US fifty years to get to that single health system on the globe and we've kind of just jump started maybe two decades here. I know your listeners are going to wonder all this crazy lie green talking about a one global house system. Exactly. I'm going to happen tomorrow, course, in a few years, will pull it out of the archive and we go oh my gosh, you were right. Yeah, exactly, all say, see, looking down from from the heavens above, see I told you down there, right, right, exactly. So what are some additional lessons learned that you can think of along the way as we kind of wrap up here? Lessons learned don't be afraid to ask for help. I mean, I that might sound a bit corny. But you know, also we as founders, and this goes back to us being under incredible stress and not knowing, you know, founder and entrepreneur, mental health issues are is very big, and the problem is is we feel like when this is definitely, as you know, has been my case, where you just you feel the incredible responsibility, you feel like if you fail, the world is going to to end. In the more Jority of the time, your family has put money into what you're doing. I mean, your spouse is complaining because you've mortgaged the house. So I think the biggest lesson is that you have to keep yourself fit, and that means mentally fit. So that also means, you know, sharing with with people who understand what you're going through. And again, let me, this kind of goes back to collaboration. Yeah, I mean I think you're you're definitely right. That supports us. Him is such a deal breaker and in such place, I think, such a critical role in our mental wellbeing as we go through this process, because it's such an emotional roller coaster, sometimes minute to minute, not even like quarter by quarter. You know, you get this right and then, like in the same afternoon learn yeah, that's right. That's right. I mean it never taking a break, you know, and you know, like for me, I think I could. I feel guilty when I when I take the weekends off, and I've been talking to my partner now we're going to for literally the first time, I'm attempting to take two weeks off at the end of August and I'm telling everyone that I'm not going to be available and I feel so bad. Right, psyche, I shouldn't by I shouldn't do this. You know. No, I agree, but I think there's something, you know, I think that in the future will look back on this time and we'll be able to probably articulate it a little bit better. But there's something, something else going on here. I mean, of course there's a global pandemic and there's all this social injustice and then there's the political climate right. There's just so many different things that we are not necessarily, you know, dealing with before, besides any personal and professional challenges that's going on, but there's something else that's that's driving, I think, this overstressed kind of burnout by by everyone, you know, even you know, these these mastermind groups that I'm part of, you know, with other, you know, executives and entrepreneurs. We're all talking about how like we feel fried and burned out more than ever, and so... our teams. And so, you know, what are we doing to kind of help them and help ourselves? I had everyone on our team this week but, believe it or not, you know, so we do like a weekly call with everyone on the team what we're kind of planning the work for the next week, and I told everyone this week I you know, just being accountability partners for each other. What are two? You know, like, on Monday, plan to report two things that you did for self care. Could be really small and nobody's going to, you know, judge you if you didn't. But at least if we have that in place, then we might be a little bit more apt to investing in ourselves, because it seems like that whole self care is kind of like touchy Feeley for those people over they are right got to going back to the advice we give other people, but we don't. Yeah, yeah, so, yeah, I think that is I think that's great. You know, I my organization we also follow a certain methodology. So when we have our our meetings, we always start first with everyone has to say something positive, but their personal I positive about about the the as this life, and that's interesting because it really puts you in the right frame of mind before you you start the meeting and then you realize, okay, well, there are actually positive that are going on at the moment. Yeah, that's that's awesome. I might steal that from you leave because, well, it's kind of just creating that you know, gratitude list, if you will, without doing the actual exercise. You don't have to call it that. No, they just think that your chitter chatting, but you're really in Aryan strategic about what you're doing. Yeah, and and the other positive that comes out of that. So if if you have a meeting and somebody is in a you know, upset about something or they're upset with somebody that's going to be in the meeting, it also kind of resenters them because they first have to stop and they have to think about, okay, what is my personal positive? And it's not so easy. What what is good going on? You know, and I get back to you in thirty minutes. Yeah, exactly, man. Yeah, and you imagine the serotone in the dopamine that's kind of created just with those two questions. Yeah, and you also get to know each other as well. So I find that you feel more like a unit, or dare I say, a family, and more connected because you hear other people's positivity. Yeah, so is that something that you adopted since Covid, before covid? Is it something that you thought was important with a distributed workforce, or is it just something that's just part of your leadership? So it's something that is just part of my leadership and it's actually something that I was introduced by some some colleagues. It's called the entrepreneur operating system. So it's an actual methodology. I didn't know if I should say the the name or not, but but, and so, and it's called the Eltin. So it starts exactly that way. And so we were doing it before coping. Okay, all right, I'll have to check it out. Yeah, I don't have to bleep that out though, right. No, I'm saying I don't have to bleep that out right. I don't know. I don't know them. I don't other than Hey, I'm using your system. Yeah, Oh my goodness. Yeah, what a good, you know, Promo for them. Right. Yeah, it out it's awesome. So anything else that you want to say before...

...we wrap up? Yes, I want to thank you for this podcast because I also listen to your shows and and before this I went back and listen and it's fantastic, it really is. It's very, very helpful. So thank you for for making this information available to to the audience and very valuable. Thank you so much and for those kind words and thank you for being a guest today. I knew this was going to be a fantastic episode and you definitely didn't disappoint. It's great. So how can folks get a hold of you? If they want to reach out to you after the show, they can send me an email. Lea dus green at healthy dut I own perfect, awesome, and green has an e at the end, important, e and e and helping got ioh awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. 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 your attention. To save time and get the latest episodes on your mobile device, automatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyone who's been sharing the show with friends and colleagues. See You on the next episode of Coiq.

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