Solving Healthcare’s Broken Communication Problem With mHealth
Last week, Adam Turinas, Practice Unite’s CEO sat on NYC Health 2.0’s Startup Founder Roundtable with other seasoned healthcare and HIT startup leaders and venture capitalists. The topic of discussion was getting early stage startups to ‘the next level’. For Practice Unite there have been several steps in the evolution of the business:
“2012 was the idea stage, 2013 was proving to ourselves that we had a viable product, last year was about proving we had a viable business and this year is about scaling.”—Adam Turinas
Practice Unite grew from humble beginnings, starting off first as a consultancy helping hospitals improve communications. After attending the American Hospital Assocation conference in 2012, the two co-founders realized these communications challenges could be solved by developing a mobile app that would enable physicians, other clinicians and hospitals to better communicate. They showcased the app prototype to several hospital executives, and after hearing the words every startup founder wants to hear—‘You build that, we’ll buy it’—developed their idea into a fully functioning mobile app.
Although Practice Unite’s offering has continuously evolved, the core premise addressed in the business model has remained the same. At its heart, Practice Unite is about improving every aspect of communications in healthcare. This is a very big problem:
“If healthcare was a country in terms of the size of an economy, it would be the size of France and this is an economy which is going through the biggest transformation of its life and has a massive communication problem in making that transition.” —Adam Turinas
Like many startups, Practice Unite has become successful by listening to what customers really want.
“90% of what we’ve done since we started has been a customer or user saying we want you to do this and listening to that”—Adam Turinas
The initial premise of the business was to solve the high level “macro” communication challenges that get in the way of positive relationships between healthcare administration and the medical staff. While customers appreciated that Practice Unite’s mobile app could help with this, they saw that the greatest benefit was in helping with day-to-day issues like care coordination:
“We started this [company focused on] solving a big macro issue…[specifically] hospital-physician integration…but the market actually then [responded] …your product is actually about micro-communications” —Adam Turinas
In order to deliver on this, Practice Unite has developed a highly adaptable architecture that means that the team can respond quickly and flexibly to different and evolving customer needs. The offering has expanded and there are now five types of mobile solutions addressing different challenges. These include care coordination, post-discharge communication, patient engagement, hospital utilization, and patient satisfaction.
It’s an ambitious mission, and it is being met through a single platform for building customizable micro-communication solutions. Thanks to the adaptability of the platform, Practice Unite can address both the large-scale communication challenges and day-to-day micro-communication challenges posed by the transformation that healthcare is undergoing.
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