How many times have you filled out a questionnaire at a doctor’s office or emergency room? Many of these questionnaires about your medical history, emotional and physical health and lifestyle behaviors are health risk assessments, designed to help individuals and medical professionals monitor health status over time.
Bounce software accelerator client Global Health Metrics wants to create the most scientifically rigorous health risk assessment on the market. With its suite of HRA products, the company offers cloud-based software to the healthcare industry and for employee wellness initiatives. The hope is that patients and providers receive the information they need to promote healthy behaviors and preventive services.
We caught up with GHM’s CEO, Éamon Johnson, to learn more about the company.
Bounce: What does Global Health Metrics do?
Éamon: We provide health behavior surveys to medical professionals and companies engaged in employee wellness. Reports compare life expectancy with current behaviors to the averages for people of your age, sex and race. We also provide feedback on important topics like stress, sleep and nutrition.
Our focus groups have told us that a large portion of healthcare providers are only doing these types of health risk assessments with a small portion of their patients, and we want to change that.
Our science team is always looking for ways to make our products the most valuable and impactful, so we can look at the populations over time and determine how we can live longer and better lives. For instance, with COVID-19, we started to include questions about cough and hand hygiene, and we are currently waiting on statistics from the CDC regarding pandemic deaths. The baseline statistics of population health are always changing.
Bounce: What was the inspiration behind GHM?
Éamon: Our founding science team secured a grant from the NIH to modernize health risk assessment concepts that were initially developed in the 1980s. We spent three years developing disease risk algorithms under the NIH grant and then we started Global Health Metrics to keep the team together, to keep the science and research moving forward, and to license the technology. We were able to do that with support from Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth.
Interested customers started calling as we completed the NIH grant. If someone tries to take the product away before it’s finished, it’s a good sign. Our initial intent was to open-source the software, but everyone wants to customize it, so the commercial model worked better.
Bounce: What has been GHM’s biggest challenge and biggest accomplishment?
Éamon: We came from a product focus and as we look to grow, we need to learn more about the markets. Primary care sales cycles are very long. Growth must be intentional.
Accomplishments, so far, have been staying in business to be able to learn the markets we need to target. A couple of our best customers went out of business during the pandemic and that put some pressure on us to adapt and grow.
Bounce: Tell us about your experience working with Bounce.
Éamon: We were talking to some folks with Jumpstart in Cleveland, and they told us Bounce has strong contacts in health software. Bounce has provided us with clarity about how we focus on markets and how we express our value in those markets, tactically. So far, the intros made through Bounce have provided productive conversations.
Bounce: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
Éamon: All advice is context dependent. Also, find a problem and market and come up with the product. It’s also super important to be ready for a long journey.