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Dr. Stuart Hochron & Practice Unite: Improving hospital communications

This is a continuation of our feature on Physician Innovators. MedTech Boston believes that the greatest advances in medicine will come from communication and collaboration.

MedTech Boston caught up with Stuart Hochron, MD, JD to learn about his newest company, Practice Unite. Dr. Hochron received his M.D. degree from New York Medical College, and his J.D. degree from Rutgers Law School. He is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMDNJ-Rutgers Medical School, is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine, and has co-authored more than fifteen scientific articles in the field of respiratory physiology. Physicians and medical students, you can connect with Dr. Hochron and learn more about what he’s doing at www.medstro.com!

The hours worked by residents in training are equivalent to those of early stage entrepreneurs. In both residency and early stage companies, the best ideas and collaborations often occur at 3 AM.

Stuart Hochron

Stuart Hochron, MD, JD

Q. What made you decide to start Practice Unite?

A. Practice Unite was envisioned two and a half years ago and launched in early 2013. Its goal is to help build stronger connections between hospitals and their medical staffs, and to address the communications needs of today’s physicians. After attending an American Hospital Association meeting it was obvious that a newly set goal of many hospital systems, physician-hospital alignment, would require physician-centric communications tools for easy access to patient information, to facilitate colleague connections, and to deliver non-burdensome medical staff communications. My business partner and I envisioned such a tool in the form or a mobile app. We were fortunate to have the early support of a visionary hospital CEO who provided invaluable feedback and encouraged us to develop the application.

Q. What makes Practice Unite different from the other HIPAA-compliant secure messaging platforms?

A. Practice Unite differs from other secure messaging systems in three major ways. Perhaps the key differentiator is physician adoption. Physicians adopt the app because it provides solutions to their professional needs, and because they receive personalized user support. Adoption of the app among key hospital physicians, those who are responsible for ninety-percent of care in a hospital, is between 80-99 percent. Customizing solutions is the second way we differ. We find that every hospital system’s communication workflows are unique, and customize the app to provide maximum value for each organization and each physicians group. No two hospital apps are the same, and it takes time to understand and customize ways to add value through enhanced communications, but this makes all the difference. Customization includes delivering a hospital’s favorite software applications to physicians through a single mobile platform. The third way we differ is by providing mobile communications throughout the care continuum. Using a single app, healthcare systems can connect a network of clinicians with patients and manage all of their in-patient, post-discharge, outpatient and community outreach communications.

Q. From a physician point of view, what was the hardest part of starting your own company? What was your biggest learning lesson?

A. The hardest part of starting the company was realizing that I do not have all the answers. As s physician I had always been an authority in my field, and had based decisions on my training and experience. Successful business leaders base their decisions on feedback from their customers, and from the market. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that creating a successful business is as difficult as creating a successful medical practice. Both take years of experience, hard work, and near total dedication. The hours worked by residents in training are equivalent to those of early stage entrepreneurs. In both residency and early stage companies, the best ideas and collaborations often occur at 3 AM.

Q. What’s advice would you give to other Doctorpreneurs?

A. The best advice I can offer is to carefully choose a business where your medical experience and your passion for your solution combine to create a unique advantage. Having a great idea is not enough to guarantee success. Your solution must answer potential customer needs, provide more benefits than it costs, and be scalable. Before beginning, spend more time than you think is necessary interviewing your future customers. Test your theories. Learn and be willing to adapt to the needs of the market. Associate yourself with proven business leaders, and be prepared to spend nearly all of your waking hours at great expense for several years before discovering whether or not your dreams can be translated into a successful business.

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

Jennifer M. Joe, MD

    My passion is healthcare optimization, whether that is with innovation, making scientific discoveries, or improving delivery. I love bringing people and ideas together and making projects work. With this, medicine exists to improve lives, and I will strive to always help patients and those around me.

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