Patrick Frank

Co-Founder of PatientPartner

Patrick Frank is the Co-Founder and COO of PatientPartner. This health technology platform enhances the patient experience for surgical candidates by pairing them with a “surgery mentor” who has been through the same procedure. Recently named Forbes “30 Under 30” in consumer technology, Patrick has spent his entire career scaling companies and integrating technology in traditional industries, such as real estate, banking, law, gas, and healthcare.

Throughout his career, Patrick has generated and managed t over $100M in revenue for the various companies he has worked for. In addition to being the COO at PatientPartner, he also serves as an advisor to other start-ups and is a strategic partner in several other ventures. Above all, Patrick’s biggest motivation is giving back by focusing on empowering consumers in their decision-making process. Similarly, all of his ventures share the mission of donating a portion of their profits to charity.

Where did the idea for PatientPartner come from?

The idea came from my co-founder and long-time childhood friend, George Kramb. After working years in the healthcare industry in the surgical specialty, George noticed a reoccurring and alarming theme with many surgical patients. He found that patients were anxious and fearful during the surgery and hardly knew what to expect.

He accredited this fear to the lack of adequate and useful information available that could help bring ease and clarity to the decision-making process for patients. He also realized that outside of the limited time they had with their surgeon, patients had no other relatable and trustworthy resources that could be used as a reference and guide throughout their surgical journey.

Given my background in consumer technology, I was able to draw several correlations from other industries that have adapted with technology to empower consumers to make faster and more educated decisions such as real estate, banking, and even hospitality. In this process, we realized that people genuinely like and in fact, seek out the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences especially if they are relatable to their own.

When we took this idea and started to ask patients who had already been through surgery if this is something that they would have wanted during their surgical journey, every single one of them gave us a resounding yes.

At this point, George and I decided that there needed to be a resource or tool that would help patients navigate their surgical journeys with wisdom and peace. We saw this as something more than a business opportunity. We saw this as something that the industry and its consumers needed.

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

No two days are ever exactly the exact same. However, all the variations of my day fall into a regimented schedule. My typical day starts at 6 am and ends at 12am. I wake up, clear my inbox, read the morning brew and make sure that by the time I’m out of bed the only thing I have to think about is the day in front of me. Setting up my day from the start lets me be more productive in everything that I do.

Fitness and sleep are essential to me as they help me recharge. Therefore, I make it a point to work out at least 5 times a week and sleep a minimum of 6 hours a day. I typically reserve the weekends for catching up with friends, family, self care, rest, and enjoyment.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Very simple- I act on them. Many people spend too much time ideating and dreaming of their ideas and not bringing them to life. When I have a new idea for a business, product, or business strategy, my process for bringing it to life is always the same.
1. Ideation (2- 3days): Once I have a good idea, I spend a couple of days making sure that the idea is adequately fleshed out. I also use this time to research if there are any pre-existing alternatives.
2. Conversation (3-5people): Once my idea is thoroughly thought out, I bring it to multiple people who I can depend on to challenge me and ask difficult questions. This is not about looking for confirmation. It’s about looking for any obstacles that may have been in my blindspot. During this process, I document all the takeaways from each conversation and make a to-do list of how I can overcome all the objections.
3. Overcoming Obstacles (1 week): This is where I tackle the previous step’s to-do list. I find solutions to all of the problems that were brought up and see if any significant roadblocks could prevent me from moving forward successfully.
4. Buy-In: After resolving all the potential obstacles, I go back to the people I initially spoke to and update them on how I plan to overcome each of their objections. I have found that in showing that you took their advice into consideration, they will demonstrate buy into the idea and even serve as a resource as at this point they feel “invested” in what I am doing. The next steps from there are easy once you have the right people on your team and a well thought out idea.

The key is to always make sure you are taking action and moving the ball forward.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Consumer Empowerment -Now more than ever, the power is in the hands of the consumer. We have access to unlimited information before making a purchasing decision. The companies that have become leaders in their industries are the ones who have adapted to this trend the quickest and most effectively. Think of things like Zillow, Yelp, Robinhood, or Tesla. These companies have helped consumers make better, more educated decisions while bringing industries that had not innovated for decades to the forefront of consumer tech.

I am excited about it because now as we are working to do the same in healthcare I believe that we have normalized this level of need for information, and though there is massive quantity of healthcare information in the world, we are working on the direct quality of that information which I think is the next step for consumer empowerment and education.

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

Time blocking – Being better at this habit has become critical as I got busier and our company continued to grow. Isolating time to tackle the most important problems is vital. This became so important that I actually bought an apple watch just for the time blocking application. I also created an application called Tim that applies a dollar amount to each of my meetings based on how much I make a year. This helps me accurately measure how much money I am spending or earning with everything I spend my time on. At the end of the time, Time Is Money, and I believe that you can place a value on it and in doing that, it allows you to behave differently and prioritize more effectively.

What advice would you give your younger self?

One mistake that I made when I was younger was thinking there was a certain path I had to go down to become successful. I thought the formula for success was to go to a good school, intern at a prestigious firm, and land a high-paying job.

However, I would want my younger self to know that success is not about how much money you make. It’s about how much impact you can have.

The fact is, this entire outlook is flawed. I quit my last corporate job with no plan. I knew it was not going to let me do what I wanted to do, create the impact I wanted to have, and I knew that I had to remove myself from that traditional pathway in order to achieve what I wanted. Becoming part of the Forbes30Under30 group has truly validated this as there are so many amazing individuals far younger than myself that realized this much sooner and are already making an unbelievable impact on the world. Normal is the way you do things if you want the same results as everybody else. In today’s world, you have do be original, you have to do things that others aren’t willing to do, and it starts with just taking that first step and trying to see what works best for you.

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

This is funny because this is something that I ask people in our final round of interviews. That being said, you can imagine that I have to return an answer to this quite often. I have several, but the one that I use the most is, “We are more afraid of our success than of our failure.”

Failure is now celebrated in the world of entrepreneurship. What is not talked about is what happens when we succeed. Most people will say the fear to fail is what stops them from making the first step. I will argue that the fear of what is required to achieve success is far greater and keeps the majority from taking the first step. Success is not easy to maintain, and the fear of having to live up to that and do what is required everyday is a fear that goes forgotten about.\

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

Workout, eat right, and treat your body with respect! Too many people ignore their health and wellness, but health is wealth. If you treat your body right, your body will treat you right and give you more energy and focus in your work. All of your hard work will all be in vain if you don’t have the health to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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

Learning how to get one segment of our target audience to educate the other segments of our market about our company and services has been a game-changing strategy for us. Or simply put “Network Effects.” For instance, with PatientPartner we worked with surgeons to create content for them and their practice, and in turn, they used the content which promoted patients to come our way and for the surgeons to be more engaged with us.

By creating value for one party, we inherently started a referral source of incoming users/traffic, leading to more market adoption and awareness. Being aware of your customer acquisition cost is critical for any new company. Finding ways to get buy-in throughout your market and creating value even with stakeholders that are not “paying customers” will help generate organic and free product adoption and traffic.

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

One of the largest failures I have had is trying to do too many things at one time. When a million things are happening at once, and everything seems like it is the most important, it becomes tough to say no. I found myself trying to be in 100 different places and failing to deliver what was required of me on time and with quality.

I had to take a step back and start outlining and evaluating all of the initiatives and prioritising them through an edited RICE model. (Resources, Impact, Confidence, and Effort).
This allowed me to best understand where my time should be spent, who I could bring in to assist with what needed to be done, and what I could either outsource or put on the backburner. This has worked wonders on my day-to-day and helped me grow as a manager and leader.

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

So I will put this out into the world to see if anyone is interested in partnering up as it has moved more from just being an idea to actually existing in infancy. I am extremely passionate about time. The value of it, how to efficiently use it, and getting the most out of every minute. I mentioned earlier that I built a unique time blocking application that is layered with a cost calculation tool. The idea behind this is that “Time is money.” We hear it all the time; however, there has never been something to help us visualize that.

Applying an actual cost calculator and integrating that into our calendar will create focus and strategy around how we plan our day, how we involve others, and how we optimize our own time and network. If anyone wants to get involved, let me know!

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

Two things:
1. $10 – We purchased a logo animation for all of our ads, video content, and social media. We found an animator on fiverr that gave us the animation and jingle, which we have gotten a great response on and a lot of questions about how we did it!
2. $100 – Masks with our logo on them. We work in healthcare so as you can imagine these are required. What we didn’t account for were the patients and surgeons who wanted them as well. We are now giving them out to all of our patients, partners, and surgeons who proudly rep them!

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

This may sound ridiculous, but the notes & the alarm function on my apple products are the greatest for me. I have tried every productivity tool or software solution under the sun, and I have found that keeping it simple is the easiest way to stay in control and stay focused.

During meetings, I label a note as the meeting title and try not to take more than 5 bullet points of take-aways.

For time blocking and focus, I use the alarm app on my apple watch to block out 15 min increments to devote time for deep work and focus.

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

Dream Big – This is my favorite book of all time. One of the most important parts of being an entrepreneur is having the ability to dream with no limits. Bob Goff takes you through a journey of whimsical ways to make the practice of making dreams a reality. Even though there are slight religious undertones to the book, they can be overlooked if that is not your thing. This is a book that I think has brought out the best in me, both personally and professionally.

What is your favorite quote?

“The mass of men lead quiet lives of desperation.” – Henry David Thoreu
Why? – Because you never want to be the one wishing you did something more in life.

Key Learnings:

  • Time is money – Knowing where, how and who to spend your time with is absolutely critical while being an entrepreneur. Understanding the value of your time will help you make the tough decisions on deciding what is important and how to prioritize. There is value in every second!
  • Take Action –Stop ideating and make it happen. There is no right way to make the first step, and no matter how much you plan, you will never go down the path you set. The only way to find out if your ideas work is to do them. Start now, learn, and adjust.
  • Be different – Doing the same thing as everyone else will get you the same results they have. If you want to stand out, you have to stand alone. This may be difficult when starting a company, but it is required. Don’t be afraid to believe in your ideas and challenge what people think- that is what leads to innovation.