Why My Digital Health Startup Failed

18 October 2014
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Jeff Novich provides a rare and honest introspective look into why his digital health startup Patient Communicator, a patient portal CRM for doctors ultimately failed.

My father is a primary care doctor. In 2009 he asked me to help build a product that would enable his patients to access him online rather than through the phone. Patient Communicator was basically a patient portal + CRM for doctors + practice management system and it completely transformed my father’s practice. (Read his profile in Forbes.) Then in January 2012, I was part of the first class at Blueprint Health, a healthcare tech incubator that was part of the Techstars network, and my co-founder Larry Cobrin and I spend the next 3 months trying to commercialize the product.

The sum total of our efforts – which included hundreds of cold-calls, tens of thousands of emails (I was invited to a “top 20 customers” dinner with TK from Tout), seminars, an appearance on FOX News Live, ads, reaching out to our personal networks as well as the Blueprint Health mentor network – was one paying doctor (who later went out of business) and a handshake deal to partner with a small 20-year-old EMR.

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