Hey Outcomes Rocket friends, thanks for tuning in to the podcast once again. As a leader in health care, you have big ideas great products, a story to tell, and are looking for ways to improve your reach and scale your business. However there’s one tiny problem. Health care is tough to navigate and the typical sales cycle is low. That’s why you should consider starting your own podcast as part of your sales and marketing strategy. At the Outcomes Rocket, I’ve been able to reach thousands of people every single month that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to reach if I had not started my podcast. Having this organic reach enables me to get the feedback necessary to create a podcast that delivers value that you are looking for. And the same thing goes if you start a podcast for what you could learn from your customers. The best thing about podcasting in healthcare is that we are currently at the ground level, meaning that the number of people in healthcare listening to podcasts is small but growing rapidly. I put together a free checklist for you to check out the steps on what it takes to create your own podcast. You could find that at outcomesrocket.health/podcast. Check it out today and find a new way to leverage the sales, marketing and outcomes of your business. That’s outcomesrocket.health/podcast.
: Welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. Today I have the amazing Roman Giverts. He’s the CEO at VuMedi, the leading healthcare video network for doctors. Over 200,000 doctors use VuMedi to improve patient care and grow their practice. They provide a large targeted marketing opportunity for healthcare companies using a native advertising model. Roman founded the company from his college apartment as an undergrad engineer at UC Berkeley. He’s a huge believer and bootstrapping from nothing, loves helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Before starting his company, he worked that techcrunch at the original Office in Mike Arrington’s home. Additionally Roman was the first intern in NBC Universal’s Antipiracy Group where he was exposed to pioneering companies in the online video space. So it’s a pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you, Roman I really appreciate you making the time for us.
: Thanks Saul. Really excited for this conversation.
: Absolutely sir. Roman you could have gone out a lot of directions. Obviously video is is a fundamental tool for marketing and communicating in any vertical. But why did you decide to choose health care?
: Right. Good question. So video is getting really hot as YouTube was launching and I was taking this internship and I really had no background in medicine so a little bit accidental that I stumbled into it but I just happened to be dating a girl, who thankfully is my wife or this would be an awkward story told over and over again. My girlfriend at the time in college her dad is actually an orthopedic surgeon
: So, one day I was just kind of walking around their house and I just stumbled on him watching a surgical video. And this was about maybe 10 or 11 years ago and before Netflix if you remember we had these like racks of DVDs you know.
: So yeah something like that but it was surgical videos and he kind of explained to me that he uses those videos to learn. And of course I said there isn’t a website where all of you physicians can go and look these kind of videos up and you know there wasn’t and that was kind of how I stumbled into it. He said “you should go create it.” And I had three or four other ideas and the other ideas I had zero users and I thought I had one here. OK well I think this is my best idea and I guess we’re kind of maybe where I got a little more invested in the industry was when I really two things you know one a lot of the other you know my friends in college you know everyone to start a company or build an app you know their ability kind of cute consumer applications, the Apple app store had just launched. So people do a little cute picture apps. I just thought this concept are a lot more meaning behind it. Helping physicians treat patients and improve patient care just kind of inspired me more. And then you know when I learned about the size of the market I just couldn’t believe healthcare is number one vertical in our GDP. So it all together had meaning from a big financial opportunity and I kind of thought this was a great space to be. And so I was actually supposed to go to law school and I had gone in and had to tell my parents I wasn’t going to a top 10 law school. That’s something…
: How was that? How did that go?
: Well I started telling you about the product and I didn’t tell them about until we had like I think a thousand users but it went pretty well.
: Very cool. Hey if you sold that to your parents those investors were a cinch.
: Parents want you to go to grad school. All they’ve got to do is go to grad school like you know and to throw all my test scores out. And in fact, I’m not even getting a job, I’m going to work for free and live at home instead.
: Got to love that man. Well fast forward to today. You guys have definitely picked up some good traction and you’re doing some great things. What would you say Roman is a hot topic that needs to be on every medical leaders agenda today and how are you and your team at VuMedi tackling that?
: Yeah I think what we see probably the most exciting inspiring trend is just the rapid innovation in some of the specialties particularly oncology and Rheumatology you know having called you’re changing humanity right so probably the biggest one is going toggery now is the approval of karty cell therapy. So kids who are under 25 and none of the available treatments could save them and get a curtsies so Transperth piece of therapy and really saving lives is pretty pretty incredible. You know people call us from oncology every week there’s a new FDA approval. So it has all of that has enormous impact to just about every field right whether you’re a clinician right. Your ability to save lives. The economics are very controversial so these therapies are very, very, very expensive. The FDA pathways have been modified now because again you’re saving lives and think there’s no rapid approvals. Things like that. And then you go from a point of view it’s a significant change in practice to actually apply these therapies. And so when you see headlines like 400 percent increase in survival in bladder cancer. And that’s something that as an oncologist you want to take advantage of. That’s not like 10 percent minor impact in some type of quality of life measurements of lives being saved. And so they have to get educated and they have to keep up and they have to learn and so from VuMedi point of view that’s really where we fit in is trying to help these oncologists as well as many other specialists. There’s rapid innovation, rapid change and of this are trying to keep up and treat patients that are trying to help them.
: That’s awesome. Super important too right. That rack of DVDs is a day of yesterday and we’re in the streaming age. So no doubt it’s important for clinicians to have a point where they can actually go visit get what they need and move on. Can you share with the listeners how you’ve applied some of these technologies to help leverage and scale the new solutions that are available?
: Yes sure. I mean I think that the educational pathway is complex. I think that we take for granted how hard it is to actually know just to stick with the oncology example and actually change your practice and use one of these therapies let alone change how you do a surgery which is even more complex where even how you treat a patient with diabetes and a few comorbidities very very complex educational pathway. I think a lot of what’s traditionally been out there from the days before the internet it was textbooks all the way to today. There’s a lot of news websites you know that cover in a paragraph or a short video about pathway is complex it’s hours of education. And so that’s where technology comes in. In VuMedi we have 50,000 videos just on one topic we might have 30, 50 or 100 videos. You just can’t do that with the DVD rack. We started talking about, you can’t do that with basic search right. We have very advanced taxonomies very advanced understanding of like basic, intermediate, advanced content understanding of related content. And then we’re also you know investing a lot to understand what are users where they are in that pathway. And the only way to do that is with technology and I think that’s what technologies enabled the physician to be able to not only to get access to so much more content right with 15000 videos compared to 20 but also to enable the platform like the VuMedi. So then recommend that actually help make decisions and help guide them to the right place.
: That’s a great call out. And folks if you’re curious the website for vumedi.com, check them out over there see what they’re up to. Really cool stuff. Making education simpler. It doesn’t have to be complex. And with all the changes it’s super important that we have a tool to make it that way. So Roman talk to me about a time when something didn’t work out. A setback that you guys had. What did you learn from that setback? Take us to that moment.
: Sure if I could spend the whole podcast on those probably I think the top of the list. I think there’s a tendency to prioritize and do things that sound good over doing things that have the greatest economic value and output. I’ll give you just one example that we’ve made that mistake many times but I’ll give you just kind of the one biggest example you know our goal is to get as many doctors on the platform as we could and we chased big round numbers of 50,000, 1000,000, 2000,000 so we would open up specialties that had very large numbers of doctors on pediatrics, radiology and so forth with over 50000 physicians. What we learned though is that that’s not necessarily the greatest economic opportunity for human right so what sounded good. Getting to a hundred thousand doctors wasn’t actually the optimal way to grow the business. And you know today you know we’ve learned that it’s actually the greatest opportunity for us for specialties like oncology or rheumatology which are significantly less physicians but physicians spend a lot more money. Those products cost a lot more. So every one of those physicians is much much more valuable to the platform and to the potential advertisers. And so I think that if you’re a product guy like me and you know you want to solve a problem for physicians which we did you don’t always put your kind of businessman hat on and actually think about how do I build the biggest business the fastest way possible and I think we’ve learned from mistakes like that. And I think now in everything we do on a day to day basis from every single product decision, every single expansion decision, every investment we make we think about what is what is the economic output of that investment. And by doing that you grow a lot faster.
: Yeah that’s a great call out Roman and one that we’re working and the innovation of a product your company needs to keep this in mind just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is good. Good ideas aren’t necessarily good business plans and so it’s a great message from Roman that he’s shared with us today so let’s keep that pressure test those things. Hold yourself accountable. Don’t just go with something that sounds good. Well how about one of your proudest moments Roman what’s been something that you guys have achieved today that you’re like man this is awesome.
: Yeah. Just give you the achievement and then maybe give you a little backstory for why it was so important to us which is you know also learning in Q4 of last last December’s lots of months ago we had our first 100 percent renewable quarter in Q4 as our biggest quarter were more large percentage of our sales comes in. And so that’s a nice you know a nice metric but is really a journey of about a year and a half. Previously we’ve had a bit of a transition at the Meddie sales which previously did not report it to me in reporting it to me which is a whole new area for me to learn about. And we really transition that the company from celebrating sales to celebrating customer success. And I think there’s a tendency to get really excited by when you close a new deal. Right. And we still celebrate that by all means. But I think what I’ve learned is that growth comes from the success at the conclusion of the delivery of what you sold. In other words in the renewals right. And so one of our company values that we created about two years ago was customer success right and everything was not about the sale. It was about delivering success. And so you know we want to our customers are on an annual cycle. So you know that January is when we began a lot of these investments in their success. So you know we didn’t know whether they would you know we invested a lot and then you kind of wait wait wait and then you get to the end of the contract you’re up for renewal. So we saw that all of that, all the investment that we made in the success of others translating was a renewal and the reason which have been important for the company was that it showed us that the methodology that we were undertaking the principles of philosophies that they were working in I mean you know not only did we beat our forecast and it was a great financial year show that like we as a company knew what we were doing and we really were delivering to our customers. And it inspired us for the future growth that we made if we could continue to do that so it was sort of an exciting last day of the year there. But a long road getting there.
: That’s awesome. Congratulations on that Roman to you and your team and you know it’s those little shifts that can make a huge difference. Roman, your last name as Giver. You are a giver my friend. You’re a go giver not a go getter.
: I never heard that but I’m going to use it, thank you. I’ll share with you we have we have a joke internally we call it if anyone remembers a song from the early 90s called OPP or yeah I remember that it is other people’s problems and so one of our core values is you know we care about other people’s problems. We want to solve other people’s problems and that’s sort of a funny use of customer success.
: Love that. What a great story there. Roman and I love that you guys have those little playful ways to engage culture there at your organization you’re doing a really nice job there man.
: Thanks, Saul. I appreciate it.
: Absolutely. Now tell us a little bit about an exciting project or focus that you guys are working on at VuMedi today.
: Absolutely. You know I mentioned sort of oncology as a theme. You know that’s by far the fastest specialty we’ve ever launch which took us three or four years and other specialties we drew just in a year of over 6000 oncologists using the platform hundreds of videos and partnerships. It’s a great space to be in. But you know I think what we’re learning also then is the targeting and how important the targeting target technology is in that field particularly in that a typical oncologist treating 20 different cancers that’s changing every like you said every week there’s a new FDA approval. Furthermore you don’t see these cancers are really rare for specialties like blood cancers. You’re seeing one or two patients a year. Right. So you’re not you know you’re trying to stay up to date. So you know we’re really working on is targeting the physicians when they actually need it, when they actually have that problem. Right. So you get a lot of news letters I get a ton of them. Well reality is I’m dealing you know 20 types of cancers right now. My problem is the breast that you’re sending me something along that’s not going to do it for me right. And so knowing the users really well as well as having the content and actually having the technology in the taxonomy that underpins a lot of that knowledge to be able to recommend the right content at the right time. I think that’s really exciting and I think that all of us shop on Amazon have seen that type of thing in action that’s what we’re trying to bring to medicine and I think it has a huge opportunity to really change workflows of physicians and how they acquire information and and as a result how they change their practice and treat patients.
: That’s pretty cool. Yeah I mean as a consumer you definitely value companies that could say hey Roman I know that you’ve kind of interested in this so why don’t you check this out. Oh my gosh thank you. I think it’s amazing when you have a technology that helps you do that and it’s not easy right. I mean you sound like you guys are putting in the technology, the algorithms, machine learning, whatever you guys are doing to actually make the platform smarter so that it makes smart recommendations. I get into my car in the morning and it says it’s ten minutes to your son’s daycare. And then when I get back in it’s like all right it’s 15 minutes back home. Those are the kinds of insights that people want. Right.
: As you said it’s really complex. I mean the quantity of data is just extraordinary and the scale of it our engineers are just talking this morning. They were up to 1 am upgrading our database last week. You know the amount of data points you know imagine every opened up an e-mail, every impression, every page view, every tiny thing that a user does tells you whether they’re interest in something or as importantly that they’re not interested in something and then you know trying to take all those data points and add hundreds of thousands of users to come to a conclusion. It’s very complex and the credits are just the quality of our really advanced engineering team sort of the backbone of humanity.
: That’s awesome Roman. And yeah I mean you know half the battle like you said is like separating the signal from the noise. If they don’t open it that’s just as important as if they did. So you know that you should be focusing on something versus not. And folks when you’re thinking about how you use data within your organization take some of these thoughts that Roman has left us with an understanding you’ve got to separate the signal from the noise. If you’re going to make those true insights to improve outcomes and and build better business models. Roman, getting close to the end here let’s pretend you and I are building a medical leadership course on what it takes to be successful in the business of medicine – the 101 of Roman Giverts. We’re going to write a syllabus for questions lightning round style followed by a book that you recommended to listeners you ready?
: All right. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes?
: Study just measuring everything so that the data exists and then making it transparent so that at the very least you have access to even multiple organizations can have access to analyze it and innovate around it.
: What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid?
: Not having a fully completed interdisciplinary team health tack or digital health. It’s an interdisciplinary field. You know it’s healthcare technology as well as often other other fields. And what I see most often is a company started by technologists or actually started by a physician or clinician that doesn’t have all of the pieces together. And I think it’s required if you don’t have one of those pieces. So much struggles to succeed.
: How do you stay relevant despite constant change?
: Yeah I mean it’s important. VuMedi has been around for 10 years so that’s a good one for us to talk about. It’s really all about growth. We grow much faster the last 3 years than our first three years. The faster you’re growing the more relevant you are and that growth is all about creating results.
: Absolutely. And finally what is one area of focus that drives everything in your organization?
: What I just said results were all about creating results.
: Love that and you’re all about the OPP right?
: Results and OPP. I was wondering how my mid 90s love for rap would intersect my professional career and finally.
: I love it man. What’s your favorite book you want to recommend to the listeners?
: Yeah the book I’ve read is at least ten times is Crossing the Chasm. It’s very well known in technology marketing if it’s known as a medical book. But it is by far the most important book that helped me succeed. I probably read it five to ten times just in the first year. Every time I was stuck I’d go back and read. Crossing the chasm explains to you when you start your company your first year you’re going to have customers or users or whoever stakeholder is trying to acquire that say no you and that don’t use your product or don’t buy your product. And that book explains to you why they’re not buying it. And that allows you to understand sort of where you are and your trajectory and where you need to be going. And we talk about that book at VuMedi on a regular the concepts in that book of crossing the chasm and early adopters of fragment pragmatic buyers product solutions on a daily and weekly basis to this day and following their niche marketing strategy is literally what we’re allowed to succeed because we started real real small as a site for shoulder surgery and in just a few decades. Now as you mentioned we have over 200000 physicians in over 50 specialties by now. It all started with a really targeted niche marketing strategy that I got from crossing the chasm.
: Gotta love it. Great recommendation Roman. Folks if you want to get a hold of this book as well as the transcript from our conversation today just go to outcomesrocket.health/vumedi. You’re going to see all the links there and you could get your learning on. So Rumman, this has been a blast. I love if you could just leave us with a closing thought. And then the best place for the listeners to get in touch with you or follow you.
: Yes sure. My closing thought is just to take you Saul for organizing this podcast I think Healthcare, health tech, digital health education is necessary and there’s so many podcasts online. Technology is really great. More exposure for our field and view giving a platform to people like myself to come on and share share thoughts and beliefs and ideas on this skills. Also thank you for doing it. Thank you for having me on and I really appreciate it.
: Absolutely Roman. It’s a pleasure. And if anybody out there listening to this sort of what you said struck a chord with them. What would be the best way for them to reach out or follow you?
: Yeah. The best thing to do is I always gave out my e-mail and I’m going to do it. But you can just e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and if I don’t reply just just send it again. We get a lot more inbound than we used to but I tried to make myself look for many people as I can.
: Folks if you write an e-mail to Roman just type in Outcomes Rocket in the subject and the likelihood of him answering will go up.
: So myself by the way for other people I’ve listened to so that’s a good call.
: Absolutely. So folks there you have it. Roman Giverts with Vumedi. Roman, this has been a blast. Really appreciate you sharing your insights and looking forward to catching up with you soon.
: Thank you.
Best Way to Contact Roman:
Check out this Link: