Be patient. Enjoy the ride. Smell the roses.
Trained in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Critical Care at the Mayo Clinic, Jon Belsher has over twenty years of experience and success in private, public sectors, for-profit and nonprofit organizations in healthcare. As a serial physician entrepreneur/implementer, Jon has three healthcare startups under his belt — WhiteGlove Health and Extensor Health, which are both based in Austin, Texas, and MedSpring Urgent Care, which not only serves Austin, but Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston as well.
As a firm believer in the “lead by example” philosophy, Jon Belsher believes real progress in healthcare is being made to increase access, drive down cost and provide the consumer with an exceptional experience in healthcare. To encourage more of this growth in the healthcare industry, Jon oversaw the conceptualization and development of MedSpring Urgent Care, which is his most recent healthcare business venture. The metrics-driven national retail health organization brings his ideas to life by increasing healthcare access to everyone and driving down costs, all the while serving each and every patient in a manner consistent with what we all want for our own families and friends.
As an innovative and “outside the box” problem solver, Jon Belsher admires and strives to learn unconventional means for continuous improvements from executives like Elon Musk. Jon loves to continue learning about the rapid changes of our world today, and is particularly interested in mobile health technology, teleheath, artificial intelligence (AI), precision medicine, predictive analytics, volume to value and risk.
Jon Belsher believes it’s a great time to be alive in healthcare — changes are happening at a lightning pace and disruptions are not only accepted, but expected. In fact, one of the quotes he lives by is “If you don’t stay abreast of changes, the potential for your healthcare company could be left behind.”
In addition to his healthcare business ventures, Jon Belsher spent the early part of his career serving the country as Chief of Aerospace Medicine for the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing. His stint in the military lead him to the opportunity of a lifetime by serving as a liaison in the President George W. Bush administration, briefing and accompanying the President and Vice President and other dignitaries on national and international trips.
Where did the idea for MedSpring Urgent Care come from?
I was recruited by a former Fortune 500 CEO to help build the company. Retail health care is a rapidly expanding industry that is helping to increase access to timely health care and decrease health care costs. Previously, patients were faced with the choice of waiting to see their primary care physician, which could be weeks, or go to the emergency room and face exorbitant costs for the most minor of ailments. Today, they can visit a variety of retail health care businesses that offer exceptional same-day care at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves a myriad number of issues ranging from clinical questions to operational concerns to strategic planning. I like the variety of work a great deal. I am a consummate multi-tasker.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a firm believer in teamwork. An organization is about a team, not an individual. While someone has to be the quarterback, a team will not succeed without linemen, receivers, running backs, etc. I like to bounce my ideas off team members, from senior level colleagues to staff on the front line. One of the most effective sounding boards is front line staff.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I have said to a number of people that it is a very exciting time to be alive and part of the health care tornado sweeping the country. Twenty to thirty years ago, ideas were circulated but the pace of change was slow. Today, the pace is fast; what’s in today is becoming obsolescent tomorrow. An organization must remain nimble and progressive. Disruptive ideas are arising daily to reshape the healthcare landscape. Some of the exciting developments include the evolution of digital medicine, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like to push the envelope. I am never content with the status quo. While we have come a ways in healthcare in the last ten to fifteen years, we have a ways to go as we catch up with the rest of the service industry. I like reading a variety of articles, reports and papers, to stay abreast of where others see the industry heading and where the latest developments lie. This helps me refine my thinking of where an organization needs to be positioned – what it should offer, how it should be offered, etc – to remain successful into the future.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be patient. Enjoy the ride. Smell the roses. We work in a fast-paced society that rewards achievement and success. Accordingly, many of us rush to the finish line only to realize the true reward of life is the journey.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read, read and, then, read some more. Information is powerful. Knowing where we came from (i.e., history) and where we’re heading (i.e., forecasts/reports) gives context to our journey and destination.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
It is important to care for patients with the same attention, empathy and understanding that we would want for our families and friends. The patient’s care begins as soon as they step through the front door of an organization. While the patient-physician interaction is the nexus of the visit, everything that happens around this interaction is critical to ensuring the patient’s journey is comfortable, stress-free and successful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We started a telemedicine company about ten years ago. While the idea was “right”, the timing of the service was not. Timing is everything. I used the experience to continue honing my knowledge of the field recognizing the inevitable impact at some later date.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
We recently sent a check for $100 to a graduating family member. Our youth are our future. Investing in their aspirations and dreams will lead to the next revolutions in our lives, be it in health care or other industries.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I enjoy Excel. While it can be helpful in its basic format, it allows for complex computing when required. It is my go to application whether making calculations or reviewing complex data.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. While we attack service opportunities in the health care industry, we continue to face an adversary whose persistence has confounded the brightest of minds. This book looks at the human element of cancer – from both the patient and provider vantage points – as well as venturing into the mind of cancer and its unique personality.
- Be patient. Enjoy the ride. Smell the roses.
- Read, read and, then, read some more. Information is powerful. Knowing where we came from (i.e., history) and where we’re heading (i.e., forecasts/reports) gives context to our journey and destination.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.