Incarnations and Generations

One of the funnest parts of being around for a long time is the opportunity to work with a second generation of families I’ve known during my career. This has happened to me several times now, and it’s amazing how cool it is, and how gratifying. I’ve advised sons, daughters, nephews, and even a grandchild.  Last night the magic happened again.

I have an abiding interest in health care, which has been a large part of my marketing and consulting practice. I am also the widow of a physician.

Through that interest, I came in contact with a man named Lucas Felt, the co-founder of a startup called The Medical Memory, which provides HIPAA-compliant video recordings of patient-provider visits. His co-founder Robert Porter, MD, a neurosurgeon with world-famous Barrow Neurological Center in Phoenix,  developed the product after his own father was diagnosed with cancer.

Dr. Porter experienced the challenges and frustrations of having to rely on family members to accurately recite complex information about his father’s condition and treatment. The experience had a profound effect on his approach to patient communication in his own practice.

I’ve been informally advising Lucas because I want to see the company succeed. And this may be its year: Medicare does not pay for hospital readmissions anymore, and patients must understand their discharge instructions and comply with them so they don’t have to go back to the hospital. It is in the doctors’ and the hospitals’ best interest to get the patient to comply. And when patients are at a doctor visit, they don’t often remember what is said to them, because they are ill and nervous. The Medical Memory, a video that can be replayed, is a solution for that.

So that’s the entrepreneurship side of the story. The interesting part is that one night last year at Hillstone while having advisory red wine, I found out that I had known Lucas Felt’s mother, who had been an editor at the Arizona Republic when I was in my previous incarnation as a “PR maven.” Both Lucas and I were amused when we discovered that, but we let it drop.

Last night we had another session of advisory drinks, and I realized my knowledge of the workings of the Arizona legislature with respect to health care might be useful to him. We made a preliminary plan for me to time travel back to the days when I lobbied the legislature on behalf of health companies, and then Lucas got a text message.

It turned out that his wife and his mother were in the dining room at Hillstone! We ran into the dining room and Susan Felt and I had a joyous reunion and made plans to see each other again.

That’s part of the joy of spending a long career in the same city. I might have made more money somewhere else, but I feel like I’ve had a bigger impact in Arizona, and at the end of the day, isn’t it all about making yourself useful and helping people? I think it is.



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