Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode · 3 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 its kind video program about health innovators, early adoptors and influencers and their stories about writing 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 with Megan Conroy, the founder and CEO of capture proof, and we are talking about what it's like to ride the roller coaster of healthcare innovation. Welcome to the show, Megan. Thanks, it's so nice to be here. I'm really excited. So, for those of listeners aren't familiar with you, tell us 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. We are really looking at how can we take the limited resources that we have in medicine and apply them appropriately across the board by impacting visual and point management as a solution for medicine, and so we're really interested about access and about follow up care and having the ability for the providers to have the right information in order to make the best decisions for their patients to get them on the path that they need to be on. So I came to capture proof on its own roller coaster of a windy road. But my graduate studies were in photography and my bachelor's degrees and physiology, and so I have the fortunate of experience of combining the two things that I'm most passionate and curious about into one one very clear aim and impact across healthcare. That's awesome. Well, so I want to ask you this other question. What is it will kind of like where kicked off the show? What is it like for you writing this roller coaster of healthcare innovation and just, let's just shoot it straight. Yeah, I mean, you know, health care in and of itself is a really interesting monster and it has different task masters over different quadrants or ven diagrams or circles 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 the patient group and the fourth, like they would be the industry partner, such as Farma, etc. And the economics of healthcare is a real art as 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 just anecdotally, you can under stand that you can read a photo more quickly than you can read a video. It's very...

...clear common sense. I don't have to have a long scientific conversation for that to be proven to someone, but I might did do a great job and actually scientifically prove that you can read a photo in twenty or sorry, thirty milliseconds and it takes you, a good read Er, two to three minutes to read a thousand words, much less write them down. So, anecdotally and very common sense wise, it's clear that if time is a such a limited resource in medicine, which again anecdotally, we don't have to look past the waiting room to understand that that's true, that there should just be a very clear impact. But medicine right now 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 seen by your neurologists because that insurance company will pay for that monthly appointment to happen and 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 for that medicine to be practiced. And when you're looking to disrupt something and you're looking to disrupt an industry, most industries have a lot more choice around them than the healthcare industry has. And what I mean by that is we as consumers 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 with with formularies. They don't feel empowered to make their own choices around, you know, pharmaceutical products. So a lack of empowerment or a lack of choice is something that has been rampant and in healthcare. So in and of itself it's challenging to disrupt, but to add the regulatory the respect needed, and then also the very artistic economics that have been put around healthcare, that's a nice way of putting it. Are counterparts in the UK. When I've heard the head of the UK innovate. The NHS innovation speak. I've heard him call it a very perverse economics. You know, it's it's definitely makes the road all that more challenging, but also opportunity. Opportunities lie within those challenges because there is so much potential there. There is no other industry that covers the 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 that does not have health as something that they own and require to maintain. So those things are really exciting about it. Absolutely. Yeah. So I notice that you, you know, you talk a little bit about access to healthcare still being one of our biggest challenges and... sounds like that's what you're describing here when you're talking about what it's like writing the roller coaster. It's the APP challenges with access that we still have and in the barriers that healthcare innovators have being able to commercialize their innovations in that type of industry. The sales cycle is so so long and the the threshold with which innovation is happening in medicine is actually quite small. True innovation and that's happening in RD departments of pharmaceutical companies. That's happening with, you know, investigators within teaching institutions who have the ability to go out. It's happening with grants and and then having that innovation be implemented. And we've been very lucky to see some really cool stuff happening in healthcare and continue to see it. I believe that we are just now gaining a time where hippa is no longer this catch all excuse that we'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 like adults 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 when you're changing behavior of people, that takes time, and when you're changing behavior of 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 that it 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 I respect the challenge, but I also think that at times we use the challenge as an excuse just to not do anything and that that gets boring. HMM, right, right, yeah, exactly. So when you think about your own organization, what stage or you in right now in the commercialization process? Are you in ideation, pre launch, pilot for every? I feel like for an every yes, across that's right. Evolving. Well, captured. persent around for seven years and I've been being in my head against photos and medicine and then adding video in two thousand and twelve some photo and video and medicine 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 into medicine across the board, for globally mean...

...visual language crosses whatever actual verbal language that 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 working with clients, both pharmaceutical and also with health systems. We have our first certner integration heading on its way to success at with base date and have been really excited about the new codes that have come out enabling providers to get fifty one bucks and fifteen cents a month for doing some remote getting patients set up and then doing remote evaluation of them on the system. And that's a that's an industry change, not just to capture proof change. And then we're really excited that Medicare has put out a g code that allows for about thirteen dollars for a photo or video read when created by the patient at home, across the hospital. So we were excited that the industry is seeing the impact and sees the benefit and the signals are there that a synchronous communication, and especially asynchronous 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 and living like a lean start up because, as you know, I've one very smart investor who are always told me it's going to take longer and more cost more and take longer than you think. And you know there are the success stories out there that maybe that seems like that in apply to the seven year overnight success stories, but in reality, you have to run like a lean start up and you have to be very clear to your vision when you're when you're starting and while you're going. That mission has to has to stay fore front. Yeah, I had a guest on the show a few weeks ago 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 technology companies by Amazon and they're still functioning like a lean start up right, because that was it mean, it was so impactful to the bottom line that it became a way of doing business, not just something that they were going to do temporarily until they had, you know, loads of revenue coming through the door. So it's really interesting that you mentioned that. Yeah, I think I think it's part of your culture, MMM, and I think that that is one of the most important things to keep in mind. At the helm of anything is culture, HMM. And One baddig can impact you negatively for a year after they leave, you know. So you really have to be that higher fast, fire, quick.

I don't know. I think that you need to be thoughtful about all the processes. I think that's really interesting that you mentioned that. Because most of the either early or emergent companies that I 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've got some millions of dollars, are right, right, exactly. It's just they didn't, they don't have any control over the culture. They didn't intentionally build the culture. It just built, you know, kind of as a an 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 continue to have it go great, it's important. HMM, yeah, Yep, yeah, yeah, so it's interesting. You know, some of those cultural dynamics, in order to that, are maybe just most six inherent for most successful startup companies. To embody. Exactly. Yeah, start up deserve different cultures. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, you know, we're all doing unique people, right, so we're all going to have different companies and so no culture is going to be like ei learn totally. Yeah. So, you know, what are some of the biggest challenges, you know, that you're facing right now? It's someone that's in the trenches. I mean, I I think you know, we always need more people to help us get as much as we need to have done get done. You asked us what phays were in and there are some things that we are still ideating on, like is 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 as as it is to who can help deliver the work. We've got a lot of a lot of work going on and and that's exciting. That's a great problem to have right sure. And then, in addition to that, I think, like I would have told you four months ago, the fact that there 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 time ever I'm actually capable of sitting down with a business model with one of my potential future clients and can actually map out to them, not promise of potential savings, maybe only if but right will capital that they should that this should bring in for them to then have spending power with to do some thing else with 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 have those obstacles to overcome. I mean it's...

...just it's so it's great to see the industry evolving and when that's powering innovative like why would any investor ever invest in healthcare? It's crazy when it gives you so many more challenges than anywhere else. Like you know, and I think there are people who are gray up, good people out there, and I do think that healthcare is a great business, or short business be done. But you know, these the funds and having investment and UNICORNS and looking at healthcare. Sure there was pill pack and that I would give that Unicorn status. But he'll pack is still a consumer product. MMM, delivering pharmaceuticals. You're delving your pharmacy. That's where patients go. There's not the added layer of provider other than they need the permission slip. HMM, but you're not changing any provider workflow. So I'm excited to see some some real, you know, explosions via via Athena Health, getting purchased. Or you know really what haven's going to end up doing 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 a huge 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 and Alexas Hip hop compliant now. So right, we're we're definitely moving into and and into a space where maybe healthcare is only five or six years behind now, as opposed to twelve. Yes, yeah, you know, I you know, some of the conversations that I have is like, listen, everybody in it, in business, seems to realize that healthcare represents one third of the GDP and it's almost like this goal rush where, no matter what vertical you were in, you're trying to figure out how you can get your piece of the Healthcare Pot, you know Pie, and you've got these gigantic operations that understand 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 to you know, putting some action behind there the conversation of innovation, then it's going to you know, we're at risk to be gobbled up by these other organizations that are coming in and just roped. I think they're fairly awake. I don't think that they're sleeping on the job, but I think that there's such fear of movement. HMM, and the consumers don't hold that. You don't hold that same fear and consumerism, but I do think that you know that the doctors are, by and large,...

...employees of the health system. So the health systems own the brain trust, the health systems own the smarts that make the decisions that get the job done. Yep. And so what what we see as, regardless of anything that we do, the most limited resource 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 easy to 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 administration did 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 dollars on epic and if you ask any one of their providers, if I'm I haven'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 would have to have epic installed like this for a thousand years for us to make our money back without exaggeration. HMM. So there was some fleecing of America that 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. And and the impact. Wasn't that this grandiose, amazing thing that that we would have wished and would have hoped? And so you do deal with the scar tissue of that being true. Yeah, absolutely, I couldn't agree with you more. I think that it just reinforces a lot of the fear around change and around, you know, disruptive innovation. Well, yeah, and it also hits the bottom line in a way where you don't have the budget to try this, that or the other. Right you know, trearing a lot about death by pilot right now and the idea of, you know, you can 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 that you're trying to do in medicine and that you know there is there is data and 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 apt to regulated, but I do think we should be pure review regulated. HMM, yeah, I definitely. You know,...

...anytime I'm have guests on the show that have successfully commercialized and innovation, they made significant investments in, you know, the data, the clinical trials, the peer reviewed research, and that became their platform for success. I wrote an article about death by pilot a couple of years ago and you know, I kind of said, like to health innovators, you know, be aware of getting stuck in what I call pilot purgatory. And it's not that pilot is a bad path or bad step in the journey. It's that I think that health innovators often kind of get a little woo woo when someone says that they want to do a pilot with 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 they you know, they for they they fund the entire thing. They don't do any negotiation when it comes to the terms of the pilot agreement. They don't make sure that that's a strategic initiative for the organization to where they somebody will actually buy at the end of the pilot, that I'll make sure that that person that's doing the pilot even has the authority to buy and be because they're just so excited that some and said Yes to the pilot and they think that that's going to be the home run to successful commercialization and it could actually be far from the truth. It could take tons of time and money away from other paths that could actually, you know, more significantly impact the bottom line. Yeah, and and a pilot. Bringing you a publication is not a ways. That's great, right, dude, I got it, have it go out, but just a bunch of users for users, for users. I mean there's the argument, though, that you know, getting those users on and going is great, and I there's nothing like real world feedback to make 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, is you and you know other innovators are talking about. You know, the reality of the challenges that everyone's facing is that there's tons of resources out there to support innovators in this commercialization process. You know, there's consultants, there's resources, there's tools, templates, etc. And so what? What have you leveraged most, and then what's still missing? I think that what I was able to leverage most was we were one of the first five companies to sign a business associate agreement with Amazon web services, and every single lawyer that I was going after to be my hippa attorney had a conflict with aw APP, with Amazon, MMM, and so I ended up finding this really amazing hippoc council 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 six months that we engaged with each other. HMM. And we've been of the of the ask first, you know, ask permission, kind of company. We're not apologizing for stuff. So for that we really walked eyes wide open into what we're doing and, you know, potentially been less disruptive because we're following the rules, if you will. But there are some rules that we find very important, especially privacy and security when you're dealing with such intimate information about people. Sure, so you know, but we're also we are a platform of visual information, and so our focus has really allowed us to go to providers as a tool versus a product, and have that tool enable and empower them to capture their visual end points and manage them over time. And so a visual end point for a cardiologist of, you know, Petal Edema and 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 after surgery. You know, each of them are visual and points for different providers using the same tool. HMM, okay, so you know. So it sounds like 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 successfully commercialize 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 were one thing that I would give, I guess is the way I can answer that 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 give something new a chance and change is hard. Yeah, so, you know, having a having the ability where the risk is slow, we're failing fast can happen quickly and failing up can happen successfully, is is something that the sandbox don't really exist for. MMM HMMM,...'s so true, so true. So you know, research shows that ninety five percent of innovations that are brought to market fail to commercialize or fail to reach any type of adequate level of profitability. And so how are you going to beat the odds? I mean, 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 ago or seven years ago or two days ago. And points and medicine really have of value and there is, there is an extraordinary opportunity here and doing something that will will will have exponential impact. It doesn't happen fast enough. I am frustrated with which the speed that it does go. And dying on the vine is is if you're in. Has Been a fear. There were days very 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 least in like the step down unit without any, you know, major things going into it that you never know right right changes on the instant. So we'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 are excited at the idea where the business bills are coming together, where we're either able to tap into scalable businesses, business models that give us a share of the risk with our with our counterparts, health systems, and capture proof is able to take that risk on together or where, you know, our health systems actually see the value where they're paying their monthly licensing piece. So we're doing a big shift and our our business from a project basis and working with like clinical research projects, sort of trials. We were designed with clinical trials in mind, and going more into that health system setting and having more recurring SASS 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, you know, keeping your churn under control and having that go for you can be the extraordinary, the automatic customer. Yeah, yeah, MMM. So just a couple of other questions for you. So you know, what is your strategy? So you know you've got a whole market that you're pursuing and you know, if we think about the diffusion...

...innovation model, you know, for an early stage company, you know you're targeting the innovators and the early adopters and 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 entire market and so they might be pitching lagguards or the mainstream market before they've penetrated the early adopters and innovators. And so what's your strategy for getting in front of those early adopters that are going to be more characteristically more, I should say, less risk of ours? Yeah, we haven't really ever had a chief marketing officer or really put them money or power behind that sort of marketing stuff. So how we've been doing it as going into ky opinion leaders within industries and then those key opinion leaders are introducing us to others when they hear about 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 germ department in the North New England area who looks like we'll be doing some work with. So word of mouth is obviously the major and we did a lot of a lot of posters at things like the American Eplepsy Society, American Academy and Neurology. So getting posters and getting interesting and triguing data in front of organizations and and then and then it's just polite persistence, and sometimes not even all that polite, which was persistent. Right, right, that's the whole bullish thing, right. Yeah, at some point in time it's just it's the hard work, and that's the thing nobody tells you, is that you know, if you're going to be successful at this, what you're doing is the easiest day you have, because it only will get to be more and more and more. You know. And yes, you can delegate, and that'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 be willing to put it in to get it. Well, I love what you said earlier, you know, when we were talking about how were you going to 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 we hear so many times. Right, I don't know what the athletes name was. That was swimming, you know, across the country or from continent the continent, 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 this journey that sometimes it's really foggy and we can't really see what's in front of us, but it's that persistence that helps us get to experience all of the fruits of all the Labor that we've invested over time. Absolutely, and you know 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 for you. You know, knowing that our audience are fellow health innovators that are in the trenches, what is one word of advice that you would have for 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. I think culture and persistence are really high up there. And but investors, you mean if you're investor on the first meeting, asn't blowing sales into your wind thinking you're going to get to where you need to go. You need to really think about that relationship because there's going to be enough people trying to block that wind. And then again, if your investors, even in the first meeting, are in trying to blow wind into your sales to how can you go further. Yep, you know, those are the people you want on board 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 do as well. Yeah, yeah, because it's not. It's never an easy battle. And and and then, as much as you can somehow find a balance, whatever that means for you. If that means you have four hours Saturday morning where you don't look at your phone, whatever that meant, that you go run every day for an hour, whatever that means to you, serve yourself a little bit, for sure. That's so true. Well, thank you so much for taking your time today to share your wings. Don't get their listeners. Yeah, thanks for doing what you do. I really am excited about all of the impact that you're able to have with sharing our stories. So thanks so much for letting me do mine. Thank you, I appreciate that. So how can people get Ahold of you? Maybe there's some listeners that are interested in learning more about capture proof, maybe, or just speaking with you directly from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. Dower. Yeah, I mean, if you are looking for anything from capture proof, if you do founder at capture proofcom. That email will come to me. So it's just founder at capture proof and we're called capture proof because we let patients capture proof of anything that's going on. So you know, we love I'm more than happy 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 our service, we'd be really grateful for an intro. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. Make in thanks a bye. Thank you. To Buy. What's the difference between launching and commercializing a healthcare in avation? 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 the show, head to our video show page at Dr Roxycom. Thanks so much for watching and listening to the show. You can subscribe to the latest episodes on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcasts and spotify, or subscribe to the video episodes on our youtube channel. No matter the platform, just search coiq with Dr Roxy. Until next time, LET'S RAISE OUR COIQ.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (125)