Today we’d like to introduce you to Rupen Patel.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started my engineering career with HP, building software for the first consumer photo printer which we shipped in 7 countries. The company had a genuine culture of excellence, as Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were still involved at the time, and I had the fortune of having a great manager. What I learned there gave me a good foundation.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to have worked with and for several industry experts building things that people have used across industries – open source tools, news and entertainment, marketing automation, small business, and healthcare. The technologies and industries have changed, but the basic foundational elements of a good engineering culture and working with people who chase excellence stay the same.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My parents immigrated to Canada with $8 each, so I grew up with all the familiar immigrant struggles of building a future from the ground up and relocating several times. One of the things I learned early on is that almost anytime you attempt an act of creation, you will face resistance. In smaller team settings, the resistance is typically runway/resources to make a dent in the market. And in larger team settings, where resources aren’t an issue, its often the team dynamic/management hierarchy. These days a lot of variations of nearly any idea/solution you can think of exists out there and the challenge is cutting through the noise to focus on the core problem and solve it well without getting distracted.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Influence Health – what should we know?
Influence Health was founded on the premise that the internet can improve the collaboration between healthcare providers and patients, and has since partnered with hundreds of organizations to virtually engage, activate and influence patients.
Today, Influence Health is the industry’s leading provider of comprehensive healthcare consumer experience solutions. Equipped with a customer relationship management system (CRM), digital marketing system (DMS) and content management system (CMS), the company’s Consumer Experience Platform enables the marketing teams at provider organizations to create extraordinary digital consumer experiences that positively influence brand awareness, affinity, and loyalty, well beyond the care setting. Since 1996, Influence Health has helped more than 1,100 provider organizations positively influence consumer relationships in a way that is transformative to financial and quality outcomes.
I joined Influence Health after leading engineering and innovation efforts across a variety of industries, including retail, hospitality and food service for over 15 years. Most recently, I served as CTO for NCR’s small and medium business division where I led global engineering and launched SaaS and mobile efforts while driving innovation across internet of things and analytics. Prior to NCR, I founded and directed Mercurium, driving development and support services for marketing automation, SaaS, eCommerce, health gamification and more. My clients at the time included Cox, Oracle, Vitrue and several startups. As CTO of Influence Health, I head product development across the entire platform, lead software development and play a key role in shaping the technology agenda across the Influence Health solution portfolio.
At Influence Health, we wake up thinking about the healthcare consumer — how we can help individuals and families become wiser, healthier and stronger, using technology, and how we can enable marketers, providers, employers and payers to positively influence and support healthy consumer decisions and behaviors, every day. Because after all, we are all consumers, and don’t we want the best technology and tools for our own health, families and communities?
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We’re already seeing the consumerism of healthcare, as today’s healthcare consumer is expecting the same timely, personalized and omni-channel experience they’ve grown accustomed to via the retail and hospitality industries. To date, hospitals and health systems are slow to accommodate. I expect more and more healthcare organizations will recognize the demands of digitally-savvy consumers in the future and place a higher focus on providing a positive digital healthcare consumer experience.
While machine learning has made its way to the medical side of healthcare, I expect the marketing side to soon adopt it in the future. Machine learning can automate gathering and analyzing consumer data, allowing marketers to focus on overall strategy. In addition, machine learning technologies could also allow practitioners to respond directly to patient needs in a digital space. I also expect to see advances in the computer interface, for it to evolve from chatbots to more natural, human-like interfaces that are voice activated.