Future of Tech-Driven Ideas in Healthcare

Summary

Irma Rastegayeva, co-founder of eVira Health, shares her remarkable journey from software engineering to becoming a healthcare leader and patient advocate on the Digital Health Transformers podcast. She emphasizes the critical importance of trust in healthcare technology, which can be established through reputation, storytelling, and a solid track record. Rastegayeva sees emerging technologies such as AI, VR, and 5G as powerful tools that empower individuals to take charge of their health. Specifically, she discusses how AI has the potential to alleviate physician burnout and improve healthcare workflows. Furthermore, her company, AA Health, assists startups in developing compelling narratives and utilizing social media to increase visibility and connect with their target audience.

Key Moments

Introduction

  • The speaker has a background as a patient advocate and a healthcare industry leader, emphasizing the importance of trust in healthcare technology.
  • Technologies like 5G, AI, and VR are seen as empowering tools for individuals to take control of their health.

Irma Rastegayeva’s Background

  • Irma has a diverse background in software engineering, patient advocacy, and digital storytelling.
  • She co-founded eVira Health, a company focused on boosting brands in the health tech sector through social media marketing.

Role of AA Health

  • AA Health has a massive reach with over 550,000 direct followers and a 30 million organic audience, aiding startups in gaining visibility.
  • The company focuses on creating content that resonates with the health and tech community to shape the future of health tech.

Leveraging Technology for Startups

  • Irma emphasizes the importance of understanding technology and product development to help startups communicate their message effectively.
  • Startups should focus on delivering value, engaging with the audience, and building a community to increase their online presence.

Impact of Patient Engagement

  • Patient engagement is essential for improving healthcare outcomes and leads to a more patient-centered approach in the industry.
  • The movement towards patient empowerment and involvement in healthcare decisions positively impacts the quality of care.

Future of Healthcare Technology

  • The adoption of new technologies in healthcare is hindered by regulations and workflow challenges, emphasizing the need for smart design and integration.
  • Consolidation in the health tech sector is expected, focusing on solutions that deliver value and fit seamlessly into existing workflows.

Transcript

Nicole  

Welcome to the Digital Health Transformers podcast series. This podcast explores the dynamic world of healthcare innovation, one conversation at a time. I’m your host, Nicole Guevara, and today, we have an inspiring guest at the forefront of transforming the healthcare landscape.

Our guest today is a widely recognized healthcare leader. She has various accolades, including Irma Rastegayeva. Irma started her career as a software engineer nearly 30 years ago. She worked for a medical devices startup and moved on to leadership roles at household brands such as IBM and Google.

Additionally, Irma has been a patient advocate for three decades; for 12 years, she has been a community builder and storytelling coach. Recognized among the top 30 women in tech and the most influential, 50 most influential voices in healthcare, she’s a repeated health tech and digital health influencer and a chief digital storyteller for her company, eVira Health. Founded in 2017, eVira Health has become a game changer in B2B social media marketing for the health tech world, blending deep technical expertise with creativity and storytelling to boost brands in this fast-moving sector.

Based in London but making her waves globally, Irma and her co-founder Evan Cristal are fueled by a love for health tech, social media, and improving patient experiences. They became a go-to source for startups and big names, helping them get noticed, lead conversations, and connect with the right audience through tailored social media strategies. What sets eVira Health apart is its massive reach.

Over 550,000 direct followers, a whooping 30 million organic audience, and an extra 1.5 million followers through their global influencer network. This enables them to make serious noise for their clients, getting an outside share of voice, sparkling engagements, and driving real results. From converting events and crafting engagement posts to coaching execs on telling their story, eVira Health is all about creating content that clicks with the health and tech community, making meaningful connections, and shaping the future of health tech together.

In today’s episode, we’ll explore Irma’s journey in this space and her understanding and anticipation of the future of healthcare technology. Let’s begin with its upcoming tech-driven ideas in healthcare this year. Thank you so much for joining us today, Irma.

Irma

Well, thank you so much, Nicole, for that wonderful introduction. I appreciate the invitation and look forward to the conversation.

Nicole

I am definitely, as well. So, before our main topic, can you share more about the transition from a software engineer to a prominent figure in the healthcare industry today? What inspired you to this shift in your career?

Irma

Well, sure, Nicole. Well, I have to say it wasn’t just one shift. Many different shifts, big and small, led to where I am today.

As you said, I did start my career as a software engineer, and I was lucky or destined to start my career in the medical devices and medical software startup. And that was an amazing journey. I was there for more than four years.

And just by nature of being in a startup, I got to do my main job as a software engineer and install our systems in hospitals worldwide. I got to work with medical physicists and neurosurgeons who were the main users of our product, and I got to train them in our product and learn from them how our software and our medical devices were making a real difference for patients. So, I should mention that the software I developed was to treat brain cancer and brain aneurysms through a revolutionary concept at that time that was called radiosurgery.

So, it was amazing. It felt great to see the direct effects of my work and how that directly improved and often saved patients’ lives. It was also amazing to be in a dynamic, great startup environment where everybody was excited and enthusiastic.

So, as I moved on in my career and worked in increasing software engineering and management roles in other industries and companies, that feeling of being connected to the outcome of your work never left me. So, as I moved on to other industries, I always knew I wanted to return to being in healthcare and medicine somehow. Being a patient advocate played that role for me for a couple of decades.

So, outside of my professional role, I was a patient advocate for, as I said, for, you know, as you said, for more than three decades. So, I’ve always been involved in different things. So, for product development, to advocating for patients, sometimes bringing, you know, that mindset of what technology we can use here to help patients maybe as they navigate the healthcare system.

So, anyway, so then as I pivoted to other roles, I moved away from software engineering, and I used, you know, so actually, I have two master’s degrees. So, kind of as I was working, I was getting my second master’s in engineering management because I felt that I wanted to take on more and more roles instead of just developing software. I wanted to manage projects.

I wanted to manage technology. So, yeah, that gave me a lot of other opportunities to take on additional work. And as I moved to IBM, I became a managing consultant.

So, it was a combination of being still technical but working directly with clients, helping them solve their problems. It was very interesting how, you know, I worked across different industries as a managing consultant. So, I got an exposure to kind of see how different industries work.

And, you know, as I moved on to Google and got other roles, you know, technical program manager and technical solutions engineer. So, just to really, I guess I kept exploring. I kept moving in different directions and pivoting a lot from software engineering but then making little pivots within different kinds of similar roles.

But what happened maybe 10 or 12 years ago? I was just looking for something else I could be doing outside of my technical management professional roles. And that’s when I got involved with TEDx. I ended up co-founding TEDx Boston 12 years ago.

That’s when I got passionate and involved in storytelling. So, it started with helping curate speakers for the TEDx event and helping them get their story out. And because I have a passionate interest in healthcare and medical technology, I kind of curated more of the speakers in that vein, and then working with them and helping them shape their story was just really, really fascinating.

So, I think we’re getting closer to where I am now at Vero Health and doing marketing and social media, which is not what I trained for. It’s not at all what my degrees are in, but it’s a combination of lived experience and 20, 20-plus years in product development and 30 years of patient advocacy. Everything is kind of melding together.

So, maybe I’ll stop now and see, you know, what other things you want me to do a deeper dive in.

Nicole  

Absolutely. Thank you for that great background. I completely understand if you start advising or working for a startup, you tend to wear a lot of hats because there’s a group, there’s a small group of people who are doing meaningful things.

So, you tend to have many more responsibilities and different avenues that you’re not an expert on at first, but then you become an expert because you’ve done so much. Also love your discussion about being a patient advocate and volunteering. And I think that it’s great to keep a pulse on healthcare through the eyes of the patient.

So, that’s brilliant. And you’re just brilliant. You made a career and shifted consistently, making yourself a better professional person by, you know, working for big names like IBM and Google, and that’s simply amazing.

My next question is, as a digital storyteller for Avere Health, how do you leverage your background in technology to help startups gain visibility in the healthcare industry?

Irma  

Yeah. Thank you. So, as I mentioned, I have two master’s degrees.

So, one is in software and systems engineering, and the other one is in engineering management. So, that allowed me to, you know, gain a deeper understanding as I started to manage projects and be responsible for some technical decisions. So, my background in technology runs deep, right?

So I can understand the technology and the companies’ design approaches. So, you know, I don’t need to know every single detail. Still, I just have that systems approach and understanding of technology, product development, and the entire lifecycle. So, I can also, from my perspective of patient advocacy, be kind of on the other side of using some of this technology in healthcare and understand how this can apply.

So, when you talk about helping startups, I can come in from a storytelling perspective and help them shape this story about what they’re trying to do and why they’re doing it. Still, I can also help them explain technology targeted to the right audience because often I see entrepreneurs going into too much detail, which I understand is a techie; it’s exciting. Still, you have to target it to your audience.

And you talk about kind of breaking into the healthcare industry. I found that the healthcare industry is unique and different from many other industries where I worked. So, trust is very important, and certainly, I appreciate that. I think it’s important that we trust any technology that tries to help us with our health. Trust is built on reputation, storytelling, and past track records.

So, helping pull all those threads together and helping startups kind of get that message out there. Of course, we also work with household brands like Microsoft and 3M Healthcare, for example, which already have a large footprint. However, focusing specifically on B2B social media, there’s still so much opportunity to help big brands connect with their audience because it’s interesting. Still, people like to connect with people, not so much with the brand itself. And so, people are the representatives of the brand.

So, even if we’re advising big brands, it’s about how they can tell the story to connect with individual people. We advise executives not to be shy, not to hide behind the brand, but also to have their presence as representatives for the brand.

Nicole

Thank you. I love what you said that executives shouldn’t hide behind their office and should represent the brand because I’ve read articles stating that they trust the brand more if they could put a face into the execs, the stories behind it, and the people behind it. So, thank you for that.

That’s very true, not just in healthcare but in any industry. My next question is, in your experience with eVira Health, what role do you see emerging technologies such as AI, VR, and 5G playing in shaping the future of digital healthcare?

Irma  

Yeah, absolutely. So, in my experience with eVira Health and as a patient advocate for more than three decades, I have a particular approach to technological advancement. So, I want it to bring tangible benefits to patients.

As I mentioned, my experience with the startup I worked for a while back was just how meaningful it was and how you could see your work in action. And I also saw the long process it takes to get medical devices and software into the market. Talking specifically about technologies like AI, 5G, and VR, of course, they’re enabling.

So, 5G enables faster communications. AI enables better productivity. VR enables better medical education, let’s say.

However, I also see these technologies as empowering, especially for the individual or the human level. As a patient or someone who wants to stay healthy, they might not even be a patient. They’re trying to avoid being a patient.

So, using technologies like wearables, accessing health-related data, and drawing insights. So, I think it’s enabling technologies at the base level, but it’s also empowering technologies where now, using these, we as individuals can do so much more to address our health. And maybe before we can address anything and make any changes, we should have some data from wearables like an Apple Watch or from wearables like an ORA ring that I’m wearing that could help you look at your sleep data for activity.

There’s continuous glucose monitoring, for example. People can understand how they respond to ingesting carbohydrates and sugars. So, we can gain some insights that we didn’t have any chance to see before outside of just visiting the doctor occasionally and maybe getting some guidance and advice.

So, to me, they’re empowering, and that makes me feel even more optimistic about the potential of having more control over our health.

Nicole  

Very well said. I love what you said about technology being empowering. So, with the advent of different medical devices, software, apps, and whatnot, a patient has so much more responsibility to engage with their health and well-being.

So, it’s great. Even the ORA ring, I love that. It’s great to see that the advent of technology is making patients more aware of their health and healthcare needs.

My next question is, how do you envision integrating disruptive technologies to improve patient care and healthcare delivery?

Irma

Well, so, of course, there is still a disconnect between all this data that is now available to us and some insights we could get and what is available to our physicians to take actions beyond our lifestyle changes; let’s say so if it’s a prescription that is needed or some kind of other intervention. And I think the downside of all this data could be both for the patient and myself; it could be overwhelming because now you have access to the data, you might see that something is not quite optimal, but what do you do about it?

So, it could create anxiety and overwhelm. So, that’s one of the negatives of this. And then, of course, the healthcare system is quite overloaded and stretched thin.

So, I think we have to be careful about just saying, oh, we have all this data now, so let’s find ways for doctors to access all of this. So, I think this is where technologies like AI could come into play to analyze large amounts of data and then maybe present some insights to the physician. Of course, they can review it, and they can, but not to have them do all the analysis of raw data.

So, I think we need tools to integrate consumer devices like watches and rings and continuous glucose monitoring. So, something could gather that data and present it to physicians meaningfully, allowing them to maybe suggest actionable actions and steps to their patients. So, I see that there is a gap there.

And I know, of course, companies, there are a lot of people working in this space. The whole health tech and digital health arena is huge. There’s a lot of innovators working on this. So, we have to see how things shake out and what happens.

But that’s important; AI would play a large role in this. Even if you know it’s, I don’t know if you’ve had any experience with chatGPT; it is an amazing tool. You can even put in your blood work results, or you can put some of these data you can access to give you some interesting insights.

You have to take it with a grain of salt because this goes beyond Dr. Google in terms of providing insights and drawing conclusions. So, you can’t 100% trust it, but I think it prepares you to discuss it with your physician. You know, you can be more educated on what you’re seeing and what you might want to discuss, dive deeper, and get specific medical, trusted advice from your physician.

So, I think there is a consumerization aspect of healthcare where you can get more knowledge to further inform you about where you want to take your conversations with your physician.

Nicole  

Yes. I like what you said about how, every day, most healthcare organizations produce thousands and so much, hundreds and thousands of data. Encapsulating this into an AI platform that can summarize the data is important.

What also resonated with me is what you said: there are just so many healthcare companies vying for solutions to these problems. So, it’s great to see that health tech is very competitive in their startups and, you know, producing the best of the possible items for the patients and the patient outcomes. So, I think I’m very excited to see the future of health tech, and I think we’re just simply touching the pick of the iceberg and realizing that there’s just so much more to see eventually in the future.

Our next topic is upcoming trends in the health tech drive in the healthcare space. Considering the rapidly dynamic nature of the healthcare industry, what trends do you anticipate in a tech-driven healthcare space in the upcoming world? I understand that AI took over 2023 in topics.

What are the trends that you anticipate in this coming year?

Irma  

Yeah, absolutely. So, of course, AI will continue to dominate the news, including its application in healthcare, which I think has a huge potential. So, as far as some specific examples of areas where AI could be beneficial for healthcare are in some of the aspects that I’ve mentioned, kind of being the bridge between maybe a lot of the consumer-driven data and medical insights, but also, you know, there’s a huge crisis happening right now in healthcare workforce crisis.

So, there’s a, I mean, it started with the beginning of the pandemic four years ago, and there is so much burnout among physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals. A lot of valued professionals are leaving the field. There is a huge crisis in primary care.

So, there is so much that is needed in terms of healthcare improvements from the workforce side. And so, there is an opportunity for technology to address some of those shortages. It’s obvious: no AI, no bot, no robot can ever replace a physician, can ever replace a nurse, but there is a huge opportunity for these technologies to help augment physicians’ work, you know, augment, help physicians with their workload, augment what nurses have to do.

There is a huge opportunity to use technology for the training of nurses, you know, utilizing remote training, utilizing kind of virtual side-by-side training at the bedside through, you know, remote technologies, allowing remote access from nurses being trained. So, as far as trends, there is a huge opportunity, I believe, to use AI to help physicians when it comes to EHR, EMR, and electronic medical records. So, we all know that when it was developed, you know, a long time ago, the goal was to improve patient care and assist physicians. Still, we now know that completing paperwork and working within the system has added a burden on physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

So, we have already seen studies on how AI can be used alongside existing tools to help with providers’ responsesproviders’ responses through the patient portal, for example. It’s amazing, but like AI-assisted tools that respond to patients, patients rate them as having more empathy than purely, you know, human-developed responses, and this is not because physicians don’t have empathy. I mean, they probably have empathy, you know, in spades, and that’s why they went into the profession, but it’s just the overload. It’s the burden.

It’s even moral injury that affects, you know, physicians’ performance. So, give them a little bit more room to breathe. Give them some opportunity to use these tools to help them with the paperwork that must be done.

So, I think that as far as going back to trends, AI will be a key enabling technology. Still, in terms of its applications, I’d see it improving workflow, physician burnout, and workforce shortages. It’s a long road. It won’t happen overnight, but I am positive about the changes it can bring about.

Nicole

Yes, that resonated with me. You just said that artificial intelligence doing waves and movement could augment our current workflows. I think some people throw around the words augmented intelligence versus artificial intelligence because, in the end, it will help us improve and optimize our workflows. And what you also said regarding physician burnout, I read an article that about 40% of physicians want to either retire or transition to a non-clinical career within the year 2030 because of the work that’s involved with seeing patients and just EHRs, even though it was supposed to help improve workflows, it becomes more of a burden, especially in the administrative side.

Another article I read mentioned that it would take about 28 hours a day to complete work for a family medical practice doctor, plus pajama time after seeing patients. So, it is incredible knowing that most physicians went into the workforce to help people and not be workers of their technology. So, what you said about all of that resonated with me.

My next question is, how does Evira Health contribute to the growth and development of health tech startups? And what key areas do you think we’ll see significant innovation soon?

Irma  

Well, so, we do a variety of, you know, we offer a variety of services. We have many different ways that we can help startups. So, we’re talking specifically about startups now.

So, I’ll highlight some of my work as a storytelling coach. So, I’ve coached startups and entrepreneurs for years in delivering pitches at, let’s say, innovation competitions. I coached many people who won monetary awards, mentoring opportunities, etc.

So, that’s very personally rewarding to work one-on-one with entrepreneurs to help them craft their story, to target it to a particular audience, to help them kind of draw that why into, you know, as a reason why they’re doing what they’re doing. Then, moving on to the online work, we can do it online with social media, specifically B2B social media. There’s a lot of opportunity for innovation in that field. You know, it’s still called new media. Social media is still new media; it’s not traditional media.

There’s an opportunity to do a lot within that space. So, as you mentioned in the very kind introduction, what separates eVira Health and distinguishes us is our huge network of followers. We have more than 550,000 direct followers, and Evan and I have amassed over years of being online, developing content, and advocating on social media like LinkedIn and Twitter.

So we have that that we bring to the startups. So when we help them craft their messages and put themselves on social media, they have an opportunity for a large audience to see what they have to say. And then, of course, we help them craft messages targeting a particular audience.

We help by using hashtags and keywords, and they can find the right audience. However, in terms of innovation in how social media is used for marketing and selling, there are many exciting ways. So we’ve developed an amazing track record of covering conferences.

This allows startups to attend huge conferences like HIMSS or CES in the growing digital health area. So, startups may not have the funds to have a booth or even have a small presence in the startup pavilion. But they could still get this share of voice; they can still be seen and heard on social media on the HIMSS hashtag, for example, through our skills and abilities to kind of insert them into conversations and have them lead conversations at times.

We can do Twitter chats where they pose interesting questions and get the audience to participate and, you know, contribute their perspectives. So there are things like that. And we do a lot of live streams.

So, you’re interviewing me now, and it’s being recorded. And we often interview people kind of live. It just goes out there and all the platforms, and we can do deep dives into their solutions and services, as well as what drives them and their vision for healthcare.

So yeah, I guess that’s one of the innovations we can use in social media marketing.

Nicole  

I love that you gave live examples of what you do for your clients to improve their image and engagement and their realm of patients or clients. So that’s something amazing, especially for eVira Health. Our next topic is about e-patient engagement trends and more.

With the increasing importance of patient engagement, what trends have you observed in e-patient engagements?

Irma  

Yeah, that’s a great area to cover. Thank you, Nicole, for this question. So, while the e-patient movement started out of necessity to overcome deficiencies with data and information sharing in our healthcare system, I see it as a very positive and growing movement.

The welcome trend I’ve observed has been an increasing inclusion of patients in the industry, with health tech companies and health systems having patient experience officers and other patient representatives sitting at the table. So, I think this movement also taps very much into this whole empowerment. So even though it started out of necessity, I think it now has this additional positive sentiment of being empowered.

So, and I think maybe years ago, if patients had brought some of their research or opinions to discuss with their doctor, that might have been seen as unacceptable, and how can patients contribute to their healthcare. But I see this now as a positive as patients become more involved and engaged in their healthcare. Truth be told, as much as physicians, nurses, and everybody cares and wants better patient outcomes, no one but ourselves, as patients, can be more involved than us in our healthcare.

So I think this has to move from more of a passive model where I come in and you do treatments onto me, or you just tell me exactly what to do. I see it more as an active involvement in healthcare. So, as a patient advocate and a cancer survivor myself, I think patients need to take center stage in making sure they’re getting the best healthcare, the best education, and the best opportunities to maintain or regain optimal health.

Nicole 

Yes, very much so. I completely agree with you. I think when you see a patient or a doctor sees a patient. Usually, it’s once or twice a year, but it’s probably more if you have a chronic condition.

But sometimes the old, I guess, belief is that you know, you’re a doctor, only think of that particular patient twice or three times a year. But now, patients have round-the-clock monitoring with their wearables and their medical devices. So it’s exciting to see as your wordings go is empowerment and active participation in their healthcare needs.

How do these trends impact healthcare outcomes? What do you think?

Irma  

Yeah, that’s the most important question, right? Everything has to result in improved care. Otherwise, no technology or changes to the healthcare system make sense because we’re all just trying to strive for better outcomes.

And historically, much too often, it’s been patients themselves or patient advocates that had to work very hard to overcome the limitations of all the silos that are entrenched in the healthcare industries. Whether trying to get medical imaging or other data to another provider for a second opinion or finding ways to work with many different types of specialists to treat or manage a complex condition. But thankfully, we see so many new developments now.

Centers of excellence are being established, and multidisciplinary approaches have become the norm when treating such complex diseases as cancer and diabetes. So that’s a positive result that came out of that movement. Then, patients themselves will be more educated about their conditions.

So, more resources are available, as we discussed before. In addition to being able to Google various things, there are now even more intelligent tools like chat GPT. As we talked about, the physicians, nurses, and the entire healthcare system have been increasingly overwhelmed since the beginning of the pandemic.

And that hasn’t let up, even as the pandemic is supposedly over. So it’s a little bit difficult to predict exactly how else the patient movements might improve patient care beyond the ways I’ve already mentioned. But I think it’s just this combination of self-empowerment, having more data available, and having more tools that can interpret the data and make this kind of adjunct to the traditional ways of periodic doctor visits.

I see this especially working well in managing chronic conditions where, like remote patient monitoring, more continuous monitoring would be so much more helpful than just these episodic doctor visits, especially regarding diabetes or high blood pressure management, et cetera.

Nicole  

You’re right. I completely agree with you, especially when you said that healthcare sometimes used to be at least in silos; one department sometimes talks to another department, or one organization has the same patient with another organization or an insurance organization, and they still don’t talk to each other. The patient would still need to call this organization for this organization, and they just don’t integrate.

So it’s great that there are centers of excellence coming out of this and that they are centered, or it’s like patient-centered healthcare, and not advocating to make the patients the center of it all. So, I love what you said over there. I completely agree with you.

Share your views and thoughts on healthcare technology’s current and future state potential.

Irma  

Yeah. So, of course, there are unique challenges to adopting new technologies in the healthcare industry. It is heavily regulated for good reasons, but that naturally slows the adoption of new technology.

Another barrier is the workflow. With the overworked physicians, nurses, and staff, any technology, no matter how good, doesn’t fit well into an existing workflow and will not be given a chance. So while the potential for the many exciting technologies like AI, voice wearables, VRs, and many others, the potential is huge, they have to be smartly designed to deliver good patient experience in terms of, you know, wearability, reliability, et cetera, ease of use, but they have to be designed to work within current system as well and deployed in ways that will increase chances of wide adoption. And as far as the field, kind of stepping back with the field overall, I think there will be a lot of consolidation in the field. We talked about it earlier.

There are a lot of competing solutions in the different sub-areas of digital health and health tech. So, over time, there will be a lot of sifting and consolidation. I hope only the best solutions will remain, but as I said earlier, having the best technology does not always guarantee success.

You have to have a lot of other threads come together. So, hopefully, we can be part of getting some of these solutions and the visibility that they need so that they can kind of move forward.

Nicole  

Yeah, totally. I also resonated with what you said about technologies and consolidation. I agree with you because many startups are doing the same thing: just a little tweak here and a little tweak there.

So it’s important to see that overall, there will be some sort of best among best, and we know they will put the patient on the front line. A few things that also came to mind when you were talking about technology and the current trends are that some healthcare organizations still purchase or subscribe to software. It’s not integrated into their existing software. And I think integration should be highlighted further in the future because it’s inconsistent with their workflows.

So, I love what you said about technology considering workflows when they’re trying to implement or integrate it with some healthcare organizations.

Irma  

Yeah, absolutely. Talking about interoperability for how many years now, it’s still very, very far away from being universal.

Nicole  

Yes, very much so. One of my clients has the same problem; some of their software programs don’t talk to each other. So, you know, you put software on top of software because this one doesn’t talk to this one, and this one doesn’t talk to the other one.

So, interoperability. Hopefully, we’ll get more movement in the upcoming future. Any advice for an inspiring healthcare entrepreneur to increase their online presence?

Irma  

Yeah, of course. And then, maybe first, I can talk a little bit more about the importance of storytelling. So, I feel that storytelling is crucial, especially in healthcare.

I’m passionate about this industry, particularly disease prevention, early detection, and improving health outcomes. And so many talented, passionate innovators are working super hard to develop the next breakthrough or significant improvement to what currently exists. But what does it take for this improvement or the important innovation to come to life so it can eventually help patients?

Well, as you are very well aware, it’s a very long road. It takes visibility, funding, effective partnerships, proper resources, the right go-to-market strategy, etc. But it all starts with visibility.

How do you get noticed? How do you keep their attention long enough to spark their interest? I say it’s effective storytelling.

And when you try to tell a story, don’t just talk about technology. Focus on the why, not just the how. The vast majority of entrepreneurs I’ve met are driven by strong passion and commitment that often stems from their own experiences with the healthcare system, a particular disease, or challenges, either their own or their loved ones.

This is valuable information. As everyone might have seen on Shark Tank, a popular TV program, the pitch is the opportunity to tell the story. Investors often decide to invest not just so much in the product but also the entrepreneurs themselves.

So, we will move on to specific tips and guidance for entrepreneurs on increasing their online presence. Well, I guess we don’t have that much time, but there are a lot of tips and tricks that I could share. I’m just going to start with a few. I’d say consider these three words when you think of your online presence.

Value, engagement, and community. So, for value, think of your presence on social media from the perspective of delivering value first, not promoting yourself, your product, or the company. If you’re just getting started or hesitate to share your point of view through original content, start by sharing something you read, heard, or watched that you found valuable.

Chances are, many other people will also find it valuable and might share your post with their audience. Second, engagement. Engage with others on social media.

Add a thoughtful comment, link to a relevant resource, and share their post. People will start noticing you. The third is community.

Social media is a community. If you treat it that way, find communities you want to be part of. So hashtags, lists, groups, etc.

And you find ways to contribute. Follow, retweet, and comment, and people will reciprocate. And while we all know that consuming social media can take up hours of your time every day, developing your presence and creating professional content doesn’t have to be.

Many tools can help with this. For example, Buffer makes it super easy to share content you’re already consuming online as original posts across your social channels with just a few clicks. And the last suggestion I would offer is to optimize your LinkedIn and Twitter account profiles.

I’m amazed how many people do not use this as an opportunity to tell the story of who they are and what they do. So, take an appropriate photo, use the best space that you have, and have an opportunity to use it wisely. Use every character of the allotted headline or bio space in your profile.

Perhaps try using chat GPT to help you craft a succinct narrative with key hashtags and a couple of emojis. Use pinned tweets and featured sections on LinkedIn to highlight your most important posts. Give people an opportunity to get to know you through your online presence and compel them to be interested in learning more about and from you.

That’s what I say.

Nicole  

Wow, I think your advisor is so golden. I love what you said about having value, engagement, and community in everything that you do on social media, especially for the startups or the entrepreneurs out there who are trying to get their name out. Thank you so much for your invaluable advice, especially in storytelling and telling your own story.

Very, very particularly appreciated there.

Irma

Thank you very much. You’re welcome. And I love helping entrepreneurs.

I love getting people most seen, heard, and noticed. So we all kind of rowed the boat in the same direction. So thank you.

Nicole  

Absolutely. So my last and final question is, is there a project or a company that you would like to get a shout-out to? What are the projects that you’re involved in that you want a call to action to?

Anything under the sun that you want to talk about that you want to create an awareness about or anything of that sort? Feel free to tell your audience right now.

Irma  

Well, thank you for that opportunity. So, I’ll probably just give a shout-out to eVira Health, my own company I co-founded many years ago. We work daily with entrepreneurs, startups, and well-known brands.

So, if you go to my social media, I would love for people to connect with me; find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. I’m at Irma Raste, which is easy to find. You will always see my pinned tweets or featured stories on LinkedIn, and you’ll see the projects I’m working on.

You’ll see some of the client content I’m highlighting. You’ll see some things I’m passionate about and want to draw attention to. And that changes over time.

So you know, I’m always I’m always highlighting someone and something that is happening. So maybe watch out, reach out, and engage, and we’ll see you on social media.

Nicole  

Thank you so much, Erna. Thank you, Irma, for sharing your insights today. It’s been a pleasure to discuss the future of healthcare technology with you.

Before we wrap up, we encourage our listeners to connect with Irma on LinkedIn and stay updated with her works and insights. Your engagement with the podcast is valuable, and we look forward to bringing you more information and discussions in the future. Thank you for being a part of our community.

And I just want to caveat that this podcast was brought to you by OSB, a leading healthcare software and product development and solutions enhancement company. They have developed solutions for revenue cycle management, practice management, medical billing and coding, advanced tech, telehealth, remote patient monitoring, healthcare payment systems, healthcare cloud solutions, EHR development, and so much more. For more information, contact us through our social media platforms.

Again, Irma, it’s been a pleasure interviewing you today. Thank you so much.

Irma

You’re very welcome. And thank you, Nicola. And thank you everyone for listening.

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About the Guest

Author

Irma Rastegayeva linkedin

Irma Rastegayeva, a Boston-based marketing consultant and storytelling coach, is recognized among the Top 30 Women in Tech for her expertise in health, technology, and patient experience. With over 20 years of experience, she serves as Chief Digital Storyteller at eViRa.Health, specializing in digital marketing consultancy for health and life sciences. Irma’s acclaimed work has earned her a top Healthcare Social Graph Score, and she also serves on the boards of ACHT and Ideas in Action.

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