Why keeping it simple is a good strategy, even for innovators
With his educational background consisting of an entrepreneur degree plus a medical background specializing in orthopedics, Blaine Warkentine, Founder and CEO of Vimty, has continuously been able to find issues in the healthcare industry that can be improved.
"I kept finding myself being pulled in the direction of, 'How I can do this better,' and the truth about healthcare is that mostly everything can be done better," said Warkentine.
Understanding the ins and outs of the healthcare processes was Warkentine's initial focus. "I added a population health degree so I could understand the scope of problems, and that led me to a number of solutions," he said.
Warkentine created Vimty, which is an online creator for advance directives. "We created an all-digital system with an eNotary that required a webcam conversation with a patient. By doing that, we were already in the process of creating video advance directives," he said.
Knowing 80 percent of patients want advance directives and only 7 percent utilize them, Warkentine simplified the process and made it more convenient and accessible. "People don't like talking about death and ignoring issues won't fix them. Vimty allows patients to break the ice with their families, have conversations that they normally wouldn't and make difficult conversations easier. If we take a moderate approach to these issues through decision making from the patient, we end up actually getting a much better quality outcome and substantially less cost," said Warkentine.
Entrepreneurs rarely have one idea in mind. Warkentine works as a consultant for a few healthcare startups and has seen issues with juggling multiple ideas. "If no one likes it, push it off to the side. Not every idea is good, but every good idea has its time and place. If you wait for that and you're ahead of the game with the initial process, you can ramp it up as soon as the market is prime," he said.
Not every innovation in healthcare has to flip the industry, Warkentine says. Innovations should be kept simple and focused. "Find something that is small you can do at great value and then make it smaller. You should have a basic strategy that is long term, but you have to start with something small. Simplify it until it is basically brain-dead," Warkentine added.
Here are more entrepreneurial insights from Warkentine:
Physicians have an advantage - Warkentine said he was compelled by entrepreneurship because of his medical experience, and he considers a shift to entrepreneurship a promising path. "The physician community can have the ideas; they just need to be thinking further than other communities of healthcare that don't know the medical history to the same degree so it is a good opportunity to transition to entrepreneurship," he said.
Other entrepreneurs are allies - Networking with other entrepreneurs can make huge differences in any phase (Ideation, creation, execution, growth). "I have a partner that is developing a mobile app for micro blogging and chronic disease. I wanted the same platform but focused on surgery. So our partnership gave me great development, great product management and great execution on the product from another startup."