The Don'ts of Kicking Off Your Digital Health Startup


This month's episode of Tuning In to the C-Suite features Erica Jain, CEO & co-founder of digital health company, Healthie. In this discussion, Jain shared some of the challenges or things to avoid when creating a digital health startup, based on her journey with starting Healthie in 2016. She also addressed some best practices and tools that can help those working toward a digital health startup.

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Erica Jain had her share of downs before experiencing the ups when co-develping her digital health provider company, Healthie, back in 2016.

Jain, CEO & co-founder, and Cavan Klinsky, also co-founder and CTO of Healthie, experienced their bumps in the road and learned from their mistakes to turn Healthie around as the API first EMR platform for virtual first companies that focus on longitudinal or recurring care.

Erica Jain

Erica Jain

In the conversation, Jain shares the mistakes they made in their startup in hopes that others who are building their own digital health company can avoid them and see success sooner.

"It comes down to keeping control of your finances and really understanding that you can raise capital, but that does not absolve you of having to really run a business," Jain said. "I think we lost sight of that fiscal responsibility until we really felt the pain of it. Fortunately, we were able to recover, make some really, really hard decisions, but were able to effectively start the company over after realizing we took our eye off the prize when it came to fiscal responsibility."

She added you have to keep your eye on the finances at all times to ensure that you're building for long term sustainability.

"One of the other early mistakes we made was that we accumulated too much technical debt," she said. "As our team says today is as a feature, not a bug, you're never going to get to 100%. The process is in the journey, and that's what's really important, is having the right ability to make trade offs pf getting rid of technical debt."

In the early stages of the company, they felt strongly about building quickly and getting features that their customers wanted out. As a result, they accumulated so much and had to go through a painful, full rebuild and overhaul of their entire system.

"That's something that I don't wish upon any foundering team, but we learned so much about what it takes to build scalable infrastructure," she added. "Related to that, what I've learned is that, at a certain point in your company, building new features is the easy part. The harder and more important stuff is the stuff underneath the iceberg, around scalability, infrastructure, security, speed, Site Reliability, QA processes — and that's the part that founders really need to think about, as they consider financial allocation, team size, because that's what's going to make or break your company at a certain scale."

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