For the December installment of Healthtech Leader of the Month, we’re featuring Harsh Vathsangam, CEO and co-founder of Movn Health. Through the “Movn” platform, Movn Health helps patients with virtual rehabilitation after heart attacks or heart surgery. The goal is to reduce the toll of heart disease, currently the leading cause of death for adults in the United States.
Specialized Service: Why Movn is Unique
In his time at cardiac rehabilitation centers, Harsh realized there’s a huge access gap, and many cardiac patients are left without adequate care. “The more time we spent there, the more we became convinced it’s a huge problem that needs to be solved,” says Harsh. “There aren’t enough cardiac rehab facilities, and there are unlikely to be enough to serve all the eligible patients.”
Harsh — along with co-founders Shuo Qiao and Ade Adesanya — created a solution in Movn, a service that provides virtual cardiac rehabilitation from the comfort of the patient’s home. With Movn, says Harsh, the patient is receiving the best possible care and support at every step in their rehabilitation journey. “We reach out to you via telephone. We ship you a kit directly to your home. We connect you with the tech support person who helps install an app.”
“Movn was created to increase access and make it easy on the patient, who is likely already going through health-related trauma”, says Harsh. “The coach completes remote assessments, which you can do from the comfort of your home, and based off the assessments, creates a treatment plan for you,” he says. “Over a period of 12 weeks, the coach is going to work with you to gradually progress.”
“Where we help as a company most is in connecting you with that really well-qualified medical professional, who can act as a navigator for you through that experience,” he adds.
While its accessibility makes it adaptable, Movn’s specialization is what makes it unique. “The key aspect of our program is that it is personalized to your needs,” says Harsh. “We make it a point to really embed habits in your daily lifestyle so that you can build sustainable behaviors. That leads to more sustainable outcomes for patients who joined our program because now it’s a part of their day-to-day lifestyle.”
From Leader to Leader: 3 Lessons Learned
Harsh Vathsangam, PhD, is the CEO and co-founder of Movn Health, co-founder of iGest (a communication tool for children with cerebral palsy), and winner of the NASCOMM social innovation award. Here’s his advice for entrepreneurs, innovators, and avid readers:
#1: Always be humble (and upgrade yourself)
“There’s always room for improvement on any axis,” says Harsh. For any rising entrepreneur, he suggests staying humble by seeking out something new to learn every day. “I think it’s very important to always feel like you’re learning and ask others questions,” he says. To keep leaders on their toes, he advocates for a “what can I do to make it better” mindset rather than an “I’ve figured it out” mindset.
For those searching from people to learn from, Harsh points to fellow CEOs, entrepreneurs, and healthtech workers. “They also understand how hard it is to build a company,” he says.
Harsh puts it another way for fellow robotics aficionados: for him, learning every day is “upgrading a part of my body that I didn’t have before.”
#2: Facetime matters
Movn was built because of conversations Harsh and his co-founders had with cardiac rehabilitation patients, and he advocates the continuation of that model for any entrepreneur. “Always try to be in front of a customer, because that’s when you learn the most about your business,” he says. “There’s no substitute for direct customer feedback.”
#3: Team is everything
“We should place a premium on finding the best people,” Harsh says. “I think that’s one of the biggest predictors of success or failure. When you find the right people, they can make or break your company more than even the biggest problem or the biggest customer.”
Harsh has personal experience with the right people. “I have two really good co-founders at Movn Health who helped us create that initial genesis of Movn as an idea,” he says. “A good team member can convert an ordinary opportunity into a great opportunity.”
Empowering with Empathy: Final Thoughts
Looking at all the progress Movn Health has made, Harsh is most proud of their robust evidence base and their ability to affect real positive change in people’s lives. “It makes my day when I see a patient talk about how well they’ve benefited from the program and how well they’re doing,” he says.
Especially for healthtech companies, Harsh says clear clinical results are a key differentiator. “That’s something that I’m really proud that we’ve taken the time to build, and we’re starting to see the rewards of it.”
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