Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 94 · 1 year 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 early adopters 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 am sitting down with Tim Kelly, who is the CEO of Tel Array. Tim, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. Drres, it's nice to have you here today. So, as always, I like to start off with giving art listeners and our viewers a little bit of context. So share with us what you've been innovating these days and a little bit about your background. Well, my backgrounds always been healthcare, from pharmacy benefit management in the days were knowing ever heard of it, so getting people to use prescription cards back in the day, and then going into a varie different things, human pharmaceuticals, dermatology, veterinary distribution, and then eventually led me to radiology, being part of a group where we're trying to figure out why CDs and DVDs and VHS tapes were being sold to hospitals in the late s and found out that CDs were being or DVDs were being used to replace Cinmi film in Cardiology and then we thought, Jeez, maybe we could start replacing film and Radiology of CDs, and so my harder and I at the time we started pushing CDs into radiology and everyone thought we were pretty much idiots or even attempting that, because pack systems were just getting going and doctors love their film and the term what read is still used today for slapping that wet film up in a lightbox. So, even though it's not wide anymore. But so then, as things progress, it was about capability that then moved into solving real workflow problems and efficiency and moving data from A to B and...

...solving those problems. As we've always said the past twenty some years that it's one thing to move something from a to B, but if you can't use it, you didn't solve anything. When I think is so interesting and enlightening about what you're saying here is that you're talking about problems and you're leading the conversation with the problems that customers are facing and then coming up with solutions to address those. And although that seems like well Duve, like that's how every business really should start. You know, too often we start off with solutions. We start off with the technology that we're really excited to build and kind of then kind of try to find a problem to match it to. So I just want to point that out for our viewers and listeners to just kind of heed this, that it's really important to start off with a problem and then figure out the solution. Yeah, any business I've been in, that's always the start with the problem and then work with the customer to find a solution and build it together, and that's always been the process. Great. So where are you in the innovation process now? When did when did tell a ray start? How long have you been at this? Well, I've been in radiology dicom distribution or image manchment for a long time, and that just getting images to patients, to referring positions to specialists and making sure usable. And then we decided to go down the path of tell a health a while back, because I'm not sure exeg with the number is but and facetoface consultations and tell a health seventy percent of the time it involves some type of radiology procedure that's been done or that's going to be done, because that's the primary tool for diagnosis. Sure, and so looking at that, there was no combined tool out there. And last year, I'll be enough, when covid was really getting going through, is this add out by Microsoft teams with doctor talking about sharing images through teams with patients and specialist, although he doesn't... it in the AD and they don't explain why. And part of that is because Microsoft doesn't actually have the protocols dicom, NHL Seven and healthcare to pool that data and displayed on the screen. They can do screen sharing, just I can do in zoom and other platforms, but do you have the true network gettingtivity to say, let's say you and I are talking and I say I want to bring up your shoulder x ray and then walk you through 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 have the connectivity. So that's what we've been building, is making sure that for having one of these calls, that I can pull that data up on the screen, whether it's a report, whether it's your images pathology, and then have a more engaging conversation. So one of the things I noted is that you talk about how, like Tele A, health and x Ray have been around for a hundred and thirty years. So so what what's happening in the market, in the landscape, market trends? That makes it more right now for what you have to offer, for that to be valuable versus something that's been around for quite some time. Yeah, it's really funny because when we say that line people kind of laugh. That's not true, they will. Actually one of the very first phone calls had to do with checking up on somebody and their conditions. So that was the first tell health call. And so then if you look at radiology, of course that's been over a hundred years now and no one's really put the two together. I'm sure there's been phone calls, but what I'm talking about is on screen imaging and sharing and collaboration, and so we can buy these platforms in this capability and oddly enough we start working on that right before Covid, and then...

...covid hit and it was a strange blessing because it pushed this innovation into the forefront and it's just becomes a much more useful tool. As you if you look at you know the real definition of innovation? Now I say it's when invention becomes useful, but it's not just when it becomes useful, it's also is it being used, is it practical? And so this really made a practical because tell a health was about, you know, making sure those and cross contamination, keeping sick patients at home, keeping healthy patients at home, and so if you can have these collaborative consultations with imaging reports and so forth, you're probably going to eliminate at least fifty percent, if not more, of on site visits, and that's that's going to be part of the new normal going forward. Sure, yeah. Well, I also want to pause because I think that's a really important statement, if you don't mind just repeating it, on how you define innovation. Sure, so it's when invention is useful, then that's usually have most people describe it. But it's one thing to be useful, but is it being used and is it practical? And to elaborate on that little bit more, the practical part of it is there's a lot of innovation out there that's very technically advanced and could be very powerful, but it's not user friendly. HMM. One of the things we do is we're building out any type of process is that we like to say, let's keep the complexity behind the curtain. It's not to have the user experience anything complex at all. So so you can do really complex processes but not actually know that they did that. So like Amazon, when you order something and it's at your door in four hours exactly. We use them as some of their examples as well, and the apple and, Yep, even copy...

...machines. We say, how can someone walk into a Kink goes do a twenty six page catalog and color with a hard binder that saddle stitch and they've never used this machine before? Because I have little macros that walk people through the next logical step in the process, basically asking your questions. What are you doing next? And we've done that with our software as well. So that's really great. I think that the idea of innovation being useful or innoventions being useful, is just something. It's another point to just really kind of like pause and talk about, because there are so many innovations out there, or inventions, I should say, out there, that aren't useful or are useful, could be useful, but no one's using them and it could be for some of the reasons that you described. And you know, what I found often to is that, you know, a lot of times there's no market need. Going back to what you were saying, was starting with a problem instead of starting with the technology. Yeah, yeah, well, yeah, and then as part of that, can the user that adapt to it? Can they? Can they use it? And so another thing we always say is if we had to create two hundred page manual, we failed in our design. So someone just like that copier and a don't 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 going to send an image, I'm going to, you know, start a tell ahealth call here and bring some up facetoface. So well, simple. I'm laughing because it makes me think of a client that asked us not too long ago to create an explainer video for a to clip process and I said if we need to explain or explainer video for a to click process, something is wrong with that process, like something's wrong with the user experience if we need to explain to clicks. That's true. Oh Man. So so just share with us your footprint now. You know how many customers do you have? kind...

...of like kind of give us an indicator of like where you are as far as penetrating the market. We're in Cheez. It's over threezeros and users thousand institutions and over seventy percent of the top fifty medical centers. Most recently we're just finalizing deals with Duke and Baylor, which is great, rats and they see what we're doing and they say, okay, this is going to solve a lot of our problems through our tire network, and some of it is they look at and say, okay, we can use some of the tools within your platform, which we're always grateful even for that, because we know that it's going to save them time, money but, more importantly, a ultimately it saves lives and there's a lot of status quo mentality out there that sometimes it's crap, just doesn't work. So we're going to rescant patients, we're going to have them come back, expose them the more radiation, and that's just, in our world, unacceptable. M Sure. So a lot of people that I talked to that maybe even long in this business, in their businesses much longer have not acquired that many customers or that many of the top medical practices. So what's the secret, you know, or what are some of your commercialization strategies as you kind of look back at maybe some of the actions over the last couple of years? What were some of those strategies? Are Tactics that you deployed that you think how you get to where you are today, because it's a really big milestone with the on sales cycles and, you know, some of the most difficult to get in front of customer segments. You know in healthcare that is a great question and of multi tiered problem. So we look at every point of contact is being valuable first,...

...and so whether it's an hourly Brad Tech, you know, up to the CEO of the hospital's first were concerned, they're all stakeholders and what we're trying to accomplish, and when I say what we're trying to accomplish, is looking at what is our mission, and so the mission is to create a global healthcare communication tool that selves a lot of these problems and moving data, sharing data, empowering patients and then, thirdly, to be adhering to what we call our 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 have then achieve the mission. And in that process, though, to acquired customers, we've sacrificed revenue. We worked with customers to add features. That's Ay. Gat. They might say, we have this specific communication problem with this Om. Can you solve that? And we solve that because oms try to control the market in many ways. So they want to be a g site, a seem, a site of Philip site, and so they do little things to try to control that and there's a whole bunch of technical answers for how they do that. But ultimately I think that's what it's about, is controlling it. Say Well, if you just bought other g system, it would work perfect, and so we help those systems work better and communicate. So yeah, I'll ultimately it's about state going to that cusswer and diagnosing their problems on saying how can we solve this for you, and then adapting to it. And that's another thing that we say all the time. It's adaptation is more important than adoption. What do you mean by that? Well, because I think adoption is a kind of an abused word and tech that. Well, we just need adopters and adopters. Well, if you're solving a real...

...problem, then they're just going to adapt to it. And so when they see a new tool, for example, we may talk to a let's say, an interventional radiologists. They well, this is great, you can move the data by would never use the tell a health feature, and it's built into the platform, so it's always going to be right there at their fingertips anyhow. Then we'll talk to them two months later. Yeah, I'm communicating with my patients at tell. Health tools great, as the images are right there and and so that's an example. They didn't adopt our technology, they adapted to it. MMM, okay, pay that makes sense. 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 and DNACOM backslash kit. So how when you use the terminology of customers versus growing your network, we what's that distinction? Well, because if someone uses it once, they could be a customer or in in our network. Patients get the tool for free. So any patient at any facility, whether it's a small single practitioners doctor's office up to the largest institutions. Patients can store, manage their data, have free tell health cust stations...

...with whoever they're trying to connect to. That can be a family member. We doesn't matter. Thoughts, as honest, are part of the network. And so yeah, and then when you're looking at growing the network, it's a little bit different. Principle that we have to have that registered facility as part of the network and then they are serving those customers, whether it's plinistion to pliniition or to a patient or connecting to that local hospital as the hub. So would you say that you have, like part of Your Business Model is a fremium model? It is for the patients. Yeah, and then if it's a let's say we have a unique case where, let's say we haven't dealt with something before, specific type of modality or specialist and has a certain problem, we may say, okay, why don't you use it for free for the year and then give us feedback what you need to make this better? Those types of things, and generally they're more than willing to do that. And if we solve the problem, they're going to end up telling their friends, so that's always good. So would you consider that a pilot or those official pilot engagements or unofficial pilots? Yeah, we call them luminaries. So and they love that term, that they're a luminary, and it's a yeah, it's basically like that. A pilot and give us a proper feedback. So how is the patient freemium model impacting growth? Or is it it's getting there, because you have to have a huge amount of patients end up having influence on the on the healthcare community showing. So we're going to be pushing more and more of the messaging out, whether it's through facebook and other methods of reaching patient, saying this is a way to manage your healthcare... for free, and that'll end up driving the enterprise at a certain point. So we certainly have thousands of patients registered and using the platform, but the critical mass number is a mystery. That might be a million, might be five million. I we don't know where that's at yet, but we're going to start pushing that more. As we always look at the when people type about patient powerment, the one thing we always noticed they leave out of the process is the patient self. Really get them involved. That's one of my soapboxes. Tim Yes, the same way. Yeah, I mean there's so many different stakeholders in the healthcare system and it's interesting that they say we're, you know, we all like to say, well, we're patient centric, and it's like okay, well, how patients involved in the development of these two tools? You know, I the wit term that I use as co creation. You know, are you co creating the patients? Know, for we're patient centric. Well, how? Because we put that in our story. Yeah, it's really crazy. I mean some of the stuff that we see out there. I want is with one of our technologies, we can connect directly to modalities. So there's different types of rule outreach programs, and so let's say you're maternal people medicine specialist. Normally they drive out to these rural areas to have that one day of scans or seeing those patients, or the patient has to drive in to get stay. So, but if you could virtually put a specialist standing over the shoulder of a snagger for technologists and review that in real time with face to face consultation, that solves tremendous problems and that's that's true patient efficiency and helping the patient, preventing false positives false negatives, much more efficient for specialist because there's fewer and fewer of them these days. So how do they become more efficient? And then those patients can make decisiions on what their next step of care is without sacrificing a day...

...of work, or they can also through our platform. So you know what, I need to talk to my mom and she's in California and I'm in Pennsylvania, bring the right into the conversation, right on the screen, viewing the images at the same time. HMM, okay. So what are some of the as you've involved patients in this process and you've engage with them more? What are some of the things that you've learned and how they might have impacted the business going forward? That they they like to have that level of control. It's the one thing that patients are starting to understand more and more of whether it's through Dr Google or one of these other tools out there, is that they do have some rights that they didn't understand in the past. You've been acquiring their images. If they requested from a facility, that facility has to give them the complete study and and that's true of any healthcare information, whether it's a pathology, psychology reports. They can get all the information and then manage it themselves where they can say I want to get a second opinion. And and you can't blame healthcare facilities for wanting to control their patient population, keep them ring fenced, because that's how they make a living. But sure patient freedom comes with having complete access and control their information. Yeah, and we're definitely seeing that right across the country. I think that covid certainly has been a catalyst for that, even more so, and we'll just going to see that consumerization just continue to grow and expand over time. Yeah, that's definitely become a consumer driven so, when you think about like what's next for you, what you know? What are some of the specific challenges that you are working to resolve right now? I'd say access to what we call the massively underserved market. So when you look at there's something like seven...

...hundredzero doctors offices in the US and about half a million of those have some type of acquisition device now, so whether it's a digital Xray, a portable ultrasound. And then if you look at subworthopedic offices, they have their own MRIs, Lim Mri's, cts and so forth, and are they managing their data properly and giving access to patients and connecting to the hub, preventing unnecessary duplicate rescans being more efficient? So we look at us that we're in a lot of institutions now, if we could get to the supporting healthcare community, which is where we are growing now, is that we connect them all together and we're going to solve a tremendous amount of problems. It's it's a bullet list that's, you know, fifty bullets long, and so that's what we're trying to get to. And we hear about doctors and would say, well, I'm compliance. I just put all my images on a USB drive a suit turributes. I keep it in my car at night. So it's say, we literally just heard that earlier this week and you can't. That's not compliant. You can't do that. And because there's certain rules and hire supposed to be managing a seven years of twenty one years, opending on what you're secualty as you have to store. Yeah, and it's kind of scary that that's still going on, but we're going to solve them. We don't have to name any names. Don't that right? Right, yeah, so what is McAfee's law and how is that plane role in Your Business and your growth strategy? So it's so we're a peer to peer network, which is type of infrastructure and how you manage and communicate data. So it's much fast or much more secure. But what happens is when it's end point endpoint connection and you start to build more and more connections you create a true communication network then..., going back years ago, I when they used talk about the value of Facebook, I didn't really understand why it was valuable. Start to realize with that effect you put out one message, because of the endpoint end point connections between all those users, even if their passive users, you could one post could reach a million people and a matter of moments. And so having that, we kind of reverse the model in this is some pole calls the paypal of healthcare, so because anyone can register into the network so that the hospital doesn't control all the credentially. So whether you're a patient or a doctor, you can become part of the network and, just like with paypal, share money with anybody within that network securely. You can share and communicate with anybody with our network securely, and so that's kind of reversing the model, although we do have it. We're hospitals can control that as well, but anyone that could sign up today and say okay, I'm I need to communicate with somebody across the country. So what is your growth strategy going forward as you think about being able to penetrate the market, increase adoption or adaption? Is of you know, what are some of the strategies that are leading you to success that you want to maybe share with the audience here so that they might be able to learn from some of the successes that you're having having the having your your stakeholders in your constituents. So especially are clinically users connecting to their friends in the business. So you know specialist that may be dealing with a GP on a daily basis, but as soon as they make those connections, that they grows our network, and so we actually ask them to do...

...that or we ask them, could you give us a list of names, and our salespeople will call them hmm and then say hey, Dr Smith, just put in our system. This is why, this is how it works, and you can communicate now and share data and seconds if you're connected registered into our system as well. One of the big pushbacks is is just registering of the system, which I always find kind of funny because people do this every day, registering into websites, since and so forth, and yet to have some of that resistance that we always find funny, although it's onetime process, and so once they do get over that hurdle, then they're in the network and then they love it after that. But that is one of the barriers. I lay enough is to do the mission sale and say you need to be a part of this that work. So you know, I think word of mouth marketing is such an key component of success for any early stage company, being able to cross that chasm right. So you you uniquely kind of have a platform that's helps, helps to facilitate that that peer to peer collaboration or engagement. How has word of mouth maybe even influenced like the customer advocacy? Is that something that's happened more organically or is that something that you've even helped facilitates? You kind of give us one example, but I'm thinking maybe more even on a broader scale. Yeah, we definitely have to help facilitate it and there's also there's a bit of a competitive nature too in there, where they want to be at parody of their peer years or you have some doesn't want to tell somebody else about it because they want to have that and trying to navigate that. But the one thing we use a lot is the credibility factor, halo effect that hey, if it's good enough for you know, Cleveland Clinic or seater Sinid, then it's you should be okay with... too. And so we do push that a lot and generally, if we're going down that list of who uses our software, they do kind of say, okay, that's enough, you can stop now. I get it. It's I get it. I'm the only one that's not doing it yet. Yeah, and so and we're and what it means. It's obviously it has a hail effect, but also that it passes some mustard because they know that it's been through that security process, which is that's always number one on the list. Are you going to pass our security tests? And and so, if it already did at these other sites and it it probably will there too. HMM. Do you think that helps move the sales cycle faster? I think it does, and it's just having all those things prepared in advance to so how does your network work? All your certifications for security, and there's such a long list of I'm your sack to sack free, high trust, coral MDS to it. It seems endless, and I SDV his say. I mean it's keeps going on and on. And so we have those always organizing a folder. We just send them a link and so here's everything, just to show that we've we've been through that process. HMM, that's wonderful. So, as we kind of just start to wrap up here, is there anything else that you know a bulk of the audience for this show is people just like yourself that are in different phases of the commercialization process. Is there any other lessons learned or any insights that you would want to share with anyone? Cheez, good, questioned. Every week we do a meeting where trying to get everyone involved in discussing every topic. It's it's a basically stealing it from Ray Dalio, you know, is the transparency thing, but also you never know who's going to come up with a good idea. In your group people bring all different kinds of the backgrounds and ideas, regardless of...

...what the problem is, whether it's technical or financial or whatever it may be. And so and we'll have a list of things we're trying to style. So it could be compliant tissue, relationship issue with site. So these are can be very broad and someone might say, Hey, did you think about this? And so no one, anyone, can say anything. There's no dumb questions, just dumb answers. So so cre creating a culture of, I guess, transparency and candness and kind of community that you're you know, you're feeding off of each other. Yeah, include everyone. And then they're always they're more excited to come to the meeting than to so sure, oh no, it's another meeting. That's like, Hey, it's other meeting, I might be able that contribute here or excellent. So how can folks get Ahold of you? If anybody wants to follow up more about teleray or just getting in touch with you going forward, I do have one of the most simple emails out there. Just Tim at. Tell a Raycom, very, very easy and that's the best way to reach me with also Info and tell a ray if it's more general, but and then tell a Raycom the website. There's more contact information. They're too awesome. Well, thanks so much for joining me today, ten it's been great. Yeah, thanks, are actually really appreciate it. 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 show 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 colleagues. See You on the next episode of Health Innovators.

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