Jim Rickards, MD, MBAStart-up & health insurance payer experience.
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Chief Medical Officer - Oregon Health Authority Senior Vice President Population Health - MODA Health Plans Board Certified Radiologist Healthcare Focused MBA Co-Founder - Dermio Teledermatology Consultant - Spry Health



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Hi, I'm a physician, a radiologist, who uses AI daily in practice and would be happy to discuss how it helps provide better care and make more accurate timely diagnosis.


Fundrx.comis a great place to start. They are focused on health care startups. If you'd like an introduction let me know.

Alumni venture group is another option. They are not healthcare focused, but do invest in healthcare.

Happy to schedule a call to discuss more and give some additional advice.


Specialty Segmentation: I would ask what type of "doctors" are you marketing to? MD, DO or perhaps PA's, NP's or ND's? Also are you looking to market to primary care, specialty, employed, private practice? Rural or Urban? Hospital-based or community outpatient based? Depending on your target market there are a variety of affinity groups you could then look to, all of which have various digital channels. An example would be radiologist (physicians who interpret medical imaging exam). They have many online forums they use frequently such as Auntminnie.com. The site has advertising, industry articles, and blogs. This might be the right place to target radiologists. Happy to have a conversation to help you think more about segmenting and targeting.


I'd first define what aspect of medical and dental you want to target. Medical is a HUGE field. Are you looking at the delivery system side, ie physicians, hospitals, clinics or the payer side, ie insurance companies. Or are you looking at pharmacy, durable medical equipment, telemedicine, etc. Do you se what I'm getting at, medicine or healthcare is an enormous field. If you define your nice I think it will help clarify your approach and goals. Happy to talk more if you'd like.


Act as a customer - I work on the medical insurance side and frequently interface with large insurance broker and consultant groups trying to gain visibility of our product so they sell it. Some of the larger brokers are Mercer and WTW. Have you considered working for one of them for a while to see how they generate leads? It seems most of them have a formulaic approach for generating leads and work closely with insurance companies to ensure the product they sell is what employers want. You could also act as if you are a customer trying to buy insurance and see how existing brokers connect with you, ie online, networking, conferences.


Categorizing your potential audiences correctly from the start will give you a good foundation. From my perspective as a health insurance company, there are essentially four audiences we deal with and you could consider. Patient - The individual using or benefiting directly from the service. Provider - The entity delivering or perhaps also benefiting from the service. Purchaser - The entity ultimately covering the or absorbing the cost of the service, which may not be the patient but could be an employer or other entity such as government. Finally, the payer which pays for the services such as an insurance company, but is not the ultimate purchaser. So in summary, think about the strategy in terms of Patient, Provider, Purchaser and Payer and what each might want/need.Happy to speak more if you are interested.


Types of Compliance: As you know there are multiple types of compliance in health care. For example these include HIPPA, FDA approval, CMS, JACHO, state insurance divisions, etc. Depending on what type of startup you are offering there will be different compliance requirements. As a result, different types of individuals may be needed. If you have a medical device, FDA and HIPPA are the big ones you need to think about. It sounds like you have a healthcare service you will be billing CPT codes for. A medical billing company would probably have most of the answers around compliance on that. I'm happy to speak more with you about your product, the specific areas of need and who the right people are to help in those areas from a compliance standpoint.


Balance: I've been involved in a few start-ups, a health insurance company and a telemedicine company to name a couple. Both were exciting and interesting products, but also created a bit of anxiety for me. As a result, I realized the importance of maintaining not just my physical health but also my emotional health. I found exercise to be the best way to address my anxiety by literally burning it off which in turn improved my physical health. Enrolling in a structured program at a fitness facility and working with a personal trainer turned out to be the most efficient use of my time and paid off the most. In the end, I think launching a start-up can actually improve your health if you turn some of the adversities you may face, such as anxiety, into an opportunity to exercise and seek out health.


Payer perspective - As a medical director with an insurance company a few questions come to mind which can help in your thinking on this. Is there a CPT for the services? Is there an ICD-10 code for the conditions? Who do you feel is the payer, ie the patient, clinic, insurance company, employer? Of those payer's who do you have an existing relationship with or industry connection with? One approach would be to ensure the services of the app are covered in health insurers medical necessity and/or utilization management protocols so they can be billed for. You could also sell the app to health insurers in which case they would pay you a per member per month rate for the individuals using this. They could help promote the use of the app through their care managers or their digital health resources. Happy to talk more on this to help you understand the market from my perspective.


Healthcare! I think this would be a great niche to focus on. It could be hospitals and clinics or any number of healthcare-related businesses. This would include healthcare insurance companies, billers, technology companies, etc. Most folks working in healthcare are constantly thinking about how they can improve their own health even if they are not in direct patient care. Connecting your services to the health benefits of meditation and then marketing to those in the healthcare industry where health is top of mind sounds like a great approach. For instance, who could reach out to the HR department at a local hospital and offer a free 45 min class on meditation in the hospital for employees or patients? This could serve as a great marketing/sales platform and a way to gain name recognition.


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