The Importance of Building Trust
It’s a common lament that entrepreneurs are often frustrated with a lack of access to physicians, while physicians are often wary of vendor claims. That was a driving motivation behind the Austin Health Tech Meetup “Is There a Doctor in the House?.” I wanted to get doctors and entrepreneurs in the same room to share ideas and build trust.
I do find it encouraging that a growing number of physicians are becoming entrepreneurs in their own right. I believe the future success of health tech requires a shared mindset.
Tim Gueramy, MD
Take Tim Gueramy, MD. He is a physician entrepreneur. His career is a good starting point to explore a physician entrepreneurial relationship and the importance of trust and mutual need.
Dr. Gueramy has a passion for medicine. He is a Foot and Ankle Orthopedic Surgeon at Texas Orthopedics, Sports and Rehabilitation Associates.
His career is also marked by success in the health tech world. He co-founded the Walters Physician Incubator to create a safe and supportive environment for physician entrepreneurs to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and develop successful businesses.
In addition, he also co-founded DocbookMD with his wife and Family physician Dr. Tracey Haas. DocbookMD is a communication platform for physicians to collaborate with other organization members on vital information including detailed images, labs, X-rays and EKGs. Scrypt acquired DocBookMD this year where Dr. Gueramy is their medical director.
How are being a doctor and entrepreneur different?
Tim Gueramy, MD: I would say many doctors are entrepreneurs. You have to be if you want to start your own practice.
The recent trend is for physicians to join larger groups and set aside that entrepreneurial spirit. But that has created some dissatisfaction. Their entrepreneurial side gets dulled. Physicians like to use the creative side of their brain.
Was that the inspiration to for DocBookMD?
Dr. Gueramy: DocBookMD had been dancing around my head for a while. I’ve alway had an interest in IT even as a teenager. Where other kids played sports and had other hobbies, I was helping to wire the network at my father’s medical practice.
From the DocBookMD website. DocBookMD was founded on the belief that there was a better way to communicate and collaborate. Celebrating his first wedding anniversary, Dr. Gueramy was paged to his hospital for an emergency which was not as serious as first thought. The inspiration for the company was when he realized that he could have finished dinner with Dr. Haas had he been able to get an X-ray on his mobile device.
But you returned to medicine?
Dr. Gueramy: It’s part of the personal journey. Not caring for patients left me with the lack of a higher purpose. Being a CEO becomes a numbers game – how much money you can make. Physicians go into medicine to impact peoples’ lives.
How is technology changing what you do?
Dr. Gueramy: It’s getting better. It’s no longer the wild west.
The business of medicine is changing. Costs are rising which can’t always be offset by seeing more patients. In the past, practicing medicine was even less efficient, but more profitable. Today, technology is a part of my routine. My typical morning begins with logging into multiple systems for EMR, billing, X-rays at my practice — not to mention if I have to access a hospital’s system. It’s very time consuming.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs?
Dr. Gueramy: There is a a lot hype around tools to make medicine more collaborative. It’s a worthy goal, but sill a long ways off. There is a large opportunity for entrepreneurs who can specifically improve workflow efficiency. But that is no easy task. There needs to be a network of trust.
Network of Trust?
Dr. Gueramy: In my practice, I rely on a network of colleagues, labs, and diagnostic consultants that is based on repeated past performance. I need to rely on a IT solution in much the same way I rely on my colleagues. There must be layers of redundancy in the system because we can’t afford to be down and disrupt our appointments with patients.
Finally how do stay on top of technology?
Some of the key sources are TechCrunch, Health IT News, MedPage Today, as well as AAOS Now -a weekly update of orthopaedic research published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.