An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Cindy Jordan (founder and CEO) of Pyx Health, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Pyx Health – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
A few years back, I witnessed my stepdaughter, who is diagnosed bipolar, experience an exceptional decline, going from very stable and independent to an inpatient facility in a matter of months. When I looked back on where things started to go bad for her, I saw that the very first sign was that she started to self-isolate. I began researching social determinants of health (the things that happen to a person outside of a clinical setting that can impact health outcomes) and what I saw was that while housing and food security and access to transportation, etc. were all well-covered topics, no one was talking about how social isolation and loneliness contribute to a person’s mental and physical well-being. If no one is talking about it, no one is trying to solve it. Pyx Health came about as a solution to address loneliness and social isolation. We believe if you treat the loneliness, you’ll discover the other social determinants that are causing deterioration and can intervene before they reach the point of causing negative health outcomes.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
There were the things you’d expect, such as deciding on the design and delivery of the product, and the fact that developing for healthcare is a very intense process. We had the challenge of creating the endearing and friendly chatbot Pyxir as a way to build relationships with our members, taking some of the “tech” out of the technology. The real breakthrough came with the addition of our human element – the compassionate support center. Our caring staff take the information that members share with Pyxir and reach out to help when needed. Technology is necessary, but it can’t fully replace human companionship. Aside from building our product, in the beginning, before the pandemic, we also had to educate potential clients and investors on the need for a loneliness solution due to the vastness of the problem and the detrimental effects on health. It goes without saying that the events of the last year have created near universal awareness and acknowledgment of that problem. While we certainly don’t celebrate what brought us here, we are grateful that we were already poised to serve lonely people when the need became greater than ever.
What does the future hold for Pyx Health?
Our vision is to tackle loneliness, where it matters most, for everyone who needs it. For us, that means working to make the Pyx Health program and other supportive resources as accessible as possible. We believe that loneliness and social isolation should be viewed as a diagnosable, treatable, billable medical condition. To that end, we are advocating for legislative and medical industry reform that would establish a diagnostic code to facilitate the delivery of vital services to those affected by these serious issues. These efforts, paired with our own commitment to expansion, will allow us to serve more and more people until we can truly help “everyone who needs it”.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Tucson?
Tucson is a fantastic place for a tech startup. There’s great talent here and an amazing community of investors who are supportive and loyal to local startups. We owe so much to this community.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t undervalue emotional intelligence. In any of my careers, from cop, to politics, to marketing, to starting my own companies , success comes from solving human problems. You can associate yourself with experts in all fields to consult on design, creating efficiency, moving information, big data collection, HR, but if you don’t focus on solving your customers’ human problems, and focus on your staff, success will elude you.
On a more personal level, I truly believe that the way to self-confidence, to being successful, is being right in your mind. And for me, that comes from being authentic and staying grateful. Do listen to good advice from those who have lessons to share, but first and foremost, be true to your own truth.