Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 2 years ago

What It's Really Like to Ride the "Roller Coaster" of Healthcare Innovation w/Meghan Conroy


Commercializing an innovation in healthcare is complex and hard. But, there are challenges and opportunities that lie within the artistic economics of healthcare.

Traditionally, medicine is practiced based on how insurance will pay for that medicine to be practiced. The lack of consumer empowerment and choice not only affects how medicine is practiced, but how difficult it is for entrepreneurs to commercialize their innovations. 

 What are some of the barriers to commercialization and how have they been changed recently? How does being intentional about the culture your are developing from the beginning affect your success? How can we remove the fear of risk to fail fast and fail up?

 On this episode, I’m joined by founder and CEO of CaptureProof, Meghan Conroy, who shares her candid commercialization experiences and what it’s really like to ride the “roller coaster” of healthcare innovation.


3 Things You'll Learn

  • Reimbursement alignment for commercialization success
  • Running like a lean startup while you're starting and growing
  • Reoccurring revenue business models


Changing something as integrated as healthcare isn’t easy, but we shouldn’t use the challenges as an excuse not to do something. We have to make innovation easier in healthcare so we can really move the ball forward. The only way you can beat the odds is "don't give up."


Welcome to Coiq and first of itskind video program about health innovators, early adoptors and influencers and their stories aboutwriting the roller coaster of healthcare innovation. I'm your host, Dr Roxy,founder of Legacy DNA marketing group, and it's time to raise our COIQ.Welcome back coiq listeners. On today's show I am having a candid conversation withMegan Conroy, the founder and CEO of capture proof, and we are talkingabout what it's like to ride the roller coaster of healthcare innovation. Welcome tothe show, Megan. Thanks, it's so nice to be here. I'mreally excited. So, for those of listeners aren't familiar with you, tellus a little bit about your background and what you're doing these days. Sure, I am working with capture proof. I'm the CEO and founder. Weare really looking at how can we take the limited resources that we have inmedicine and apply them appropriately across the board by impacting visual and point management asa solution for medicine, and so we're really interested about access and about followup care and having the ability for the providers to have the right information inorder to make the best decisions for their patients to get them on the paththat they need to be on. So I came to capture proof on itsown roller coaster of a windy road. But my graduate studies were in photographyand my bachelor's degrees and physiology, and so I have the fortunate of experienceof combining the two things that I'm most passionate and curious about into one onevery clear aim and impact across healthcare. That's awesome. Well, so Iwant to ask you this other question. What is it will kind of likewhere kicked off the show? What is it like for you writing this rollercoaster of healthcare innovation and just, let's just shoot it straight. Yeah,I mean, you know, health care in and of itself is a reallyinteresting monster and it has different task masters over different quadrants or ven diagrams orcircles or areas or whatever you want to call it. I don't think,therefore, it's not that structured, but they're very well could be three.There's, you know, the provider group, there's the insurance group and there's thepatient group and the fourth, like they would be the industry partner,such as Farma, etc. And the economics of healthcare is a real artas much as it's a science itself, just like the practice of medicine,and so we've had some really interesting times about how we know. Even justanecdotally, you can under stand that you can read a photo more quickly thanyou can read a video. It's very...

...clear common sense. I don't haveto have a long scientific conversation for that to be proven to someone, butI might did do a great job and actually scientifically prove that you can reada photo in twenty or sorry, thirty milliseconds and it takes you, agood read Er, two to three minutes to read a thousand words, muchless write them down. So, anecdotally and very common sense wise, it'sclear that if time is a such a limited resource in medicine, which againanecdotally, we don't have to look past the waiting room to understand that that'strue, that there should just be a very clear impact. But medicine rightnow is practice based on how insurance will pay for that medicine to be practiced, and so your patient is seen by your neural your Parkinson's patient is seenby your neurologists because that insurance company will pay for that monthly appointment to happenand doesn't pay for it to happen anymore quickly at it or any more slowly. And so we've decided to practice medicine based on how insurance will pay forthat medicine to be practiced. And when you're looking to disrupt something and you'relooking to disrupt an industry, most industries have a lot more choice around themthan the healthcare industry has. And what I mean by that is we asconsumers are empowered to make our own choices for our for ourselves. However,providers themselves don't feel empowered to make their own choices about technologies and sometimes withwith formularies. They don't feel empowered to make their own choices around, youknow, pharmaceutical products. So a lack of empowerment or a lack of choiceis something that has been rampant and in healthcare. So in and of itselfit's challenging to disrupt, but to add the regulatory the respect needed, andthen also the very artistic economics that have been put around healthcare, that's anice way of putting it. Are counterparts in the UK. When I've heardthe head of the UK innovate. The NHS innovation speak. I've heard himcall it a very perverse economics. You know, it's it's definitely makes theroad all that more challenging, but also opportunity. Opportunities lie within those challengesbecause there is so much potential there. There is no other industry that coversthe amount that healthcare covers. We are one third of the US GDP.It is the largest market out there. There is no human on earth thatdoes not have health as something that they own and require to maintain. Sothose things are really exciting about it. Absolutely. Yeah. So I noticethat you, you know, you talk a little bit about access to healthcarestill being one of our biggest challenges and... sounds like that's what you're describinghere when you're talking about what it's like writing the roller coaster. It's theAPP challenges with access that we still have and in the barriers that healthcare innovatorshave being able to commercialize their innovations in that type of industry. The salescycle is so so long and the the threshold with which innovation is happening inmedicine is actually quite small. True innovation and that's happening in RD departments ofpharmaceutical companies. That's happening with, you know, investigators within teaching institutions whohave the ability to go out. It's happening with grants and and then havingthat innovation be implemented. And we've been very lucky to see some really coolstuff happening in healthcare and continue to see it. I believe that we arejust now gaining a time where hippa is no longer this catch all excuse thatwe're not going to do anything because we're just going to blame HIPPA. Right, right, right, where we're finally the point where that's no longer happening, like, okay, we're HIPO compliant for word. It's all behave likeadults and do what we need to do and keep things private. That's important, you know. And and then moving forward to actually and cementing and whenyou're changing behavior of people, that takes time, and when you're changing behaviorof people when the currency that they're dealing with is actually humans and human lives, it should take time. HMM. You know, we should respect that. So I believe I have a healthy a healthy respect for the challenge thatit is and a healthy respect that it shouldn't be super easy, right,and you know, changing something as integrated as healthcare isn't easy. So Irespect the challenge, but I also think that at times we use the challengeas an excuse just to not do anything and that that gets boring. HMM, right, right, yeah, exactly. So when you think about your ownorganization, what stage or you in right now in the commercialization process?Are you in ideation, pre launch, pilot for every? I feel likefor an every yes, across that's right. Evolving. Well, captured. persentaround for seven years and I've been being in my head against photos andmedicine and then adding video in two thousand and twelve some photo and video andmedicine for the last Gosh, aging myself, but eleven years and you know,putting a I see what we're doing is putting a new language really intomedicine across the board, for globally mean...

...visual language crosses whatever actual verbal languagethat we use to communicate. We can use whatever words we want to use. So for us we are we are in the market. We are workingwith clients, both pharmaceutical and also with health systems. We have our firstcertner integration heading on its way to success at with base date and have beenreally excited about the new codes that have come out enabling providers to get fiftyone bucks and fifteen cents a month for doing some remote getting patients set upand then doing remote evaluation of them on the system. And that's a that'san industry change, not just to capture proof change. And then we're reallyexcited that Medicare has put out a g code that allows for about thirteen dollarsfor a photo or video read when created by the patient at home, acrossthe hospital. So we were excited that the industry is seeing the impact andsees the benefit and the signals are there that a synchronous communication, and especiallyasynchronous communication with photo or video can be very powerful and medicine. HMM.But we're just spending time, you know, continuing to get the word out andliving like a lean start up because, as you know, I've one verysmart investor who are always told me it's going to take longer and morecost more and take longer than you think. And you know there are the successstories out there that maybe that seems like that in apply to the sevenyear overnight success stories, but in reality, you have to run like a leanstart up and you have to be very clear to your vision when you'rewhen you're starting and while you're going. That mission has to has to stayfore front. Yeah, I had a guest on the show a few weeksago who is probably like eleven years in fully commercialized, absolute hands down success. I think it was like one named one of the top fifty healthcare technologycompanies by Amazon and they're still functioning like a lean start up right, becausethat was it mean, it was so impactful to the bottom line that itbecame a way of doing business, not just something that they were going todo temporarily until they had, you know, loads of revenue coming through the door. So it's really interesting that you mentioned that. Yeah, I thinkI think it's part of your culture, MMM, and I think that thatis one of the most important things to keep in mind. At the helmof anything is culture, HMM. And One baddig can impact you negatively fora year after they leave, you know. So you really have to be thathigher fast, fire, quick.

I don't know. I think thatyou need to be thoughtful about all the processes. I think that's really interestingthat you mentioned that. Because most of the either early or emergent companies thatI work with aren't really talking about culture just yet. It's kind of like, oh well, when we were in year three, five, when we'vegot some millions of dollars, are right, right, exactly. It's just theydidn't, they don't have any control over the culture. They didn't intentionallybuild the culture. It just built, you know, kind of as aan accident and the way of them just being and if it's going, great, that's great. But then identifying what it is so that you can continueto have it go great, it's important. HMM, yeah, Yep, yeah, yeah, so it's interesting. You know, some of those culturaldynamics, in order to that, are maybe just most six inherent for mostsuccessful startup companies. To embody. Exactly. Yeah, start up deserve different cultures. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, you know, we're all doing uniquepeople, right, so we're all going to have different companies and so noculture is going to be like ei learn totally. Yeah. So, youknow, what are some of the biggest challenges, you know, that you'refacing right now? It's someone that's in the trenches. I mean, II think you know, we always need more people to help us get asmuch as we need to have done get done. You asked us what phayswere in and there are some things that we are still ideating on, likeis that the best way to do it? How do we help with that?Where do we go? We see all of this as an evolution.So, you know, having having more on, more on the team,more feed on the ground, more more in your arsenal can be helpful asas it is to who can help deliver the work. We've got a lotof a lot of work going on and and that's exciting. That's a greatproblem to have right sure. And then, in addition to that, I think, like I would have told you four months ago, the fact thatthere are no there's no way for me to get doctors paid for this,but that that has, you know, very nicely changed in January one,and we'll see how people are built for that. But for the first timeever I'm actually capable of sitting down with a business model with one of mypotential future clients and can actually map out to them, not promise of potentialsavings, maybe only if but right will capital that they should that this shouldbring in for them to then have spending power with to do some thing elsewith as well. So that's that's been a really exciting change that we've seen, which is crazy, because if you're innovating in other industries you don't havethose obstacles to overcome. I mean it's...

...just it's so it's great to seethe industry evolving and when that's powering innovative like why would any investor ever investin healthcare? It's crazy when it gives you so many more challenges than anywhereelse. Like you know, and I think there are people who are grayup, good people out there, and I do think that healthcare is agreat business, or short business be done. But you know, these the fundsand having investment and UNICORNS and looking at healthcare. Sure there was pillpack and that I would give that Unicorn status. But he'll pack is stilla consumer product. MMM, delivering pharmaceuticals. You're delving your pharmacy. That's wherepatients go. There's not the added layer of provider other than they needthe permission slip. HMM, but you're not changing any provider workflow. SoI'm excited to see some some real, you know, explosions via via AthenaHealth, getting purchased. Or you know really what haven's going to end updoing with Amazon web services, Workshire, hathway, Jape, Morgan Chase.There's there's a lot of players coming in, and I I mean apple's doing ahuge thing about security right now. So kind of leads the way.The things like you can, we can all think what we can think.They've just stolen some people from big names like Samsung and whatnot. So andAlexas Hip hop compliant now. So right, we're we're definitely moving into and andinto a space where maybe healthcare is only five or six years behind now, as opposed to twelve. Yes, yeah, you know, I youknow, some of the conversations that I have is like, listen, everybodyin it, in business, seems to realize that healthcare represents one third ofthe GDP and it's almost like this goal rush where, no matter what verticalyou were in, you're trying to figure out how you can get your pieceof the Healthcare Pot, you know Pie, and you've got these gigantic operations thatunderstand consumerism, that understand consumer preferences, that under understand how to commercialize something, and it's like if the healthcare industry doesn't wake up and start toyou know, putting some action behind there the conversation of innovation, then it'sgoing to you know, we're at risk to be gobbled up by these otherorganizations that are coming in and just roped. I think they're fairly awake. Idon't think that they're sleeping on the job, but I think that there'ssuch fear of movement. HMM, and the consumers don't hold that. Youdon't hold that same fear and consumerism, but I do think that you knowthat the doctors are, by and large,...

...employees of the health system. Sothe health systems own the brain trust, the health systems own the smarts thatmake the decisions that get the job done. Yep. And so whatwhat we see as, regardless of anything that we do, the most limitedresource we have in medicine is amount of time that those doctors can give care. And if we don't have patients start showing up prepared with data that's easyto have, meaning we're not going to be able to solve the problem.And you know, there are a lot of wonderful things that the last administrationdid for our country, but electronic health records was not one of them.Yep, and there's a lot of backlash there. Dukes spent one billion dollarson epic and if you ask any one of their providers, if I'm Ihaven't asked every single one of Duke's providers, but not many disclaimers, I did, about the changes that epic has given to their organization and right.I've even had people say to me that we would have to view we wouldhave to have epic installed like this for a thousand years for us to makeour money back without exaggeration. HMM. So there was some fleecing of Americathat happened with what has been rolled out and how that went. Yeah,and you know, that's our taxpair of dollars and and institution money. Andand the impact. Wasn't that this grandiose, amazing thing that that we would havewished and would have hoped? And so you do deal with the scartissue of that being true. Yeah, absolutely, I couldn't agree with youmore. I think that it just reinforces a lot of the fear around changeand around, you know, disruptive innovation. Well, yeah, and it alsohits the bottom line in a way where you don't have the budget totry this, that or the other. Right you know, trearing a lotabout death by pilot right now and the idea of, you know, youcan really get killed by pilots and healthcare, but you also have to start somewhere. So there's this very, very interesting kind of range. But if, if we've learned anything over what's been going on in the in the industry, and you know we have our lovely Fara knows court dates coming up.But I can only suggest and implore that actual science is put behind anything thatyou're trying to do in medicine and that you know there is there is dataand anecdotal is great, but data is really powerful and and frankly important.You know, I'm not I'm not suggesting I think we all should be aptto regulated, but I do think we should be pure review regulated. HMM, yeah, I definitely. You know,...

...anytime I'm have guests on the showthat have successfully commercialized and innovation, they made significant investments in, youknow, the data, the clinical trials, the peer reviewed research, and thatbecame their platform for success. I wrote an article about death by pilota couple of years ago and you know, I kind of said, like tohealth innovators, you know, be aware of getting stuck in what Icall pilot purgatory. And it's not that pilot is a bad path or badstep in the journey. It's that I think that health innovators often kind ofget a little woo woo when someone says that they want to do a pilotwith them and they just get so excited that, you know, you know, one of the top health systems gives them the time of day that theyyou know, they for they they fund the entire thing. They don't doany negotiation when it comes to the terms of the pilot agreement. They don'tmake sure that that's a strategic initiative for the organization to where they somebody willactually buy at the end of the pilot, that I'll make sure that that personthat's doing the pilot even has the authority to buy and be because they'rejust so excited that some and said Yes to the pilot and they think thatthat's going to be the home run to successful commercialization and it could actually befar from the truth. It could take tons of time and money away fromother paths that could actually, you know, more significantly impact the bottom line.Yeah, and and a pilot. Bringing you a publication is not aways. That's great, right, dude, I got it, have it goout, but just a bunch of users for users, for users.I mean there's the argument, though, that you know, getting those userson and going is great, and I there's nothing like real world feedback tomake your product right, but getting some sort of vendor relationship going as imperatively. Yeah, so one of the things I'm interested in is you, isyou and you know other innovators are talking about. You know, the realityof the challenges that everyone's facing is that there's tons of resources out there tosupport innovators in this commercialization process. You know, there's consultants, there's resources, there's tools, templates, etc. And so what? What have youleveraged most, and then what's still missing? I think that what I was ableto leverage most was we were one of the first five companies to signa business associate agreement with Amazon web services, and every single lawyer that I wasgoing after to be my hippa attorney had a conflict with aw APP,with Amazon, MMM, and so I ended up finding this really amazing hippoccouncil who was out of Michigan and a... firm off on our own,and so I could afford her and, you know, we were able to. I had a standing our meeting with her every week for the first sixmonths that we engaged with each other. HMM. And we've been of theof the ask first, you know, ask permission, kind of company.We're not apologizing for stuff. So for that we really walked eyes wide openinto what we're doing and, you know, potentially been less disruptive because we're followingthe rules, if you will. But there are some rules that wefind very important, especially privacy and security when you're dealing with such intimate informationabout people. Sure, so you know, but we're also we are a platformof visual information, and so our focus has really allowed us to goto providers as a tool versus a product, and have that tool enable and empowerthem to capture their visual end points and manage them over time. Andso a visual end point for a cardiologist of, you know, Petal Edemaand sticking a thumb into the ankle to see how swollen that ankle is,versus neurologist and epilepsy, versus a pediatrist and a wound versus and incision aftersurgery. You know, each of them are visual and points for different providersusing the same tool. HMM, okay, so you know. So it soundslike that's been a great resource for you as you scan the landscape.Is there anything that you think is just still missing to help health innovators successfullycommercialize their innovation? As I scan the landscape? That's a great question.I mean, of course there's if I had a magic wand and there wereone thing that I would give, I guess is the way I can answerthat question. It's it's a more it's hard because you're talking about people,but it's it's removing the fear of risk across the board. I mean,where it were in such a risk averse environment, asking them then to givesomething new a chance and change is hard. Yeah, so, you know,having a having the ability where the risk is slow, we're failing fastcan happen quickly and failing up can happen successfully, is is something that thesandbox don't really exist for. MMM HMMM,...'s so true, so true.So you know, research shows that ninety five percent of innovations that arebrought to market fail to commercialize or fail to reach any type of adequate levelof profitability. And so how are you going to beat the odds? Imean, there's only one way to do it as you don't give up.Yep, you know, I'm more bullish now than I was eleven years agoor seven years ago or two days ago. And points and medicine really have ofvalue and there is, there is an extraordinary opportunity here and doing somethingthat will will will have exponential impact. It doesn't happen fast enough. Iam frustrated with which the speed that it does go. And dying on thevine is is if you're in. Has Been a fear. There were daysvery early on where I felt like my child was in. I see you, and I just kept getting bad news. Now I think my child's at leastin like the step down unit without any, you know, major thingsgoing into it that you never know right right changes on the instant. Sowe're not like an evergreen company. We're not epic. We didn't have,you know, multimillion dollars coming in on tax payers, but we we areexcited at the idea where the business bills are coming together, where we're eitherable to tap into scalable businesses, business models that give us a share ofthe risk with our with our counterparts, health systems, and capture proof isable to take that risk on together or where, you know, our healthsystems actually see the value where they're paying their monthly licensing piece. So we'redoing a big shift and our our business from a project basis and working withlike clinical research projects, sort of trials. We were designed with clinical trials inmind, and going more into that health system setting and having more recurringSASS models. And I can totally see why recurring revenue is interesting to business. It's once you can get it set up and get it going, youknow, keeping your churn under control and having that go for you can bethe extraordinary, the automatic customer. Yeah, yeah, MMM. So just acouple of other questions for you. So you know, what is yourstrategy? So you know you've got a whole market that you're pursuing and youknow, if we think about the diffusion...

...innovation model, you know, foran early stage company, you know you're targeting the innovators and the early adoptersand not that you're still not going to get nos, but you know,I find that a lot of times health innovators are kind of pursuing the entiremarket and so they might be pitching lagguards or the mainstream market before they've penetratedthe early adopters and innovators. And so what's your strategy for getting in frontof those early adopters that are going to be more characteristically more, I shouldsay, less risk of ours? Yeah, we haven't really ever had a chiefmarketing officer or really put them money or power behind that sort of marketingstuff. So how we've been doing it as going into ky opinion leaders withinindustries and then those key opinion leaders are introducing us to others when they hearabout projects going on or areas where they might be interested in capture proof.I just had Dr Kuvetar, connected health at MGH introduce me to a germdepartment in the North New England area who looks like we'll be doing some workwith. So word of mouth is obviously the major and we did a lotof a lot of posters at things like the American Eplepsy Society, American Academyand Neurology. So getting posters and getting interesting and triguing data in front oforganizations and and then and then it's just polite persistence, and sometimes not evenall that polite, which was persistent. Right, right, that's the wholebullish thing, right. Yeah, at some point in time it's just it'sthe hard work, and that's the thing nobody tells you, is that youknow, if you're going to be successful at this, what you're doing isthe easiest day you have, because it only will get to be more andmore and more. You know. And yes, you can delegate, andthat's awesome. When you have money to delegate, even even better. Right, but there's still success, is hard work and you you have to bewilling to put it in to get it. Well, I love what you saidearlier, you know, when we were talking about how were you goingto beat the odds in you said not give up, because I think that, you know, this is common knowledge. It's not rocket science, but wehear so many times. Right, I don't know what the athletes namewas. That was swimming, you know, across the country or from continent thecontinent, and there was fog and so she was just so yeah,like a half a mile from reaching land...

...and then gave up, right,and so, you know, I find that to be very similar in thisjourney that sometimes it's really foggy and we can't really see what's in front ofus, but it's that persistence that helps us get to experience all of thefruits of all the Labor that we've invested over time. Absolutely, and youknow that the entrepreneur relationship with oneself is it's its own journey. MMM,and it's not for the faint of heart. Absolutely. So my last question foryou. You know, knowing that our audience are fellow health innovators thatare in the trenches, what is one word of advice that you would havefor them? My best advice, other than all that we've said here,I mean the only thing that we didn't cover here, I think. Ithink culture and persistence are really high up there. And but investors, youmean if you're investor on the first meeting, asn't blowing sales into your wind thinkingyou're going to get to where you need to go. You need toreally think about that relationship because there's going to be enough people trying to blockthat wind. And then again, if your investors, even in the firstmeeting, are in trying to blow wind into your sales to how can yougo further. Yep, you know, those are the people you want onboard and in the best of times they should be blowing air into your sales. But where you hope for is that in the worst of times they doas well. Yeah, yeah, because it's not. It's never an easybattle. And and and then, as much as you can somehow find abalance, whatever that means for you. If that means you have four hoursSaturday morning where you don't look at your phone, whatever that meant, thatyou go run every day for an hour, whatever that means to you, serveyourself a little bit, for sure. That's so true. Well, thankyou so much for taking your time today to share your wings. Don'tget their listeners. Yeah, thanks for doing what you do. I reallyam excited about all of the impact that you're able to have with sharing ourstories. So thanks so much for letting me do mine. Thank you,I appreciate that. So how can people get Ahold of you? Maybe there'ssome listeners that are interested in learning more about capture proof, maybe, orjust speaking with you directly from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. Dower. Yeah, Imean, if you are looking for anything from capture proof, if you dofounder at capture proofcom. That email will come to me. So it's justfounder at capture proof and we're called capture proof because we let patients capture proofof anything that's going on. So you know, we love I'm more thanhappy to answer any questions or help out... any way that I can.But you have if you know someone who you think could benefit from utilizing ourservice, we'd be really grateful for an intro. Awesome. Well, thankyou so much for your time today. Make in thanks a bye. Thankyou. To Buy. What's the difference between launching and commercializing a healthcare inavation? Many people will launch a new product, few will commercialize it.To learn the difference between launch and commercialization and to watch past episodes of theshow, head to our video show page at Dr Roxycom. Thanks so muchfor watching and listening to the show. You can subscribe to the latest episodeson your favorite podcast APP like apple podcasts and spotify, or subscribe to thevideo episodes on our youtube channel. No matter the platform, just search coiqwith Dr Roxy. Until next time, LET'S RAISE OUR COIQ.

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