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Bridging Relationships with Startups and Enterprise Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center
Episode 633

Emily Reiser, Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement at Texas Medical Center

Bridging Relationships with Startups and Enterprise Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center

In this episode, we are privileged to host Emily Reiser, the Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement with the Texas Medical Center. TMC is the largest medical city in the world and is at the forefront of advancing life sciences. Emily discusses how her organization drives collaboration between and among different institutions. She also shares how TMC provides access to multiple health systems, how they act as the connection between innovators and health systems. We also cover how TMC measures success, tracking metrics, and more. Emily also shares two cool examples of how her organization is adding value to healthcare. This is definitely a fantastic conversation you shouldn’t miss, so please tune in!

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Bridging Relationships with Startups and Enterprise Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center

Episode 633

About Emily Reiser

Emily is the Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement with the Texas Medical Center. She supports clinicians and administrators at the TMC member institutions, as well as hundreds of startups and other corporate partners engaged with TMC innovation.

Prior to joining TMC Innovation, she led Enventure a nonprofit organization supporting entrepreneurship training and company formation in the life sciences. She has directly contributed to business development projects with dozens of local life sciences startups and supported the formation of four new companies.

Emily earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory University and a PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University focused on drug delivery for cancer immunotherapy.

 

Bridging Relationships with Startups and Enterprise Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center with Emily Reiser, Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement at Texas Medical Center transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Bridging Relationships with Startups and Enterprise Hospitals in the Texas Medical Center with Emily Reiser, Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement at Texas Medical Center was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, Outcomes Rocket listeners, Saul Marquez here. I get what a phenomenal asset a podcast could be for your business and also how frustrating it is to navigate editing and production, monetization, and achieving the ROI you’re looking for. Technical busywork shouldn’t stop you from getting your genius into the world, though. You should be able to build your brand easily with the professional podcast that gets attention. A patched-up podcast could ruin your business. Let us do the technical busy work behind the scenes while you share your genius on the mic and take the industry stage. Visit smooth podcasting dot com to learn more. That’s smooth podcasting dot com to learn more.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket, Saul Marquez is here, and today I have the privilege of hosting Emily Reiser. She is the Senior Manager of Innovation Community Engagement with the Texas Medical Center. She supports clinicians and administrators at the TMC member institutions, as well as hundreds of startups and other corporate partners engaged with TMC innovation. You guys have probably heard some of the health care entrepreneurs we’ve had out of the center. They’re doing such incredible things. In her previous role at TMC, she was a strategist for two TMX cohorts. She contributed to the redesign of the TMC program for 2020 and started the TMC Alpha Program for Local Innovators. Prior to joining TMC Innovation, she led Enventure a nonprofit organization supporting entrepreneurship training and company formation in the life sciences. She has directly contributed to business development projects with dozens of local life sciences startups and supported the formation of four new companies. So her heart is totally in health care. Emily earned her bachelor’s in Biology from Emory University and her Ph.D. in bioengineering from Rice University focused on drug delivery for cancer therapy. So, as you can imagine, that is going to be a really cool conversation. And Emily, really, really grateful that you carved out some time to be with us today. Thanks for being on the podcast.

Emily Reiser:
Thank you so much, Saul. So Excited to be with you today.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And so you have such a cool experience, right? You’ve been in the health care startups and you’ve kind of gone pretty far in your formal education with engineering and now you’re in this area with this like incubating these cool, really forward-thinking companies that are changing the game. So what is it that inspires your work in health care?

Emily Reiser:
Well, I think a lot of us in health care are looking to have an impact on how patients are being cared for. And that certainly inspires my work as well. And I always knew that I wanted to be in the health care space, but didn’t know how to do that while also making the most impact that I could. So when exploring biology, that took me into research, which if you can develop something that impacts thousands of people, then really feels like you’ve done something meaningful to impact patient care. But of course, you have to pick something good and you can spend your whole life working on something that doesn’t end up doing that. And so I’ve moved more close to the patient, closer to the bedside throughout my journey. And now I have the privilege to work with folks that are directly saving lives, impacting how health systems are run, and making things easier for clinicians, hospital administrators, and then, of course, the patients to access the care that they need. So that’s what I love about my job right now, is being able to work with so many different kinds of people within the community, you know, the health systems themselves, clinicians, entrepreneurs. So every day is different, but every single person is working toward making patient care better.

Saul Marquez:
Love that. You’re so mission-oriented. And I love that about you. As you think about the work you guys are doing at TMC, it’s Texas Medical Center’s innovation lab. And so I think it’s a good opportunity for folks that don’t know about it to educate them about it. But then after you tell us about it, let us know a little bit more about how you’re adding value to the health care ecosystem.

Emily Reiser:
Absolutely. So the Texas Medical Center is this really interesting non-profit organization that was started seventy five years ago through a gift from the M.D. Anderson Foundation. And we don’t provide health care, so we’re not a health system, but we provide infrastructure that sits under M.D. Anderson, Texas Children’s Houston Methodist Memorial Hermann and twenty one other different clinical institutions, as well as other research institutions, universities, Rice, University of Houston, etc.. And so our role is to be the connective tissue and drive collaboration between and among all of these different institutions. So right now, that looks like data that we publish every day around COVID. So you can go to our website, TMC.edu, and see how we’re collaborating across all these institutions to share updates on hospitalizations and other things that are relevant within our hospitals. We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes to try and make sure that everyone is collaborating and and sharing best practices. And there’s been a lot of really cool work coming out of that. But five years ago, we also started this great innovation initiative which combines space, talent, physical resources that all come together to provide different access to entrepreneurs that can work with our health systems. And so it’s an incubator. We have a partnership with Johnson and Johnson J Labs and Abebe Robotics and other corporate partners to create density around making startups possible and always relevant and tied back to the clinical application and clinical outcomes.

Emily Reiser:
And so we do that through a variety of ways, through direct partnerships and relationships that we. How to manage primarily through team accelerator, which is our flagship program. That’s the way that we get most of the entrepreneurs and health system partners together. We also have a Biodesign program, which you’ve had a previous guest talk through. We hire some folks to go, a few students within the medical center and learn as much as they can from all the clinicians and start a business that’s really clinical. You need focused and start a company from that which has been really successful. We’ve started a lot of great need driven companies through that process. So all that to say there’s a lot of different people and talent that make all of this possible. But our team provides a way for the health systems to get access to diligence and to spend time with companies and to be curious about companies without having to say, yes, I’m ready for a pilot now. They can work with us to say, oh, that’s interesting. When this happens or when that happens or when this business model is sorted, then we’ll be ready for our conversation again. And so it creates a little bit more of a conversation rather than a decision, yes or no, right away, which enables startups and health systems to be curious about how that relationship can go forward together.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I think that’s really fascinating how you fit into that ecosystem. And I would imagine that they also think of you guys as like a tool in the toolbox right. if they’re running into a problem, say, you know, their grand rounds, they find that there’s an issue. Maybe the idea of the TMC Innovation Center comes up as let’s present this to them to see if there are any companies there. Does it work that way, too?

Emily Reiser:
Yes, absolutely. We work in partnership with them to talk through what are your strategic priorities for the next year and how can we specifically scout and recruit and build relationships with companies that can directly answer those needs. And so that’s more of a long term play. But then, of course, we also do get those you know, we really need this. This just came up and we need to find this now. And we also, of course, help with that any time that that comes up as well.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. And the benefits of being part of such a structure, if you’re an entrepreneur in the space, is you get to actually have your technology, your ideas be in the hands of people right away. So that’s half the battle. And so I don’t know what kind of feedback you have there on that, Emily, but it’s so hard to get ideas and businesses into health care.

Emily Reiser:
Absolutely. And we talk a lot about finding that right champion, that person that can both validate that clinical need that you’ve been spending your life trying to build a solution for as well as navigate through these health systems, all the complex decision-makers, the institutions that we work with, our large academic medical centers, with really complex structures, that it can take a lot of navigation of networks to find the right people. And so we for the entrepreneurs can break down some of those mysteries and help the entrepreneurs understand this is the right person for you at this time. And then later you’re going to talk to this person. And if something gets stalled, we can back channel and say, hey, what’s going on? Is this a problem with the pitch or is it just something else internally that’s happening? And we can provide that relationship development process for both parties in that case. So it’s definitely a huge advantage for the startups to have someone that’s kind of part of their team and some sense that they’re working on their behalf. But ultimately, at the end of the day, we’re here to support the health systems. And so we we want to make sure that we’re navigating those relationships in the way that the health systems are looking for as well above it.

Saul Marquez:
You mentioned just the many things that go on there. I mean, what would you say is the one thing that that makes you guys different and unique and what’s available today?

Emily Reiser:
We are the only system that we know about that is providing access to multiple health systems as potential customers or pilot sites or research sites at one time. And so we have some great collaborators that Cedar Sinai is the accelerator, which is another great program. We share a lot of alumni, and that’s in one system, which provides a lot of great advantages because you have that direct tie. But for us, since we’re a little bit more removed, we can navigate multiple different systems, different champions, different pathways, all at the same time. There are a few other accelerators that are customer driven in that same way that they provide access to different customers, but none other that do multiple health systems in the way that we do. And so if you’re a startup looking to figure out not necessarily how to do your proof of concept, you’ve already had a pilot, but you’re trying to figure out how to scale your solution across multiple enterprise health systems, then we’re a great destination for that company because you can explore that with multiple clinical leaders and financial decision-makers with several different health systems that have a lot of different structures and so you can learn how to scale your company across such different customers with us.

Saul Marquez:
That’s so unique and a great point to make, Emily. And, you know, I think about key performance indicators and how we measure success. How do you guys measure success?

Emily Reiser:
Great question. And one that we always are refining and trying to improve how we communicate. So right now, the way that we’re measuring success is around a relationship formed between a startup and a member institution. So a health system or a corporate partner. And so we track how many startups will have a research agreement or a pilot started or clinical study started or full enterprise implementation. And so that’s what we’re really looking to achieve, because once a startup and a health system have a relationship like that, then we can continue to support both parties to make that successful. We can provide an opportunity for the startups to have an office with us and to stay in our physical space and to get access to advisors that can help them continue to navigate those discussions. And we can really wrap around a lot more support. And that’s also what the health systems are looking for. They don’t want a startup to just get in, get out and get on with life and take those learnings and not include that system in how they’re building the business. So that’s where we’re seeing is how we can continue to help those relationships develop, especially since most accelerator models are three to four months.

Emily Reiser:
And that’s just not enough time to really put that metric in health care. Exactly. So, yes, that’s the models that we used to have. No, not anymore. We used to have a model like that building off of the great success of other accelerators that are typically at that stage, especially in tech. But of course, it’s not enough time to know if someone is going to be successful and to hit those metrics that we discussed. So we’ve extended the program to six months with an option to extend another six months. And we we look at it a lot more fluidly as you’re entering a community to get continued resources and support from us. We’re going to look to as quickly as possible, get to on track to get that relationship. But if you’re going to do an enterprise wide implementation that could take two years to really navigate with the with the whole system best case scenario. So we’re measuring how well the startups are on track to meet those metrics, and that’s how we’re able to measure how well we’re doing with our program.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. That’s great. Thank you for that. And the longer-term is certainly something we have to think about. Just when you think you have enough money, enough time, you’re probably going to have to do that times two. So we are certainly fortunate to have centers like yours that put together entrepreneurs and health systems, multiple health systems in this case. How has what you do to improve the outcomes or make business better? I’d love to hear an example.

Emily Reiser:
Yeah, absolutely. So one of the companies that we’ve worked with in the last year is called Verdie. It is a virtual reality company. So, of course, it’s a popular favorite among techies. And so Alex Young, who founded that company, was a clinician over in the U.K. and he wanted to scale how medical education happens. So right now that happens typically in a simulation center, and that’s very expensive and with a lot of equipments and it requires a lot of access. And so only a few people can be in there at a time. But he’s been able to recreate these 3D surgical videos within any headset or actually any iPhone and to try to scale the access to medical education. And he’s been going beyond that. Of course, now he has the opportunity to do corporate training for surgical devices, for example, with corporate partners, as well as just general corporate training. And so that company has been able to provide a lot of great value to the medical training groups, as well as some other cool patient experience things that he’s working on as well with some of our partners. So that one is is a cool one. I think when we talk about access, not just patient access, but also access to to training and education, that one is is a pretty cool one.

Emily Reiser:
My other one that has a direct impact and is a favorite is called Tyvasom. And so they have a box that keeps organs breathing more naturally. So you think about current organ donation. Typically they’re just put on ice and in a box and they’re sent to where they’re supposed to go. That surgeon doesn’t know if that organ is going to be ready to transplant or not. And so there’s not enough information. And that if it’s a lung, for example, it’s not breathing. It’s just sitting there and so Tyvasom has created these really great, fabulous boxes that include negative pressure to help lungs breathe, and it includes data about how that lung is doing. And so the surgeon on the other side can know if it’s going to be ready for transplant. And so Tyvasom has actually taken 12 lungs that would have been otherwise discounted for transplant because they weren’t suitable, put them in this breathing box and have transplanted 12 lungs that would have otherwise not been transplanted. So that was definitely a really cool opportunity to show that lives are being impacted directly through the new technology that is being developed by some amazing clinicians, engineers throughout the community.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s so interesting. And I mean, if somebody is going to give their lung up, make it work, you know like it’s got to work. And it’s so neat that they were able to find a way to do this. Awesome examples. I know two of many, but there’s going to be an opportunity for folks to go and learn more about you and the organization. Emily, before we get there, though, let’s talk about setbacks. Can you share one of the biggest ones you’ve experienced and and a key learning that came out of it?

Emily Reiser:
Yeah, I think that we redesigned our entire accelerator because it wasn’t really working for the type of business that we were driving. And so when we think about how we do our own business, we always have to continue to re-evaluate our value proposition, just like we’re coaching all of our startups to do. And so if it felt like in the old model, we were just kind of repeating it because it was kind of successful. You know, we had success stories, but we didn’t really have a lot of framework around how that was happening or how we were driving that exactly. And so the whole process of reformatting the accelerator was definitely addressing the fact that we kind of got into the routine and we we made things happen, but we needed to really refocus on our business, just like we coach all of our startups to do so. I think another example of a step back is more on the one on one relationship side. And so we’re always trying to provide a way for the startups and the the health systems to come together around a relationship. But sometimes we don’t provide the right advice early enough on how to make that happen.

Emily Reiser:
So, for example, there was a startup that went in asking for a pilot relationship with one of our systems that was paid, but it was in an area that they had never done before. And it was really a better opportunity for co development. But because they went in with the paid pilot first, then the whole system was not as interested in continuing the conversation around the co-development. So it was a mess for us that we are always needing to really refocus our efforts and make sure that we’re we’re not making any future opportunities to miss in that same way, because that was a relationship that really could have been developed if we had kept kept our guard up on how that relationship was progressing at the time. So that’s that’s where we really see the misses is is when the startup comes in too hot and and we don’t have enough time to to help them understand why a different approach might end up with more success at the end. So that’s what we’re always trying to do better with for both parties to find that success.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, and you guys are the ultimate coach really in between both, right?

Emily Reiser:
Absolutely. So with the health systems, we are trying to help them understand what that previous traction actually means, how that business is likely to be viable based on the funding that they have and the funding that they’re likely to get. So we are trying to to support the health systems to understand that this startup is going to be successful and the startup is going to be committed. And this is why we know that. And then with the startup, of course, it’s really around. OK, this approach might have worked with your small or medium size customer, but it’s really not going to work with this larger system. And then, of course, in between systems, it’s really different. So M.D. Anderson is a state run institution and they have a lot of different requirements on them as a result of that compared to Houston Methodist, compared to Texas Children’s, they all have very different motivations or frameworks that they’re working in just because the stakeholders that are involved. And so most of the time, the efforts that we’re using to coach the startups are on just putting yourself in your customers shoes and really understanding that. And and we’re providing some insights as to help them do that more quickly than otherwise they would be able to do on their own.

Saul Marquez:
And it could be months, a year before they actually learn that on their own. You know, and it’s just frustrating. You’re waiting for an answer and you don’t hear back and you follow up and you don’t hear back, and then you figure out that you just lost six months.

Emily Reiser:
Absolutely. We’re trying to get to a quick answer. If it’s no, that’s fine, everyone can handle that, right, so we’re definitely trying to get to those no sooner. And so and to help demystify why did this Hultz is this unknown? It’s like, no, it’s just not right now. There’s something else going on behind the scenes, like hold tight all up in another month or so. So, yeah, it’s definitely hopefully a really valuable for them to have that partner with with us. And that’s where we see accelerator’s kind of an overblown word right now. And nobody really knows what it means actually to be an accelerant at this point. But I think for us, what we’re accelerating is that time to a relationship, a meaningful engagement with the whole system. And and we do that through those insights around what those customers are looking for.

Saul Marquez:
Love it now. Well said. And folks, if you don’t know. So up to this date, TMC, Texas Medical Center Innovation Center, and they’ve accelerated one hundred and seventy two. Oh, no, there’s one hundred and seventy two accelerator companies, they’ve raised for over four point seven billion dollars to date for successful company exits. Three hundred and five lifescience startups launched and seven Biodesign companies with thirty three million raised. That’s a pretty darn good track record to date.

Emily Reiser:
So far, so good. We’re always trying to improve and and continue to support our alumni and and help them get exactly what they need to continue to be successful. So as the community grows, it also grows. Our mentor pool. We have some great alumni that are always looking to to help provide their insights to the up and comers. And and we we’ve seen some really great communities built out of the individual cohorts. Lots of them still talk with each other, trade notes, and make things happen together. So that’s definitely one of the coolest parts about what I do is watching the communities grow and thinking about how to keep people connected and how that leads directly to them getting a new customer or a new investor or some new insight that really changes the way that they approach their business. What are you most excited about today? I’m most excited about the power of collaboration to unlock new things. I think with our team being really working side by side with the health systems, both on the innovation front as well as through some of the covid-19 work that we’ve been doing, we can see that by working together we can lift all ships, so to speak.

Emily Reiser:
And so it’s been historically, Houston is a place where the health systems are really competing with each other. And of course, that’s still true. But throughout COVID-19, we’ve been able to see collaboration among them and such a unique way. And I realize that’s a little bit innovation adjacent. But we can see that they are really looking to collaborate, to find ways to solve problems, which are also what our innovators are looking to do every day. And so I think I’m most excited about the way that health systems are open to collaboration and innovation and change that are going to make an impact on on their patients. So we’ve seen a great openness for engagement across a lot of the different partnerships, the startups that are making things happen for our hospitals and providing them supplies and all of the different ways that a crisis can really illuminate our relationship and help to make something happen that wouldn’t have been possible before. So I think that the spirit of collaboration is really strong right now. And and that’s been really exciting for me in the last few months especially.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Let’s let’s leverage it to to keep creating things that all that I hope help improve outcomes and the way that things are done. Right. Absolutely. All right. Well, this has been so interesting, Emily. The work you guys do there at TMC is is unique and truly, truly a value add to the health care economy that we’re in. It’s TMC.EDU you guys have any further curiosities before we depart? Emily, I’d love to just get a closing thought from you for us. And and the best place that the listeners could get in touch with you and the TMC team.

Emily Reiser:
Awesome. Yeah, thanks all for that. We think a lot about access and through our lens because we’re not a system ourselves, we can try and take a bigger risk and predict the future a little bit and see what’s coming. And so I think we’re taking a really close look at how patients are accessing care and finding that out. And that is one of the areas that I think all of the innovators are going to be touching in some way and in the very near future. So, you know, I think all the startups that we work with, it’s all about just putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and figuring out what the health systems need. And that’s what we’re here to help with. But that’s my biggest closing thought for all the innovators that are working with clinicians and health systems work. It’s, of course, a simple piece of advice, but definitely one that we spend a lot of time digging in with with our team. So if you want to talk to us more and learn more how you can do that with your potential customers, happy to have anyone reach out. My email is e I start to see that you you can see the rest of our team at see that you backslash innovation summit. Thank you so much, Saul.

Saul Marquez:
Now, this was this was fun. Thank you for for spending a little bit of time with us to educate us on the awesome work you guys are doing at TMC. Emily, really appreciate it.

Emily Reiser:
I appreciate you, Saul. Thank you so much for the opportunity. And I look forward to all the fun things to come soon.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, everyone saw Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it could be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smooth podcasting dot com to learn more. That’s smooth podcasting dot com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • How to nurture cross-institutional collaboration and innovation
  • How to add value to healthcare
  • How to supports innovators by giving them a platform where they can access multiple health systems

 

Resource
https://www.tmc.edu/