Aired February 20, 2023 – BECKER’S HEALTHCARE PODCAST

Scott Becker (00:00):

This is Scott Becker with the Becker’s Healthcare Podcast. Thrilled today to be joined by a brilliant group of entrepreneurs who develop software in healthcare and run healthcare businesses. They’ll explain it far better than I can. We’re joined today by Ryan Reid, who is the founder of this set of organizations, which are Intend and Staff Garden and some others. We’re also joined by the president of Intend, Eric Kupferberg and as well as one of the leaders at StaffGarden, Brian Card. And they’re going to talk a little bit about what they do, how they do it, some of the impact they’ve had. We’ll talk a little bit about vaccines in San Francisco and the Monkeypox Outbreak, Urgent Care, what they’ve done there, some of the other issues they work through. Before we go too far, Ryan, why don’t you take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about NetQuarry and your organization and then we’ll also ask Eric and Brian to introduce themselves. We’ll have you with us for about 10, 15 minutes and we’ll give the audience a good sense what you’re doing and some of the issues you’re watching in healthcare. Ryan, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Ryan Reid (01:07):

Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Scott. So my name is Ryan Reid. I’m one of the founders of NetQuarry. NetQuarry owns two companies that one’s called Intend and one is called StaffGarden. We started as a software platform company. That means we build software that helps people build software. When we started both of these companies, we were no longer selling Platform, we started in with a completely different idea. Probably makes sense to me, just to give you a sort of an overview of what these two companies do. So we started StaffGarden earlier. This has been I think in our seventh year of StaffGarden. We started StaffGarden initially as what we thought would be sort of an online headless vendor management system. And basically what the idea was is that we were going to allow hospitals to come to us and advertise and pick a nurse and hire that nurse as a temp.
It turns out there’s exactly zero hospitals that wanted that, we quickly pivoted that company into being a digital marketing platform. And along the way got asked to start building some software on top of our technology on top of this platform related to StaffGarden at one of our customers who was successful. And that software has become the center of what we do really focuses on the idea of helping hospitals manage clinical success. And that starts with professional advancement does competency, peer reviews, those kinds of things, tracking residency and that’s staff garden today. So we worry about clinical success.

Scott Becker (02:51):

Tell us about Intend and I want to come back to one of the concepts you’ve had then I want to get Eric and Brian involved in a moment. But Ryan, tell us about Intend and what is Intend. Okay

Ryan Reid (02:59):

So Intend is basically a health record system for, mainly for providers who are not in the business yet of providing services. So we built this platform at the middle of the pandemic to help mostly independent pharmacies become service providers for covid testing and vaccines. Now that’s grown quite a bit from a service perspective into being a full-blown EHR platform that allows independent pharmacies and clinics and clinic systems and other providers like that to perform medical services to their patients.

Scott Becker (03:39):

And that’s a fascinating perspective. There’s so much of what you said that’s fascinating. One of the concepts is when you say providers that aren’t already providers and at first one scratches their head and then they immediately understands what you’re talking about. There’s so many pharmacies that are out there that at least originally weren’t also providing vaccines that weren’t doing, providing a services. They were just filing pharmaceuticals and all of a sudden they become providers. And there’s probably umpteen examples of that exact thing, fascinating, the other thing you said, now I just want to talk to you about this one moment. As an entrepreneur, you said originally, we intended to do this with this company, then it quickly morphed into this as we understood what the market needed. Talk for one moment because so many of our listeners are not just hospitals and health systems, but they’re also technology companies, people trying to develop technology companies. There are other kinds of businesses. This concept of pivoting to get the product fit, product market fit. Can you take one moment on that, Ryan, and then I want to turn it over to Brian and Eric, can you take one moment on pivoting to define product market fit and how important it is to have as an entrepreneur to have eyes opened to make those pivots?

Ryan Reid (04:47):

Great, thanks. I think that my background is a software engineer and my partner Cam Woods also the same. Our customers originally have always been the users of our products that we developed. So when we started StaffGarden initially we thought we knew what the market needed and we built that and we built it based on some other experience we had. But the only way software works is if people use it. You can have really great software if nobody uses it. It’s terrible. And what we found in the past 15 years or so of doing these sorts of things is that the better job you do at software, the more people want you to do. So they find out today that you guys have a, oh look, you have a digital marketing platform and that’s great. That helps us, but what we really need is this. And so our ability to solve people’s problems really is how we discovered the product and how it fit in the market. Hope that answers

Scott Becker (05:50):

You have to be close enough to your market having enough discussions with the customers where they start to share things and you hear them and connect dots, right? I mean it doesn’t happen from internet research. You actually have to talk to people, talk to customers, and understand what they need to have that understanding, don’t you?

Ryan Reid (06:08):

We have to talk. Yeah, well we build software for our customers. Obviously we have to get started a little before they may get involved, but our customers, the first customer on our Clinical Ladder of our Professional Advancement product for example had certain ideas that they wanted to solve. They gave us a bunch of documents, this is what we’re doing today. We translated that into software and that was four or five years ago. And today the functionality is considerably larger than it was at the time. When we started Intend, for example, all we really cared about was how many Covid tests can we get through in a single day? We were in one month doing almost a million tests a month, and this was obviously bad for the whole world, but we had to figure that out. Now we’re figuring out how do we get independent pharmacies frequently only seeing one or two patients a day, but how do we get them to deliver services and get paid?

Scott Becker (07:03):

Thank you very, very much. And Eric, let me turn to you, have you talk both introduce yourself, then they’d like to talk to you about a couple topics on the Intend side. And I’ll do the same thing with Brian on the StaffGarden side if that’s okay. Eric, can you take a moment and introduce yourself?

Eric Kupferberg (07:18):

Sure, Scott. Thank you. I’m Eric Kupferberg. I’m the President of Intend. I oversee all of the departments within the organization, but my main focus is with working with our partners and customers to help grow the brand and make our implementation successful.

Scott Becker (07:36):

Thank you very, very much. And there’s a number of topics that we’ve at least touched on, how Intend served San Francisco during the Monkeypox outbreak, how Intend works with smaller pharmacies, sometimes smaller urgent care facilities to make them more agile. How people go about thinking about good ideas, integrate software just to people that are not software engineers. This seems like so complex and people particularly have minds that are not computer native. It seems that’s so complex, but every day people are doing it and doing it great. Talk a little bit about some of those things, Eric, just sort of how great software can make a smaller player able to compete better and also how Intend worked with San Francisco during the Monkeypox outbreak.

Eric Kupferberg (08:17):

Sure. I’ll hit the Monkeypox thing first. In the summer of last year when the Monkeypox was first announced, the outbreak around July, our customers in northern California were one of the first to receive vaccinations, but they didn’t have a system in place to be able to set up to do the administration, the reporting, the inventory management with the state and the distributors. And so in a matter of days in working with our pharmacists up there, we were able to develop the plans, the procedures, the forms, the intake forms, the reporting that was necessary to the state. And for example, one of our customers in Sacramento, Pucci’s Pharmacy was able to administer over 5,000 vaccines in the first week. So to date, they’ve done tens of thousands of Monkeypox vaccinations and about 50,000 other types of vaccinations, mostly around Covid vaccinations, but similar story for our customers in San Francisco and throughout the rest of California.

Scott Becker (09:26):

Fascinating. Talk a little bit about taking ideas and converting them into software for customers. It seems so good. Everybody’s got problems to solve and that’s really what you’re doing. Talk about what that process looks like. Customer comes to you who has an issue or you’re working with the customer, they need to develop software, something new. What does that process look like working with customers, providers and so forth that are trying to make adjustments to develop software for specific problems?

Eric Kupferberg (09:51):

So here’s a perfect example, great question. We have a partner of ours, Exer Urgent Care. It runs 32 locations. They’re an urgent care in mainly the Los Angeles area. And they had an issue where they wanted to embark on a digital transformation to provide a better customer patient experience and improve their entire workflow. So they embarked on this project, contacted us, and we were able to, in a matter of months, provide an entire platform for them to manage all of their patients from scheduling and all of the communications back and forth as well as insurance verification. And so it’s been a real big game changer for them. With a system like intend, a relatively small provider, they only have 32 locations and now have an internet presence equal to some of the largest health providers in the country. From a patient experience, the rate of communication, the accuracy of the data that it’s providing, that’s flowing around the reporting to the state that’s required. So in all for relatively quick implementation, an urgent care center that has 32 locations is able to have the appearance of a much larger organization

Scott Becker (11:16):

And be able to operate as much larger organizations with great software platform. Correct. And Brian, talk to us a little bit about StaffGarden and that business and where the core focus is there. And also Brian, take a moment and introduce yourself.

Brian Card (11:32):

Yeah, sure. Thanks, I appreciate it. Brian Card, VP at Staff Garden. It’s as interesting as a startup. You know, can say you’re a VP over one particular area, but everybody knows that you’re pretty much over everything. My primary focus, honestly is the success of our customers. And if we look at our initial customers, Ryan alluded to earlier, a decent size facility. They started with 180 nurses in their program and they’re up to 700. We start with one facility and we’re up to 800 facilities and we’re really changing how organizations are engaging their nurse population with technology and especially post covid, been critical for these organizations to engage and grow and retain their nursing population. And the software’s been instrumental in many organizations doing just that

Scott Becker (12:33):

Saying. And talk about it just for a moment, how StaffGarden grew and what are the biggest priorities of StaffGarden today?

Brian Card (12:41):

Yeah, customer success continues to be obviously one of our largest initiatives. How we grew probably a lot of grit obviously. If we think about when our pivot that we made prior to the pandemic, it was a lot of effort in obviously getting organizations to focus on retention and growth during the pandemic post pandemic. And if we could say we’re post pandemic we are focused on obviously enterprise systems, helping them expand utilization of these clinical advancement programs. The addition of new features that we have around peer review and competency assessment and new nurse onboarding is providing one single platform for nursing organizations to be able to track, approve and really evaluate their clinical staff much faster than they have in the past.

Ryan Reid (13:43):

I just wanted to add, the interesting thing in healthcare is that clinical advancement is something that’s been around since the early seventies. This idea of taking a clinician, mainly nursing and moving them up the ladder, making them more competent, sort of a novice nurse to an expert nurse. And that’s something that’s fairly unique to healthcare as sort of an institution and it’s a very large group of people that are doing this. The interesting thing that happened after and after the pandemic is this has become incredibly important today. Where three years ago, for example, we were talking to different sorts of organizations about it who were more the teaching organization kind of people, sort of the fancier hospitals in the world. Now literally, everyone wants to do this program and because not only do they want the quality associated with it, but clinical advancement programs in hospitals allow the hospitals to pay their employees more. So it’s actually a bonus to participate in these programs, which is something very unusual. This doesn’t exist in education today, doesn’t exist in engineering, it exists in healthcare. And we find that really interesting and that’s one of why we’ve so busy.

Scott Becker (14:55):

No, thank you. And it’s literally a fascinating suite of companies that you guys have all developed. I’m going to ask each the following question and it really goes to, I’ll start with Ryan, what are you most focused on and excited about this year? I’ll ask you to spend about 30 seconds to a minute what are you most focused and excited about this year? Ryan, I’ll start with you and then go to Eric and Brian as well, Ryan.

Ryan Reid (15:18):

Well I mean we’re really excited in both companies in that we’re working with some organizations that are going to dramatically sort of change the impact of what we’re doing. In other words, we’re working with organizations that are going to take us from a million procedures to 5 million procedures on Intend. And we’re working with organizations that are going to take us from the current a hundred thousand nurses that we’re worried about to 500,000 nurses. So I think that we’ve got to manage that growth and we’re a startup and there’s aspects to managing growth that are maybe not in some startup’s mentality. And some of this is we’re learning as we go along. But I’m super excited about the idea of having more impact on people.

Scott Becker (16:05):

Thank you very, very much. Fantastic. And you call yourself a startup, but you’ve been at this for several years with great success and I love that mentality of, well we’re always a startup cause we’re always trying to get better and always trying to improve what we do. Eric, talk about what you’re most focused on this year and excited about.

Eric Kupferberg (16:20):

Yes, I’m most excited about being able to provide this platform and service so that the public has an alternative to where to go when they need routine medical care. Currently, if you have potential symptoms of Strep Throat and you want to get in to go see your primary care doctor, most likely you’re waiting multiple days to a week to get an appointment to go in to see them. Or you need to have the expense of going to an urgent care at that point. What we provide our pharmacy customers is the ability for their patients to walk into their local pharmacist, have a rapid diagnostic test for Strep at that time, all of their intake and insurance information has been completed. Click a couple buttons and have a telemedicine appointment, a video call with a physician that’s part of our network, have the physician do the screening, do the interview, and then write a prescription for that patient for Erythromycin or something else. And it be directed right through the pharmacy system so that patient has a single place to go for routine services. Their local pharmacist where they have a relationship, they can get in, get what they need and get out, and that’s all within a couple hours. That’s a game changer for providing immediate healthcare services to the public when there’s a gigantic shortage of primary care doctors to do these types of routine services.

Scott Becker (17:54):

So well stated. And that gigantic shortage is going to continue and get exasperated. So finding ways to get to the right person is so important. The right clinic, the right urgent care, the right pharmacy, whatever it might be, the right person. So important. And Brian, let me turn it to you. Where are you most focused and excited this year?

Brian Card (18:12):

Well, I think where we’ve come from and what our partners are saying about what we’re doing, their willingness to talk to other individuals about the success that they’ve had I think we’re the we’re kind of the unknown thought leader in this space at this point. So what I’m excited about is expanding our voice and obviously growth. Growth is very important to us this year. But some of the partnerships that we’re forming with some well-known professional nursing organizations and clinical institutions across the country, I think what people are going to start to experience is the same success that our current partners have. So we’re looking forward to a tremendous year. And then lastly, the success of our customers. is always top of mind.

Scott Becker (19:07):

Thank you very much. I want to thank Ryan, Eric, and Brian, two companies Intend and StaffGarden, and an parent company that Ryan founded and co-founded and ran NetQuarry. Thank you folks so much for joining us today on the Becker’s Healthcare Podcast. It’s so interesting to me to see a software engineer build out this suite of companies and what you’re doing in the leadership Eric and Brian as well. Thank you folks so much for taking the time with us today. Just fascinating. Thank you very much.

Eric Kupferberg (19:33):

Thank you, Scott. appreciate your time.