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May 2, 2023

E60: Entrepreneurial Insights: Leading a Healthcare Startup with Brian Russon, CEO of Patient Genie

E60: Entrepreneurial Insights: Leading a Healthcare Startup with Brian Russon, CEO of Patient Genie

In this episode, we delve into the entrepreneurial journey of a healthcare startup leader. Our guest, Brian Russon, co-founder, and CEO of Patient Genie, shares his insights on starting a business, forming strategic partnerships, and succeeding in the hospital and healthcare industries... See show notes at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/e60-entrepreneurial-insights-leading-a-healthcare-startup-with-brian-russon-ceo-of-patient-genie/#show-notes

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In this episode, we delve into the entrepreneurial journey of a healthcare startup leader. Our guest, Brian Russon, co-founder, and CEO of Patient Genie, shares his insights on starting a business, forming strategic partnerships, and succeeding in the hospital and healthcare industries. Patient Genie is an AI-driven healthcare navigation solution that simplifies provider search and delivers patients to the provider's doorstep through patented algorithms and methods. Join us as we pick Brian's brain and gain valuable insights into the healthcare startup landscape. We are excited to speak with Brian, who comes highly recommended as a guest from Justin Kahn, a previous guest on episode 22 of the Remote Start Podcast. If you missed that episode, be sure to check it out as well. Tune in now for an engaging and informative conversation!


Learn more about Brian Russon at:

Website: https://patientgenie.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-russon-0a26224/

Learn more about the Remote Start Podcast at: https://www.remotestartpodcast.com/


Jim: Remote Start Nation, on this episode, we are gonna be discussing the business journey of one entrepreneur who's leading his second healthcare startup. We're going to be discussing starting a business strategic partnerships lifestyle, and what it takes to succeed in the hospital and healthcare industries. Today I'll be talking with Brian Russon, co-founder and CEO of Patient Genie, an AI-driven healthcare navigation solution that helps consumers navigate through the complexities of provider search and delivers patients to the provider's front door using patented algorithms and methods. I'm excited to speak to Brian today who came highly recommended as a guest from Justin Kahn, what I had on episode 22 of the Remote Start Podcast. Actually has now become a good friend. If you haven't listened to that episode, go back and do I think you'll get a lot of value out of it. With that said Brian, welcome. It's an honor to have you.

Brian: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it, Jim. It's good to be on the show.

Jim: Absolutely. So let's get this started. I want to know something about you that if we just met on the street, I wouldn't know.

Brian: Oh man. If we just met on the street I don't know, man. I'm a dad, that's my first and foremost. I've got four kids scattered from college to elementary school and just, yeah, just, I'm an entrepreneur, hustle and single dad and just doing life.

Jim: Yeah, I love it. We've talked a lot about lifestyle and some of the things that you do with your kids, and I think we relate a lot in that way. Have you always, just everything you wanted to do in the outdoors and all your experiences, have you always brought your kids in on that or was it something at a certain age?

Brian: Certain ages, I think, I taught all of them to ski or snowboard pretty early on because it's Utah and we have, the best snow on the planet, that's always been important. My boating and wakeboarding and wake surfing, taught all the kids how to do that pretty early on too. I some of them love it and some of them don't, it's interesting to see the different personalities in all of them, for sure.

Jim: That's so true. My daughter I've tried to get to mountain bike with me so bad and there's, she did it once, there's zero interest, but my boys are like, all about it. That's all they want to do, and snowboarding's similar, like she'll go out there, she'll rip it up, but it's not, she's not asking me to go, I'll tell you that.

Brian: I think my middle two daughters, I think they enjoy the, I think they enjoy the Instagram aspect of snowboarding more so than the sport aspect of snowboarding.

Jim: I could see that. Hey, whatever it takes to get them out there.

Brian: Whatever it gets us likes, whatever you get those likes.

Jim: So talk to me about your entrepreneurial journey. I know this is definitely not your first business. We're gonna talk a little bit more about, some of the stuff you have in the works now, but tell me where it started.

Brian: Yeah, it's in the blood. I think, it definitely is something since I was a kid, I kinda had an entrepreneurial mind, you can ask my parents probably a little too much sometimes, there was always a hustle, there was always something going on, and then after college, I went to work for large Fortune 50 companies and spent some time on that corporate side of the world. Worked for United Health Group, worked for Microsoft, worked for Intel in a capacity, a handful of other kind of mid-market size health tech organizations. But the entrepreneurial side was always there for me and was fortunate to meet with Justin years ago, co-found PA or true clinic with him. And we had a blast, it was it was a good time, we had a good time. We took that company from a fledgling idea and a handful of different proof of concepts and pilots into, a really kind of scalable solution for telehealth, not knowing what would happen in 2020, and then obviously kinda, yeah. Scaling that up through some different kind of deals and strategic deals and acquisitions and, we're fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to really help out the pandemic from that perspective and keep people connected with their providers during a time that none of us had ever kinda lived through before. We were fortunate to be in the right place, the right time there.

Jim: That's awesome. And I want to talk more about Justin and strategic partnerships and how that's really played a role into how you've grown and been able to accomplish what you have in business. But before we go there, I'd like to know more about, what you're doing now and, talk about Patient Genie, talk about some of the other things that, that you have on your plate right now.

Brian: Yeah, so Patient Genie kind of came out of that same kind of health tech, health vision perspective obviously with a much larger AI component. And so what we recognized in building telehealth platforms across the world with True Clinic and with InTouch and those kinds of organizations was, we did a great job of building the infrastructure for telehealth, but one thing that was still lacking was really how a consumer finds care, right? So today, let's say you move to a new region, your provider retires. You get diagnosed with something, you need to find a specialist, whatever the case might be, you need to find a provider. Today, the process for that is you ask maybe your neighbors who they go to. Maybe you have a family member, maybe you have a Facebook group or some social media that you follow or, for the most of us you go to Google and you search for, this type of provider in this area. Then you end up at your health plans website trying to figure out if they're in your network or not, what the benefit might look like. And then once you get through that process and find one that's in your network. Then you go to the health system or the provider themselves and try to figure out do they speak the language I wanna speak, do they have those social and cultural determinants that are important to me as a patient and as a consumer? I think we have all had the experience where we've gone into a provider or whether that, whatever kind of provider that might be, and we don't really click with that person, right? We're sharing some of the most personal information about ourselves with this person, but there's no kind of click with that individual provider. And so we're not really happy. So maybe we stay, maybe we go find a different one depending on the urgency of our condition, and so what we've tried to do and what we have done with Patient Genie is build profiles about all of the different providers in the us. So there's about five and a half million providers in the US that provide all kinds of different care, whether that's traditional MDs or dos, whether that's. Chiropractors or massage therapists or whatever the case might be. So we've built profiles about all of these providers in the industry and then that allows us to match those providers and what they do in clinic, with consumer inputs. So I have a bad shoulder, it's a snowboarding injury, and so I'm always looking for a good orthopedist that treats shoulders well. If I go to, my health plans website and I look for orthopedist there, it's gonna give me an alphabetical list of orthopedists, but I don't know if they do shoulders or knees or hips or elbows, or finger joints, right? Because none of that information is captured in that directory, and so by taking a look at the provider from what they actually claim, And both insurance and, kind of Medicaid or Medicare, and extrapolating that back to the granular level to understand what they actually do in clinic. I can then refine that search for the consumer and say, look, here's the five top orthopedic surgeons in Utah, that do shoulders. And then I can start to look at the next layer of, do they accept my insurance? Do they speak Spanish? Do they speak or where'd they go to medical school? Are they board certified? I can start to go through those things that are important to me and filter those rules, results down even more. So we built.

Jim: That's incredible.

Brian: And that's basically the premise of the concept of where that came from.

Jim: I think that's such an opportunity there. I could speak from experience this summer I blew out my meniscus and a mountain biking injury and it was like, that to me it was a daunting, such a daunting task to find somebody like used to that specialized in these that, understood sports injuries, that took my insurance, it was hours on the phone and researching until I finally found somebody that fit all my criteria, to be able to narrow that down with Patient Genie, how would I as the user here, how would I figure that out? Would I just go to the website and plug in my information?

Brian: Yeah, so we have a direct to consumer website, so patientgenie.com. That's live, it's in beta, you can go use it in all transparency, there's not a lot you can do there yet. And that's by design so you can find a provider, but a lot of the filtering doesn't work because we're Dependent on the data that we have on the backend to create those kind of matches. And so one of the things that we're working on as we kinda lead into kind of strategic partnerships and relationships with customers is continuing to build out that data ecosystem so that we have rich data about the providers, because if I'm a provider, so let's say I'm an orthopedic surgeon, and I practice here in Salt Lake or whatever the case might be. And I only do hips and I only do sports related or knees. Sorry, I only do sports related knee injuries, there's really not a lot of ways for me to filter the patients that are coming through my front door either. And so they see a need like this where they can say, I don't wanna see people that have a shoulder or have a hip injury because I don't treat that. Push those to appear that I have, that do that does treat that instead. And so there's a duplicative value both from the consumer coming through the right front door, as well as what's actually ending up inside of that provider's office and being letting the provider practice top of license. And so there's a balance in creating a space where we can get the right data to create the right profile about the providers, to bring in the right patients into their waiting rooms so their waiting rooms aren't bogged down with people that are better served somewhere else, and we've all experienced that, where we've gone to a provider and they've said I'm not the right person for this. I'm gonna send you to a different specialist, and we call that other specialist and they're six months out, and so elongates unnecessarily the resolution time for our conditions because we're ending up, in an inefficient model, and so one of the things that we're working on, Is building better consumer efficiency inside of that interaction. So today, I use the example of I go to Google and then I go to the health plan website, and then I go to the health system website. That's a myriad of different front doors. It's not a rich consumer experience. It's an extremely clunky consumer experience, right? So people fall out, consumers fall out of that experience, and they're like forget it. This is too difficult. I'll just go to the emergency room. That's the worst case scenario of what we want to happen is, a and a non-emergent solution ending up in an emergency room that's just taxing on the system for no reason, and so there's a better way for us to create better efficiency from a consumer experience, very similar to what Travelocity or Orbits or Google flights or whoever did for the kind of the travel industry. Whereas a consumer, I can go to one destination, let's just use orbits, and I can book my flight on Delta, I can book my hotel at Marriott, I can book my car through Avis in one consumer experience. And so what we'll build with Patient Genie is not only the ability for you to find the right provider, but through some strategic relationships we'll put in place, actually connect with that provider. And build kind of a master front door, if you will, for all of the front door applications that exist in healthcare. So now I can schedule my appointment with my provider directly in the search experience. I can engage directly with that provider through their telehealth vendor directly through the search experience so I don't have to go a bunch of different places. I do that in one experience as opposed to your experience, obviously, which was. It takes me two days of calling and Googling and trying to find out where I'm supposed to go and how do I schedule an appointment and then are nine months out. So then I'm back to ground zero doing it again.

Jim: Thank you for sharing that. Remote Start Podcast is about starting a business and building a brand and one of the things that you've done over and over again is starting businesses and, there's even other businesses the Russ and Family Foundation I wanna get into in a little bit. But, let's talk about for the most our nation out there who's listening and they're. Thinking about starting their first business or maybe a second business, what are some things that you've done that have allowed you to be successful? And not just starting a business but scaling that to a level that you're able to sell?

Brian: Yeah, yeah. I would say on that front, and it is cliche but just do it. If you've got an idea, just start with something, right? You don't have to have an obscene amount of capital to get started. You can bootstrap pretty much any kind of business and just get going, right? And just be tenacious, that's the secret I think at some level, at, launching a company, launching a business is just about that kind of first takeoff. Scaling a business is a completely different beast, and I've been fortunate to be a part of a couple of companies that we've scaled, to the point where we were able to exit. I've got others, I've failed more than I've succeeded for sure. And so I think, you've gotta be willing to fail. And yeah, I'm such, contrary to popular belief, I'm pretty non sentimental. And so for me, I don't get married to the ideas that I have or to the businesses that I have outside of the foundation, that's the only one that, is a legacy company for me, but I think outside of that one, I don't get married to the idea. I don't get married to the business, and so for me it is just that, it is just a business.

Jim: I love that. I think that's great advice, ‘cause I think so often people think they have to be like I think there has to be passion there, there has to be an a reason why you're doing it. But that doesn't have to tie in to your point there, that doesn't necessarily have to tie into that exact business. It could just be the thought behind it, the model, the business itself.

Brian: Yeah, and absolutely, and sometimes when you get to that point where you've got a great idea and you've had some early success, but it's time to scale. Sometimes you're not the best person or the best organization to scale that idea, and you've gotta be able to be in tune with yourself enough and in tune enough with the market and the idea to be able to say, I'm not the best person, or I'm not the best organization to scale this idea to the point that it could go to, and being able to check that ego down, if you will, in that sense and let you know someone else or some other company come in and scale it is absolutely as important as the idea itself.

Jim: Let's go back to the scenario with you and Justin and teaming up. How did that partnership form, how did that, like, how did that start?

Brian: Yeah, it's interesting. So I was working for Microsoft at the time that we met, we were in the, I was in the health group, we were launching Surface, right? Which was their competitor to iPad back in the day, we were look looking for use cases in healthcare to launch surface. And I was working with the Levitt group here in Salt Lake, a nice healthcare boutique consulting firm, had a few colleagues there. And they introduced me to Justin, we ended up at an event with each other and they say, Hey, this would be a great use case for first surface. He's got this telehealth company that's growing but not growing fast enough, and you should connect, and I sat down with Justin and we hit it off pretty quick, had some similar interests, we're very different. He and I think that difference lended well to our success. And we got together, moved into an advisory capacity for him, and then eventually got to a point where it made sense to move into more of a full-time capacity and really played off of each other's strengths. We joined an incubator down in Miami, called Startup Bootcamp and that was a great decision ‘cause we ended up meeting a couple of other individuals in Alex and Vital that had another company that made a lot of sense, and we just, we smashed those two companies together to create what was True Clinic And what we took to market is True Clinic, which became appetizing enough for a large acquisition, and we were able to do that with InTouch and then, yeah, we scaled that and then InTouch sold into Teladoc and right before the pandemic and it it was just, it was literally the snowball that just kept rolling right, and yeah, fortunate to have been in connection with all those guys and really kinda drive that vision, that idea to the next level.

Jim: How important, you mentioned something a couple times you hit on it of you understood, you played into each other's strengths, yeah. How important is it as an entrepreneur and someone looking for a partnership to understand your strengths, to know what truly who you are and what you're good at?

Brian: Yeah, I think it's important to understand the swim lane that we're in, that you were in, that you excel in, I think it's as important to understand the areas where you're weakest. And I was fortunate to find partners that, exemplified my weaknesses. And that's what made it successful for us because those different perspectives, those different ways of looking at problem solving and scale and business operation lends for a better company, a better organization. Being able to remove that ego, if you will, and really kinda say, is there a better way to do this contrary to what I think might be the best way?

Jim: I think that's really hard. I think it's a lot of people want to think that they're good at so much. Is there something that you do and to understand this is what I'm good at and this is what I'm not.

Brian: Yeah experience I think is I don't think there's a book you can read, maybe there is, if anyone has any recommendations, I'll take them. But I think for me it's just experience. I know I excel in kinda strategy and business, relationship and partnership and kind of market dynamics and those types of pieces. I don't excel in, thinking about how a product should look or how a product should act. And so I've been fortunate to be aligned with individuals that do think that way very strategically, and that's led itself into a number of different ventures that have really done well.

Jim: You mentioned with Justin, you started as, you like a board role and then you got into more of like you were, you actually jumped in with it, is that kind of how you like for when you're deciding partnerships and what role to take is it all about just going out and networking and finding the individuals and just having that conversation and seeing their, like actually figuring out their strengths through conversation or is there another way you go about that?

Brian: I think it's about getting out there, right? It's your baby and it's always interesting when you talk to entrepreneurs that struggle with getting their product into the market, because they're like, but this is such an awesome idea, why doesn't everybody want it? And it's because it's not their idea. It's not their baby, and I think it's difficult to understand that people have a world of different priorities that aren't, whatever you've dreamed up is as the best, the next best idea. And so being able to get out there and get that ex, that idea exposed and get it in front of people is absolutely pivotal to, especially early on success because people just don't know. And it takes a lot of lifts, a lot of lifts to, to seed those ideas in people.

Jim: So when you go out there, are you do you already have it in mind? I'm willing to give up X percentage of this idea. Is it even is that even a topic at first or is it just, let's just go out and try to see if someone might be a good fit?

Brian: Yeah, I think it's more the latter, I think the economics tend to work themselves out eventually. I think, can you find someone who can buy into your vision, buy into the concept, buy into kind of the idea. And then when you get there, then you let the economics work themselves out.

Jim: I love that, that's great advice. And I feel like even in my business, it's, you can't be greedy. You have to understand that it has to work for everybody, and I think that's I could see a lot of people getting hung up on, either not trusting others so maybe that's, something that's gonna hinder that or just wanting to do it all themselves and understanding that it's so much better when you have a network and that partnership that, like you said, you can rely on other people for their strengths based on your weaknesses.

Brian: Yeah, it's interesting because I think at some level it the entrepreneur landscape is littered with great ideas that just didn't get executed on and that could be they didn't get executed because the market wasn't ready. We did Health Fault when I was at Microsoft, I don't even know, 15 years ago, something like that. Great idea, great concept, way ahead of its time, never really caught, and we have, somewhat unlimited capital. And now we see a lot more, we see a lot more presence around those types of organizations than we've ever seen because it's probably closer to the right time. And so the entrepreneur landscape is littered with great ideas that just did get executed on, and that could be hubris, that could be e ego that could be anything. But I think there is a mentality sometimes with some entrepreneurs of, this is my idea. I don't want to give any of it up. I'm gonna do this on my own, and that works. Sometimes it doesn't work all the time, I've tended to lean on the modus around, this is a great idea, I wanna surround my peop myself with great people to help me take this idea to the next level and share in the pie, because I'm gonna do it again and I'm gonna wash, rinse, and repeat, and I'm gonna do it again. And I'll make it up on the, I'll make it up on the long tail with, four or five companies as opposed to trying to do it by myself with one.

Jim: I love that we've talked about, some of the successes and the partnerships, you hit on it, earlier you said you've had a lot that haven't been successful. You've had a lot of companies not work. Is there a reasoning that you've found in the failures you've had and failures is, that's a tough word because you learn something from everything that you do, but it's the right word. Is there something that you've taken away from those ones that didn't work of, okay, I get it now, I'm gonna not make this mistake again?

Brian: Yeah, every time, every time failure is the right word that, there's always there's always a reason that it didn't work, whether that's the market, whether it's, you, whether it's the vision the capital, whatever the failure is, there's always a reason or a myriad of reasons to look back and learn from. And I correlate that not only the business life, but per but bus, but personal life et cetera. I, anytime we fail, there's a lesson to learn, right? And sometimes we have to learn it a few times over, before it sticks. Yeah, sometimes it never sticks, but yeah, I can look at all of the companies that I've worked for started tried to get off the ground that haven't worked, and I can recognize the failure points in those organizations.

Jim: Has it come down to picking the wrong partner in any of them?

Brian: No I can't think of one, I can't think of one that's failed because of the partnership, I think they've failed because of the market. That maybe the dynamics in the partnership, I would say the dynamics in the partnership, yes. But I think intrinsically, people want to succeed, want to do well, are willing to work hard, I think that's a natural human state. And I think it's just sometimes it just doesn't match or doesn't correlate.

Jim: That's interesting, thank you. So you had talked about, not falling really in love with the business itself other than the one that the foundation, your nonprofit. Let's talk about that a little bit.

Brian: Yeah, yeah. So I started the foundation about three years ago, two and a half, three years ago, focused primarily on gap equality in a myriad of different spaces. So we initially, we started with mental health, so we focus on mental health gap grants. So we like to find or identify individuals that need mental health services and maybe are underinsured or uninsured, that we can help bridge the gap between what their insurance pays and what the provider charges for those mental health services, and so we've been fortunate to grant a handful of different individuals in that we're constantly fundraising to raise more money so we can do more grants and really drive that down. We do some community initiatives as well, we've got some good partnerships and other nonprofits that focus on school bullying and mental health in schools and that age demographic, that's an important demographic for us, teen to young adults as well, but yeah, so the foundation is something that's near and dear to the heart. That's a legacy company for me, that'll be the company that gets passed down to the kids to continue to drive that good back into our communities.

Jim: I love that, and I don't think I hit it said it earlier, but it's the Russon Family Foundation for those of you listening and Brian my question on that so you've started a lot of profit for profit businesses. What was it that, the idea behind it or the reasoning that for you to start this foundation?

Brian: Yeah, it was just I've been fortunate to be successful in my for-profit world, and I wanted to do something, I think give it back is somewhat overused and cliche, but to give it back to help the communities. I'm a big proponent of, growth in community and a rising tide lifts all ships and we have such disparity, in this country, in this planet that's completely unnecessary. So if I can do a little bit to help I will, and this is just a mechanism to do.

Jim: For those of us listening, what can we do to help the foundation?

Brian: Yeah, anything. We're always looking for volunteers that wanna help fundraise, fundraising's, that's the lifeblood of any nonprofit is fundraising and for-profit, and we're constantly fundraising, I think we'll do a gala probably September-ish. And we'll have some press out about that as we get closer to that. But anything, if there's opportunities for the foundation to be involved, we'd love to hear about those, if there's opportunities for fundraising, obviously love to hear about those. If anybody wants to volunteer, feel free to reach out, we're always looking for people to help identify both grant opportunities as well as grant individuals and families that, that may need help. Yeah, just reach out, that would be my catch.

Jim: Awesome. I would love to partake in some of the events coming up. I'll definitely follow up you with you on that one, good. I wanna switch it up. So this podcast is also about lifestyle and, going through your LinkedIn profile, having conversation with you and I said earlier in the podcast, we are very connected in a way of getting our kids involved and being active and getting outdoors and really living not focusing too much on being tied down to our business, but going out and seeking adventure and putting in those quality times. Talk to me a little bit about, your business and how that ties into your lifestyle and how you've, brought the two together.

Brian: Yeah, no, I'm a play hard, work hard guy. And anybody that I've worked with, I would hope that anybody that I've worked with I'm a playful person. That's my personality, I hate being cooped up in an office, I gotta be outside, I need sunshine, I even if it's for an hour, I ran a sales team years ago. And we would always sneak out on Friday afternoons and play flag football at the park. And yeah, it was great, we had 20 guys. It was nuts, but that was a thing, right? I just want to get out and play. So yeah, I'm a play hard guy, if I can sneak out and get a few runs in the morning before my meetings get started, I absolutely, if it's a powder day, I absolutely will. And I've spent some time in my career and my life where I've been solely focused on work and that, my balance was broken, and so for me, I've found the best cadence for me is to maintain a balance where I have a little bit of play mixed in with a lot of work. And when there's not a lot of work, then a lot of play. And I've started companies that are around my passion or been involved in companies that are around my passion. We had a wakeboarding and wake surfing school, which was a blast, I had a buddy that had a retail kind of outdoor company and we parlayed that into a wakeboarding wake surfing school. It was awesome, it was one of my favorite jobs. And there's nothing wrong with boating, four or five times. It's not very conducive to, your other life and, wives and kids and other responsibilities. But it was a blast to just sit on the lake every night and teach people how to surf or teach people how to wakeboard. And that was a good time, it was a good time, I wouldn't mind dusting that one off at some point.

Jim: I think it sounds awesome to do what you love and be passionate about and get paid for it and yeah, that's the ticket.

Brian: It's hard, it's hard though, ‘cause you get to that point where you're like, passion becomes work and so you, it's balanced, you gotta maintain that balance.

Jim: You had said something about, when there's business to be done, you're doing business, but you're still getting some play time in and vice versa, when you have a partner who maybe isn't into the same, work-life balance as you are, how do you, is it just communication and making sure that they understand that stuff's gonna get done? Do you have, expectations set up? Like how does that play in?

Brian: Yeah, conflict resolution. I think it's communication, I think it's just, with Justin back in the true clinic days, it was interesting to, ‘cause I would always, I sneak out to hit the resort, he'd see me on email at 10 o'clock at night too, right after the kids are in bed, and just kinda I'm a big proponent, I don't believe in a nine to five lifestyle, I think that's broken and but I do believe in getting it done. And so people that work for me, I have that same expectation just get your work done, I don't care if it's three o'clock in the morning or at two o'clock in the afternoon when we started True Clinic, our chief technology officer, Lived in an RV worked just oddball hours, traveled all over the place. We never knew where he would be the next day, and he's just coding away, like building product. And it was great. It was interesting, it was a different model than I was used to, but it worked. And now I have, development teams with Patient Genie. They're scattered all over kind of Eastern Europe. And I'm a very kinda remote, mobile first type of leader and entrepreneur, and I just I drive and look for the best talent wherever that talent might be.

Jim: And do you set it up where, for entrepreneurs listening, is it, Hey, these are your KPIs that you need to put into place and say, these are our targets and weekly check-in. Help us to understand that a little bit.

Brian: I'm not a huge fan of KPIs, honestly, I go back to my earlier comment, I believe at their core, people want to do good work, and when you find someone that's passionate about doing good work, you don't have to manage them at that level, you can just let them do their work. Now, obviously, you get a bad seed every once in a while, and there's ways to manage that and manage those people out when you need to, and I've had to do that fortunately or unfortunately as well, but I think for the most part, my managerial style, my leadership style is very much everyone's gonna bring a level of energy and a level of work ethic and a level of Humility to their job, a level of expert expertness, that's not a word experience, right? And yeah, that capacity, and let them do that, right? Let them be them, let them show you what they can do, and I've found that work environment, that space lends itself better to better outcomes, better, better employees, better employee retention, more so than, sitting down once a quarter to talk through a bunch of bullets that you know, that you think are important. And that'll go against a lot of kind of managerial styles. But I'm okay with that, it is what it is.

Jim: And I love that it's worked for what you've done and you're showing that leadership style is a style. So I appreciate you sharing that, I wanted to hit on this episode for those out there in, the healthcare industry hospital system, like what are some things that are different than a normal business that maybe you've been in or done? And what are some things that those in this industry need to understand to be able to succeed?

Brian: Yeah, this is a tough industry, I came to healthcare probably what, 2000? 2002? 2003, something like that, so it's been about 20 years that I've been in healthcare. Always been in tech, but came to healthcare about 20 years ago. And it's a different industry because it is traditionally non-technical, and moving tech into that industry has been a significant lift. There's a reason why the healthcare system is as difficult to navigate as it is, right? And it's because it's just legacy process that just right exists. So, if you're building a company in the health provider sector and that's a space you wanna be in, just be prepared for extremely long sales cycles. Because it is right, the budgets are razor thin margins. There's not a lot of extra money laying around, you've really gotta prove that your product or service moves the needle from either a revenue or a cost control side. Otherwise, it just won't get any of the attention of the larger organizations, and I've been fortunate to work with most of the large health systems around the country. And so have good contacts scattered around in those organizations, and this is a hard industry to get in with, and so when we bleed back into strategic partnerships in my opinion, strategic partnerships in this sector specifically are a life and death decision for new and fledgling companies, being able to leverage both the expertise and the relationships that already exist or may exist is absolutely pivotal to success in this space. And I don't think I'm alone, if you were to talk to anybody else in kind of healthcare, health tech, I think that I think that motto would ring true in all cases.

Jim: And so would you recommend getting out there and making the connections and trying to really understand who to connect with as a partner given, would you say that's more important than your product itself?

Brian: I wouldn't say it's more important than the product, but it's definitely important when you're ready to take product to market. Yeah, and fortunately, there's a lot of good groups and a lot of incubation groups and kind of relationship groups in healthcare because that's a natural dynamic that that have done well and kinda see the value in those kind of kickstart, if you will, type organizations. And a lot of large health systems own a lot of those because they want that tech, they see the tech down there at the bottom of the ecosystem and they wanna boil those up into their organizations, and so those are typically the best ones to work with.

Jim: Cool, any last bit of advice for entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry that you wanna leave?

Brian: Yeah, don't stop, just keep going, just if you gotta bootstrap it, right? We're in a difficult kind of venture atmosphere right now both in healthcare and tech, right? It's been a rough couple of years from a venture perspective and a capital perspective. And do what you gotta do to just survive in the space and time that we exist in, because it's absolutely necessary and the opportunity is there, absolutely the opportunity for growth is there, it's just navigating through the current kind of environment.

Jim: Cool, I appreciate that. And Brian, we'll have your show notes, in the show notes, we'll have links to, your business, your foundation your LinkedIn where's the best place if someone's looking out to touch base with you on anything where would you recommend they reach out?

Brian: Yeah, probably LinkedIn is the best place, professional relationships. That's my social media platform for professional relationships, if it's foundation based, just come straight to me in the foundation.

Jim: Cool. And if it's to go skiing and snowboarding, then just.

Brian: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Knock on your door.

Brian: Yeah. Instagram, all the other social medias. Let's just go or just say, Hey, I'll be at Basin at night, and no. So yeah, if it's to play outside, definitely find me and let's go break some powder.

Jim: Awesome. I'm with you there. Before we leave the show's coming to an end. But, one thing I always like to close with if there's one piece of advice, one thing that you can leave with, an entrepreneur today, someone, it might be something we went over, it might be something we didn't what would you leave with them?

Brian: I think, and we did talk about it a little bit. I would say take the failure, learn the lesson and do it again, it's okay to fail, you will. So take the lesson and then go do it. Go execute on something else.

Jim: That's great advice. Brian, tanks for hanging out with us today, man. I appreciate it.

Brian: Yeah, I appreciate it, Jim. Always, anytime.

Jim: It was fun, it was a lot of fun. Remote Start Nation, I hope you learned as much as I did today and can put some of what Brian shared with us to work for you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for joining us on this journey as we hope you to start a business, grow your brand, and create your desired lifestyle. Remember, leave a comment, subscribe, and more importantly, share this episode with your community who you think could learn from what you heard today. Till next time, go start something, start it today and go build a lifestyle you desire by taking action.


Brian RussonProfile Photo

Brian Russon

CEO / Co-Founder

Experienced Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and healthcare industry. Strong entrepreneurship professional skilled in sales, enterprise software, customer relationship management (CRM), go-to-market strategy, and strategic partnerships. Brian Russon is the co-founder and CEO of Patient Genie, an AI-driven search engine for healthcare. Powered by cutting-edge LLMs and a patented data engine, PatientGenie helps patients navigate the complexities of provider searches. Integrated with dozens of data and technology partners, it offers solutions such as triage, patient appointments, insurance availability, telehealth, price transparency, and a provider directory, all on a single platform. PatientGenie is a turn-key digital master front door for all types of healthcare organizations.

Jim DoyonProfile Photo

Jim Doyon


My name is Jim Doyon. I'm a father to three awesome kids, husband to an incredible wife and the oldest sibling to a large split family.I'm currently on a mission and I can't wait to share with you. We sold our house back in 2020, and we've been traveling this beautiful country in a 42-foot Travel trailer ever since. We visited 34 states, and are about to embark on our second loop around the country, stopping at some of our favorite spots again, but also getting to see new areas that the US has to offer.We are trying to experience this life to its fullest spending quality time together. I'm running a business and building brands along the road. We've been fortunate enough on this journey to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and family on many of our stops. We love exploring each City from downtown's to the natural resources it has to offer. I'm passionate about mountain biking and it's not only in my way to get out and explore but to exercise, clear my head, think, and strategize.