Episode 13: Building Your Business Through Innovation with Daniel Kivantos
Daniel Kivantos, one of the co-founders of the digital health company DrChrono, explains how he looked to the future of the healthcare industry to build his business.
When Daniel Kivantos first began pitching his digital healthcare start-up company, he was using words, like ‘the cloud’, that hadn’t entered into the mainstream vocabulary yet.
He wanted to use the technology of the future to help solve the healthcare problems of the present.
“Something about healthcare really resonated with me, where I felt like family members are going through the healthcare system and I see how horrible the system is for them and for the physicians and the doctors,” Kivantos said. “Back then, they would ship out CDs, they would put servers in offices and they didn’t even have internet access to that data outside of the office.”
In this episode, Elliott Noble-Holt and DrChrono co-founder Kivantos shares how his constant eye to the future of the industry led to his small start-up growing to the preferred platform of thousands of health providers. Kivantos’ company shows how embracing innovation can pay off in the years ahead.
An eye to the future
It can be difficult to sell a product built around new technology. But, that kind of devotion to innovation is what allowed businesses like DrChrono to grow.
For Kivantos, it took persistence and patience for his innovative idea to store health data in the cloud to sink in with investors and customers. He had to convince them of the future in digital data management.
“I remember talking to several investors and saying ‘The cloud is going to be a thing,’ and they just didn’t believe us. They said it was a solved problem,” Kivantos recalled.
But, Kivantos saw what others couldn’t see. The technological world was changing and the healthcare industry would need to adapt to growing expectations for greater digital access.
That’s why he kept pushing to develop software to help healthcare professionals. For his first clients, he listened specifically to what needs they saw in their practices and his team would provide unique solutions.
“We just kept taking feedback day after day after day, iterating, to get as much product out to those providers as possible,” Kivantos said. “Sometimes having just a couple users allows you to understand your product and understand your market.”
By the time Apple came out with the iPad, Kivantos’ company was ready to launch an app. Since he had his eye on the future from the very start of his company, he was able to become one of the first companies to make medical data portable for doctors and healthcare professionals.
“That was the day our company changed from a struggling start-up to a product-market fit,” he said. “We went from no users to some users, to instantaneously thousands of users.”
Unlike other companies, DrChrono didn’t need to struggle to catch up with the technology around them. By following trends and patterns within his industry, Kivantos was able to build his company off the momentum of the latest technology.
In other words, he refused to be stuck in the present. He imagined a future with ‘the cloud’ and prepared for it.
“Sometimes, when you’re a novice because we didn’t work in healthcare before this, it allowed us to open our eyes to what is possible and it allowed us to just build in the cloud.”
Never staying stagnant
Innovation isn’t just a one-time investment. Kivantos remained ahead of the curve for the first technological wave, but he predicts industries will continue to be shaken up by new technologies, ground-breaking ideas, and the latest innovations.
“A lot of novices are going to continue to come into the industry and really make a change. It’s going to be very interesting to see what that change will be,” he said.
Business leaders should ensure that they’re continually looking to see what gaps exist in their industries and how they could innovate to fill them. It shouldn’t be uncommon to try to think 15 or 20 years into your business’s future.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if fifteen years from now people are going to be in shock that they just can’t access their medical record on their phone,” he said.
Kivantos advises leaders to look to other companies around them for inspiration. The best way to understand where your industry is headed is by having conversations with like-minded leaders who are also searching for those innovative solutions.
“Partner with really smart other companies that are doing other things that can help benefit the community as a whole.”
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