Juan C Jiménez is the co-founder and CEO of AccurKardia, a digital-first and software-only healthcare company focused on ECG analytics. AccurKardia enables a world in which a combination of smart devices, reliable and actionable data, along with efficient clinical intervention, can together improve medical outcomes and save lives.
Prior to AccurKardia, Juan was president of one of the largest non-emergency medical transportation companies in the USA based in Puerto Rico. Juan started his career as an investment banking analyst and associate at Credit Suisse in New York. He earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and BBA from the University of Puerto Rico.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Juan C Jiménez: I’m the co-founder and CEO of AccurKardia, a digital-first and software-only healthcare company focused on enabling a world in which a combination of smart devices, reliable and actionable data, along with efficient clinical intervention, can together improve medical outcomes and save lives.
Before AccurKardia, I was president of one of the largest non-emergency medical transportation companies in the USA based in Puerto Rico. I started my career as an investment banking analyst and associate at Credit Suisse in New York. I have an MBA from Columbia Business School and BBA from the University of Puerto Rico. On the personal side, I am happily married and a proud father of a 9-month-old baby.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Juan C Jiménez: My business experience has been influenced by the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. A lesson I have learned – and one I’m applying to challenges in 2022 – is to balance patience and flexibility. Patience can help us not alter a strategy too quickly when there are changes to the macroeconomic, industry, and business-specific environment.
On the other hand, flexibility can help us make adjustments to business plans and pivot as required. As business leaders facing uncertainty, we need to strike a winning balance between both of these ideals.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Juan C Jiménez: The pandemic’s effects on the economy have been far from linear. At AccurKardia, we have been focusing on patients’ needs in an ever more interconnected health care system. Additionally, we have been carefully understanding the needs of the workforce, learning what it takes to better recruit, retain and develop top talent in a tightening labor market.
Finally, as an early-stage company, we have to monitor the conditions of the private capital markets so we can meet our funding requirements.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Juan C Jiménez: In AccurKardia’s space, the pandemic has triggered a rapid rise in the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions. At the same time, clinicians and patients alike have become more comfortable with these solutions. While the first wave of telemedicine has focused largely on video consult calls, the next wave will integrate more holistic and diagnostic remote health monitoring with telemedicine capabilities.
We have built our products to serve these dynamics, minimizing integration friction while delivering the best possible solutions to improve patients’ outcomes.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Juan C Jiménez: This pandemic is not a sprint and has taught us we always need to be prepared for a marathon. Personally, emotionally and professionally, we had to recalibrate plans several times to accommodate for the pandemic’s long-term impact and disruptions to everyday life.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Juan C Jiménez: To date, technology has not been used to its fullest extent in telehealth. This can perhaps partially be explained by the fact that many of these developments were born out of necessity (during the pandemic) rather than out of desire for innovation. Traditionally, healthcare investments in information technology (IT) have significantly lagged investments in other major parts of the economy, such as financial services and government, by a 5-to-1 ratio. This makes little sense, given healthcare’s contribution to the US GDP.
Telehealth 1.0, in my mind, was largely playing catch up. As Telehealth 2.0 begins to unfold, we will now see the goal move from convenience to medical excellence. From this, we will see a transformation in being able to capture patients’ data remotely, as well as greater integration of wearable devices into telehealth strategies.These developments, which I expect to gain momentum in 2022, will enhance the patient experience and unlock new levels of medical excellence for years to come.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Juan C Jiménez: I typically spend seven hours a day.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Juan C Jiménez: Storytelling is a key tool in our field because the success of smart devices in medicine will depend on adoption by practitioners and patients. In order to drive this adoption, we need to share compelling stories that showcase the ‘why?” for what we do. Our company is already sold on the value proposition but we need to now convey this to investors and practitioners in ways that will directly speak to the benefits for patients and reflect real-world improvements.
For every device and every use case, we think about how we can deliver this narrative and provide a solution to a common problem that impacts the end user. For example, according to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. In the United States, heart disease costs the United States about $363 billion each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Early detection of related conditions, such as arrhythmia, is critical and can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of at-risk patients.
However, as has been famously put, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” This sentiment rings truer today in our world of social media and influencers than when the quote first appeared. It is important for us to convey the tragedy experienced by a family when they have lost a loved one to a stroke or a heart attack, particularly one that could have been avoided if an arrhythmia was detected and diagnosed early.
This narrative drives us every single day to build this company. This is the narrative that AccurKardia’s team is trying to change. We do not treat this problem simply as a statistic impacting millions but, rather, as a tragedy that could impact any one of us – one that we go to work every day to avoid!
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Juan C Jiménez: There was tremendous interest in telehealth at the beginning of the pandemic, with a need for rapid innovation and implementation. The interest is not waning at all. In fact, the healthtech industry enjoyed another banner year in 2021, with a total of $29.1 billion flowing into digital health startups across 729 investment deals, according to digital health venture fund Rock Health. Overall, investments in 2021 nearly doubled 2020’s $14.9B former record haul across 484 deals.
Even though the momentum in healthtech shows no signs of slowing down, this unprecedented growth is presenting a great deal of competition in the industry. For investors, this can seem like a maze as more startups in AI, machine learning, and data analytics come to the table. It’s important to consider how these emerging developments will specifically shift the course of Telehealth 2.0.
Notably, the focus is now on medical excellence rather than just necessity and convenience. That’s a major shift to adjust to. Driving this value proposition in a fundamentally transformed and competitive landscape is a challenge but therein lies major opportunities for growth. By reimagining where and how care should be delivered, the best investments will appeal to practitioners, bolster patient participation, integrate diversified data and deliver superior patient experiences.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Juan C Jiménez: I’m most interested in learning more about how we can enable clinicians in healthcare to make data more actionable. After all, there will be no progress in the telehealth movement unless clinicians can not just capture patients’ data remotely and in real time but also glean valuable and actionable insight from that data.
This ‘data revolution’ will empower clinicians to better assess conditions, opening new doors to superior care. As a result, the patient experience in telehealth can evolve from a helpful phone or video conversation to an informed assessment stemming from a significant amount of data that is curated and analyzed by automated software – and then manually reviewed by qualified healthcare professionals. With real time, actionable data, lives can be saved on the spot.
Going back to the basics, valuable health data can include the vitals such as weight, height, body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, glucose, etc. Furthermore, with the support of AI and automated technology, this can move forward to include more advanced information such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), mobility levels, mindfulness and more.
By aggregating diversified data points, clinicians will gain a much better view into a patient’s condition and better understand precisely how they can help them. When done correctly, this will help clinicians get a better pulse on addressing complex conditions that currently rely on legacy tools in the office to detect and treat. Essentially, data is the vehicle for moving from reactive care to proactive care. I think that’s key for moving healthcare forward.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Juan C Jiménez: With healthcare having some of the highest rates of turnover, when compared to other industries, it’s hard to imagine leaders in our space thinking they are immune to the effects of the tight labor market. A few things need to happen in order to mitigate the effects of this burnout.
First and foremost, employers in healthcare need to listen to the pain points of their employees. This is critical because therein lie stories and suggestions for how healthcare organizations can not just better recruit and retain talent but also provide stronger outcomes for patients.
To avoid burnout, employers in healthcare need to think about how they can become more efficient. Technologies like AI, automation and data can help relieve some of the burnout so it’s important that these become priorities. Such tools can minimize the need for healthcare workers to spend time on administrative, clerical or repetitive tasks – and clear more time for patient care.
However, there also needs to be recognition that these technologies don’t just work alone. We still need people to implement and respond to the prompts of the technology. Therefore, people-first organizations in healthcare will have a distinct competitive advantage, especially as technology continues to make inroads.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Juan C Jiménez: I would pick ‘super vision’ goggles as my business superpower, enjoying the ability to see what others do not see or cannot see. Vision is the most important part of leading any business to success. With super vision, I’d be able to clearly see new opportunities as they emerge and anticipate future trends on the horizon. Furthemore, obstacles would be no problem for me as I would spot them from far away and plan accordingly.
Furthermore, I’d be able to remove the ‘blinders’ that often get in our way of seeing what’s right there in front of us.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Juan C Jiménez: For me, success comes in the form of beginning to transform how clinicians and patients view wearable medical devices. Up to this point, the vast majority of the healthcare data stemming from consumer wearables is only being used for advertising purposes within the wellness industry.
That’s great, but IT also represents a missed opportunity. Luckily, significant headway is being made by manufacturers and the medical community, enabling them to perform clinical research and validation through these devices.
Owing to such promising data on accuracy and patient behavior, the future appears especially bright for the wearable device market. Estimated at US$18.1 billion in the year 2021, the wearables industry is projected to more than double in size by 2026 to reach US$38.9 billion.
While these devices still have doubt cast upon them by some clinicians in the medical community, their power is becoming too great to ignore. I fully anticipate more clinicians, researchers and institutions will partner with startups to further these tools and bring new levels of accuracy, functionality and application to market.
For AccurKardia, our success will be determined by us being a leading player in supporting these partnerships. The journey won’t be completed in 2022 but I do anticipate us taking the next key steps.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Juan C Jiménez for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Juan C Jiménez or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.