Utilize Health has accumulated a vast database of treatments, therapy equipment and the facilities where these services can be found, enabling us to pinpoint services relevant to each patient we serve.
Name: Utilize Health
Location: Nashville, TN
Co-founder Interviewed: Jessica Harthcock
Other Key Management Team Members: Adam Harthcock, COO; Adel Elmessiry, CTO; Carrie Redmon, Lead Patient Advocate
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight Series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Product / Service Offering:
Utilize Health is a complex care coordination solution that focuses on creating a better healthcare experience for patients, increased revenue for providers, and a cost savings for payers. We combine digital tools and personal services to help the end user, the patient, reach better health outcomes. We bring value to our partners by taking actions that drive key performance indicators such as decreasing care costs and improving patient outcomes. Currently, Utilize Health’s solution is focused on serving patients with neurological conditions as well as CMS bundled payment initiatives.
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Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you?
I am a huge dreamer and always have been. I believe that giving back to others who are in need is a must. It is a humbling experience and allows me to develop a deeper sense of empathy. Making a difference in the lives of others, as corny as it may sound, motivates me in the truest of ways.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
The company was established in 2013. The idea originated from my personal experience interacting with the healthcare system. I was paralyzed at age 17 after I landed wrong when practicing gymnastics. Doctors said that I would never walk again. I spent years traveling around the United States in search of highly specialized rehabilitation treatments that eventually helped me learn to walk again. After experiencing difficulties in finding appropriate resources and realizing countless other patients with complex medical conditions experienced the same challenges, I vowed to create a solution that would benefit all stakeholders in the care delivery process. Thus, Utilize Health was born.
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What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
We focus on helping patients maximize their health outcomes while creating increased revenue for providers and a cost savings for payers.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
We specialize in a category of conditions that drive extremely high costs. We are a specialty solution designed around a narrow set of complex conditions. Today those conditions fall into neurological and bundled payment initiatives.
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We gather experts and expertise in chosen fields to develop programs focused on delivering resources specific to those conditions. Utilize Health has accumulated a vast database of treatments, therapy equipment and the facilities where these services can be found, enabling us to pinpoint services relevant to each patient we serve.
We hire Patient Advocates that demonstrate years of prior experience with the conditions they are hired to work with at Utilize Health. We take a comprehensive patient-centric approach to everything we do, especially the services and resources we provide to the patient.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Early on, Utilize Health focused solely on the digital tools portion of the company. We thought we could build a company that just utilized technology. During our first pilot program, patients pushed back and said they needed more. They wanted to speak to an actual person. This is how the Patient Advocate program was developed and why it exists today. Utilize Health needed to find that blend. We have learned that one cannot take the humanity out of healthcare. We have also learned how important the Patient Advocate and patient relationship is. It is incredibly trusting and dedicated!
This has allowed us to create tools that enable us to do our jobs better and more efficiently, yet still serve the patient in the best way possible. When that happens, everyone wins. Patients see better outcomes; providers stay within their bundle; payers save money on care costs.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We used Jumpstart Foundry as an accelerator. We use Asana, Slack, and Hubspot, just to name a few tools. All have been very useful for our team’s communication efforts.
Interested in learning about accelerator programs? See our Startup Accelerator Spotlight.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
I wouldn’t have changed anything so far. Early on, Adam and I self-funded the company which was extremely difficult, but worth it. We then received some funds from an accelerator program. About a year later, we launched an Indiegogo campaign and raised $40,000. Shortly after, we raised a seed round of funding. Today we have raised over $1Million, and are preparing to raise our series A round of funding.
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What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
The healthcare industry has a very long sales cycle. Being a young agile company, we want to move as fast as possible. It can be difficult to move at the pace we desire when working with large clients. This is just the nature of the beast in the healthcare industry.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
A warm introduction can be the difference in your company succeeding or falling flat on its face.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
The importance of a passionate, unwavering dedicated team has been paradigm to our company’s success thus far. I am so thankful that we have a team, a family really, that I get to see daily. Everyone, no matter their role in the company, has an impact on the patients we ultimately serve. Our slogan “No One Walks Alone” rings true to us in many ways.
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