There is no such thing as a “field of dreams”. Before you build it, make sure they will come.

 

Matt Sinderbrand is the SVP and Chief Product Officer for Hu-manity.co. He is formerly the CEO and co-founder of Betterpath Health which was acquired by Hu-manity.co on April 30, 2019.

Matt is on a mission to solve one of the healthcare industry’s greatest challenges: lack of access to complete medical data.

Matt’s goal is to use technology to capture and contextualize healthcare’s “Dark Data” – the healthcare data that’s largely unstructured in hospital silos and unable to be accessed by doctors and researchers.

His passion for solving the “Dark Data” problem is not simply a professional endeavor but also a personal one. Nearly a decade ago Matt’s sister was diagnosed with a chronic disease that left their family paralyzed due to a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” treatment strategy. Experiencing the antithesis of data-driven medicine first-hand has catalyzed Matt to become a champion of “what’s possible” in healthcare.

Matt has spent years exploring all avenues that relate to the coordination and application of health data to benefit patients and the myriad of stakeholders that currently suffer from insufficient data access. This relentless focus on a singular vision has provided Matt with an intimate understanding of the different mechanics governing our many disconnected health systems, and given him an often unseen perspective of healthcare’s deepest, most intractable challenges.

He co-founded Betterpath in 2012 to provide chronic disease patients with free, lifetime medical records, in an effort to determine what treatments work best, for whom, and when. Since that time, he’s helped Betterpath address crucial barriers to health data access and interoperability, and brought several consumer-facing healthcare technologies to market in autoimmune (2014) and rare disease (2015-16).

Now, Matt is singularly focused on integrating Betterpath’s core technology into Hu-manity.co’s transformative efforts to empower individuals to gain greater control and derive value from the data they rightfully own while accelerating and deepening research for pharma companies. He holds an MPH from the University of Denver, is a Certified HIPAA Security Expert (CHSE), and is a contributing author on several patents and research protocols.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Nearly a decade ago my sister was diagnosed with a chronic disease that left our family paralyzed due to a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” treatment strategy. Experiencing the antithesis of data-driven medicine first-hand has catalyzed me as a champion of “what’s possible” in healthcare. I co-founded Betterpath in 2012 to bring forth a new, patient-centered data ecosystem capable of generating the long-term evidence needed to understand what interventions work best for different patients with the same diagnosis.

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

I typically wake up before 7 am. I first make a pot of coffee then sit down to plan out my day and respond to emails. The mornings are when I do my best thinking, so I usually spend until around 10 am ideating and experimenting with new concepts. The bulk of my day is spent on the phone and video calls, and I often find myself booked in back-to-back meetings more than I would like. The workday winds down around 6 pm, but in this high-throughput entrepreneurial environment that I know and love so well, the work is never “done”. Ensuring that each day is productive requires careful attention to the daily schedule – the goal is the stick to a regiment and allocate enough time for the tasks of the day while also remaining available for the emergent opportunities that make this job so much fun.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Building solutions on the front lines of healthcare data and technology for the past 8 years allows me to have a unique ability to identify and translate findings from across the different sectors of our health system into concepts that strike at the heart of healthcare’s biggest challenges. Once I’ve built the concept into a “why, what, and how” framework, I begin socializing it with certain advisors and team members, fleshing out key details before moving forward with customer / end-user discovery.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The challenge of transforming fragmented health data into useable datasets has always been a huge issue in my experience, but only recently has the broader industry begun to recognize and address this challenge. Now, an entirely new market has come into existence as a result, and it’s called “Data Labeling for AI”. This market is projected to grow from $100M in 2018 to $1B in 2022, indicating that the Big Data initiatives of the past are giving way to new approaches focused on data depth and accuracy over data volume and velocity.

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

Always starting with the following questions: “Who is the customer? What problem are you solving for them?” Any time you can arrive at simple, straightforward answers to the above, you put yourself in a good position to develop ideas that add significant value to whatever project you’re working on.

What advice would you give your younger self?

There is no such thing as a “field of dreams”. Before you build it, make sure they will come.

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

Artificial intelligence in medicine is a misnomer: How can we have “AI” if we don’t even have the capacity to measure “I” in the first place?

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

On every Monday, try to spend some time questioning every decision you’ve made that’s led you to the present. That way, you can always be aware of the consistent themes that have helped you grow and have clarity around the decision points that don’t always translate to a positive outcome.

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

a. The goal of establishing a market for consumer-owned health data has been in the hearts and minds of many academics and industry veterans for years, and hundreds of these efforts have started and subsequently failed, mostly because the timing just wasn’t right. Knowing this, I took it upon myself to articulate a cooperative approach to making the market, putting forth a strategy that some would call “coop-etition”. This manifested in ongoing outreach to competitive CEOs that were new to the space, where my goals to garner support for the cooperative approach often created additional opportunities and avenues for collaboration.
b. Overall, the strategy of putting yourself out there and establishing a cooperative posture, especially if you’re working to create a new market, will benefit your business in unknown, often very positive ways.

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

Not recognizing that the thing I care most about in the world – complete, patient-owned medical records – holds very little meaning for the majority of people. After having a short pity party about it, I took it upon myself to re-position this narrative into a mission – to make the benefits of health data ownership clear for everyone struggling to deal with our fragmented and frustrating health system.

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

A “magic jack” type plug-in that puts all fax machines on the blockchain. This addresses a key barrier to the efficient transmission of health data between silos.

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

As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to bring forth confidence in everything you do. For me personally, I’ve got to look good to feel good, so the best $100 I’ve spent recently was on a pair of sharp new shoes.

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

I use Asana for roadmapping and task management.

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

Admittedly, I haven’t had time to read a book for quite some time – my reading list is mostly fed by industry publications like JAMIA and JMIR – super nerdy tech pubs that focus on cutting edge informatics techniques

What is your favorite quote?

a. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African proverb
b. “If we knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t call it research.” Albert Einstein
c. “The more I learn, the less I realize I know.” Socrates

Key Learnings:

  • Always starting with the following questions: “Who is the customer? What problem are you solving for them?”
  • Use Asana for roadmapping and task management.
  • Overall, the strategy of putting yourself out there and establishing a cooperative posture, especially if you’re working to create a new market, will benefit your business in unknown, often very positive ways.

Connect:

https://betterpath.com
https://twitter.com/BetterpathTech
https://www.linkedin.com/company/betterpath-inc/