Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 94 · 3 months ago

The ‘PayPal’ of healthcare: How to build an innovation customers will use w/ Timothy Kelley


The process is well known: before you learn to run, you learn to walk. And before you learn to walk, you learn to crawl.

So why do so many entrepreneurs start at the end and develop a technology first, only to then be challenged with finding a problem and forcing them to fit?

When it comes to healthcare technology, Timothy Kelley, CEO of TeleRay, has some experience in this process.

There's a lot of innovation out there that's technically advanced, and could be very powerful - but it's not user-friendly or practical, and that means it’s not used as intended.

And while it may sound like a paradox, crawling first, though slower than running, will get you where you need to be faster: in a better position for market adoption.

Tune in and discover why innovation is great, but if that innovation is not also useful, used, and practical, it’s going to have a much harder time with market adoption.

Here are the show highlights:

  • This is the real definition of innovation (4:49)
  • A 3-step commercialization strategy (10:59)
  • The distinction between gaining customers versus growing your network (14:25)
  • How patient engagement impacts businesses forward trajectory (19:12)
  • The ‘PayPal’ of healthcare (22:28)
  • Marketing: word of mouth and the influence on customer advocacy (25:47)

Guest Bio

Timothy Kelley is CEO of TeleRay, the telehealth radiology technology leader for the management and distribution of medical images and patient information.

His experience in business planning, marketing pharmacy benefit management, pharmaceutical sales, and medical equipment distribution, helped set the stage for TeleRay.

As CEO of TeleRay, Tim continues to develop the company's vision of becoming the de facto standard of communications in healthcare.

Tim has studied psychology and executive communications and growth at Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management.

If you’d like to reach out, you can find him on LinkedIn at Timothy Kelley, on his webpage at, or email him at

You're listening to health, innovators,a podcast and video show about the leaders influencers and earlier doctorswho are shaping the future of health care on your host Doctor Roxy Movie. Welcome back to the show healthinnovators on today's episode, I am sitting down with Tim Kelly, who is theCEO of Teller Tim Welcome to the show, thanks for every to correct it's niceto have you here today. So as always, I like to start off with giving artlisteners and our viewers a little bit of context so share with us what you'vebeen innovating these days and a little bit about your background. Well, my background's always beenhealth care from pharmacy benefit. Management in the day were no one everheard of it. So getting people to use prescriptioncards back in the day and then going into a Ri different things to humanpharmaceuticals, dermatology veterinary distribution and then eventually led meto radiology being part of a group wherewe're trying to figure out why CDs and DVDs and VHS tapes were being sold tohospitals in the late s and found out that CDs for being or DVDs for beingused to replace Sidney film in Cardiology. And then we thought Jeez. Maybe we could startreplacing the film and radiolite CDs, and so my pardon and I at the time westarted pushing CDs into Radiology, andeveryone thought we were pretty much idiots were even attemptingthat, because pack systems were just getting going and doctors love theirfilm and the term, what read is still used today for slapping that? What filmup in a light box? So even though it's not wet any more. But so then, as things progress, it was aboutcapability that then moved into solving real work flow, prouds and efficiencyand moving data from A to B and solving...

...those problems. As we've always said the past twenty soyears, that is one thing to move something from a to B, but if you can'tuse it, you didn't sell anything. What I think is so interesting andenlightening about what you're saying here is that you're talking aboutproblems and you're, leading the conversation with the problems thatcustomers are facing and then coming up with solutions to address those? And,although that seems like well dove like that's, how every business reallyshould start, you know too often we start off with solutions. We start offwith the technology that we're really excited to build and kind of then kindof try to find a problem to match it to. So I just want to point that out forour viewers and listeners to just kind of heed this, that it's reallyimportant to start off with a problem and then figure out the solution Yeanany business. I've been in. That's always, let's start with the problemand then work with a customer to find a solution and build it together andthat's always been the process great. So where are you in the innovationprocess? Now, when did when did tell era start? How long have you been atthis? Well, I've been in radiology, dicondistribution or image management for a long time, and that just you knowgetting images to patients to referring positions to specialists and making herfusible. And then we decided to go down the path of tell a health a while back,because I'm not sure exactly what the number is but an face to faceconsultations and tell how seventy percent of the time it involves sometype of radiology procedure. That's been done or that's going to be donebecause that's the primary tool for diagnosis so and so looking at thatthere was no combined tool out there and last year, a enough when Ovid wasreally getting going through as this ad out by Microsoft teams with a doctor talking about sharing imagesthrough teams with patients and...

...specialists, although he doesn't showin the end- and they don't explain why and part of that is because Microsoftdoesn't actually have the protocols, dicam H, l, seven andhealth care to pull that day then displayed on the screen. They can doscream sharing. Just like we do in Zoom in other platforms, but do you have thetrue network, an activity to say? Let's say you and I are talking, and I say Iwant to bring up your shoulder x, ray and then walk youthrough it for a patient consent, education, maybe higher compliance and how you treat yourself in the coming weeks. Those are all very important tools to use and they just don't havethe CACTI ity. So that's what we've been building is making sure that forhaving one of these calls- and I can pull that data up on the screen-whether it's a report, whether it's your images, pathology and then hhave a moreengaging conversation. So so one of the things I I noted is that you talk about how likeTela Health and x Ray have been around for a hundred and thirty years. So so what what's happening in the marketin a landscape market trends? That makes it more right now for what youhave to offer for that to be valuable versus something that's been around forquite some time. Yeah. It's really funny because when wesay that line people kind of laugh, that's not true, I I will actually oneof the very first phone calls had to do with checking up on somebody and theircondition. So that was the first tell health call and so that if you look at radiology, ofcourse, it's been over a hundred years now and no one's really put the twotogether, I'm sure there's been phone calls, but what I'm talking about is onscreen imaging and sharing and collaboration, and so we combine theseplatforms on its capability and badly...

...enough. We started working on thatright before coved and then coved hit, and it was a strange blessing becauseit pushed this innovation into the forefront and it just becomes a muchmore useful tool as it. If you look at you know the real definition ofinnovation, La say it's when invention becomes useful, but it's not just whenit becomes useful. It's also is at being used as a practical, and so thisreally made it practical because Telloh was about you know, making truvor andcross contamination keeping sick patients at home, keeping healthypatients at home, and so, if you can have these claverton consultations withimaging reports and so forth, you're probably going to eliminate the leastfifty percent of not more of onset visits, and that's that's goingto be part of the new normal going forward sure yeah. Well, I also want topause because I think that's a really important statement. If you don't mindjust repeating it on how you define innovation, sure some it's what invention is useful,then that US you how most people describe it, but you it's one thing tobe useful, but is it being used and is it practical and to celebrate on alittle bit more of the practical part of it is there's a lot of innovationout there. That's very technically advanced and could be very powerful,but it's not user friendly m. One of the things we do is we're building outany type of process is that we like to say: Let's keep the complexity behindthe curtain. You know it's not. Have the user experience anything complex atall, so so you can do really complex processes, but not actually know thatthey did that so, like Amazon, when you order somethingand it's at your door in four hours, exactly we use them as as some of theirexamples as well and the apple and even...

...copy machines. You say how can someonewalk into a Kingos? Do a twenty six page, catalog and color with a hard binderthat staddles stitch and they've never used this machine before, because Ihave little macros that walk people through the next logical step in theprocess. Basically asking your questions: What are you doing next andwe've done that with ourselves for as well? So that's really great. I think thatthe idea of innovation being useful or inventions being useful- it's justsomething it's another point to just really kind of like pause and talkabout, because there are so many innovations out thereor inventions. I should say out there that aren't useful or are useful couldbe useful, but no one's using them, and it could be for some of the reasonsthat you described, and you know what I found often to isthat you know a lot of times. There's no market need going back to what youwere saying was starting with a problem instead of starting with the technology,yeah yeah, well yeah, and then there's part of that. Can the user that adapt to can they canthey use it? And so another thing we always say is a beata great to underpage manual. We failed in our design. So someone just like that cop, your man,a dot. You should be able to walk up to it and use it if you're in health care.You would understand. Okay, I'm an important image, I'm in to send animage. I'm going to you know, start to tell a health callhere and break some up faces to pay so well single, I'm laughing, because itmakes me think of a client that asked us not too long ago to create anexplainer video for a two click process, and I said if we need to explain ourexplainer video for a two click process. Something is wrong with that processlike something's wrong with the user experience. If we need to explain toclicks, that's true, Oh man, so so just sharee with us yourfootprint. Now you know how many...

...customers do you have kind of like kindof give us an indicator of like where you are as far as penetrating themarket word and sees it's over three thousandusers thousand institutions and over seventy percent of the topfifty medical centers most recently we're just finalizing deals with Dukeand Baylor, which is great at a and and they they see what we're doing they say.Okay, this is going to solve a lot of our problems through our entire networkand some of it is they look at and take Kay. We can use some of the toolswithin your platform, which we're always grateful even for that, becausewe know that it's going to save them time money but, more importantly, I ultimately itsaves lives and there's a lot of status quo mentality out there that sometimes hiscrapes doesn't work. So we're going to re scan patients, we're going to havethem, come back exposed them to more radiation and that just in our worldunacceptable sure. So, a lot of people that I talk to you that are maybe evenlot in this business in their businesses much longer have not acquired that many customers or thatmany of the top medical practices. So what's the secret you know or what aresome of your commercialization strategies? Is You kind of look back atmaybe some of the actions over the last couple of years? What were some ofthose strategies or tactics that you deployed that you think help you get towhere you are today, because it's a really big milestone. We it put our onsale cycles and you know some of the most difficult to get in front of customer segments. You know in healthcare that that is a great question and multitiered problem,... we look at every point of contact asbeing valuable first and so, whether it's an hourly Brad Tech. You know upto the COF. The hospitals first were concerned, they're all stake holders and what we're trying toaccomplish, and when I say what we're trying to accomplish is looking at whatis our mission, and so the mission is to create a global health carecommunication tool that sells a lot of these problems in moving data sharingdata, the powering patience and then, thirdly, be adhering to what we callour first principles and for us it's about growing the network.That's that's going to be the first thing, because if we do that, we havethat achieved the mission and in that process, though, toacquired customers, we've sacrificed revenue. We worked with customers to addfeatures to say: could they make say we have thisspecific communication problem with this? Oh Yeah, can you sell that? And we solve that,because Om try to control the market in many ways he's now they want to be a gsite. A semi side, a Philip site, and so they do little things to try tocontrol that and there's a whole bunch of technical answers for how they dothat. But, ultimately I think that's what it's about is controlling. It say:Well, you just bout another g system, it would work perfect, and so we helpthose systems, work better and communicate so yeah. I ultimately to bad stategoing to that customer and diagnosing their problems and sayinghow can we solve this for you and then adapting to it and that's another thingthat we say all the time: It's adaptation is more important thanadoption. What do you mean my bat? Well, because I think adoption is a kind of an abusedword and tact that Oh, we just need a doctor asand adopters. Well, if you're solving a...

...real problem, then they're just goingto adapt to it, and so when they see a new tool, for example, we may talk to a let's say anintervention radiologist say well, this is great. You can move the data, Iwould never use the tell health future and it's built into the platform. Soit's always going to be right there if their finger tips. Anyhow, then we'lltalk to them. Two months later, yeah, I'm communicating with my patients attell help to as great because the images are right there and, and sothat's an example. They didn't adopt our technology, they adapted to it. HMM, okay, that makes sense. Hey It's Dr Roxy, here with a quickbreak from the conversation. Are you trying to figure out what moves youneed to make to survive and thrive in the new Co vid economy? I want everyhealth innovator to find their most viable and profitable pivot strategy,which is why I created the Co. Vid proof, your business pivot, kid. Thepivot kit is a step by step framework. That e helps. You find your best pivotstrategy. It walks you through six categories. You need to examine for athree hundred and sixty degree view of your business. I call them the sixcritical 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 sureyou can pit it with speed without missing out on critical details andopportunities. Learn more at legacy. Hyphen daco backs kid. So when you use the terminology ofcustomers versus growing your network, what's that distinction? Well, because if someone uses it oncethey could be a customer or and in our network patients get thethe tool for free, so any patient at any facility, whether it's a smallsingle practicos doctor's office up to the largest institutions, patients canstill or manage their data and have..., tell health cast stations withwhoever they're trying to connect to that can even be a family member. Wedoesn't matter, tots is on or part of the network and so yeah, and then, when you're looking atgrowing the network, it's a little bit different, the principle that we haveto have that registered facility as part of the network, and then they areserving those customers, whether it's punition to commission or to a patientor connecting to that local hospital as to home. So would you say that you have likepart of Your Business Model? Is A FREMI model. It is for the patients yeah andthen, if it's a let's say we have a unique case where let's say we haven'tdealt with something before specific type of modality or specialist. Thathas a certain problem. We may say: okay, why don't you use it for free for theyear and then give us feedback and what you need to make this better, those types of things and generally they're more than willing todo that and if we solve the problem were, can endup telling their friends. So that's always good. So would you consider thata pilot or those official pilot engagements or unofficial pilots yeah,we call them luminaries so and they love that term, that they're illuminareand yeah it's yeah. It's basically like that apilot and give us a proper FY tar. So how is the patient freme modelimpacting growth, or is it it's getting there because you have to have a hugeamount of patience and up having influence on the on the health carecommunity, so so we're going to be pushing more and more of the messagingout whether it's through facebook and other methods of reaching patientssaying this is a way to manage your... care data for free and thebattle end up driving the enterprise at a certain point, so we certainly havethousands of patients registered and using the platform. Butthe critical mass number is a mystery that might be a million, might be fivemillion. We don't know where that's at yet, but we're going to start pushingthat more. As we always look at the now. When people talk about patient andpowermen, the one thing we always notice they leave out of the theprocess, is the patient so were trying to really get them involved. That's oneof my soap boxes Tim. Yes, I the same way yeah I mean there'sso many different stakeholders in the health care system, and it'sinteresting that they say we're. You know we all like to say well we'repatient centric and it's like okay, well, how patients involved in thedevelopment of these tools. You know the term that I used as co creation.You know, are you co, creating with patience? No but we're patient centric?Well, how? Because we put that in our story- yeah, it's really crazy. I meansome of the stuff that we see out. There I want t is with one of ourtechnologies. We can connect directly to modalities so there's differenttypes of O K, rule outreach programs and so, let's say you're a maternalfeudal, medicine specialist. Normally they drive out to these rural areas tohave that one day of scans or seeing those cases or the patient has to drivein to get Kai. So, but if you could virtually put a specialist staying overthe shoulder of a snagger for technologists and review that in realtime with face of base consultation, that sounds tremendous problems andthat's that's true: patient efficiency and helping thepatient preventing false, plastides negatives, much more efficient forspecialist, because there's fewer and fewer of them these days. So how dothey become more efficient? And then those patients can make devisions andwhat their next step of care is without...

...sacrificing a day of work or they canalso through our platform, say you know what I need to talk to my mom and she'sin California, and I'm in Pennsylvania bring a right into the conversationright on the screen, viewing the ages at the same time. Okay, so what are some of the as you'veinvolved patients in this process and you've engaged with them more? What aresome of the things that you've learned and how they might have impacted thebusiness going forward, but they they like to have that levelof control is the one thing that patients arestarting to understand more and more of whether it's through Dr Google or oneof these other tools out there is that they do have some rights that theydidn't understand in the past and even acquiring their images if they requestit from a facility. The facility has to give them the complete study and, andthat's true of any health care information. Whether it's you knowpathology psychology reports, they can get all the information and then manageit themselves where they can say. I want to get a second opinion and- andyou can't blame health care facilities for wanting to control their patientpopulation, keep them rain, fenced because that's how they make a living,but kiln patient freedom comes with having complete access and controltheir information yeah, and we're definitely seeing thatright across the country. I think that coved certainly has been a catalyst forthat, even more so and we'll just going to see that consumerist just continueto grow and expand over time. Yeah, that's definitely Tom consorter of EM.So when you think about like, what's next for you what you know, what aresome of the specific challenges that you are working to resolve right now, I'd say access to what we call the massively underservedmarket. So...

...when you look at there's something likeseven hundred thousand backers offices in the US and about half a million ofthose have some type of acquisition to Vice House, so whether it's a digital xRay a portable altar sound. And then, if you look at some orthopedic offices,they have their own MRIs, Lim Marie cts and so forth, and are they managingtheir data properly and giving access to patients and connecting to the hubpreventing unnecessary duplicate, re scans being more efficient? So we lookas that we're in a lot of institutions. Now, if we could get to the supportinghealth care Canary, which is where we are growing now that we connect themall together and we're going to solve a tremendous amount of problems, it's ait's a bullet list. That's you know fifty bullets line, and so that's whatwe're trying to get to and we hear about doctors who would say well, I'mcompliant. I just put on my images on a USB drive a suit turbits. I keep in mycar at light, so it's safe, as we literally just heard that earlier thisweek- and I do know you can't that's not complaint. You can't do that and because there, certain rules and I'resupposed to be managing it, I see- is a twenty one years, depending on whatyour specialty is. You have touch like yeah and it's kind of scary that that'sstill going on, but we're going to sell them. We don't name any names, no t rightright, yeah. So what is Maccathiel and how is thatplan role in Your Business and your growth strategy? So it's so we're Ay peared, a peernetwork which is a type of infrastructure and and how you manageand communicate to data, so it's much faster, much more secured. But whathappens is when it's end point to end point connection and you start to buildmore and more connections.

You create a true communication network,then so going back years ago, I, when they usedto talk about the value of facebook. I didn't really understand why it wasvaluable start to realize. With that effect, youput out one message because of the end point en point: connections between allthose users, even if their passive users you could one post, could reach amillion people and a man of moments and so having that we kind of reverse the model- and thisis some pill call us the papal of health care so because anyone canregister into the network so that the hospital isn't control all theprudentially. So, whether you're, a patient or a doctor, you can becomepart of the network and just like with paypal, share money with anybody withinthe network securely. You can share and communicate with anybody within ournetwork securely and so that's kind of reversing the model, although we dohave it were. Hospitals can control that as well, but ye anyone that couldsign up today and say: Okay, L. I need to communicate with somebody across thecountry. So what is your growth strategy goingforward, as you think about being able to penetrate the market, increase, adoption or adaption? Is You know what are some of thestrategies that are leading you to success that you want to maybe sharewith the audience here, so that they might be able to learn from some of thesuccesses that you're having having the having your your stakeholders in your constituents, so especially atclinically users connecting to their friends in the in the business? No, you specialist that may be deal with aGP on a daily basis, but as soon as they make those connections that I thatgroves are network, and so we actually...

...ask them to do that or we ask about.Could you give us a listen names and our sales people will call them andthen say: Hey, Dr Smith, just put in our system. This is why this is how itworks, and you can communicate now and your data in seconds, if you're,connecting registered into our system as well. One of the big push backs is is justregistering of the system, which I always find kind of funny, becausepeople do this every day registering into websites and and so forth, and yetthat they have some of that resistance and we always find funny, although it'sa one time process, and so once they do get over that hurdle, then they're inthe network, and then I love it after that. But that isone of the barriers I lane up is to do the mission, sale and say wo, be a partof this been work. So you know I think, word of mouthmarketing is such an key component of success for any early stage companybeing able to cross that chasm right. So you you, uniquely kind of have aplatform that helps helps to facilitate that that peer to peer collaboration orengagement. How has word of mouth, maybe even influenced like the customeradvocacy- is that something that's happened more organically, or is thatsomething that you've even helped facilitates? You can kind of gave usone example, but I'm thinking maybe more even on a broader scale yeah. We definitely have to helpfacilitate it, and then there's also there's a bit of a competitive naturetoo in there, where they want to be at parody of their peers or you have. Somedoesn't want to tell somebody else about it, because they want to havethat trying to navigate that. The one thing we use a lot is the credibilityfactor, hayle effect that hey, if it's good enough for you know, ClevelandClinic or...

Cedar, Sidi that it's you should beokay with it too, and so we do push that a lot and generally, if we'regoing down that list of who uses our software, they do kind of Sokay. That'senough! You can stop. Now I get it it's I get it, I'm the only one, that's notdoing it yet yeah so and when we what it means, it's obviously has a haileffect, but also that it passes so mustard because they know that it'sbeen through that security process, which is that's always number one onthe list. Are you going to pass our security tests and, and so, if italready did it these other sites that it probably will there too m? Do youthink that helps move the sale cycle faster? I think it does and it's just havingall those things prepared in advance to so how does your network work all yourcertifications for security and there's such a lot with of them? You not tosack three high trust, coral and S to it. It seems and less an Istvan. Itkeeps going on and on, and so we have those always organizing a folder. Wecan just send them a link and say here's everything, just to show thatwe've we've been through that process m. well, that's wonderful! So, as we kindof just start to wrap up here, is there anything else that you know a bulk ofthe audience for this show if people just like yourself that are indifferent phases of the commercialization process, is there anyother lessons learned or any insights that you would want to share withanyone, Geez good question? Every week we do a meeting were tryingto get everyone involved and discussing every topic. It's it's a basically stealing it from Ray Delio.You know with his. You know the transparency thing, butalso you never know who's going to come up with a good idea in your group.

People bring all different kinds of you,know, backgrounds and ideas, regardless of what the problem is, whether it'stechnical or financial or whatever it may be, and soand we'll have a list of things we're trying to sell. So it could be compliance issue, relationship issue with site, so theseare going to be very broad and some one might say: Hey did you think about this,and so no one anyone can say anything.There's no dumb question just dumb answer so so creating a culture of, I guess: Transparency and candidnessand kind of community that you're, you know, you're feeding off of each otheryeah include everyone and then they're, always they're more excited to come tothe meeting than too she. I Oh, no it's another meeting, but it's like hey isother meeting. I might deal that contributed here, tiller excellent. So how can folks get a holdof you if anybody wants to follow up more about teleray or just getting intouch with you going forward? We, I do have one ofMose, simple emails out there, just Tim at tollerate, very, very easy andthat's the best way to reach me, but also info a teller, it's moregeneral but and then tolerate com. The website there, sport contactinformation there to awesome. Well think so much for joining me today. Ten,it's been great yeah thanks are direct. We really appreciate. I thank you so much for listening. I knowyou're busy working to bring your life changing innovation to market, and Ivalue your time and attention to get the latest episodes on your mobiledevice automatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast at likeapple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening, and Iappreciate everyone who shares the show...

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