In this article, Dr Owain Rhys Hughes, CEO and founder of Cinapsis, explains his journey from surgeon to CEO.
When I joined the NHS as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, I had no idea that I was on a path that would eventually lead me from medicine to entrepreneurship. Fast forward a few years, and having founded Cinapsis to build a solution to the outdated communication tools in use on the NHS, my role has transformed beyond recognition.
From surgeon to startup founder, I’ve learned a lot along the way; but it turns out that some of the biggest lessons I learned as a doctor also helped me immensely as an entrepreneur.
By sharing the three most important lessons that have followed me throughout my career so far, I hope they can also help those who are taking their first steps in the world of healthcare technology innovation.
1. Find the root cause of the disease you are trying to treat
A crucial lesson for any doctor is that symptoms should never be taken at face value. Instead, you must get to the absolute root of the problem that needs to be resolved. For healthtech entrepreneurs, the same is true. When creating a technology solution, it is crucial to fully examine and understand the full picture of the problem you are trying to solve.
At Cinapsis, we’ve found that talking to end users from day one is critical in helping to identify the frustrations our product needs to address. Armed with this knowledge, we were able to intuitively design and customize our platform to ensure it successfully meets the differentiated needs of clinicians.
2. Put people front and center
Just as it is important to thoroughly examine a patient’s underlying symptoms, as a physician it is essential to consider the individual before you do. Every patient is different, which means their needs and treatment are also invariably unique.
For any technological innovation to be successful, it is equally important to prioritize the individual. This means considering the needs and experience of your end users at every stage of product design. No matter how large a solution, if it is difficult to use, requires time-consuming integration, or does not easily sync with existing processes or systems in use, it is unlikely to be adopted long-term.
3. Collaboration and partnership are key
Working together with my NHS colleagues in treating patients is critical to ensuring they receive the right care at the right time. Likewise, working in close partnership with others formed the basis of our work at Cinapsis.
Close collaboration within your own team is not only vitally important to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals, it is also critical to success building strong partnerships with your customers. At Cinapsis, we work closely with our NHS partners to ensure that our platform is continually adapted and evolved to work effectively for the doctors it is designed to support.
While I didn’t know it at the time, the lessons I was learning as a doctor undoubtedly helped me as much as a healthcare technology entrepreneur. From delving into the details of an issue to putting people first and collaborating closely with others, these are by far the most important skills I think every healthtech founder should put to use.