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Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Dr. Ruchi Dass, Founder of HealthCursor Consulting Group |Serial Entrepreneur|Digital Health Expert

Dr. Ruchi Dass’s Biography 

(See BSO’s  Interview with Dr. Dass 👇👇👇)

Dr. Ruchi Dass

Dr. Ruchi Dass is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of the HealthCursor Consulting Group.

She is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the field of Digital Health. She has spearheaded development and rollout of Innovative healthcare programs across the world since 2005 using technology. Her work and recognition includes frugal innovation in healthcare, bringing innovations mainstream, maintain a continuum of care and facilitate coordinated care population health, build healthcare models that provide quality, cost-effectiveness, and timeliness of care.

Dr. Dass excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant healthcare products and services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll‐out and on‐going product performance enhancement. Through her esteemed clients and partners, her efforts have also made to the PMNCH Forum of Healthworkers @ WHO, GSMA’s Best mHealth Awards jury in Barcelona, IPIHD Top innovators list with World Economic Forum and UN’s Millennium development goals expert committee volunteers as well.

In Addition to her work in Healthcare, Dr. Dass runs two charities named “ShantiKaustubh” and “Ananya” that are based on Girl Education and Preventive Healthcare. Her new venture Idealabslive incubates early stage companies working with technology, telemedicine and community health programs across the globe.

Dr. Dass was recognized by the Honorable President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and Noble Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover as they unveiled her book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that talked about “Frugal Innovation” in Healthcare industry in India.

Dr. Dass got voted as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT in the world by FierceHealth and Top 10 Impactful Tech Leaders 2013 by InformationWeek. Her many innovations have received international recognition most notably by the ASHOKA, INTEROP, IPIHD (World Economic Forum), Economic Times, GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards and TED. She was also a member of the HIMMS Innovation community, Las Vegas (2012-2013)

Dr. Ruchi Dass holds a medical degree and has completed Postgraduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology (Health Informatics), USA; Duke Fuqua School of Business (Healthcare Entrepreneurship), USA and is currenty pursuing her MBA from the London Business School.




BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.


First of all, Thank you Edith for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. There is so much we can do with our lives and there are so many possibilities. We know that we have the potential but we don’t do much as we have achieved quite a lot already. When we don’t do something for a long time that is challenging, requires discipline, commitment and serious efforts we develop inside us a memory of being complacent, weak and tired. And hence, even after having made a successful business when I would think of another start-ups, the same thought would occur to me.

I decided to challenge myself. 14 years in business, I decided to go for an MBA with London Business School. It wasn’t easy to be a student again (smiles). This year, I launched Digital IdeaLabs-live for incubating and mentoring exciting health technology start-ups and am also working on Prodentine a dental health technology aggregator. Constantly challenging myself brings out the best in me, it gives me a very strong “can-do” memory as well that helps in excruciating circumstances to sail through. If you don’t have a memory like that- you can’t do it.

In my personal life, in addition to putting on some healthy weight, I have started working on my book, joined GWI (Graduate Women International) as they are doing amazing work empowering women and girls with lifelong education and adopted two lovely baby elephants from the Sheldrick wildlife trust.


BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?


Good question. I remember how making more money was important in the beginning and then growing and staying relevant. When I look back I realised that I neglected my long term goals for my short term wins. Like doing work that is not your core area of focus or interest or take up a lot on your plate etc. It is good to be disciplined and vocal about what you don’t want to take up as a project as it will not help you.

I always believed in my team and team work. Most of my team members are with me for over 10 years and I value them. However, in the pursuit of delivering best on quality I used to take up most of the work on my plate and didn’t do well on delivering through others.

And the third one is “me time”. Most of working women like me take “family time” as “me time”. Me time doesn’t mean holiday with family or friends. “Me time” is about you and your spiritual self. If you wish to stay happy which is pretty hard in a stressful work life like ours, you have to make more time for “me time”. It is important because when you live a life that you truly are, it gives you mindfulness, happiness and peace.


BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 


I wake up at 6.30 am in the morning and then exercise for an hour. I take light breakfast usually healthy smoothies and leave home to reach office by 8.30 am. I start my work by reading notes that I made before leaving work the previous evening and refer my calendar for the meetings scheduled.

I have lunch at 1.30 pm and I go for a stroll after that for 30 minutes. When that is not possible, I climb stairs. In Dubai, during prayer breaks, I get a chance to meditate as well which is perfect.

I leave work by 5pm and head home to cook. My husband and myself love to cook together. I spend family time by chatting, talking a bit about our extended family, my parents, his family and work. We play scrabble when there is not much to talk about.

Around 7pm, we pray and then go for a stroll. Dinner is served around 8.30pm. On weekends, dinner is 9.30pm as we welcome friends for get together or go outside to eat. I go to sleep around 10.30pm and usually read a book to bed.


BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?


I love to engage in some fun activities on the weekend and laying around on the beach reading a book always seems a possibility. I go for a swim in the morning and breakfast is always heavy on the weekend. We generally skip lunch for salads and small snacks and finish some household chores.

My husband and myself are not much into television except when Cricket is telecasted so we have mastered the art of doing nothing- no calls, no TV and no shopping. Whenever any of us has come back from a work related travel, we do indulge in spa or foot reflexology to relax. It may sound boring but going through old photo albums and smugmug is our favourite pastime.


BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 


My current engagements are inter-related.

With IdeaLabs Live, I wish to engage with women business owners and provide them with the mentorship and guidance that is required to succeed. IdeaLabs as a platform is open for all to apply.

However, as a member of women in business club @ LBS, I promised to work for budding women entrepreneurs and connect them to impressive women business leaders. I am working with several development and finance organisations to identify best technology innovations in the industry and provide them with opportunities to pilot and gain commercial success across the globe. I am blessed with a very intelligent and supportive class at London business school. I am learning a lot and getting to network with the best. I have some ambitious plans for 2020 but for now, I am happy to be yet again in a transformative stage.

Penelope Tiam-Fook, Founder of Tiam Wellness (formerly Embrace Organica)

(BSO’s Interview with Penelope is 👇👇👇 her bio)

Penelope Tiam-Fook’s Biography

Penelope Tiam-Fook


Hello, I’m Penelope Tiam-Fook. I am a Holistic Wellness Coach and Functional Lifestyle Practitioner, and the founder of Tiam Wellness, formerly known as Embrace Organica.

What led me to become a wellness coach was my struggle to get my hormones back into balance after my pregnancy, dealing with adrenal fatigue and burnout from lack of sleep, and managing a demanding career while being a new mom that required a lot of travel.

I was exhausted and stressed-out with no recovery in site. My symptoms such as blinding headaches, surviving on coffee, and being unable to lose weight to feel like myself again really took a toll on the quality of my life.

I remember feeling underappreciated for the work I accomplished at the office, guilty that someone else was raising my child while I traveled for work, and exhausted to really enjoy motherhood as I envisioned.

Then, I discovered wellness coaching, a 360 perspective of living a better life, and studied functional nutrition from the viewpoint that what you put into your body affects how your body functions.  It was during my journey of awakening to these two approaches to health and wellness that I decided to try a holistic approach to turn my symptoms around. To my surprise, it worked!

My symptoms disappeared, and I started losing that stubborn weight around my midsection and thighs. I began to feel like myself again.

I realized then that lifestyle wellness coaching was my life’s calling, and now I specialize in helping women go from being stressed out, exhausted, and unhappy with their weight to feeling like themselves again. If you’re interested in learning how I work with women to help them love their body and lives again, I would love to schedule a time to speak with you about how I can help you achieve your own wellness goals.



BSO: Tell us about the inception of your business.


I have always been interested health and wellness.

Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. I remember my mom taking me, when I was a little girl, to visit a friend or family member who was in hospital. I remembered thinking how rewarding it would be to help someone get better to regain their independence. That dream got diverted in college when physics became my roadblock. I worked my way through undergraduate and graduate school, got married, then divorced while working in administrative healthcare-related jobs. Later, I worked for a national non-profit as an advocate and program director for moms and babies.

It wasn’t until a couple years after my daughter was born, that I found myself struggling with major burnout, traveling a lot for work, and dealing with postpartum recovery that wasn’t going so well. Thanks to following my intuition, I left the nonprofit world to become a stay at home mom for a while. It was during that time at home, caring for my daughter who had some health challenges at the time, that I became determined to find non-medicated ways to heal my body and rebalance my hormones. That one decision began  my journey as a holistic wellness coach and functional lifestyle practitioner.


BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.


I believe that it’s important to live what you preach at a foundational level.

In the mornings, I like to start my day with morning prayer. Some days, I may have 5 minutes to do so, but I average 15 minutes as this centers my thoughts for the day. I do either yoga or active and restorative stretching. This helps with pain management to minimize muscles spasms, particularly in my neck and shoulders. I drink a glass of warm lemon water or celery juice. If school is in session, I make my daughter breakfast, then prepare and pack her meals for school. Once she is off to school, I will eat breakfast. If I have time to workout in the morning, I’ll do that first then eat breakfast within 45 minutes of that workout. The rest of my day starts from there.

My evening routine varies depending on what’s on the schedule. I prefer to have dinner between 5 and 6 pm, but that is often not realistic in my home due to our schedules. So, we strive for 7 pm. If the weather is nice, my family and I will take a walk with our dog. Sometimes, we may watch a movie together if time permits. Often, however, we relax for at least 30 minutes before prepping for the next day.


BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?


Microsoft Word, Keep and Memo for notes, Google calendar and Gmail, Practice Better


BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business?


Be true to your story; find your voice, and genuinely be of service to your tribe while maintaining boundaries around the rest of your life.


BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business?


I’ve learned that getting to know your audience and who they are is key to how you run your business.

I’ve began with local networking, then I began testing out my market using a FB page when that was a new thing to do. When live video came on the scene on FB, I began doing live video to build the know, like and trust factor with my followers. I’m a behind-the-scenes type of person, so that was a major challenge for me. Early on, I also had practice clients so that I could build confidence in my coaching and practitioner skills. In the past year or two, as I refine my niche and who I want to serve, I’ve been testing my audience on Instagram. When school starts back for my daughter, I will visit some local business groups get to know more women locally, make connections as I’d like to do some workshops, and build a word-of-mouth referral network locally. I think this will also help with my online presence as I would like to have a virtual practice as well.


BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal?


In my personal life, that would be becoming a mom. Bringing another human being into this world…what an amazing thing to do! There is no manual. I am in awe of God’s work and the fact that He blessed me to be a parent. It’s not an easy job, but one that is very worth it.

Professionally, that may be a tough question as my career has mainly been working as part of teams. From a big picture perspective, I would say its having had the opportunity to work with a variety of moms and dads, community organizations, NICUs, and business owners who care about the health of moms and babies, to protect programs and implement awareness campaigns to help parents-to-be have healthier babies, and moms to safely make it through their pregnancies. I, myself, went into preterm labor in my third trimester and had to be on bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy. At the time, I went from what felt like 100 to 0 miles per hour, so to speak, and that sort of change has a major affect on how you live your life every day, your social life, how you contribute to your family and society.


BSO: What are you currently reading?


I can’t seem to read one book at a time. Haha! I am currently reading, I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott, and The Greenprint: Plant-based Diet, Best Body, Better World by Marco Borges


BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?


I’ve volunteered for a few different nonprofits and worked for a national nonprofit.

It was during my nonprofit career that I started a program called the NICU Holiday Donation Drive. This program was created for a few different reasons, one of them being that the staff at my office wanted a way to show that we cared about our community and were not just about raising money for the cause. We had a very good relationship with the NICU nurses and director and so I reached out to them to present my idea. Once they approved, I began working internally with staff, and board members to launch the program. We even had grandmothers making santa stockings to put the items collected into the stockings. Then on Christmas day, each family who had a baby in the NICU would be presented with a stocking, or if discharged in the month of December during the Christmas holiday. Every stocking presented was presented a surprise gift. It was our way of saying, “We see you. We empathized with what you’re going through, and we want you to know we care”. It was a small way of giving a family hope.


BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?


My parents always encouraged and reminded my siblings and I to choose a field of work that we are truly interested in, where we could mature and excel. They encouraged us to make a difference and to ignore the naysayers.


BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?


Taking the leap is not for the light-hearted person.

On your journey, you will encounter failure and mistakes.

Let that be your norm, not the exception.

Let go of comparison as it is the thief of joy. When you focus on your competition or what someone else is doing, you slow yourself down and can lose the energy and passion you brought to your business.

Mind your words and what you say about yourself to yourself, as well as what you to say and how you treat others and your customers. And remember, your business will change because of the lessons learned along the way. Change can be good if you let it so don’t sweat the small stuff.


Dr. David Hanscom, Orthopedic Spinal Deformity Surgeon

(SCROLL 👇 for interview with BSO)

Why I’m Leaving My Spine Surgery Practice

From the day I entered medical school, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. I was planning on practicing internal medicine, but on a whim I applied for an orthopedic residency and, much to my surprise, was accepted.

I came out of my residency and fellowship in 1985 on fire, ready to solve the world’s spine problems with my surgical skills.

About six months ago, something shifted deep within me. In the three decades I’ve practiced spine surgery in the Seattle area, I’ve tried to address the whole patient. But I didn’t yet have a clear idea about all the factors that affect a person’s physical and mental health.

In fact, for the first eight years of my practice, I was part of Seattle’s movement to surgically solve low back pain with lumbar fusions. A new device had been introduced that ensured a much higher chance of a successful fusion. Our fusion rate for low back pain was nine times that of New England’s. I felt badly if I couldn’t find a reason to perform a fusion.

Then a paper came out in 1993 documenting that the success rate for fusion in the Washington Workers Compensation population was only between 15 to 25 percent. I had been under the impression that it was over 90 percent. A lumbar fusion is a major intervention with a significant short and long-term complication rate. I immediately stopped performing them.

I also plunged into a deep abyss of chronic pain that many would call a burnout. I had no idea what happened or why. I had become a top-level surgeon by embracing stress with a “bring it on” attitude. I was fearless and didn’t know what anxiety was.

What I didn’t realize was that my drive for success was fueled by my need to escape an abusive and anxiety-ridden childhood. I was a supreme master of suppressing anxiety until 1990, when I experienced a severe panic attack while driving on a bridge over Lake Washington late one night.

Although I was skilled at consciously suppressing my anxiety, my body wasn’t going to let me get away with it. Anxiety and anger create a flood of stress hormones in your body. Sustained levels of these hormones translate into over 30 possible physical symptoms. I descended into a 13-year tailspin that almost resulted in my suicide.

I can’t express in words how dark my world became. I experienced migraines, tension headaches, migratory skin rashes, severe anxiety in the form of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, burning feet, PTSD, tinnitus, pain in my neck, back and chest, insomnia, stomach issues, and intermittent itching over my scalp.

In 2002, I accidentally began my journey out of that dark hole by picking up a book that recommended writing down thoughts in a structured way.  For the first time I felt a shift and a slight decrease in my anxiety. I learned some additional treatments and six months later, I was free of pain. All of my other symptoms disappeared.

I began to share what I learned with my patients and watched many of them improve. Addressing sleep was the first step. Slowly I expanded it to add medication management, education about pain, stress management skills, physical conditioning, and an improved life outlook.

I still didn’t know what happened to me or why. Then in 2009, I heard a lecture by Dr. Howard Schubiner, who had trained with Dr. John Sarno, a physiatrist who championed the idea that emotional pain translates into physical symptoms.

Within five minutes of the beginning of Dr. Shubiner’s lecture, the pieces of my puzzle snapped into place. I realized that sustained levels of stress hormones can and will create physical symptoms. I also learned how the nervous system works by linking current circumstances with past events. If a given situation reminds you of past emotional trauma, you may experience similar symptoms that occurred around the prior event.

I felt like I had been let out of jail. I’ll never forget that moment of awareness.

What’s puzzling is that these concepts are what we learned in high school science class. When you’re threatened for any reason, your body secretes stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol. You’ll then experience a flight, fight or freeze response, with an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, muscle tension and anxiety. When this chemical surge is sustained, you become ill. It’s been well documented that stress shortens your life span and is a precursor of chronic diseases.

Modern medicine is ignoring this. We are not only failing to treat chronic pain, but creating it.

Spine surgeons are throwing random treatments at symptoms without taking the time to know a patient’s whole story.  It takes just five minutes for a doctor to ask a simple question, “What’s going on in your life over the last year?” Answers may include the loss of a job, loved one, divorce, or random accident. The severity of their suffering is sometimes beyond words. But once we help them past this trauma, their physical symptoms usually resolve.

What has become more disturbing is that I see patients every week who have major spine surgery done or recommended for their normal spines. It often occurs on the first visit. Patients tell me they often feel pressured to get placed on the surgical schedule quickly. At the same time, I am watching dozens of patients with severe structural surgical problems cancel their surgery because their pain disappears using the simple measures I’ve learned.

I love my work. I enjoy my partners as we help and challenge each other. My surgical skills are the best they’ve been in 30 years. My clinic staff is superb in listening and helping patients heal. I’m also walking away from it.

I can’t keep watching patients being harmed at such a staggering pace. I have loved seeing medicine evolve over the last 40 years, but now I feel like I am attempting to pull it out of a deep hole. I never thought it would end this way. Wish me luck.


BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.


• I have become increasingly disturbed by this aggressiveness of the medical culture encouraging and even pushing physicians to offer treatments that have been documented to be ineffective in addition to being expensive and risky. Mainstream medicine is pretending to offer care and not delivering on the promise. I quit my surgical practice at the end of 2018 to do what I could to slow down this juggernaut of surgery.

• My main focus is on writing a book, Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? Advice from a Surgeon, that will be published this fall of 2019.

• Other efforts include:

o Creating a business structure to educate the public and providers about effectively treating chronic pain and avoid the pitfalls of surgery. The name of the corporation is, “Vertus, Inc.”

o Chairman of the Scoliosis Research Society non-operative care committee – focus is defining the structure of non-operative care and to define it prior to undergoing surgery.

o Co-creating a software program to teach the DOC (Direct your Own Care) process to patients and providers in a self-directed manner.

o Ongoing podcasts, lecturing, consulting

• My personal ongoing challenge is to become more aware of people’s need’s around me – especially close friends and colleagues. I realized that I have been moving so fast that I am often not really seeing what is right front of me. Even more importantly, I am watching my effect on others. If I am impatient or sharp, I may not see it, but if is perceived badly by others, I want to be aware of their reactions and adjust my behavior.

• I am committed to taking full responsibility for every aspect of my life. It is difficult, as it is easy for me to blame others. However, the benefits have been huge in that I am no longer pulled into a lot of controversy and spend little energy thinking about all the wrongs in my life.

• There is an increasingly disturbing trend to perform major surgery on spines that have normal age-related changes. I retired from my spine surgery practice in December of 2018 to do what I can to slow down the juggernaut of aggressive spinal surgery.

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self?


• Don’t take anything too seriously.
• Be nice to people.
• Play – at work and home

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 


  • I feel that “balance” is a word that creates stress, not lessens it. It implies that there is some way of creating a work-home balance that will make you a happier person. I feel the key is to get happy first and work on staying that way. That translates into a passion for what you are doing, which is rarely reflected in a “balanced” life.
  • If balance is your goal, you’ll constantly be judging yourself and your day against what should be happening to create a balance. It takes away from your day. I feel I am better diving into what I am doing with a full commitment and don’t worry about balance.
  • I retired in December of 2018 to pursue presenting viable solutions for chronic pain to the general public. My work days were usually between 12 to 16 hours a day and I loved what I did.
  • My retirement is almost as busy, and I am working on creating a structure to engage in my mission and also create a more enjoyable personal life. My day begins between 5:30 and 6:00. I work on my writing for 3-5 hours. I catch up on my “to do” list around the middle part of the day and am able to take most
    evenings off.

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like?


  • I am trying to take one of the two days off of the internet and mobile devices. I am having some success with it. We spend time with friends, playing golf, tennis and I do work out at the gym almost daily. My favorite part of retirement is taking an afternoon nap.
  • Am deciding on what hobby to take up. I have historically enjoyed bird watching. I am taking voice lessons.

Body Hormone Balance, Founded by George Moricz, M.D.


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Dr. Robert Dawkins, Clinical Director and Principal of Practical Health Strategies

Dr. Robert Dawkins’ BIO

Robert Dawkins

Robert Dawkins, PhD, MPH, is the Clinical Director and Principal of Practical Health Strategies, a business and professional service of RDawkinsPhDMPH LLC. Practical Health Strategies grew out of his twenty-five plus years of experience working with individuals and in small groups settings in full-service accredited sleep centers. He is currently the Clinical Director of the sleep center at the West Florida Hospital in Pensacola, the Child Neurology Center pediatric sleep center in Gulf Breeze, and the Sleep Disorder Center of Panama City.
Dr. Dawkins received his PhD from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, and his MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He also holds degrees from Emory University (chemistry) and the University of West Florida (biology). Dr. Dawkins has a longstanding interest in how the environment, both physical and cultural, impacts and determines health status. He is certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and was previously certified in general toxicology by the American Board of Toxicology.

He has been responsible for the clinical management of American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) accredited sleep disorders centers since 1987. For ten years, he was a site visitor for the AASM accreditation program and for five of those years he also served on the Accreditation Committee, which oversees the accreditation program and recommends standards to the AASM Board of Directors. He served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Southern Sleep Society. He has trained nine physicians for the sleep medicine board exam and has assisted four others with their preparation.

Dr. Dawkins has done consulting work in toxicology and industrial hygiene and has worked as a research scientist in the Clinical Systems Research department of a major medical device manufacturer and as a physical biologist at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory. His communication skills have been honed by his experience as a high school teacher, a college professor, and a frequent public speaker.

Dr. Dawkins is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a member of the Southern Sleep Society, the Obesity Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Public Health Association. He enjoys running, sailing, skiing (water and snow), cycling, weight training, and dining out by boat.


1. Tell us about the inception of Practical Health Strategies?

Robert: PHS evolved from my work in clinical sleep laboratories with individuals and small groups. In the early years, the sleep center was more of a wellness center than they currently are, addressing lifestyle issues related to sleep, weight, fitness and stress. Many people even today come to the sleep lab only because of the urging of a significant other or doctor. A common response is “I don’t have a problem, she has a problem.”

I learned that people only made health related lifestyle changes when they saw the benefit for themselves and a practical plan, a plan that could be implemented into their work and family life.

If I have any gift, it’s an ability to explain scientific and technical topics in everyday terms. With PHS, I offer the programs beyond the sleep lab.


2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Robert: The only constant in my daily routine is to start the day about 5 a.m. with news, reviewing email, etc, followed by exercise and to end the day with reading. Between that nothing is consistent but my pace is rarely hectic.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Robert: Not the software itself but I “can’t live without” internet access, obviously. Most tasks using other applications can be delegated but I do my own typing if it’s creative work, eg writing or a “slide” presentation. I prefer Corel office tools over the Microsoft applications.


4. What are your tricks for time management?

Robert: I have always had a terrible attention problem. I learned to manage that by having a consistent time and place for things that require concentration: writing, problem solving, etc. I try to keep a “to do” list that is too long to accomplish in one day so when my concentration lags I have a different task ready to shift. Of course, the list must be prioritized so that everything that must be done that day will be done before bedtime. By the way, that is also a sleep related- recommendation.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Robert: In graduate school, my major professor insisted that I have everyone who had a related professional interest on my graduate committee. I learned that it helps for others to have a vested interest and shared in my success.


6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for for building awareness of Practical Health Strategies (what do you do for short term and long term growth)?

Robert: Most business comes from personal visibility. Several years ago, I curtailed much of my public speaking. That was a mistake and I am currently working to correct that blunder.


7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished business leader?

Robert: Pride is a trap I try to avoid.


8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Robert: That is easy. First, I rarely miss my morning exercise and often do a second in the afternoon. I actually like exercise. Second, I love boats, power or sail. Of course, the fact that both are things that can be shared with friends and family is important. And third, reading, which is a solitary activity that adds to family and social life .


9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Robert: I usually cover about two to four books per month but most of my reading is scientific journals. Most books I read are history or specific business or technical topics. However, I wouldn’t presume to recommend that someone else needs to read any particular one.


10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Robert: I would rather not discuss.


11. Who has influenced your career the most?

Robert: Not a person but the most important influence was a liberal arts education. Much discussion in the media has focused on the value of education for employment, but the value of a good liberal arts education is that it prepares one for the journey of life. Jobs come and go and those that stay change beyond recognition but a broad education is the key to adapting.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in starting a business?

Robert: Know what motivates you. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal…..” (Winston Churchill)

Dr. David Hanscom, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Author, & Founder of the DOCC Project

Dr. David Hanscom’s BIO

Dr. David Hanscom

Dr. David Hanscom is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the surgical correction complex spine problems in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. He has expertise in adult and pediatric spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis. A significant part of his practice is devoted to performing surgery on patients who have had multiple prior spine surgeries

Current Positions:

  • Orthopedic spine surgeon, Swedish Neuroscience Specialists, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • Orthopedic consultant for Premera (Blue Cross/LifeWise of WA, OR, AK)
  • Co-director of the Swedish Neuroscience Specialists spine fellowship, Seattle, WA
  • Member of Best Doctors of America
  • Partner in Charter for Compassion


His medical degree is from Loma Linda University in 1979. His residency training began with internal medicine in Spokane, WA from 1979-1981. Orthopedic surgery training was at the University of Hawaii from 1981-1984. He did an orthopedic trauma fellowship at UC Davis in Sacramento, CA. His spinal deformity fellowship was completed in Minneapolis, MN at Twin Cities Scoliosis Center in 1986. He has been performing complex spinal surgery since 1986.
Structured Spine Care

Around 2001, he began to share his own stress management tools with his patients that were in pain but had no indications for surgery. He also had spent most of his career with rehabilitation physicians learning non-operative care. By 2006, a structured spine treatment protocol evolved. It was named the DOCC project (Defined Organized Comprehensive Care). He has published a book, Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain that is the basis of the structured spine care program.

Other Projects

He is the founder of the Puget Sound Spine Interest group, which was formed in 1987. It is a non-profit educational group, which provides a regional forum for physicians from multiple specialties to share ideas regarding optimum spine care.

Awake at the Wound is a process, which brings athletic performance principles into the operating room. The emphasis is consistency of performance. He co-founded the program with his golf-instructor, David Elaimy, in 2006. Burnout is an issue that does adversely affect physician performance in and out of the OR. Teaching strategies to prevent and deal with it is a significant part of this effort.

Books in Progress

  • What You Should Know About Back Surgery: A Spine Surgeon’s Surprising Advice
  • The Curse of Consciousness
  • Awake at the Wound


1. Please update us on your ‘happenings’ since your first BSO Interview (1/17/2012).

David: I am helping assemble a Mind Body Syndrome Center at my hospital, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA.

My second book has been picked up by Berrett-Koehler publishers. It is titled, What You Should Know About Back Surgery: A Spine Surgeon’s Surprising Advice.

My wife and I, along with Dr. Fred Luskin from Stanford, put on a five-day seminar for people in chronic pain. It was held at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. All 11 of the participants shifted out of their chronic pain and seven have remained that way. It was centered around structured group activities and play. Pain pathways are permanent but so are play pathways. It is a powerful way to create a central nervous system shift.


2. Given your current professional and personal goals, please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

  • Tuesday is my clinic day. I wake up at 5:00 and I am in the gym by 6:00 for a one-hour workout with my trainer and three other guys.
  • 7:30 – 8:15am – rounds/ breakfast
  • 8:15 to 8:45am – meeting with my team
  • 8:45 to 12:30pm – clinic
  • 1:30 to 5:00pm – clinic
  • 5:00 to 6:00pm – case presentation conference with the spine fellows and residents
  • 6:00 to 9:00pm – paperwork/ meetings/ project work


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

David: Believe it or not, I do not use applications much.


4. What are tricks for accomplishing so much under tight deadlines?

David: I am extremely organized. I don’t put things off and will pick deadlines well before the real deadlines.

I always make sure I take care of my patient issues first. I am essentially never behind with my practice.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

David: Take time off. I have fallen out of that mode the last couple of years but am actively working back towards it. I am hopeful I will be back on track by the end of this year.

Follow through with one thing before you start another. It is my hardest challenge, but I am not bad.


6. What are your strategies for building awareness of your services, for the short term and the long term?

David: I am working on building an infrastructure of services to deal with all aspects of the patient’s spine problem. Surgery is never the whole solution. Physical conditioning is key as well as the central nervous system. I have assembled a deep team to help with these aspects of patient care.

Long-term, I am working hard to bring Mind Body Syndrome principles into main stream medicine. The book is just one strategy. I am working with computerized platforms as well as developing seminars. I may also take it to the media in a big way.


7. What are your proudest achievements, personal and professional?

David: I have a great family and have felt we have all learned to weather adversity well. Here is a link to a blog I just wrote about my son.’s-winning-run-–-off-of-the-hill/

I am grateful that I have been able to share the tools with my patients that I used to bail myself out of severe burnout. They are reflected in my book, Back in Control and I have witnessed hundreds of patients become pain free.

I developed a seminar,  Awake at the Wound, that teaches athletic performance principles so surgeons. It quickly teaches them to be more consistent with their performance.


8. How do you maintain the work/life balance? Is it a challenge or does it come naturally
to you?

David: I don’t have a work/ life balance. I work 12-16 hours a day. I am compelled by the problems in spine surgery and chronic pain that are solvable. I am encouraged by the fact that most change historically has come from one person, although I don’t think I will see the results in my lifetime.

I do work out at the gym for an hour at least three times a week. I could not maintain my pace without the endurance created in the gym.

When I relax, I am able to relax. I actively work on taking breaks from electronics.


9. What are your top 3 book recommendations?


  • Antifragile
  • The Swerve
  • Man’s Search for Meaning


10. What charitable causes are most meaningful to you & why?

David: I am launching a major effort to bring stress management tools into the school system beginning in pre-school. Without basic tools, anxiety is intense early and continues to grow. Teen anxiety is epidemic and is also a risk factor for adult disability. It is solvable in the school system if there is a large enough effort.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

David: Dr. Paul Brand – He was a committed orthopedic hand surgeon who discovered why diabetics and lepers had so much trouble with breakdown of their extremities. He worked full-time well into his 90’s lecturing all over the world. He was also one of the most humble people I have ever met. His accomplishments and dedication are truly inspiring. His life is reflected in his autobiography, Pain, the Gift That Nobody Wants.

The Hoffman Process teachers. They are all unusually aware and committed. Hoffman is an eight-day in-house process that works on connecting you with your authentic self. It clears out the patterns in your nervous system created by your parents and family. I left Hoffman five years ago with a laser-beam focus and have not deviated one millimeter since I left. I have accomplished more in the last five years in a leadership role than I have in the rest of my entire life.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in starting a business?

David: First, connect with who you are. Then with what you want to give back and in what form? You don’t have to have your life consumed by it, but you do need a directed focus.

Patricia Salber, CEO of Health Tech Hatch

Patricia Salber’s BIO

Patricia Salber

Dr. Salber is the Founder and CEO of Health Tech Hatch, a resource for healthcare entrepreneurs that provides a platform for crowdfunding as well as concept testing by representative end-users (patients, caregivers, clinicians). The site recently served as the co-design platform for HHS’ mobile app Challenge and ONC’s Blue Button Patient Co-Design Challenge. Also, the company was chosen to be a delegate to the inaugural TEDMED Hive.

She is a board certified Internist and Emergency Physician with for more than 15 years experience as a physician executive. She has had leadership roles in many different areas of health care including medical groups, health plans, employer groups, and non–profit organizations. She served as the first Physician Director of
National Accounts for Kaiser Permanente, Medical Director of the Kaiser Permanente-General Motors Team, and Chief Medical Officer for a Medicare Advantage plan as well as the Center for Practical Health Reform. She has founded three companies and served on the boards of a number of other healthcare organizations. She also founded and contributes regularly to a popular, widely read healthcare blog, The Doctor Weighs In and she is co-founder of Health Innovation Media that brings together influential healthcare bloggers, journalists, and social media leaders to provide an independent view of healthcare innovation.

Dr. Salber went to medical school and trained in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. She completed a Pew Fellowship in Health Policy at the same institution. She has an MBA from the University of California, Irvine. She was the first woman to serve as President of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and she went on to serve on the board of the national organization. She founded Physicians for a Violence-Free Society while working full-time as an Emergency Physician at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco. She was one of the first physicians to advocate for physician training in the area of Domestic Violence.

Pat has been honored with many awards over the years including being featured on the cover of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan’s 1997 Annual Report for outstanding contributions to the Program. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals and serves as a peer-reviewer for many others. She is a frequent speaker and author of a book (The Physicians Guide to Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse), numerous textbook chapters and well as journal articles.


1. Please tell us about the inception of Health Tech Hatch.

Patricia: As I contemplated how I could contribute to the burgeoning mHealth revolution, I spent a lot of time talking to entrepreneurs in the space.

I am a physician executive with years of experience as a clinician and a health insurance executive. I am not a developer, so I was looking for ways that my particular background could bring value to the space. When I asked entrepreneurs what they needed, they responded “help me raise money and help me connect with physicians and patients to get early feedback on my product.” So that is what we built.

We went live as a crowdfunding platform at the 2012 Health 2.0 meeting in San Francisco. A few months later, HHS approached us about providing a platform to help patients link with developers for the HHS Challenge.


2. Given your current professional and personal goals, please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Patricia: Whew! This is a hard question. Needless to say the days are long and jam-packed with things to do ranging from product development to customer engagement. We have bootstrapped so haven’t really been spending time on fund-raising, but that, of course will be in the near future.


3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Patricia: Expensify –helps me organize expenses related to travel – very helpful to have it all organized before the trip is over. All things “G” – we use google drive, google calendaring, google+, google hangouts (and now we use the new uberconference addition to google hangouts).

Twitter! We are big fans of twitter and use to engage in the health tech conversation and quickly learn about new trends, companies, products andso forth.


4. What are tricks for accomplishing so much under tight deadlines?

Patricia: Just do it. Don’t let things pile up on your desk. If you really can’t do it now, be sure it is on a “to do” list or entered into your calendar so a reminder is generated. Once you have cataloged the issue, then put it in a file where it can easily be found.


5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Patricia: Another interesting question. Let me start with worse advice – my college counselor said “don’t be pre-med, women don’t get into medical school” And, in fact, they didn’t in those days. In med school, the person who was to become my husband said, “reach high – think big” – it has helped to make my career quite a wild ride.
• Self-control. Managing disruptive impulses.


6. What are your strategies for building awareness of Health Tech Hatch, for the short term and the long term?

Patricia: We rely heavily on social media to build awareness – @healthtechhatch has about 6700 twitter followers and my blogging persona, @docweighin, another almost 14,000. We try to stay active on LinkedIn, Facebook, google+ and others. We have also engaged a professional PR person on occasion. Then of course, there is the every important strategy of “showing up.” You need to be where the action is.


7. What is your proudest achievements, personal and professional?

Patricia: Personal: being the mother and step-mother to three kids all of whom are grown now. One is a radiologist, another a nurse, and a third works on the business side of healthcare. Also, my almost 35 year relationship with my husband has served as an important foundational element in my life. I have been very lucky in the personal realm.

Professional: I think having the opportunity to work with young companies and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their dreams. I had a well-compensated and interesting career as a health insurance executive, but it wasn’t nearly as rewarding, personally, as what I am doing now.


8. How do you maintain the work/life balance? Is it a challenge or does it come naturally
to you?

Patricia: Since I was balancing kids and family life when I was a medical resident and first in practice, work life balance is a breeze now that I am running Hatch. My offices are located in my home. My husband also works at home. So work and family life just sort of happen.


9. What are your top 3 book recommendations?

Patricia: Biz Books: The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, and Cracking Health Costs by Tom Emerick and Al Lewis.

Entertainment: Best book recently “The Book Thief” – I listen to all my entertainment books using The reading of the Book Thief was magical.


10. What charitable causes are most meaningful to you & why?

Patricia: MedShare – it is an organization that repurposes hospital equipment and supplies. This accomplished two things: it makes needed equipment available to hospitals in the developing world (and here in the US) available and it keeps this equipment out of landfills. I am a member of the Western Regional Council of the Organization.

Futures without Violence – years ago I founded and ran a non-profit called Physicians for a Violence-free Society. I was working closely with the Futures organization (then called the Family Violence Prevention Fund). Futures has had a global impact on violence prevention with domestic violence assaults in the US now down by more than 60%.


11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Patricia: The turning point for me was in graduate school when my major advisor said to me, “I know you really want to go to med school instead of being a PhD researcher. I am going to help you.” And, he did.


12. What is your advice for someone interested in a career in the healthcare industry?

Patricia: The healthcare industry is very complicated. Try to get experience in many different aspects of the industry – ranging from care delivery, to insurance, to private purchasers, and government entities. The more you know, the more valuable your contributions.


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