PODCAST #20. How Product Management is Mirrored in the Pharma Business and Tech Divisions

Welcome to our podcast! Today, we chat with Tamara Snow, who went from working on cancer research clinical trials to being a Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health. We’ll talk about how she moved into product management and how she helps big pharma companies.

Tamara’s wide range of experiences gives her a special viewpoint on these areas, showing us the nitty-gritty of the pharmtech and business worlds.

This article concisely captures key points from our lively dialogue.

A Career Path from Clinical Trials to Leading Pharma Product Management

Tamara has spent over ten years in the healthcare industry, making transitions as she encountered new problems and challenges. Initially, she aspired to be a doctor, gaining exposure to patient care and clinical work as an EMT and clinical research coordinator. She discovered her passion for solving operational and strategic challenges in healthcare environments. One area that surprised her was the manual and expensive nature of clinical trials despite being crucial for innovation in drug development.

After graduating, Tamara pursued a career in life sciences consulting to better understand the economics and strategy behind drug development. During this time, she learned about Flatiron Health, a company working on data sets to streamline decision-making in cancer research. Intrigued by the mission and vision of making clinical trials more efficient, she joined the company in 2017 in a partnership role. While she gained valuable sales and negotiation skills, she felt it took her away from solving the operational and strategic challenges she was passionate about.

“I definitely think the product hat is the one I love the most, and I will definitely continue wanting to play that role in the future.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

Recognizing that the product management role aligned with the problems she wanted to solve, Tamara pivoted to become a product manager at Flatiron Health. She initially focused on scaling one of their real-world data products linked to external genomic data for precision medicine. Seeing the impact of these data products on customers’ clinical and drug development decision-making was rewarding. However, a recurring issue was customers lacked the internal resources and skills to analyze the data products effectively.

In response to this need, Tamara seized the opportunity to expand her scope and build a team to develop dashboards and analytic tools on top of the data products, providing customers with valuable insights. Building and managing this new team has brought fresh challenges, focusing on the user interface and delivering insights alongside the underlying data.

After spending several years in the healthcare industry, Tamara firmly believes that the product management role is the one she loves the most and intends to continue playing in the future. She finds joy in solving operational and strategic challenges and appreciates the ever-changing nature of product management.

The Key Tips for a Successful Transition in Pharma Industry

According to Tamara, there are various ways for individuals to transition into a product role. While it may not be the standard path, she personally achieved it through an internal transfer, a route she has observed others taking as well. Successful internal transfers have come from diverse backgrounds, including business (such as sales and finance) and technical roles (like engineering and data science).

Some major tips for a successful transition into the pharma industry include

  • Identify a product role or team that aligns with one’s existing skill set.
  • Seek advice from experienced PMs.
  • Volunteer for challenging tasks, network, and ask the right questions.

Identifying a product role or team that aligns with one’s existing skill set.

“I also just took the time to teach myself things like Python and just took the liberty to dig into Flatiron and the products on my own and was able to demonstrate my ability to learn a new skill set and willingness to do it.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

Tamara believes the key to a successful transition is identifying a product role or team that aligns with one’s existing skill set. This reduces the risk for the company when transferring an employee to a new function. In her case, coming from a sales and partnerships role, joining an external-facing product team made the most sense. It required a strong understanding of the company’s customers, products, and business model. 

However, she also recognized her lack of technical skills, so she took the initiative to teach herself Python and familiarize herself with the company’s products. By demonstrating her willingness to learn and bridging the gap in her skill set, she differentiated herself from others and showcased her abilities.

Seek advice from experienced PMs

Tamara acknowledges that there is no perfect science to this transition process. She advises aspiring product managers to seek advice from experienced PMs in roles they are interested in or individuals who have gone through a similar career evolution. Learning from their experiences and strategies can be valuable.

When reaching out to PMs for guidance, Tamara recommends avoiding cold outreach and instead making warm introductions. Personalizing the outreach and offering something in return, such as industry insights or skills, can increase the likelihood of PMs wanting to assist and provide advice.

Volunteer for challenging tasks, network, and ask the right questions.

Tamara appreciates the emphasis on volunteering for challenging tasks, networking, and asking the right questions. These qualities are often associated with successful product managers. She also highlights the importance of building strong relationships and trust with customers, as it facilitates sharing information and understanding their needs. Asking open-ended questions during user research helps uncover the root of the problem and avoid biases. Active listening and focusing on important insights gathered from responses are vital in solving the core problem.

Strategies for Streamlining the Process in Challenging Circumstances

According to Tamara, when it comes to their customers, particularly in the context of a complex linked clinical plus genomic data set, clear training and documentation are crucial for understanding and interrogating the data. It is important to give customers a well-defined understanding of the data product. Additionally, having a robust process for addressing customer questions and resolving issues promptly is essential. 

Tamara suggests recognizing when a customer’s question requires more in-depth support, such as scheduling a call and screen sharing to collaboratively work through the problem. The goal is to unblock customers and enable them to conduct effective research using the data product.

“I think having really strong customer support and customer guidance is definitely core.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

Tamara emphasizes the significance of strong customer support and guidance. Providing examples of how others have utilized the data product to answer similar questions, whether through publications or key studies, can be immensely helpful. Sharing these use cases with customers helps them see the practical applications and possibilities of the data product.

The Journey to Becoming a Successful Product Manager

“In those first few months, really build strong trust with your core stakeholders and take the time to have them explain to you how they operate and what their pain points are.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

According to Tamara, being a product manager (PM) involves constant learning and encountering new challenges. Embracing this aspect is part of the fun of being a PM. One important advice Tamara offers to new PMs is to build strong trust with core stakeholders in the first few months. 

Understanding their operations and pain points allows the PM to identify tasks they can take off their plate or collaborate on to achieve quick wins. Tamara shares an example of how she learned basic R programming to handle easy client requests, which relieved her data science stakeholders and allowed her to better understand customers and data products.

Tamara also recommends finding a committee of advisors early on, including mentors and other PMs within the organization. These advisors can help tackle issues, provide guidance, and offer insight into the new role and function. Celebrating both wins and failures is another crucial aspect highlighted by Tamara. Acknowledging accomplishments, no matter how small, is important, but it’s equally important to learn from failures and treat them as opportunities for growth.

In the discussion, Tamara mentions that PMs can positively redefine the concept of failure, transforming it into a learning experience and an opportunity for product improvement. This mindset shift can be particularly impactful in the health tech industry. Additionally, the importance of empathy in interactions with stakeholders is highlighted, emphasizing the need to understand their perspectives and needs.

What Businesses Truly Want from Product Managers

“Regardless, I think there are a few key roles or tasks that I think the business will probably want regardless.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

According to Tamara, the role of a product manager (PM) can vary depending on various factors within a company. These factors include whether the product is internal or external-facing, the stage of the product (early concept or mature business line), and its significance to the company’s overall economics. However, a few key roles and tasks are generally expected from PMs.

Firstly, PMs are responsible for owning the vision and strategy of their product. They need to develop and articulate a compelling vision that justifies the company’s investment in the product. Additionally, PMs should create a strong roadmap aligned with the overall company strategy and vision.

Secondly, PMs act as the voice of the customers, both internally and externally. They must deeply understand the customers and advocate for their needs and insights during product development. PMs are crucial in making challenging product and resource tradeoff decisions, using customer insights to guide their choices.

Thirdly, stakeholder management and collaboration are essential for PMs. They must effectively work with various stakeholders, such as engineering and design teams, to build the product efficiently. In health tech, where a mix of experts like oncologists and clinicians collaborate with engineers, managing stakeholders and consolidating different perspectives into a cohesive vision is particularly important.

Challenging the Problem Space and Unveiling Opportunities to Drive Product Success

According to Tamara, when looking for new opportunities as a PM, it is crucial to engage with stakeholders. The first and most powerful stakeholders to approach are the customers. By actively listening to customers and understanding their needs and preferences, PMs can identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.

In addition to existing customers, expanding to new customers or segments requires consideration. Monitoring competitors’ product offerings and partnerships can reveal potential gaps to address. Staying up to date with industry trends can generate new ideas. Conducting lightweight market research and seeking time with target customers enables direct conversations and a deeper understanding of their requirements.

Tamara suggests clearly defining the problem and opportunity when rallying the team for the job. It is essential to motivate the team by presenting a compelling vision highlighting their work’s impact. Early and regular engagement with stakeholders, including engineers, is crucial to gaining their buy-in and involving them in shaping the project. 

Leveraging Data Awareness to Address Pushback in Problem Solving

According to Tamara, data awareness refers to having a solid set of objective data that supports your argument and clearly defines the opportunity and problem space. While data is important, Tamara believes it only takes you so far. 

It is crucial to drive the vision and demonstrate why your team is well-positioned to execute the solution. This involves explaining why the problem needs to be addressed now and highlighting the qualitative aspects of the opportunity, not just the numbers.

“Yeah, in my opinion, if there is a pushback, there is a level of interest.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

As challenges and opposition are expected, anticipating pushback and objections and preparing responses in advance is also important. Tamara emphasizes the need to go beyond a rosy picture and be transparent about the risks, assumptions, and potential challenges associated with the opportunity. You must acknowledge the unknowns and openly discuss the potential bumps along the road. 

From her personal experience, Tamara has learned the value of transparency and managing expectations. She further opines that if the opportunity requires collaboration with other parties or forming partnerships, it’s essential to consider company fit and strategic alignment. The terms of the agreement should be carefully evaluated to ensure that collaboration makes sense for the envisioned opportunity.

Defining Product Management and Keeping Abreast of Current Trends in the Health Tech Industry

According to Tamara, staying on top of industry trends involves reading newsletters, participating in industry-specific conversations on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, attending conferences and speaking events, and networking with professionals in the industry. These activities help her stay informed and identify new opportunities.

“The role and the skill sets you need as a PM and how you would define that role, I think, definitely differ depending on where you really sit within the organization and what your product looks like.”

Tamara Snow – Director of Product Management at Flatiron Health

When it comes to defining product management, Tamara believes it is not a one-size-fits-all role. The responsibilities of a product manager depend on the specific needs of the product line. For external-facing products, the PM must be able to pitch, sell, understand customers, filter feedback, and guide and influence the team accordingly. For internal-facing products, the focus is identifying and prioritizing platforms that benefit the broader organization and gathering feedback from various teams.

Tamara emphasizes that a product manager’s role and required skill sets vary based on the position within the organization and the nature of the product. Adapting and shaping oneself based on the product’s needs is important. She mentions Bruce Lee’s quote about being like water, which can take any shape depending on the container. While martial arts and product management may not directly correlate, the idea of being adaptable and flexible resonates with the role of a product manager.

Tamara also notes that the role of a product manager evolves over time. As the product and business line mature, different skills and activities become relevant. The role of a product manager constantly changes, presenting new opportunities and challenges, which Tamara finds exciting.

In Summary

Below are the major takeaways from our chat with Tamara:

  • Transitioning into Product Management: Tamara’s career journey from clinical trials to product management highlights the importance of identifying a product role that aligns with one’s existing skill set and passion for solving operational and strategic challenges.
  • Strategies for Success: Building strong relationships with stakeholders, actively listening to customers, and asking the right questions are crucial for successful product managers. Seeking advice from experienced PMs and making warm introductions can enhance networking opportunities.
  • Key Roles and Skills of Product Managers: The role of a product manager can vary depending on factors such as the product’s nature, stage, and significance to the company. However, PMs generally own the product vision and strategy, act as the voice of the customers, and collaborate with various stakeholders. 








The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #21. The Scrum Model: When Should Product Teams Use It?

Welcome to our podcast episode where we’re delighted to feature Falko Buttler, the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Accolade Inc.

Falko illuminates his unconventional and diverse background, revealing how it has sculpted his unique approach to product development.

We delve into his early entrepreneurial ventures, his encounters with both failure and success, and his proficiency in managing health tech products with aplomb. In addition, we discuss the vital aspect of employee management and the best ways teams can implement Scrum.

A Journey of Entrepreneurship From Freelance Agency to App Development

Mr. Falko Buttler begins by discussing how he started an agency in the early 2000s to connect tech talent with companies. He recognized the need for such a service while working for a company himself. Mr. Butler acknowledges the abundance of great talent available but highlights the challenges companies face in finding the right individuals, and freelancers struggle to find suitable projects.

He describes his agency as his first venture into building his own business, which he initially pursued as a side gig. While he managed to place a few professionals, the venture ultimately did not succeed. Nevertheless, he considers the experience valuable, as it taught him a great deal about running a company and adopting the mindset of a business owner rather than an employee. Despite the failure, he views this chapter as an exciting one.

Mr. Buttler then discusses the period around 2008, when Apple released the iPhone. At that time, he was contemplating his next entrepreneurial endeavor. Recognizing the potential of mobile platforms and wanting to explore new technologies and programming languages, he began tinkering with flip phones. However, he soon shifted his focus to the iPhone, seeing it as an excellent platform for building something innovative.

During this time, his wife was pregnant and monitoring her diet diligently by manually recording everything she ate. This inspired the idea of creating a mobile app to simplify the process. They named the app Calorie God, which became one of the earliest health and fitness apps in the App Store. Mr. Butler clarifies that his motivation for developing the app was not solely driven by monetary gain but rather by the desire to bring a product to the market, gain user feedback, and create a positive user experience.

To his surprise, Calorie God received a warm reception from early iPhone adopters, leading to viral growth without any marketing efforts. Users enthusiastically shared the app with their friends, doctors, and patients. Mr. Butler found the feedback from users particularly valuable and discovered that many were utilizing the app not just for weight loss but also for maintaining specific diets, including athletes, marathon runners, and bodybuilders. The users’ suggestions and input helped shape the app, leading to the development of new features.

One noteworthy feature was the app’s cloud-sourced food database, allowing users to submit new food items that were initially absent from the database. Mr. Butler’s wife oversaw the quality control process, and approved items were distributed to all users, effectively expanding the database and enhancing the app’s value. As the user base grew, Calorie God gained attention from the media, including press coverage in newspapers and even television appearances.

The success of Calorie God marked a significant turning point for Mr. Butler and his wife as small business owners. They experienced rapid growth and acclaim, which ultimately paved the way for their current endeavors. Mr. Butler emphasizes that without the success of Calorie God, he wouldn’t be where he is today. The app’s journey from a passion project to a viral sensation allowed them to achieve substantial success in a short period.

Bridging Experience through User-Centricity and Product Management in Health Tech

“Realize that not everything you do is going to be a success. Sometimes you’re rolling out a feature, and either your users don’t understand it, value it, or don’t need it.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

In Mr. Falko Buttler’s opinion, providing a great user experience is crucial for the success of any product or software. Whether it’s the user downloading an app or the buyer interacting with the software, ensuring a pleasant experience is paramount. Design plays a significant role in this, as Mr. Butler has learned from his experiences in venture-backed startups and mentoring early-stage companies. 

Having a dedicated product designer and focusing on user feedback and research goes a long way in creating an intuitive and impactful experience, regardless of whether the product is consumer-oriented or targeted towards enterprises, particularly in the healthcare industry.

When it comes to driving a product forward and ensuring its success, Mr. Butler emphasizes the importance of having a clear strategy and effectively communicating it across various functions like product, engineering, and marketing. Defining success metrics, such as customer acquisition or net promoter score (NPS), helps measure the impact of the product and the features being developed. 

Understanding user expectations and making adjustments based on feedback is crucial. Mr. Butler also recognizes that not every feature or initiative will be successful, and it is important to be open to trying new approaches and being willing to adapt and iterate based on results.

The Power of Diverse Roles and Its Impact on Product Interactions

“These different stages require different ways of communicating, interacting, and working together, and being able to have gone through all these changes is like learning.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

Mr. Falko Buttler shares his extensive experience in various stages of company growth, from the early stages with only a few team members to scaling up to accommodate a large workforce. He emphasizes the importance of adapting communication and collaboration methods based on each stage. Through these experiences, he has gained valuable insights and knowledge.

In terms of software development, Mr. Butler recognizes the significance of creating a pleasant user experience. He believes that design plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. Designing intuitive and user-friendly interfaces is essential for success.

Additionally, it is crucial to have a clear strategy and effectively communicate it across different departments, such as product, engineering, and marketing. Mr. Butler emphasizes the importance of alignment and establishing shared expectations to drive the company toward its goals.

Acknowledging that not every endeavor will be successful, Mr. Buttler encourages embracing failures as learning opportunities. It is important to be adaptable and responsive to user feedback and needs. This flexibility allows for iteration and improvement.

Lastly, Mr. Buttler acknowledges that each stage of company growth requires different approaches to communication, interaction, and teamwork. Navigating and learning from these changes is invaluable for personal and professional growth.

Optimizing Frameworks, Enhancing Structure, and Validating Technical Estimations

Mr. Falko Buttler expresses his perspective on the flexibility of the Scrum framework and its adaptability to different organizations and teams. He highlights that each organization has its own unique characteristics and requirements, necessitating adjustments to fit the specific context. For example, in a medical device company, regulatory processes and external approvals may impose constraints on the frequency of software releases.

Moreover, Mr. Buttler emphasizes that individual teams within an organization may have varying preferences and needs. Some teams may find in-person daily stand-up meetings effective, while others, especially those working remotely, may benefit from virtual meetings. The frequency of stand-ups and grooming sessions may also differ based on factors such as the product manager’s technical expertise and the team’s seniority.

As teams gain experience and become more familiar with the Scrum process, certain aspects of the framework can be streamlined or modified. Mr. Butler shares his own experience of initially guiding the team through Scrum and gradually transferring ownership of the process to the team members as they become proficient. Retrospectives and feedback sessions were conducted regularly to continually improve the process.

Furthermore, Mr. Buttler underscores the importance of having a technically inclined person on the team, such as a product manager with a deep understanding of the technology involved. This person plays a crucial role in effectively communicating and explaining technical aspects to ensure smooth collaboration within the team. He also emphasizes that cohesive teamwork and communication are paramount to achieving success.

Achieving Every PM’s Dream by Empowering Teams to Own the Process

“The PM and the Scrum Master actually need to be in close touch, so they actually need to communicate a lot.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

Mr. Falko Buttler emphasizes the importance of close communication between the product manager (PM) and the Scrum Master. He believes that when this communication is lacking, it can lead to misunderstandings and misalignment within the team. To address this, he advocates for frequent meetings and discussions, particularly during the retrospective process after each sprint.

During these retrospectives, Mr. Buttler actively encourages team members to share ideas for improvement. When engineers or team members propose alternative approaches or solutions, he supports their initiatives and suggests piloting those ideas to see their effectiveness. If successful, he suggests sharing these insights with other teams during team meetings, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and knowledge sharing.

In situations where the team is experiencing significant growth, Mr. Butler believes it can be beneficial to bring in external expertise. In his own experience, he recounts how his team, after doubling in size, invited a Scrum trainer from an external company. This training session included not only engineers but also product managers and designers, providing a diverse perspective on the Scrum process. He acknowledges the value of learning from someone who trains numerous companies and gaining insights into new ideas and practices.

Mr. Buttler concludes by highlighting the importance of periodically seeking external perspectives. While this may not be a regular practice, he believes inviting external experts to provide fresh insights and challenge existing norms is valuable. This allows the team to avoid becoming insular and encourages them to explore different approaches and methodologies.

Navigating Team Scaling: Insights from the Remote Work Era

According to Mr. Falko Buttler, prior to 2020, he had experience working with distributed teams, although they were co-located in different locations. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his company was in the process of expanding to Vancouver, Canada. Due to the circumstances, they fully embraced remote work and hired team members from various locations, including Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the US, and Ukraine.

“What we’ve learned very quickly is that it’s actually easier when everyone is remote than if you have teams that are co-located.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

Surprisingly, Mr. Buttler found that working with fully remote teams was actually easier than working with co-located teams. While physical proximity facilitates communication, remote collaboration tools such as Zoom, online collaboration platforms, and specialized tools like GitHub and Jira enable effective communication and productivity. Mr. Butler even observed increased productivity compared to pre-COVID times, as remote work eliminated commuting and provided greater flexibility in reaching team members.

The nature of engineering work, which involves knowledge-based tasks and extensive written communication, lends itself well to remote collaboration. Mr. Butler admits that he previously held the belief that people needed to be physically together in a room for effective teamwork. However, his experience during the pandemic completely changed his perspective, as he witnessed the success of fully distributed teams and their ability to adapt to the challenges of remote work.

Defining and Exploring the Remarkable Aspects of the Wow Factor

According to Mr. Falko Buttler, their company aims to provide a “wow experience” for users, focusing on delivering the best possible experience throughout their healthcare journey. This customer-centric approach has been ingrained in the company’s culture since its inception. Their goal is not just to offer healthcare services but to ensure that users have an exceptional and phenomenal experience.

“We don’t just want to provide you with health care. We want you to really have an absolute phenomenal experience while you’re going through your healthcare journey.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

The company strives to change that perception in the healthcare industry, where people typically associate negative experiences with being sick or unwell. They aim to eliminate unfair treatment, reduce waiting times, and simplify the process for users. They want to provide a wide range of services, akin to having a personal concierge for all healthcare needs, without the exorbitant costs associated with such personalized attention.

“We want to provide a wow experience for users as well as all the employees at the organization.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

This commitment to the “wow experience” extends beyond primary care and mental health services. It encompasses aspects such as advocacy, where they assist users in finding the right care and providing expert medical opinions for severe diagnoses. Their focus on delivering exceptional experiences is not limited to patients or consumers alone. They also measure employee Net Promoter Score (NPS) to ensure a positive experience for everyone within the organization. Additionally, they aim to provide a “wow experience” for buyers, as Accolade operates in the enterprise business, where health plans or employers purchase their services for their employees.

Preparation for Smooth Transitions and Navigating the Acquisition Process

“Given that I’ve gone through multiple of these transitions and seen things that work and don’t work, I feel what’s important is that before you try to integrate products, fully understand both your existing product as well as the product and the company that was acquired, and see how they actually fit together.”

Falko Buttler – Senior Vice President Of Engineering, at Accolade Inc.

According to Mr. Falko Buttler, based on his experience with company acquisitions and product integrations, he believes it is crucial to thoroughly understand both the existing product and the acquired product, as well as the company behind it. Building trust between the teams is essential, allowing time for them to familiarize themselves with each other’s products, functionalities, and potential overlaps. It is important to deeply comprehend the use cases and explore how the integration can be optimized.

Mr. Butler cautions against rushing the integration process, which often leads to negative outcomes. Acquisitions should not be hurriedly pushed into the product to satisfy shareholders or customers. Instead, a thoughtful approach should be taken, allowing for an extended integration timeline. Trying to expedite the process without proper understanding and alignment between teams results in difficulties in maintenance, longer-than-expected timelines, and overall dissatisfaction among stakeholders.

In his company’s case, they followed a strategic approach during the first 12 months after the acquisition. They continued with their independent roadmap while fostering regular check-ins and interactions between the different teams. This enabled a deeper understanding of each other’s capabilities and products. Eventually, they successfully launched their first integrated solution in January, which was well-received. Despite the challenges and stress involved, the integration was deemed a success due to the trust, careful thought, and planning invested in the process.

Mr. Butler acknowledges that full integration is a long-term endeavor, but he emphasizes that a thoughtful and patient approach significantly increases the chances of success. Allowing teams the necessary time to understand each other, build trust, and plan integration steps carefully makes the overall outcome more likely to be positive.

The Power of Autonomy: Balancing Product Development Processes in Bigger and Smaller Companies

Mr. Falko Buttler believes that when integrating teams from different companies, it is important to recognize and appreciate their slightly different processes. Each team has developed its own processes independently, and understanding the reasons behind these variations can be enlightening. Mr. Butler suggests that there may be benefits in maintaining some of these differences, at least for a period of time, rather than forcefully imposing a single set of processes. 

The acquiring company may even learn valuable lessons from the company it acquired and choose to adopt certain practices from them. The acquiring company may have more technical depth due to its longer market presence, but the acquired company’s processes may have unique insights from its history. Mr. Butler emphasizes the importance of learning from each other and creating a combined set of processes that works well for the newly merged company.

In terms of product development, Mr. Buttler highlights the different approaches between his company, Plus, as a consumer brand, and Accolade, a more traditional enterprise company. He suggests that finding a balance between these two approaches is crucial. It’s not about favoring one over the other but rather selecting the most effective elements from each to create a process that suits the combined company’s needs. 

This process of marrying different approaches is an ongoing endeavor for their company, and Mr. Butler believes that this principle applies not only to healthcare but to any company merging with another.

Analyzing the Pace of Health Care and Factors Affecting Tech Adoption

According to Mr. Falko Buttler, who has been working in the industry since 2005, health care is generally slower to adopt new technology compared to other industries. This is partly due to the highly regulated nature of the field. Patient safety and privacy are paramount concerns that often come into conflict with the implementation of new technologies.

However, there has been a significant shift in the healthcare industry in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has played a crucial role in accelerating the adoption of certain technologies. For instance, video conferencing, which was not widely used before, has now become widely adopted for remote healthcare consultations.

Sometimes, a significant event like a pandemic acts as a forcing function to drive legislative changes and change people’s perceptions. In the case of healthcare, COVID-19 has helped people recognize the value and convenience of virtual care. Virtual care provides a solution for individuals living in rural areas with limited access to quality healthcare. It allows them to connect with experts in the field, regardless of their geographical location, in a short amount of time.

Spotting the Recipe for Success: Common Denominators of Thriving Companies

According to Mr. Falko Buttler’s opinion, he considers several key aspects when evaluating startups. Firstly, he looks at the leadership team and whether they possess deep knowledge and understanding of the specific field, including its challenges and opportunities. Additionally, having connections and knowledge of how to effectively sell the product or service to potential customers is crucial.

Moreover, he emphasizes the importance of great execution skills, especially in managing limited funds. It used to be relatively easy to raise a large amount of money based on a promising idea, but the real challenge lies in utilizing that capital to launch a product, achieve adoption, and avoid constantly relying on raising more funds.

He also stresses the significance of staying laser-focused on the customer and the product. Rather than attempting to build a full solution from the start, finding the minimum viable product (MVP) and iterating on it with clear goals in mind is crucial. This iterative approach allows for incremental improvements while conserving resources.

In conclusion

During our captivating podcast featuring Mr. Falko Buttler’s entrepreneurial journey and insights, we acquired invaluable wisdom specifically tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers, and product managers. Below are five valuable takeaways from our enlightening conversation:

  • Recognizing market needs: Understand the challenges companies and freelancers face in the tech industry.
  • Embracing failure and learning: Embrace failures as valuable learning opportunities and experiences about running a business and adopting a business owner mindset.
  • User-centric product development: A product’s success depends on its positive user experience, viral expansion, and user feedback-inspiring new features.
  • Importance of effective communication and strategy: Mr. Butler emphasizes the significance of clear communication, alignment, and a well-defined strategy across product, engineering, and marketing teams for driving product success
  • Adapting to change and continuous improvement: Be responsive to user feedback and adaptable to iterate and improve products and processes.








The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #22. EMR Interoperability and Data Standardization Issues Amid AI Adoption in Healthcare

Welcome to another CareMinds podcast episode featuring Sameer Desai, Senior Director of Engineering and Product Management at Verona Health. In this two-part episode, Sameer Desai shares his invaluable insights into the limitations of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in addressing interoperability challenges comprehensively.

Sameer Desai’s expertise allows us to delve into the specific hurdles smaller and niche healthcare practices face in achieving interoperability. With over 12 years of experience in software development and HL7 C certification, Sameer Desai has extensive knowledge of EHR systems and their intricacies. 

Throughout the episode, he sheds light on slower adoption of the FHIR standard and the cumbersome process of custom integrations they must endure to overcome interoperability challenges.

Let’s dive right in!

The Role of AI in Healthcare and Addressing Data Standardization Challenges

“I think we have heard about everybody transitioning to FHIR. Now, especially in the space I work in, we are going across 50 different EHRs. When you look at the FHIR standard, the maturity of FHIR APIs across EHRs varies a lot.”

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

According to Mr. Sameer Desai, the problem of lack of standardization has persisted over time. While there are standards in place, most healthcare providers consider them guidelines rather than strict requirements, leading to issues.

He mentions the transition to the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard, which many in the industry adopt. However, the maturity of FHIR varies significantly across different EHR systems. For example, one EHR may populate all the required fields correctly, while another may not adhere to the same structure or location for data population.

Mr. Sameer Desai also highlights the challenges faced in specialty areas like ophthalmology, where specific EHR systems may lack the resources or capabilities to implement the FHIR standard. Thus, some EHR systems can communicate effectively using standard formats, while others lack the capabilities or resources to do so. This presents a dilemma for building an inclusive AI program that accommodates all EHR systems, regardless of their size or resources.

He emphasizes the importance of enabling participation in AI advancements for all healthcare providers, not just those who can afford or have implemented systems like Epic. However, the customization of workflows within EHR implementations adds another layer of complexity to the FHIR framework. This is because even two Epic implementations may differ in appearance and data organization. Critical information may be stored in notes rather than standardized fields in certain fields like neurology, further complicating data extraction for algorithm development.

Mr. Sameer Desai acknowledges that such diverse data formats pose a challenge, despite recognizing that healthcare data is valuable, akin to oil. Still, it is not uniformly accessible or structured across all EHR systems. He underscores the need to address these issues and achieve standardized data formats to facilitate the development of accurate algorithms, predictions, and improvements in care quality and drug development.

Exploring the Relationship Between the Adoption of FHIR Standard and EMR/EHR Efficiency”

Mr. Sameer Desai expresses his perspective on adopting the FHIR standard and its limitations. He mentions that FHIR is still in its early stages of development and does not address all types of problems in healthcare data interoperability.

He provides an example of their current focus on helping providers submit MIPS reports, which involves administrative aspects of data. Specifically, he mentions the challenge of reconciling medications when patients visit healthcare providers. This type of specific information may not have an exact place within the FHIR standards, as FHIR is primarily evaluated as a clinical data standard. However, he notes that FHIR is also evolving to encompass financial and initiative spaces.

“So I think in the newer world, we expect, like now, we’re going to do something with images; we’re also going to do something with genomic data, which will always result in different formats.” 

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

Mr. Sameer Desai emphasizes that healthcare data goes beyond just clinical information. The data requirements become more extensive as the industry shifts from transactional to value-based healthcare. They must consider factors beyond diagnosis and disease treatment, such as socioeconomic factors. The scope of data expands to include non-healthcare-related information. Progress must be made toward achieving standard formats.

Looking ahead, Mr. Sameer Desai mentions integrating images and genomic data, which will introduce further variations in data formats. However, he highlights that the challenges extend to the core clinical data, which is not yet standardized. He believes that the pace of FHIR standard adoption will help address these issues, noting that larger DH organizations have already taken the leap, and he expects others to follow suit.

Challenges in Data Plumbing: Addressing Development Obstacles for Integrating Diverse EHR Systems

“So at some point, you have to take a hit to convert that to a common model where you can apply these algorithms at scale and move forward.”

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

Mr. Sameer Desai expresses his opinion on the challenges and significance of working on healthcare data interoperability. He believes that although this job may not appear shiny or exciting to most engineers, it is crucial for the healthcare industry. Waiting for everyone to adopt the same standards is not feasible; therefore, immediate action is necessary to solve the problems at hand and make progress. He emphasized the need to address the challenges faced in the healthcare space today.

According to Mr. Sameer Desai, the challenges in this field start with technical problems such as establishing connections and sharing data, which can be solved through APIs or direct database connections. However, the real challenge arises once the data is in the environment and needs to be understood. This requires collaboration with EHR vendor partners, who may have different priorities and may be hesitant to cooperate, especially when dealing with startups that lack the leverage of larger organizations. Convincing EHR vendors to work together and establish a common data model becomes crucial, particularly when working across multiple entities.

Another obstacle is the operational aspect, where people become more dependent due to the complexity involved. Working with multiple EHR systems (30 to 50 in this case) requires finding a common data model to apply machine learning and analytical algorithms at scale. Operational challenges also arise from capturing data within EHRs, as different systems may have varied data entry and organization approaches.

He provided an example of the complexity involved in medication reconciliation, where different EHRs use diverse methods such as procedure codes, flags, reverse flags, or note templates. Human involvement becomes essential in resolving such discrepancies, leading to a greater need for larger teams to handle multiple EHR systems effectively.

“It’s also about figuring out these operational things – where does it make sense to invest in automating, and where does it make sense to actually just have people do it?”

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

Additionally, Mr. Sameer Desai mentioned the complexity at the practice level, where non-standard EHRs allow unstructured notes, and each provider or nurse practitioner may have a way of documenting information. These technological and operational challenges require balancing automation and human intervention, depending on the specific situation and the value derived from solving the problem.

He concludes by emphasizing that all startups encounter these challenges, and the key lies in finding a happy balance or a happy medium. This balance involves determining the value of solving problems and deciding whether automation or human effort is the most suitable approach. Mr. Sameer Desai considers achieving this balance to be an art or science in itself.

Unveiling Verana Health’s Strategies for Tackling Standardization Challenges in Healthcare”

Mr. Sameer Desai shares his perspective on Verana Health’s unique position and approach to solving healthcare data challenges. He believes that Verana Health has a distinct advantage in working with societies and specialties, enabling them to leverage their influence with HR vendors. By collaborating with these societies, Verana Health can request additional support in terms of data mapping and establishing connections with HR vendors.

Mr. Sameer Desai emphasizes that Verana Health’s primary focus is to provide the best customer satisfaction for its registry members. To achieve this, they meet their customers where they are. For practices using Epic, Verana Health has an FHIR injection API that allows them to easily ingest the data. This minimizes the burden on hospitals or practices. However, for practices using smaller, specialized HR systems that may not have similar integration capabilities, Verana Health is responsible for directly obtaining data from their databases.

They then work closely with the HR vendors to understand data mappings and ensure compatibility. Alternatively, if the HR systems have standardized data extracts, Verana Health works with those extracts and maps them to their common data model. This approach provides multiple options to customers, allowing them to participate in the registry and benefit from insights into the quality of care while receiving suggestions for improvement.

Additionally, Mr. Sameer Desai highlights that Verana Health considers patients’ well-being. They offer practice opportunities to participate in clinical trials, ultimately benefiting patients. While certain regions may have limited access to breakthrough treatments and trial participation, Verana Health strives to solve data-related problems for them. They facilitate connectivity to platforms and ensure that these regions are included, enabling them to be part of the larger healthcare ecosystem.

Furthermore, Verana Health leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to go beyond structured data. They analyze unstructured data such as notes and employ AI models to identify additional information. Verana Health excels not only in identification but also in converting this unstructured data into a structured format. By doing so, they can provide valuable structured data to research organizations and clinical trials, aiding in research advancements.

Achieving Effective Problem Solving and Execution in Product Development: Verana Health’s Collaborative Model and Success Stories

“I build the platform, I get the data, and then my outbound product managers are building experiences based on which customer they are serving.” 

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

Mr. Sameer Desai discusses the collaborative structure and roles within Verana Health’s product management team. He explains that the structure resembles a common model seen in Silicon Valley, known as inbound or outbound product managers or technical product managers versus traditional product managers. Regardless of the terminology, Mr. Sameer Desai’s focus at Verana Health is on building the platform.

“So I am more technically oriented in terms of setting up the platform and looking at how we can scale this.” 

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

As a technical product manager, Mr. Sameer Desai is primarily responsible for platform development and scalability. He considers the developers and individuals who will create additional applications on top of the platform as his customers. He focuses on the technical aspects of platform setup and operational scalability rather than direct customer interaction.

On the other hand, the outbound product managers work with the data and insights generated by the platform. They use this information to create tailored experiences for different customer segments. Verana Health serves various customer bases, including societies, doctors/providers, and clinical trial sponsors. Each customer base has specific needs, and the outbound product managers build experiences and applications to address those needs.

Mr. Sameer Desai emphasizes that the platform he develops remains agnostic to the specific customer bases. He acts as a layer between the data insights and the engineers, ensuring they clearly understand how the data is used without burdening them with customer-specific details. This structure allows for effective collaboration and streamlines the product development process.

Verana Health’s Resourceful Approach to Ensuring Smooth and Efficient Scaling

According to Mr. Sameer Desai, operational scaling at Verana Health involves several key aspects. Firstly, connecting with different electronic health record (EHR) systems is challenging, some of which are cloud-hosted while others are on-premises. With over 1,500 connections to individual practices, the goal is to make the setup process as easy as possible, particularly for small practices with limited IT resources. Verana Health focuses on building user-friendly and remotely manageable solutions to alleviate the burden on these practices. 

In addition to the operational challenges, there is a focus on reducing data latency. In contrast to the traditional approach of working with claims data that may have a lag of 90 days, their goal is to shorten the lag to weeks. Maintaining connections and ensuring stability is crucial in achieving this objective. The company takes responsibility for ensuring the smooth running and uptime of these connections, focusing on maintaining low latency for data refreshes.

Another aspect of scaling involves the staggered implementation of different EHRs. Each EHR system may be adopted by practices at different times, which requires careful planning and program management. Resources on their side and the EHR partners’ side are limited, so efficient planning is necessary to make the implementation process feasible. Verana Health has dedicated mapping and clinical data transformation resources available for this purpose.

Once the data is received, another scaling layer comes into play, addressing data curation and organization for specific disease areas. Verana Health focuses on understanding market needs and the requirements of research organizations to effectively curate and transform the data for analysis and research purposes.

While these aspects are important, Mr. Sameer Desai emphasizes that the first two aspects, which are external-facing and involve operational scaling, hold greater significance. Meeting their partners’ needs is a priority, and achieving it requires a combination of art and induction in the planning process. It is not solely a scientific endeavor but also involves carefully considering various factors to ensure successful scaling and operational efficiency.

The Future of Interoperability: Navigating Integrations and Data Streams for Smaller Startups and Niche Practices

“We are moving towards data set marketplaces, where startups can leverage pre-cleaned data sets and build experiences that other competitors are not focused on.” 

Sameer Desai – Senior Director of Engineering & Product Management at Verana Health

According to Mr. Sameer Desai, the healthcare industry lags behind other sectors in effectively leveraging data. He acknowledges that there are reasons for this discrepancy, noting that healthcare cannot acquire data in the same way as consumer industries.

However, Mr. Sameer Desai points out an emerging trend in the overall data landscape: the rise of data set marketplaces. He cites AWS as an example of a company that has recently introduced its marketplace, and he believes that other vendors are pursuing similar initiatives. This development will make the data space more interesting as organizations undertake the initial groundwork. They’ll be responsible for the data cleaning and preparation processes, making curated data sets available in these marketplaces.

Mr. Sameer Desai highlights the potential benefits for startups in this evolving landscape. By leveraging these curated data sets, startups can explore developing new AI models to address challenges that other industries and competitors may not be focusing on. Alternatively, they can utilize the data to build unique experiences that competitors have not yet explored or may not be interested in pursuing.

He emphasizes exhaustively exploring these options before resorting to expensive data acquisition methods. Mr. Sameer Desai acknowledges that establishing numerous connections and acquiring data through traditional means can be a capital-intensive process.

Let’s Sum it Up

Here are five key takeaways from our discussion with Mr. Sameer Desai:

  • Data standardization challenges persist in healthcare, hindering interoperability and AI’s full potential.
  • Although still in its early stages, adopting the FHIR standard is essential for achieving data interoperability in healthcare. 
  • Technical and operational obstacles must be addressed, including reconciling different data entry methods and addressing variations in data organization across different systems.
  • Verana Health employs unique strategies to tackle data standardization challenges. They also offer multiple options for practices of different sizes and capabilities to participate and benefit from insights into care quality.
  • Operational scaling, reducing data latency, and effective data curation are crucial for successful healthcare data management.








The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

PODCAST #23. Maximizing Opportunities in Product Management: What We Learned from a Director of Engineering

Welcome to the Care Minds podcast! Today, our guest is Adam Jubert, Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical. We’ll cover Adam’s career, explore product design and development, and discuss the role of AI in process optimization.

Now, here’s a thought to ponder for PMs – What if the secret to groundbreaking innovation lies in identifying the right company? Let’s explore this, shall we?

Navigating Career Growth: From a Software Developer to Director of Engineering

“Taking an active role in your own career progression is the most important thing.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

Mr. Adam said a proactive approach and a keen eye for new opportunities drove his career growth and progression. He emphasized the importance of having regular one-on-one meetings with his managers, during which they discussed his career goals and identified potential areas for growth. Through these conversations, he was able to take on challenging technical projects and expand his skills in project management.

As he evolved as a software engineer, Mr. Adam recognized the choice between pursuing an individual contributor track or transitioning into a management track. Opting for the latter, he began working cross-functionally and delving into project management. He actively sought opportunities to lead and demonstrated his capabilities in coordinating projects and collaborating with teams.

One key factor contributing to his growth was the feedback he received from his managers. During their one-on-one sessions, he not only sought constructive criticism but also asked his managers to identify the aspects of his work that they appreciated. This enabled him to receive recognition for his strengths and continue to build upon them.

Mr. Adam’s progression was gradual; he took small steps by managing projects that initially required one to two engineers. Over time, he gained experience handling multiple cross-functional projects simultaneously. He actively sought advice from his leadership, seeking guidance on improving his project management skills and effectively managing people.

Identifying Growth Opportunities in Early Career Choices

According to Mr. Adam, identifying companies that offer growth opportunities early on requires careful consideration during the interview process. While popular rankings and articles about top tech companies can provide a starting point, he emphasizes that many lesser-known companies can still provide a conducive environment for success.

It is essential to present yourself as a candidate and interview the company during interviews. Mr. Adam suggests asking questions about team culture and management style. One effective question he often asks managers is to describe a situation where they had to discipline or handle issues with an employee. Understanding the manager’s leadership approach makes it possible to assess if it aligns with personal preferences and career goals.

Moreover, Mr. Adam highlights the importance of gathering insights from current employees about the company culture and career progression. Asking about recent promotions and success stories within the organization can provide valuable information about growth opportunities. Exploring these cultural questions related to career progression helps in making an informed decision.

Regarding series D startups or later-stage startups, where organizational structures may be less defined, Mr. Adam suggests discussing career progression during the interview process. It is important to inquire about the frequency of promotions and how the company supports employee growth. Once in the role, maintaining open and honest communication with one’s direct manager is crucial. Clearly expressing career aspirations and goals and ensuring that expectations are aligned with the manager’s support can contribute to a successful career path within such organizations.

Mr. Adam acknowledges that navigating promotions can be challenging due to organizational structures, but having a supportive manager who advocates for employee growth is vital. Identifying such managers during the interview process and fostering a strong working relationship with them is key. By collaborating with managers, setting clear expectations, and regularly checking in, employees can enhance their chances of career advancement.

Streamlining Engineering Moves and Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness in Multi-Sided Marketplaces

According to Mr. Adam, effectively managing a multi-sided marketplace like Journey Clinical involves understanding and acknowledging the diverse needs and perspectives of different user groups. He emphasizes the importance of tailoring the presentation of information to suit the specific requirements of each user segment. For example, doctors may prefer concise, scientifically formatted information, while patients would benefit from a user-friendly and organized experience.

In tackling problem statements within the marketplace, Mr. Adam suggests addressing the concerns of the respective user sets involved. However, it is also crucial to consider the potential ripple effects and impacts on other areas of the application. For instance, changes made in the patient portal should be consistent with and complement updates in the prescriber portal. This ensures a cohesive user experience across the entire marketplace.

Furthermore, Mr. Adam emphasizes aligning communication styles with users’ preferences. By considering not only what users are accustomed to seeing within the app but also what they generally prefer, a more engaging and effective user experience can be created.

Preparing for Product Success: Essential Steps Before Embarking on Component-Driven Development

Adam believes companies must take certain steps before diving into product development. While the instinct might be to start solving problems immediately, he advises against skipping the process of first digitizing and operationalizing the solution. By incorporating the solution into the product design engineering flow, valuable time can be saved, and important lessons can be learned.

“Being lean, being a startup, your goal is to make guesses, make hypotheses, run experiments, see if those experiences were true, see if the hypothesis was true, and then iterate on it.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

Being lean and agile is essential for startups, and their goal should be to make hypotheses, run experiments, validate those hypotheses, and iterate based on the results. Mr. Adam emphasizes the importance of operationalizing things, which involves using tools that facilitate the creation of prototypes or minimal viable products. These tools can range from simple ones like Google Sheets and Forms to more complex automation processes and scheduling software. By leveraging these tools, companies can quickly create hypotheses, test them, and iterate accordingly.

The advantage of operationalizing hypotheses before entering the full product design cycle is to avoid spending excessive time and effort on developing a product that may not align with user expectations. By validating hypotheses early on, companies can gather feedback and make informed decisions about the direction of their product development.

Balancing Speed and Quality and Navigating Pushback between Technical and Product Departments

“Having a culture on the team of having open conversations around tradeoffs is super important.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

According to Mr. Adam, one of the difficulties that technical and product departments in startups frequently face is striking a balance between speed and quality. The need for rapid progress often clashes with the desire for a polished and aesthetically pleasing product. In the startup environment, speed is crucial, and the focus is on delivering a functional solution rather than a perfect user experience.

Creating a culture of open discussions around trade-offs is vital to addressing this challenge. Mr. Adam emphasizes the importance of conversations involving engineering leadership, product managers, and other stakeholders. It is crucial to openly discuss the trade-offs between delivering a shiny, feature-rich product in a longer timeframe versus delivering a functional product quickly for testing and iteration.

In Mr. Adam’s experience, most product managers in startups prioritize functionality over aesthetics during the early stages. They opt for delivering a minimum viable product quickly and gathering user feedback before investing time and resources in refining the user experience. The decision-making process regarding trade-offs is typically non-emotional, focusing on what is best for the business and the users.

As a director of engineering, Mr. Adam aims to ensure the business’s success and the users’ satisfaction. He emphasizes that no matter which trade-off is chosen, his team can still work on interesting projects and contribute valuable code. The level of attention to product and design quality increases as the user base grows. However, in the early stages of startups, having a functional product is generally deemed more important than a flawless user interface.

Mr. Adam cites examples of successful startups that initially operated with simple tools like Google Sheets or manual email processes. These companies scaled their user base significantly before investing heavily in refining the user experience. This illustrates that perfection in UX or UI is not essential at the early stages of a startup.

Essential Solutions and Strategies for Fast-tracking Efficient Go-to-Market

“When researching third party tools, cost is also important, as well as their ability to integrate and provide a seamless user experience.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

According to Mr. Adam, there are several key factors to consider when selecting software solutions for different industries. In the healthcare sector, HIPAA compliance is a must-have requirement. Similarly, in finance, there may be specific regulations like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance to consider. Mr. Adam emphasizes that they can ensure HIPAA compliance if they build the software in-house. However, HIPAA compliance and cost become crucial when exploring third-party options.

During discussions about problem statements, Mr. Adam applies a cost-benefit analysis. He first considers whether existing companies offer solutions for the specific problem statement, estimating that approximately 80% of problems already have existing solutions. He examines the available companies and their solutions, evaluating factors such as their ability to address the problem statement, ease of integration, and the presence of APIs, which are essential for seamless integration with existing systems. Mr. Adam highlights the importance of integrating the third-party solution in a way that appears seamless to the user, avoiding a disjointed experience.

Furthermore, Mr. Adam considers the resources within his team, particularly focusing on product design and engineering. He evaluates the number of engineers available, the time required to build a custom solution, the scalability of the custom solution, and the need for additional features. If a company has sufficient engineers, building an in-house solution to keep everything internal may make sense. However, with limited engineering resources, integrating with third-party tools becomes a more viable option, allowing the engineers to focus on other tasks.

Mr. Adam acknowledges the tradeoffs between building in-house and buying third-party solutions. While it’s tempting to have most of the solution be internal intellectual property (IP), third-party tools’ practical considerations and advantages should not be overlooked. He suggests that companies carefully assess the benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

“Tools like Github Copilot and Chat GPT can save a ton of time and be useful for tasks like code autocomplete and writing unit tests.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

Shifting gears to AI technology, Mr. Adam shares his enthusiasm for tools like GitHub Copilot. This tool provides code autocomplete suggestions based on the user’s codebase and the vast amount of code available on GitHub. It significantly saves time and is particularly adept at suggesting proper conventions, which is crucial when using frameworks like Ruby on Rails.

Additionally, Mr. Adam mentions the usefulness of chatbot AI tools for writing unit tests. Unit testing and code quality are paramount to him and his team. Tools like Chat GPT enable developers to generate unit tests quickly by providing suggestions and reducing the time spent on manual test writing.

The Ideal Product Manager and Quality Traits Engineers Love to Work With

“Some of the product managers that I’ve really loved working with in the past are proactive and get a full sense of the stakeholders’ needs and problems beforehand.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

According to Mr. Adam, effective product managers are proactive and thoroughly understand stakeholders’ needs and problems before involving the engineering and design teams. He appreciates the use of comprehensive documentation, citing companies like Stripe as an example, where they prioritize documentation and even have documentation about their documentation. Mr. Adam believes writing things down and incorporating visuals when possible is essential for clarity and understanding.

“Making sure that the problem statements and potential solutions align with what already exists in the current context of the application.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

Moreover, Mr. Adam emphasizes the importance of considering the current context of the application being worked on. It is crucial to ensure that problem statements and potential solutions align with the existing framework. 

When wireframing and discussing the flow of data elements, he emphasizes the need to know where each data element originates. For example, if a user’s phone number is required to send them a text, it is necessary to consider what happens if the phone number is unavailable. Understanding the data sources and their interaction with different application parts is vital for maintaining a coherent and functional system.

Key Considerations for Enhancing Collaboration between Product Managers and Engineering Teams

“Having blameless postmortems when there are big issues and taking the focus off of who did the wrong thing onto what happened and how to improve it in the future.”

Adam Jubert – Director of Engineering at Journey Clinical

Effective product managers should communicate the problem statement to the engineering team and provide insights into the user’s journey. Sharing user feedback and recordings of user interviews can give engineers a sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation. Data-driven communication, such as highlighting the percentage of users experiencing a specific problem and expressing their frustration, resonates well with engineers who value empirical evidence.

Furthermore, Mr. Adam emphasizes creating a shared experience within a fully remote team. He suggests starting meetings with a few minutes of casual conversation to foster a sense of camaraderie. Writing high-quality code, including tests, conducting pull requests, and conducting code reviews, is essential for a high-performance engineering team.

As a manager, Mr. Adam believes in the significance of regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports to support their progress toward their goals. Additionally, he recognizes the value of occasional skip-level one-on-ones to maintain an understanding of the broader team dynamics. Encouraging a blameless culture is crucial when addressing bugs or issues. 

Mr. Adam promotes blameless postmortems to focus on process improvement rather than assigning individual blame. By referring to code issues as “our code” and conducting blameless postmortems, the team takes collective responsibility for their work and focuses on learning from mistakes.

Summing it Up…

The journey of Mr. Adam provides valuable insights for navigating career growth in the tech industry. Through his experiences and perspectives, we can distill the following major lessons:

  • Proactively seeking new opportunities and engaging in regular one-on-one meetings with managers serve as a platform to discuss career goals and identify growth areas.
  • As one’s career progresses, pursuing an individual contributor or management track demonstrates one’s capabilities. It also expands one’s skills beyond technical expertise.
  • Seeking feedback from managers helps identify areas for improvement while acknowledging strengths and leveraging them to build upon success. 
  • Making informed career choices and identifying growth opportunities early in one’s career requires careful consideration.
  • Balancing efficiency and effectiveness is very important, especially in startups. Also, prioritizing functionality over aesthetics in the early stages is key.








The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.

Listen to our podcast to get some useful tips on your next startup.

Article podcast YouTube

Podcast #1. Creating a Futuristic Surgical Robot

In this episode, our guest was Christoff Heunis, CEO of Flux Robotics. Educated in mechatronic and biomedical engineering, Christoff began his Ph.D. in surgical robotics. He turned his attention to rehabilitation engineering after his friend’s mother had a stroke. Christoff began researching rehabilitation devices that help patients recover by building connections in the brain, similar to how small children learn to sit, walk, and talk. The devices support the patient through this journey anew, returning to an acceptable quality of life.


Advancing Surgical Robotics with Surgeon Collaboration

The interest in rehabilitative engineering turned into an interest in surgical robotics, and that’s how the Flux One project came about. In discussions with surgeons, Christoff found that most preferred open-body surgery to noninvasive techniques. But for the patient, the second method would be much superior because it greatly reduces the chance of blood loss and potential infections, as well as shortens the recovery period. Not to mention that cosmetically, it avoids unsightly scars.

“You don’t take the surgeons out of the loop; it is that you’re just merely enhancing their skills.”

Redefining Surgery with Magnetic Robotic Innovation

Christoff thought it made sense to create a device that would make no difference if surgeons operated with their hands or medical equipment. This is how the concept of a robotic arm emerged, which has a magnet that moves surgical instruments. A magnet can access the head, heart, and stomach and still avoid a whole operation. At the same time, the surgeon’s hands don’t get tired from work.


To develop such a prototype, the Christoff team analyzed all existing medical technologies involving a magnet – their pros and cons. There is no template to follow from a prototype to a certified product ready to be used in a hospital. It’s always cut and try. When you sit down with a team of specialists and think about how the product should look in two months or a year, very often, the vision changes as you go along. It doesn’t matter how good the product or the idea is; it’s how easy the implementation is.

“Always start at the end and ask yourself just what do we want to do, which is the point.”


The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/abvcQJFW3tb

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL9CfKy5ZqM

Want To Know how ot Build a Healthcare Mobile App?

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Podcast #2. Disrupting Healthcare Services

In this episode, we talk to Martin Högl, a true IT Healthcare professional and a father of 6 children. Martin founder of digital healthcare service providers medworx.io, giniMED, and Teamediothat connects both healthcare providers and patients. But before he got involved in developing this product, Martin worked his way up from an industrial mechanical engineer. He moved to the U.S. in 1993, and in 1999 he started a startup (it wasn’t mainstream then) in the healthcare industry on the Internet. Back then, the Internet was trendy, but enterprises still weren’t sure what the future held for this technology.





Navigating the Complex Health Sector in Germany

Then the company turned into a consulting business – Germany turned out to be too conservative for digitizing the health sector. Then there was a joint telecommunications project with Siemens – hardware & software as a service, which was eventually implemented with completely new partners. So Martin’s company was not only a SAAS, but at the same time, it was running this service as a telecommunications provider. All this experience ultimately helped Martin to beat 130 competitors to a contract with one of Germany’s largest healthcare companies. The nuances of doing business in Germany required Martin to create a second spin-off company.

“I can close the door, and I can leave it. And I can say: “Okay, maybe tomorrow is the next day, and we can make it happen the next day.” Sometimes it works.”

Trust, Technology, and Enjoying the Ride

Martin emphasizes the difficulty of finding a reliable IT partner because you invest a lot of money and work on a solution for 2-3-5 years; by that time, it is already out of date. According to Högl, no one believed launching a cloud solution in the German healthcare sector was possible. But Martin was able to – their solution allows them to work on a central platform rather than providing software code. Based on such a platform, Comjoodoc can deploy cloud services very fast. But the main thing was that healthcare providers trusted Martin with their personal data. The service doesn’t deal with patients but with their identities.


Embracing Innovation and Rule-Breaking for Success

“You need to have fun, and that’s a big topic even if you’re older. I’m 56 right now, and I’m always keen on topics and the work that enlightens and drives me. And it gives me joy and fun throughout the day.”

Martin says there’s always a big difference between what kind of employee you need and what’s actually on the market. A good CTO is not only a technician but also an entrepreneur, a true rock star!

“All future CEOs who are listening to it, who dares wins, and sometimes you need to play by the rules, but to not play, you need to find the rules.”

The APP Solutions Expertise: Success Story

Case Study: A White-Label Telemedicine Platform

The client is the owner of a medical center in Berlin, Germany. After the COVID-19 outbreak, he faced the need to provide patients with a distance communication solution to decrease the number of offline visits, while enabling doctors to monitor vital patient health data and streamline communication with a laboratory. 

For his goals, the client decided to use a comjoodoc telemedicine app, popular in the German region, that includes: 

  • Two mobile apps: one for patients and one for medical professionals, developed on React Native.
  • A web application built on Node JS and Typescript. The web app also leverages Doker as app containerization technology and Kubernetes for automated deployment and management. 

comjoodoc web app
while lable telemedicine app

After working with us, the client received a white-label telemedicine platform with advanced features that took us two months.

The while-label platform brings benefits to both types of users:

Medical professionals can exchange files with patients via secured live chat, send, and receive laboratory tests in a more streamlined way. 

Patients can receive high-quality medical services in the comfort of their homes, schedule appointments with doctors, attend medical meetings online, get receipts for medication, and medical treatment plans with a daily schedule. The app also allows patients to pay for medical services online. 


The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/abvcQJFW3tb

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL9CfKy5ZqM

What is The Project Discovery Phase, And Why Does it Matter

How often do you meet clients so inspired by an idea that they can’t wait to start development right here, right now? They are passionate about their project and driven by a natural desire to see the final product as soon as possible. Hence, they constantly push the entire management and development team. And this may seem logical – start earlier, finish sooner; what’s the point of fighting the moonlight?

However, in software development, the primary role is played by preparing the project itself. It is the Project Discovery Phase that is crucial for successful development. After all, if the product doesn’t meet the market demand, it won’t matter how well it is made.

Starting work without proper planning is like putting together a puzzle without having a picture of what needs to be done. Of course, all the pieces will fit in the end, but how much time will be lost? As many developers confess, in almost half of such cases, the development process goes beyond the original financial and time limits, while the result leaves much to be desired. And all because the starting stage was conducted carelessly or even skipped in order to start work on the spot.

The better you prepare for the project, the more likely it will go smoothly. Although it will delay the launch, it is undoubtedly worth it. This preparation is the Project Discovery Phase. Let’s understand what goes into it, and what depends on it.



What Is the Discovery Phase

Usually, the project life cycle includes the following stages: initiation, planning, execution, control, and completion. Of course, the better groundwork you provide for the project at the initiation stage, the smoother the path your team will be able to take later on. 

The Project Discovery Phase is the planning phase of project initiation, when team members gather information about the project, determine a budget, and form precise project boundaries. The purpose of the discovery phase is to be able to make data-driven decisions and reduce all risks associated with product development. 

This includes gathering and analyzing information about the project, its target audience, scope, and objectives. This phase also examines additional information related to the development process, such as primary and secondary functions and measurable performance.

The Discovery Phase can last from a couple of days to several weeks, or even months, depending on the project’s complexity and scope of work. The Discovery phase is usually placed in the first sprint in a modern Agile management system. It helps to determine how well the software development team and  business owner understand each other from the beginning. 


What Happens in the Project Discovery Phase?



The Step-By-Step Process of the Product Discovery Stage

In the Discovery Phase, it is important to follow a consistent algorithm of actions; modern Agile management framework helps the team in this. If you follow it steadily, then the software development project will become a predictable and pleasant activity for the client, just as a house is built quickly and smoothly according to the drawings of an experienced professional architect.


It’s worth talking to clients first, finding out what they already have in their pockets. They may have already done user research themselves, have a software development team but not enough people to manage all the processes. Or, the customers just came in with an idea and very rough budget, and all these “floating” elements need to be put together with a directive strategy that turns into a rock-solid roadmap. So, how do we start project discovery checklist?

This step helps determine the main problem you want to solve with the software. Based on this, decide who will be the primary contact person on the implementer’s side.

The first phase of the Project Discovery Phase involves discussions with the founder or owner of the product. The survey method gathers as much information as possible about the vision and future product, its goals and business needs. The data is then passed to the executing company’s internal use to move on to the subsequent phases.




This list should include product owners, project managers, administrators, end users, developers, investors, and any other categories involved in creating or using the finished product.

Determine who serves as the key facilitator. Provide the manager with any current information or documentation about the project. This person decides what is missing and what is hindering the project.

The project manager, business analyst, and account manager lead in the discovery phase. Sometimes they may be joined by developers and designers. They help with SRS, prototype wireframes, or scope estimates.

The project management role during the discovery phase of a project is extensive, from planning and organizing internal meetings and recording all the details discussed to ensuring productive interaction between developers and the product development team on time and within budget.


Prepares the project’s usage scenarios and requirements, goals, and target audience. In addition, he/she will be responsible for researching the product’s niche, competitors, and customers. The business analyst decides whether the product is needed in the market as the customer sees it, and whether to make any changes based on the collected analytics.

During the Project Discovery Phase, the developer keeps track of what technologies and languages need to be used, suggests alternative and more appropriate ways to approach the development of core features, or notes the lack of implementation. This person is responsible for creating the architecture and logic of the future software project.

Responsible for creating user experience aligned with project goals: user-friendly navigation, intuitive design, and visually appealing design. Creates sketches, mockups, wireframes, and prototypes to bring the vision to life.


Sometimes gets involved in the discovery process to explore possible problems in the execution phases of the solution.

Selecting such a team and having them work together allows for more than a short list of business and technical requirements and estimates during the Project Discovery Phase. In addition, it provides an incentive for customers and performers to work on the same wave, without asynchrony, as all participants get a holistic view of the project as a whole and, in particular, why a specific feature is needed.



Developing successful software projects requires a complete understanding of the target audience. A market analysis studies its size, amount of competitors, financial and technological features, and trends. The data collected takes into account the needs of the stakeholders, as well as the needs of the product’s end users and competitors’ experience.

Building the user journey and defining the target audience will be vital in creating the product, as it enables the formation of effective marketing strategies. This requires the software development team to analyze how, when and under what circumstances the intended product or solution will be helpful. For example, what will make a user visit a particular site or download a mobile app?

The virtual portrait of the target audience includes information about the likes and dislikes of users, their hobbies, professions, and much more. In addition, we identify the problems our users face and find ways to solve them with the product. Finally, using information from user feedback, we modify the initial plan to reflect real users’ expectations, needs, and pain points.

Through market research, we can understand what the industry is doing concerning similar projects and adopt market best practices. Ultimately, this helps us set realistic expectations for the project, create valuable benchmarks, and calculate the time and cost required to develop a full-scale product or MVP, bringing us to our next point. 

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Once you understand the competition better, it is time to work on the product specification. At this discovery stage, we form a product requirements document including software requirements – design details, recommended tech stack, feature set, architecture description, and so on.

This document will ensure that development goes smoothly; the product requirements document lists all the planned features and functions. In addition, requirements development defines the complexity of a given functionality. This establishes the effort required in the design, development, testing, and project management phases.

In this step, the information architecture is also developed. It helps to outline the essential elements, how it should all work, what roles exist, what functions you will have, and how they should relate to each other.

Based on the information gathered during the sync of all the participants, the development proposal helps ensure that the project discovery team will create a product that meets all of the client’s requirements and expectations. It also clarifies the project vision and minimizes entire project development risks.



After forming a product requirements document, we start working on an interactive prototype. Simply put, this is a model of a particular piece of software that functions just like the final product. It helps to test functional assumptions and identify potential technical problems. In addition, a prototype model helps the software development team better understand the project, and you can focus on improving the user experience up front.

A prototype is a demo version of an application design based on a technical specification. It represents how the application should work, not the visual components. It is an integral part of the discovery phase of a software project.

UX/UI-rs work on the project’s design concept and visual representation in the form of mockups or prototypes. Creating clickable prototypes is considered good practice for thinking through how critical features work.

At this stage, developers choose which programming languages, frameworks, and services will be best for the project’s success. They can compare what will work best for certain product parts or think about which web application architecture will be most efficient, saving time and costs.


The ultimate goal of preparation is to reach a stage where the discovery team can give an accurate estimate of the time and cost required to create the MVP or full-scale product.

This stage includes finalizing the team’s composition, key milestones, and the likely timeline for each step. Based on these, you can create a timeline and calculate the approximate total cost of the project. Ideally, you also map out the project’s success.

Another essential document that the discovery stage leads to is a complete project schedule with specified milestones, deliverables, and timelines.

When the discovery team relies on a clear set of requirements, they can accomplish every task of the development phase without any postponements or changes. All those responsible know the intermediate project goals, deliverables, and deadlines. This is the bottom line by which you can move forward with confidence.


Benefits of the Project Discovery Phase

Project Discovery Stage gives confidence in the stability of the project thanks to the following:

  • In-depth niche market research allows you to make decisions based on data, not assumptions. It’s about more than just the proven usefulness of the product but also about refinements based on feedback from potential users.

  • A clear framework for the project’s cost at the very beginning due to the strictly defined goals and phases of work avoids surprises. The price is not subject to change at each new stage. In such a situation, finding investors is much easier.

  • Saving the customer not only money but also time, avoiding the need to make costly edits in the final stages of the project.


Collaborative work at the Discovery Phase provides a lot of opportunities and avoids misunderstanding and other unpleasant moments, among which:

  • A vague idea. Sometimes customers come to development companies with a vaguely formulated project at the idea stage, and the client needs help understanding how to implement the project. What business processes should accompany it, what stack and features the final product will have, and what can be limited to the MVP stage? And finally, does the target audience need the potential product? Without detailed elaboration of all the nuances “onshore,” you should not start “sailing.” In the next step, there will be questions, problems, miscommunications, and inconsistency of expectations and results.

  • An undetermined amount of work. Suppose you do not prescribe each step in advance (what should go after what, what is a priority, what can wait, what is the logic of importance). In this case, the amount of work will constantly change, missing deadlines will be revealed, and implementation will be greatly delayed.

  • Uncertain budget. This comes out of the previous step. If there is no clear roadmap, the duration of work and goals are constantly changing (upwards), which means the funding costs will also change. Sometimes budgets get so bloated that it’s easier to drop the idea.

  • Forced downtime. The steps depend on each other, so if you break one of them, it can stall subsequent efforts. Without clearly defined steps, regulations, policies, and technical documentation, you can’t just change the development team you’re unsatisfied with because no one from the outside will want to get into the mistakes of others; it’s better to start from scratch. So the client also wastes time looking for a “rescue” team and concludes that beginning with the Discovery Phase is necessary.

  • Unsatisfactory result. If all the stages of work were done ad hoc, and instead of developing a quality product the team was busy “fighting fires” because of mistakes, it is hard to imagine that the product will be good, in demand, and meeting the expectations of the client and end users.


A carefully planned Project Discovery Phase usually takes about 10% of the total duration of a project. So, as you can see, it is not as much as may initially seem, and the benefits far outweigh the costs.


The Bottom Line

It is important to understand that the Discovery Phase is not a whim of a development company trying to get as much money from the client as possible. On the contrary, by going through this process, the customer gets a predictable roadmap, in terms of time/stack/finances, for working on the solution. Furthermore, they may save a lot of money through getting market research which confirms that the game is not worth the candle, and the idea abandoned without investing time and resources.

We have our own SWAT at The APP Solutions, who will quickly guide you through the Discovery Phase – we will answer all the questions of interest, give an estimate of the cost and duration of the project, as well as what you can do to improve your product and much more. So contact us if you want a quality analysis and guidance for your idea in the shortest possible time.

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PODCAST #3. How Technology Can Help Improve Healthcare Outcomes

The guest of this episode was Nick McKenzie, Group Product Manager at Redox, an orchestra conductor who always finds common ground with investors, techies, and marketers alike to create an amazing workable product: “I just naturally gravitate toward solving hard problems with large folks of smart people and still try to do that.” Nick began multitasking in college, playing sports, editing the school newspaper, studying economics and political science to become a great lawyer, and eventually realizing he wanted to combine healthcare with technology.

Embrace Action and Market Feedback

That led him to Walgreens, and it was an opportunity to see the interplay between the commercial and human aspects of healthcare delivery.


“I operate under the idea that it’s better to release something from a product and have to tweak it than to over-design and never get feedback on a thing. So I am generally biased toward action and implementing feedback, and sharing decision-making along those lines in a reasonably fast time frame.” 





Nick is a person who doesn’t get hung up on things for long but tries to make MVPs, tests, and upgrades according to what the market dictates. 

From App Knowledge to EHR Integration Architecture

The next step in his career was working at the famous company Cerner. Nick says the following about his work there: “You learn your app, and then you become the solution architect of that app. So you gain more knowledge than the subject matter expert of that given application. That was my intended path, and my path was exposed to 16 or 17 of Cerner’s applications in my first year.”

Nick went on to work with the EHR integration architecture, which he compares to building a house, where an entire team of contractors, roofers, electricians, and plumbers work cohesively under an architect. 

“I was always fascinated with this idea of being the translator helping clinicians translate their requirements into what they wanted the system to be designed and then translating back to the technical teams how to execute and interestingly enough. It’s all that product management really is.”


Simplifying Healthcare Data with a Personal Touch

The next step in Nick’s career was Redox – a single API for providers and products. Mission – making the world’s healthcare data frictionless for adoption. The mantra for every large team meeting is that we are all patients. We might not be patients today, but at some point, all of us will become. What is Redox doing now? Expanding buyer personas, changing the focus on the product. 

There was also talk about how Nick sees the difference between a startup with 250 people in series D and a Fortune 500 company with 25,000 people. It’s the mechanics of running a business, like HR management, annual reviews, and culture… These things are handled more centrally in a big company, and they’re very personal at Redox. You have a much deeper ability to influence people directly. Nick explains in quite some detail and fascinatingly what he thinks the difference is between product development and the KPI system at a big company and a not-so-big one. 

How to build the right product team? Focus on a diversity of skills to avoid tunnel vision. You need people who can offer different solutions to problems so that you can gather the best of those perspectives and assemble them into a workable strategy for the future. 


The Multifaceted Chameleon Approach

“Product is a complex field. You have to understand the dynamics of the business; you have to work directly with engineers, and you have to interact with customers. You kind of play different roles.” 

Product management as a professional discipline that attracts people who used to write code, do business, and do architecture. Nick thinks of product management as a chameleon. Some days you have to be blue and interact with investors and customers; other days, you have to be green head down and solve engineering team problems; and some days, you have to be a completely different color in market research, interviewing people, and doing podcasts. And it’s all proportionate based on business needs. 

Nick talked about interoperability in healthcare and where it’s headed. We spent the last 10 to 15 years digitizing the U.S., but the problem was they were in different systems that spoke different languages. Now we’re in the throes of unifying into just one language. And we have to get to the point where we can universally translate from one language to another language to provide computational algorithms to provide new clinical therapies.



The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/abvcQJFW3tb

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL9CfKy5ZqM

PODCAST #4. Boost Business with Iteration: Quicker Time to Market, Better Product

This week our guest is Patrick Cullen, SVP of Engineering at Carrot Fertility – not only an IT expert but a three-time Ironman Triathlon accomplisher! College was also a bit of an obstacle course, as Pat chose to study computer science and business administration, which is not easy to combine when you’re still very young and a member of the track and field team. However, that’s where Cullen learned how to work as a team – how to take responsibility and delegate it to others.

Pat’s Journey: Balancing Innovation and Scalability

After Pat’s studies, he quickly worked his way up from Help Desk to chief software engineer at CommerceHub, keeping his love of sports in mind and founding Hoopdog. This startup organized amateur basketball tournaments.





Working at Carrot Fertility is, first and foremost, about the satisfaction of giving hope and helping families who can’t have children. That in itself is a good motivation. Then, by improving the quality of the product, Pat builds iterations based on user feedback – some teams focus on innovation, and some reinforce what we’ve already done. So 60% is scalability and risk reduction, and 40% is innovation.

“It’s an art, but it’s so complex that I feel like when science has so many variables, then we just call it art.”

Analytics numbers should guide you at any stage of product creation but be prepared that not everything can be confirmed by numbers at once – letting go of the right things at the right time. The perfect product is the enemy of a good product – don’t hesitate to “let out the door” something that doesn’t seem to meet your criteria.


Solving Complex Problems and Advancing Healthcare Ecosystems

“There’s something fun to solve whether it’s more like the market fit or architecturally complex; I love all problems like I love all my children equally.”


What does Carrot plan to do next? Investing in the modularity to ensure ease of adoption for companies and health plans; continuing to invest in our data platform to increase visibility in outcomes of journeys; investing in various fertility journeys for improved engagement.

“I am a solver at heart, so I love hearing about a gnarly problem that I can roll my sleeves up and get involved with.”

Shape Product Understanding and Success

Every experience of your career and your journey is something that you can build on and learn from, so always embrace where you are and live in the present because it will help influence your future in terms of product understanding the life cycle and phases of your products and what their place is in that and invest accordingly, whether it’s early innovation or something that you need to start mastering.



The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/abvcQJFW3tb

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL9CfKy5ZqM

PODCAST #5. Empowering Expertise: How to Thrive as a Scarce Specialist in B2B

Our guest this time is Paul Norton, Health Tech Product Leader at Oscar Health. Norton’s future choice of profession could not help but be influenced by his physician’s parents. At home after work, they discussed the barriers that prevented them from providing quality care to the population. As a result, Paul grew up with the understanding that he wanted to change that situation. Our guest’s college years came during the Obama presidency and his ObamaCare program. He worked for an economist who worked with national leaders to design health care worldwide and specifically to implement the Affordable Care Act. Paul likes that kind of systems approach but realized that research wasn’t for him; he was focused on action and execution, which can be achieved through technology.

Paul’s Journey to Product Solutions

So Paul ended up at Athena Health, where he focused on strategizing and implementing products related to value-based care, where his “political” background helped him. At that time, medical institutions began actively funding digital projects, such as the introduction of electronic health records, and Paul’s company doubled in size and revenue in 3 years.

Having Domain expertise or background in something that may look slightly different from your peers can help you take on higher levels of responsibility early.

You’d think, what more could you want? But Paul continued to develop himself, earning his MBA and MPH degrees and having had time to work with a unicorn company. Norton noticed that insurance companies desperately needed technology to adequately share medical data. That was exactly what Oscar Health, a tech-driven insurer, was doing. That’s how Paul got into that company and is now the Assistant Director of Product Solutions.

Policy and Regulatory Change Creates Opportunities

The connections and people can come from all kinds of different places.

A considerable challenge is asking a healthcare organization to remove and replace its entire infrastructure. The market has been looking for more modular offerings, so Oscar is moving to a more modular strategy and is about to go to market with a patient engagement tool called Campaign Builder, a user experience you can’t get from an insurance provider. “We sort of have that fully integrated Tech stack enables that because we’re not having to sort of move data around between different systems and sort of piece things together; it all sort of layers on top of things, and it gives us a lot more flexibility with how we sort of surface data to members and providers.”

We often underestimate how policy and regulatory change create opportunities.

Any person who has gone to a doctor in the U.S. has been told that they can’t access some element of their information, whether it’s their medical information, information about the payment to a provider, or the number of times HIPAA has been misused as a reason not to share data with a person.

Navigating Complexity and Learning in Healthcare Evolution

When you look at your technology capabilities, you think about the differentiator of your offering and how that differentiator becomes more robust when the political environment changes, which is essentially a market condition.

There are three key characteristics of product ownership – curiosity, skepticism, and empathy.

You have limited resources at your disposal, and you have a lot of requests from a wide range of stakeholders, and you have to prioritize and understand the motivations. This requires significant skepticism because you often have to say no. You have to have good data skills because how else will you assess priorities?

“I’m trying to get the state of California to spend tens of hundreds of millions of dollars to create a statewide health data network and pass laws requiring it”, Paul advises, “If you’re in doubt about whether you’re right for the product manager role, ask yourself why you were hired for that role. It was for a reason.”

And also explains the difference between a large company and a startup: in a smaller organization, priorities are a problem because resources are limited, but there are also fewer stakeholders making decisions, so it becomes much easier to reach a consensus. On the other hand, in a large team, there are many more people around from whom you can learn.

Every day I learn something new, expect a huge change in healthcare, hopefully in a good way.







The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.

Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?

Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels –

Spotify: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/abvcQJFW3tb

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@careminds4634/