HIT*IQ Issue 2: Service, Telemedicine, Precision Medicine and more

Health IT*IQ is an online newsletter for Health IT investors, bankers & entrepreneurs featuring focused insight from sector thought leaders Howard Burde Law, Ben Brown, KLAS Research, Terry Pitts and Scott Holbrook from investment firm Mountain Summit Advisors, Blain Newton of HIMSS Analytics and guest authors.

Each issue features an interview with health IT thought leaders.  I’m pleased to have the unique opportunity to conduct these fascinating conversations and share them with HIT*IQ readers.  In Issue 2, we feature telemedicine and where it’s gained a foothold.  While many think about Hawaii as a great place to visit (and it is!) it also has unique patient care challenges and opportunities.  With its population of 1.4 million+ spread across 8 main islands, find out how The Queen’s Health System is leveraging telemedicine to expand and enhance patient care.

Issue 2 was just released with the following features described and linked below. HIT*IQ is free by subscription and available at  

Service Matters:  The importance of service is often overlooked in a time when tech aspects are often overly-hyped. Mountain Summit Advisor experts Scott Holbrook and Terry Pitts discuss how the measurement of service is a critical aspect when buying or selling a company.  It’s not just about products and features, core values also matter.

I started my career with IBM in the early 1970’s. IBM owned the computer market and had the reputation of having very good products but even better service. I had an account that loved the products of the Burroughs Corporation. READ MORE

Emerging HIT: Ben Brown of KLAS Research offers thoughtful insights on emerging healthcare IT companies that appear to be gaining traction and investor interest. In particular, Ben is seeing reoccurring themes Patient engagement/experience solutions and population health.

What do healthfinch and Augmedix have in common? A number of providers are excited to share how these companies are making an impact in healthcare. KLAS recently interviewed hundreds of providers and asked them what emerging technology companies they were excited about, planning to partner with or creating healthy disruption….READ MORE.

Precision medicine:  Another hot area.  What should investors and entrepreneurs know about this rapidly expanding sector?  Blain Newton of HIMSS Analytics shares focused thoughts and predictions.

Precision medicine is certainly a hot topic in U.S. healthcare now. According to data pulled from LOGIC – the HIMSS Analytics market intelligence platform – precision medicine usage has tripled in the last five years. Despite this increase, only 26% of U.S. hospitals have procured a precision medicine solution and 22% have gone live with installation….READ MORE.

Telehealth rising? Interest in telehealth continues to grow. What should investors know about reimbursement and licensure when conducting due diligence?  Do you know that the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact is and how it impacts telehealth growth? Read what Howard Burde of Burde Law has to say.

Increased telehealth adoption by large employers, reimbursement by several large payers and the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) proposal (and unanimous bipartisan legislation) to permit providers to practice across state lines are heating the telehealth software and services market. Still, reimbursement, licensure, and other hurdles remain depressing telehealth investment….READ MORE.

More on telehealth: The short form of the interview runs in each newsletter and we run the long form here.  Read below to learn the details of how The Queens Medical System is using telemedicine to meet and expand their mission.

Telemedicine and The Queen’s Health System, Hawaii, interview by Lisa Spellman

HIT*IQ Issue 2 featured the short form of this interview. The complete long form is published below.

The interest in and adoption of telemedicine is growing. Providers are interested, patients are interested, vendors are developing, and investors are watching and making their moves.  How is telemedicine being deployed? What decisions are providers making and what decisions would they like to see investors and entrepreneurs make?   I had the opportunity to with Dr. Matthew Koenig and Dr. Burke Holbrook, from The Queen’s Health System (Queen’s) in Honolulu, Hawaii to share their story with HIT*IQ.

Dr. Koenig and Burke, thank you for taking the time to share some of Queens telemedicine journey with me today. What are the top two goals of the Queen’s Telemedicine program?

Dr. Koenig:  We have many goals. The first is to provide better access to care for all of our patients, but especially those on the neighboring islands that lack easy access to specialty care.  Telemedicine is allowing us to care for those patients in ways that were just not possible before these technologies.

The second is to better leverage our existing staff resources and avoid redundancy to provide specialty care without having to stand up separate departments. Queens started as one hospital and is now formally The Queen’s Health System through our growth to seven locations on Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Molokai.

Dr. Holbrook:  We see telemedicine as the right way to move into the future and fulfill our mission.  With our unique need to provide care across islands spread so far apart, telemedicine has an important role in care delivery as well as ensuring provider and resource efficiency.

How did Queen’s decide which service lines to deploy?

Dr. Koenig:  We looked from several perspectives. First, we are fortunate to have access to solid data so we didn’t have to guess. Kelley Withy, MPh.D.PhD of the University of Hawaii has done much good research documenting specialties with the greatest shortages, so we know the gaps. That is the access perspective.

There is also a practical perspective to standing up telemedicine and that is to go where we have the greatest chance to succeed.  A tip I can share with others planning telemedicine programs is to go with early adopter providers that want to participate.  When a provider asks for help to start, they go to the top of the list.  We have found that if you start with the need and willing participants, the greater the chance of success.  We’ve had a few experiences over the years trying to lead with the idea or a technology and not the provider or patient and that almost always fails.

What surprises and challenges have you had with your telemedicine deployments?

Dr. Holbrook: In a good way, we’ve been surprised and fortunate to find so many providers that are excited and engaged and willing to collaborate to make the initiative work.  Many of our challenges are related to reimbursement.  I will note that we are fortunate to have a telehealth parity law. In 2014 Hawaii passed a bill that requires equivalent reimbursement for services provided through telehealth, so that makes us different form most states.

What about on the patient side of things? Anything unexpected?

Dr. Koenig:  Our telemedicine is driven by our commitment to quality and consumer demand, only sometimes consumers are surprised at the solution.  Patients in hard-to-access areas are increasingly demanding timely access to specialty care, and might not realize or expect at first that what they are asking for is telemedicine.   So much now is being done on our phones, it is just one more short step to receive care on a device. Of course, not all patients are ready for it, but that is changing.

Dr. Holbrook:  Even though adapting to telemedicine might be a major change for some patients, especially those new to emerging technologies, we are experiencing great appreciation and acceptance by the patients because it is starting to resolve some of the travel challenges faced by many on the neighboring islands.

What do they see as the major benefits of telemedicine use to the patients and healthcare organization?

Dr. Koenig: Telemedicine is no longer optional for many providers, to be strategic and meet market needs, they must adopt. The patients want it, more providers want it, the payers want it, and vendors and investors want it.  As care is increasingly delivered across state lines, other remote provider networks will step in to fill the void.

Another major market force is capitation.  In a capitated model, it makes sense to provide care in the least expensive manner possible while also still providing excellent care.  In short, with telemedicine, while there are acquisition and training costs, you don’t have the extra overhead of physical space.

Dr. Holbrook:  Another major benefit of telemedicine is with transitions of care.  We are already seeing improved communication and care and we expect to see more as the telemedicine program expands.

Here is a great example.  We are rolling out a new cardiology care model that requires cardiology patients to be seen within seven days of discharge. Following-up with a patient after a procedure can be difficult enough for any patient that lives far away from the facility, but what about if you live on a neighboring island?  That patient comes to Oahu for care, might be discharged in a few days and all they want to do (and all we want them to as well) is to go home to recuperate. But here is the challenge; a Cardiac Intensivist needs to follow-up with the patient within seven days of discharge.  In the past, the patient would have had to decide if they wanted to stay close to the facility or if they wanted to go home and return to Oahu for their appointment within the next week.  Under our new model, qualified patients can choose to go home and complete the required 7-day follow-up via telemedicine in the comfort of their own home.

Dr. Koenig:  Here is another great benefit example – the post accurate care model.   When a patient is discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF), they need to be seen by a discharging provider in a timely manner and may need care between visits if an issue arises.  Like the cardiology example, what if the SNF is located on the other side of the island?  It is expensive, unsafe, and unrealistic to have these ill patients travel between facilities, so we are using telemedicine to bridge the gap.  As a result, the same care team can follow the patient, and the SNFs are more willing to accept medically fragile patients, reducing readmits and improving patient care.  And in a capitated environment, every possible cost savings are necessary.

Where do they see telemedicine going in the future?

Dr. Koenig:  Many think that the future of telemedicine will be the model of big companies with large provider networks that do nothing but telemedicine.  They do exist and there will be more, but I think that is not where the real growth will be:  the real growth will be when telemedicine becomes a seamless aspect of ordinary practice.

I already use telemedicine as a tool to see patients, but I would not want to sit at my desk all day and just do telemedicine consults. It is not that telemedicine is bad, it’s just that most physicians went into practice to be with patients, not just see them remotely.  If it’s done well, telemedicine will eventually be just like the phone where you don’t just see patients by phone, you use it to do some aspect of care delivery, but it is not the only aspect; it will just become part of what we do. So, I see a model where the delivery of medicine will become more fluid, some by email, some by phone, even some by text, and some by telemedicine.

Another important change will happen when telemedicine is incorporated into residency programs.  New physicians will simply learn to practice this way and it will not be identified as telemedicine; it will just be part of the program. Psychiatry has already begun to incorporate telemedicine into residency training and Neurology is on the horizon.

What limits the use of telemedicine? Will it be accepted by clinicians? Patients?

Dr. Koenig:  For organizations, the real limiting factor for telemedicine is related to provider adoption concerns and workflow followed by limited Medicare reimbursement.  As earlier noted, we are fortunate to have the telemedicine payment parity so that helps. However, just as it is across America, increasing numbers of patients are Medicare eligible, so if a provider is getting paid ½ as much to see patients, they are not going to do so. Telemedicine can help keep the overall cost down, but not if providers are not fairly reimbursed.

Dr. Holbrook:  There are technology issues slowing telemedicine growth. The problems are not so much with the technology itself, and a major one for us is limited broadband access.  There are many rural areas on the islands that have low access, so if we want to run a new program where we’ve validated the need and have provider support, we still might be stopped simply due to limited broadband.  The federal government does have some programs to expand broadband, but it is going slowly which in turn limits what we can do.

Dr. Koenig:  Here is a suggestion for providers that are planning new telemedicine programs. First, you must be clear about your target patient population.  What is the documented need and do they have broadband access? If not, maybe it would be better at first to secure a satellite clinic that can run it for you.   In our planning research, we saw cases where providers launched an ambitious program only to have it fail not so much for the technology, but for lack of patient access to broadband or smartphones.

HIT*IQ is read by many investors and entrepreneurs so you can use this opportunity to send them advice.  As a target end user, what should vendors develop and what should investors drive?

Dr. Koenig:  Entrepreneurs and investors, start with the need, pay attention to how medicine is practiced and be aware of the technology, such as the EMR, that is already in place.  Think about your development and investments from provider and care quality perspectives. Even if we had 100% reimbursement and resolved bandwidth challenges, there will be provider pushback if the workflows are not considered.

How do they schedule?  How do they document? How do they do patient follow-up? How do they get paid and how will that change?  I’ve seen too much new technology that is stand-alone requiring additional and different workflows. That may not sound like a big deal but multiply that with all the actions and steps a practice much already do, and it quickly becomes a big deal.   I know what people will think when they read that.  It is not that all providers are unwilling to change, most expect and embrace it when it makes sense. But so many technologies are designed in a way that clearly shows that they never took the time to see how medicine is practiced and if the change is even possible.

Learning good patient care is based on learning the perfect way and doing it the same way every time so that you don’t miss things and make mistakes. Being methodical is baked in because when you don’t do that, you will miss things.  When new technology and modified workflows are just shoved in it is not just that one aspect, the change will impact other aspects of the encounter and this can lead to unexpected outcomes, including reduced patient safety. So, pushback it’s not just resistance to change, it is about patient care and safety.

Dr. Holbrook:  We do a lot of research and testing before we bring any new technologies onboard, so we expect the vendors and new products to have done their research and provide appropriate documentation.

Do you have any closing thoughts you would like to share?

Dr. Holbrook:  We each have a role to play, and it’s important for vendors and everyone involved to remember that.  Change cannot be done just for the sake of using some cool new technology.

Dr. Koenig:  Successful expansion of care and the addition of new technologies cannot be done alone.  The patients need to ask for telemedicine and accept it when it comes; the providers need to work through the issues, payers need to be on board and the vendors and investors need to bring truly useful and well-designed technologies to the market. If we can get all of these players and the government to improve reimbursement models for all, the world will take notice, and it will result in important and positive changes.

Thank you to Matthew Koenig, MD, Medical Director of Telemedicine and  Burke Holbrook, DC, Clinical Operations Manager of Telemedicine of The Queen’s Health System headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Learn more about The Queen’s Health System 

#HIT-IQ newsletter   #HIMSS18   #HealthIT

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Upcoming SES Webinar: “Standards and Copyright Law: A Case Study

Looking forward to moderating an interesting and timely SES Webinar tomorrow (Wednesday 15 November) “Standards and Copyright Law: A Case Study” with Clark Silcox, General Counsel at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). This webinar will review some of the general principles of U.S. copyright law and discuss several specific cases in which copyright law was applied to consensus standards.

While most do not see it, standards are a part of so much of what we do and use.   Webinar is free for SES members and anyone else interested for $50USD – it will be worth it. Clark Silcox knows his stuff. Register Now!

STANDARDS AND COPYRIGHT LAW: A CASE STUDY, Presented by Clark Silcox, General Counsel at NEMA.   Wednesday, November 15th ||  1.00 -2:30 pm US_ET

Consensus standards developed through standards development organizations, consortia and other consensus bodies are typically published under claim of copyright in the name of the standards body.  Courts have recognized a protectable legal interest in copyright in these standards publications.  This webinar will review some of the general principles of U.S. copyright law and discuss several specific cases in which copyright law was applied to consensus standards.

The webinar will conclude with a discussion of the issue that is receiving the most attention today:  when consensus standards are merely referenced in a legislative enactment or a government regulation, does the referenced standards publication lose its protectable interest under copyright law?  The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently answered that question in the negative.  That ruling is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and will likely be decided in 2018.  The Executive Branch, through the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the Federal Register, have also recently answered that question in the negative as well.  Register Now!

HIT*IQ – a new read for Health IT investors, bankers & entrepreneurs – worth a look

Health IT*IQ is a new online read for anyone interested in HIT, and especially for Health IT investors, bankers & entrepreneurs.  Features focused insight from sector thought leaders Howard Burde Law, Ben Brown, KLAS, Terry Pitts and Scott Holbrook from investment firm Mountain Summit Advisors (MSA) and Blain Newton of HIMSS Analytics.  The newsletter is free by subscribing – see link below.

Issue 1 features include an update on FDA’s new proposed approach for assessment and certification of medical software products by Howard Burde Law.  Determining startup company valuation is among one of the more vexing challenges for many entrepreneurs and investors, read “How do you value your company? The Art & Science of Business Valuation” by Holbrook and Pitts.  Here is a provocative question “Is the hospital EMR Market Nearly Dead?” by Ben Brown.  Is it?  Read to find out.

Patient-Generated Data (PGD) is a hot topic of interest.  Exponential volumes of PGD are being generated at increasing rates.  Are hospitals ready for PGD?  Read what Blain Newton of HIMSS Analytics says on this topic.

From HIT*IQ Last Page, read the featured interview by Lisa Spellman of Dr. Indu Subaiya, Health 2.0 co-founder and now with HIMSS. Find out how Health 2.0 got its start, what drove the HIMSS Health 2.0 acquisition and the areas she sees as major areas for near-term growth and innovation.  A short excerpt of the interview is on the last page of the newsletter and the extended interview is below.

 Link to inaugural issue of HIT-IQ

Extended interview with Indu Subaiya, co-founder, Health 2.0, EVP, HIMSS, by Lisa Spellman, Principal Consultant, Rapid Creek Group LLC and an HIT*IQ Contributor.

OVERVIEW:  HIT-IQ features thought leader profiles in each issue. For our first issue, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Indu Subaiya, EVP of Health 2.0 which is a new HIMSS Business Unit formed in the recent HIMSS acquisition of Health 2.0.

Indu, congratulations on the new relationship with HIMSS and changing future for Health 2.0. Please tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and the formation of Health 2.0.

People might be surprised to know that Health 2.0 began as an accidental company.  My co-founder and Health 2.0 co-chairman Matthew Holt and I met in 2006 around our common interest in how Web 2.0 (as it was called at the time) and user-generated content would impact health care, social connectivity, and social sharing using the internet.

The first early online health communities were happening, and it can be hard to remember that this was a radical (and to some, scary notion) that patients and consumers could use the internet to connect with each other and begin to disintermediate (another new term that was appeared around this time) care providers.  We were intrigued and wanted to know where this could go, so we took a chance on the notion that many others were equally fascinated and would pay to attend a small meeting of like-minded individuals to talk to and hear from technology innovators who were building solutions to leverage the internet as a new disintermediating tool.

We scheduled the first Health 2.0 conference “User Generated Healthcare” in September 2007 in San Francisco with the hope that maybe 100 people would register so that we would not lose our shirts on what was probably a one-time experiment.  Well, what happened still amazes me to this day. With virtually no paid promotion (because we had limited funds and were new at this) over 500 people registered and the event was a sold-out success.  Right away, we knew we had a new business, so we incorporated the conference as a company, took the leap, quit our jobs and started on our entrepreneurial journey.

Tell us about some of the new plans underway.  What does the transition into HIMSS mean for the HIT investment and entrepreneurial community?

To tie into the earlier question about Health 2.0 evolution and our recent HIMSS merger, Health 2.0 will use the HIMSS platform to support the founding and maturity of emerging technologies. We will be hosting the Health 2.0 Annual Meeting in Santa Clara, California and a Health 2.0 Program in San Francisco during the JP Morgan week January 10, 2018.  These meetings, in addition to offering the exceptional education, collaboration and networking opportunities for which Health 2.0 is renown will build toward the HIMSS Annual Conference March 5-9, 2018 in Las Vegas.

We are very excited to share news about the expansion of the HIMSS Venture Forum – now rebranded as HIMSS Venture Connect – from what in the past has been a one-day activity to 2018 which will be a week of terrific focused activities to open new networking and collaboration opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.

We are adding a new program Market Connect. Market Connect will do just that: connect healthcare organizations that want to integrate, implement or acquire specific types of emerging technologies with the emerging businesses that are developing these new approaches. The vetting and curation in advance of the event enhance the potential and value of the meetings for both on the show floor and pitch competition.

We will present five days of value and terrific opportunities.  New activities include mentoring and educational sessions, pitch prep coaching followed by a pitch day competition for companies at seed, growth and later/exit stages of maturity.  The purpose of the expanded week is to show that the sector is diverse, mature and strong.

We will have content and support from concept to IPO.  We will have many more exciting details to share in the coming months, so stay tuned! More detailed information will be available in this newsletter and on the Health 2.0 and HIMSS websites.

Some entrepreneurs start with a clear vision – we started with curiosity and passion. It was an amazing time with many risks. We did not seek to build a conference company, but it grew into more than we ever imagined at the beginning and I cannot quite believe where we are today.

Health 2.0 has looked robust and successful for the past decade – what were some of your early growing pains? 

We started with Matthew and me working between our small kitchens with pets underfoot.  We hired one employee at a time and had many growing pains because while we understood the content, but had never grown a conference platform, so the business and challenged us to learn new skills such as how to manage finances, including the choppy revenue cycle in the conference business. We were forced to grow using clever, low-cost strategies.  Because we had limited funds and a very small team, a few of our early moves included chapter and licensing of our international conference to partners. That approach made an important difference included growing the grassroots Health 2.0 Chapter Network and conference through word of mouth and sticking to our brand promise that we were challenging the status quo which was our approach and ethos in our early days.

How has Health 2.0 evolved and matured with the HIT startup industry? 

In 2010, the U.S federal government made a big push with policy and dollars into open data for healthcare –and shortly after came other initiatives including Meaningful Use, HITECH and more. These stimulated the sector, investments were growing, and there was a tremendous interest and need for more education to help everyone make sense of all that was occurring.   The investments and policy propelled our growth and created a sense of maturity; we were no longer the radical outsiders, we matured with the industry and were becoming more mainstream.  We were starting to see new trends – wearables connecting to EMRs, the rise of APIs, cloud computing, data analytics, application marketplaces, and more.  Those trends and impacted Health 2.0 and put us into conversations with HIMSS.

Some in the industry were surprised by the HIMSS acquisition of Health 2.0 – what can you share about this?

As noted, when we started, we viewed as ourselves as upstarts pushing against the establishment with the goal of supporting these exciting new trends and technologies to improve healthcare. We wanted to see what we could do to leverage and support these new technologies and approaches, so we pushed and challenged what we felt was an unaddressed area of the sector. HIMSS focused on more mature and established companies, and we focused primarily on early-stage and startups.  But, a decade has passed, much has changed, and we saw a tremendous opportunity to merge our energy, vision, and approach with HIMSS and its breadth of reach and resources.  It is an exciting time, and we are already busy with new initiatives.

What do you see on the horizon for the next 3-5 years?

I see continued innovation and growth in three major groupings.

  1. Continued adoption by incumbent stakeholders: I see providers, pharma, health plans and other incumbent stakeholder organizations continue to adopt innovative technologies either on their own, through engaging in new collaboration models with tech firms, acquisitions, and partnerships to build their customized solutions.
  2. Startups, payers, and providers. This is a new disruptive “health-land” with emerging startup players teaming with established incumbents from the payer community to create radically different models. A few examples are Clover, OSCAR, Bright Health and many others, trying new models of care delivery and payment. Those companies are building their own technology platforms and doing a bit of adoption.
  3. New technology platforms as care delivery models: New tech platforms will continue to evolve that you could mistake for care delivery organizations.  Some applications are becoming larger technology platforms with services layered on top so that they start to look like new provider care delivery models…but are essentially tech companies with services.  For example, Livango – is it care delivery or technology? Iora Healthcare which is an interesting hybrid.  When you combine coaching over a platform, are you a new type of care delivery?

As we talk about these trends and new models, I also want to note the importance of levering technologies not just for their own sake, but to help all and in particular to reach the underserved.  These new technologies and models can help us take a more community-focused approach and engage in new ways with players not traditionally at the table such as departments of health at the local and state level.  Social determinants of health can no longer be an afterthought. It is an imperative to bridge cost, access, and efficiency and new technologies and models will help us achieve these goals.

 Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

Yes, I want to do a shout-out for more diversity in health tech. Health 2.0 has done much work to support getting more diversity in technology overall as well as in leadership roles – more gender and cultural diversity and will make us more effective and impactful as an industry.

In 2017, we launched TechQuality which is Health 2.0’s Mentorship Program that connects diverse health technology innovators (or innovators-to-be) with individuals who are leaders in health technology; from serial entrepreneurs to investors to CEOs, these individuals are committed to supporting individuals from all backgrounds in their health technology endeavors. The inaugural program was such a success that we are running it again in 2018.  Our call for mentees and mentors was recently opened and we look forward to another great cohort in this program. To learn more, please visit

We need broad representation from all communities to leverage technology and do great work.  I’m excited for the future of Health 2.0 and HIMSS and look forward to working with HIT-IQ collaboration and for rolling out the 2018 Venture Forum Week.  It’s going to be a great time.

 Link to inaugural issue of HIT-IQ












Seeking healthcare companies in IoT, Blockchain & more for unique collaboration & demonstration opportunity

Is your company doing cool work in IoT-Medical, Blockchain, mHealth or Devices on FHIR? If so, read on because we seek creative companies doing great things in healthcare, either market ready or still in development for a unique collaboration & brand-building opportunity.

Health technologies are expanding the marketplace exponentially making it more difficult than ever to catch target audience interest and prove product relevance.  And with the newer tech – such as the categories listed below – proving market viability and readiness can be even more difficult.  Learn, get traction & gain visibility by participating in the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) Plug-A-Thon 2018. There are has four special tracks for 2018.  Where does your company fit?

  • Track 1: mHealth 
  • Track 2: Devices on FHIR
  • Track 3: Blockchain – Healthcare
  • Track 4:  Internet of Things(IoT) – Medical.

Each track will explore and create new capabilities for products to interoperate with each other within or across IT realms of the healthcare ecosystem.

IHE Plug-a-thons provide a venue for connectivity options and opportunities to be discussed and developed by partner systems for targeted use cases, plus introductory presentations to increase awareness of existing health IT standards that can be leveraged.  

The Plug-a-thon tracks will run January 16-18, 2018 at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland.  Link to learn more:  or contact me at

Thank you and I look forward to many interesting conversations.

2018_IHE USA Plug-A-Thon Kickoff Webinar Info Deck(1)

IHE USA Plug-A-Thon 2018 Info

Ensure solar eclipse viewing glasses are safe – a great resource to verify safe spectacles

If you are like me, you cannot wait for the 21 Aug 2017 solar eclipse. But be sure that your viewing glasses are safe. It used to be enough to look for ISO standard ISO 12312-1, but sadly, counterfeits have copied the ISO mark and are appearing on glasses being sold on Amazon and many other sites. Our friends @NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration have provided important guidance and verified companies selling ISO certified safe viewing glasses. Be sure to visit and don’t wait too long as many vendors are already sold out. Enjoy this amazing experience and let’s hear it for ISO standards keeping the world and your vision safe! @isostandards.

NASA & ISO help ensure your safe eclipse viewingScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 10.00.00 PM

Creating a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Midwest

tartThank you to the creative & energetic Andre Wright for his great opinion piece in the Iowa City Press-Citizen about the strength, depth & breadth of the regional Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Iowa corridor ecosystem supporting a truly amazing range of entrepreneurs. Want to find me this Wed night, Thur and Fri? You’ll have to come to the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in Iowa @ #EntreFEST 2017. Honored & excited to be speaking on a panel on my favorite subject – mentoring – on Friday @ 1:15 #MentorProud #Entreprenurship #Iowa! #RiseOfTheRest

Mentoring & Minnow Tank 2017

Mentoring matters.   One of things I enjoy most is when I have an opportunity to exchange knowledge through mentoring and teaching. The use of the words “exchange knowledge” are deliberate because these activities are best when they are approached as an exchange of knowledge and sharing and not just a one-way from the mentor to the mentee or student. I’m usually involved in several mentoring programs at any one time and will share insights, learning and surprises (there are always fun surprises) as a mentor via these blog posts.

A dive into the Minnow Tank:  Last week was the wrap of a fun and enlightening 6-month project where I mentored an impressive merry band of students in the unique Iowa BIG program where highly self-motivated high school students engage in project based learning facilitated by the terrific Iowa BIG faculty.  Two terrific high school students, “K” and “S” took on a vision to create an accelerator for middle school girls to teach entrepreneurship which culminated in a final “Minnow Tank” with the final four teams pitching for money and sage guidance as to their next steps. K&S also mentored a group of their Iowa BIG peers to become mentors themselves to the middle school girls.

The adult worriers:  Remember the “Road Warrior” well we were the “Adult Worriers!” For all of my boldness, I’ll confess that several of the adult mentors (and this definitely includes me) were worried many times.  We worried that both groups (high school & middle school students) would fail to follow through with specific tasks (and that did occur at times); that they might make some bad choices (and they did); that they might get frustrated (and they did); and that that they might hit a wall (Yep) or fail at some aspect (and there were some of those as well).

You know how this story ends.  In the end, it all worked out beautifully! K&S and their team of mentors did a fabulous job.  The middle school girls blew us away with their creativity and ability to learn and deliver terrific pitches and the Iowa BIG team did an amazing job making it all happen. I guess it is the job of the mentors to worry and fret and want things to go well.  I hope we provided the right amount of guidance but not so much that we got in the way and let them also learn from the tough challenges.

The team kindly recognized the mentors during the program and in my remarks, I ended with the following.  “I close with this – there are those that doubt the energy and community-minded spirit of today’s young people – if the rest of the world has what we have here – the world will be fine.

So proud and appreciative to have had this wonderful opportunity to work with these gifted students and terrific program.  I hope they have this “worrying soul” back for another project someday!  If you want to see some social media from this fun event, please enjoy the links below.

At with the inspiring mentors @loshbaugh_c & @LisaASpellman!

It’s a wrap! Congratulations to all the #MinnowTank2017 participants. You inspire us. ♥️