Jim Rickards, MD, MBAStart-up & health insurance payer experience.

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

Recent Answers

Medical devices in general fall into the category of durable medical equipment (DME). Typically national, regional or even local vendors serve as the distributors of DME to the delivery system, ie hospitals, clinics, ASCs, etc. It is these DME vendors that hold the relationship with the delivery system and bill any fees. Manufacturers do hold direct relationships as well, but typically a vendor is in the middle and facilitate billing a well as collection from health insurance payers. Happy to discuss more if you like given my health insurance background.

Some items to consider and would help me answer are:
- Are you selling a product, such as a device they use for a procedure, service such as a scheduling service or a piece of technology such as an automated appoint reminder system?
- Can they bill insurance or the patient for what you sell them? This depends on what you are selling.
- Are they an independent practice, employed by a company such as Kaiser or members in a DCO (dental care organization) such as Delta Dental?
- What dental specialties are you aiming at (there are 10) or are you selling to general dentists?
- Are you targeting dental practices working with a specific population such as Medicaid or pediatrics.
- Are you willing to attend national conferences and set- up a booth?
-Can you give talks at conferences?

Happy to have a conversation with you on this, I help lead medical-dental integration efforts with a large health plan and have a deep understanding of how dental practices operate, obtain patients and bill for services.


Hello, I'm a physician and work as chief medical officer for a health plan in the US. I'd be interested in investing myself, but also in helping you with the idea. Happy to connect to discuss.

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.

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