Mathieu Bélanger

Founder of Inovo Medical

Dr. Mathieu Bélanger, MD, CCFP, CPSO Recognized Specialist (Chronic Pain), began his academic career by earning an undergraduate degree in kinesiology before enrolling in medicine at the University of Montréal. Dr. Bélanger has always had a keen interest in physical activity. Having injured himself several times, he is particularly interested in pain related to sports injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. This interest led him to the United States for various types of training on pain treatment given by leading experts. As a result, Dr. Bélanger became aware of just how widespread chronic pain has become and decided to dedicate his career to it. Since then, his objective has been to play an active role in the development and delivery of the most sophisticated and effective treatments for chronic pain.

By founding Inovo Medical, Dr. Bélanger hopes to deploy stem-cell technology in Canada, given that the results achieved with this technology are revolutionizing pain medicine. Similarly, regenerative medicine and innovation are the driving force behind Dr. Bélanger’s passion, which allowed him to offer solutions in other fields, including medical aesthetics and sexual wellbeing.

Where did the idea for Inovo Medical come from?

Chronic pain is a multidisciplinary health issue with its foundations centred around the communication and interaction of the three pillars required for its treatment – the medical, rehabilitation, and psychological facets of medicine. In order to effectively treat pain, health professionals need to treat the cause as well as the symptoms. Pain puts a significant burden on someone’s psychological health. Hence pain needs to be treated simultaneously by the specialists in the medical, psychological, and rehabilitation departments. Unfortunately in our current Canadian Medical System, there are not enough centres where a patient with chronic pain can have access to medical and rehabilitation therapies at the same time. Most of the time these patients are lost in waiting for appointments. Furthermore, delays in communication lead them to be undertreated making their treatment plans unsatisfactory. Dr Belanger wanted to create a centre where such chronic pain patients would have a one-stop place to have the entire spectrum treatment available to them.

The benefits of having these chronic pain patients have access to all the three pillars of effective communication, and these specialists being in the same building to discuss their patient outcomes as a team lead to dramatic recoveries in patients health on a mental and physical level. Patients become mentally stronger and correct their physical alignment at the same time. As the number of patients benefiting from these treatments increased, this opened the door for new treatments to innovate to further enhance and solidify such management options. Patients who once took three to four different narcotics that made them weak and unable to concentrate were able to reduce their intake of narcotics and opioids which provided them with the benefits of improving their overall quality of life. They are able to go back to work and spend time with their families without having to worry about the symptoms of pain.

Driven by the passion to continue to improve, Dr Belanger then invested in innovative techniques to regenerate joints and disks of the spine. He developed his own formula for creating regenerative treatments that have helped a significant amount of patients change their lives.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I like to get around 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night, so that I’m refreshed and ready for what the day has in store. Clean eating, regular exercise, and lots of coffee are essentials to keep me focused and productive during the day. Your physical and mental health are extremely important to take care of to ensure that you are productive and successful each day. Once I get to work I’m focused and dedicated to my patients and their health, always remembering to rest and recharge so my patients receive the best from me. I often work long hours, rarely ending early, unless for familial obligations.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Research is key to bringing any idea to life. Often, ideas have already been thought of, so you want to see where improvements and betterment of this idea can be made. I like to simplify over complicated ideas and brainstorm less costly manufacturing processes. Creating a detailed business plan which covers all aspects of bringing this idea to fruition are essential. The more detail the better! One of the most important factors to consider when bringing ideas to life is your budget and workforce. Do you have the money to support this idea? Do you have the staff and time? These are very important considerations when bringing ideas forth, and should always be considered.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Do not fear to be different in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once different. That is the beauty of ever-evolving science. Challenge beliefs with adequate research and that will lead to innovation.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Daily exercise! Nothing helps me stay more focused and productive as an entrepreneur than exercising.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to focus on one project at a time. Try to not get too ahead of yourself and try not to juggle too many things at once. Focus and dedication on one project at a time can really prove to be beneficial when starting out. This lets you perfect and build a solid foundation, so that you can have more flexibility to do more when you are older.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Each and every chronic pain has a solution that has not been found or properly diagnosed.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Quality control in every department, at every phase, and across your entire team.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Not second guessing myself and being able to confidently stand by my decision making. I am not afraid to take the necessary risks to see my business succeed!

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

While building a business from scratch it is sometimes hard to communicate your vision to a team and implement steps towards that vision. Finding ways to communicate the end-goal with your team and have everyone be on the same page is key. Facilitate methods by which everyone on the team can feel secure asking help and respect different perspectives. There is always an option to agree to disagree.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’d love to see someone create an online network that blends Facebook and RateMD together. Specifically, it can focus on chronic pain and allow patients to formulate an accurate diagnosis based on a series of questions and medical guidance.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I’ve recently invested in some blue lights for light therapy in the office. They are incredible for helping you stay energized and positive during those long, gloomy, winter months. They have definitely helped my staff stay focused and motivated even on the hardest days, and I find they really help give me energy and remain positive. I would suggest getting these if you live in more northern climates for personal or business reasons, as they’re amazing to keep your morale high and energy levels up!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Priority Matrix! This is a staple in our office – I make sure that everyone is using it and has it downloaded to their devices. This application helps us to stay organized and focused on the most important tasks at hand, while acting as a paperless notebook, so we are never searching for or losing information.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Nudge by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein. It will motivate anyone to improve their decisions about health, wellness, and happiness.

What is your favorite quote?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Key Learnings:

  • Art and Science of the mind are the foundations of Innovation
  • Organization of ideas to reach an end goal is key
  • If you’ve done your research and homework, don’t be afraid to take the risk