An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Dr. Brian Fengler (co-founder and Chief Medical Officer) of EvidenceCare, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of EvidenceCare – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
The genesis of EvidenceCare came one night when I was working in the emergency room and a young woman presented with extreme shortness of breath and fast heart rate. It turned out she had a massive blood clot between her heart and her lungs and was also 36 weeks pregnant.
I found myself (as a national expert on her condition) struggling to determine the best treatment approach for her with consideration for her unborn child. I did what 86% of physicians do when they have a clinical question – I turned to Google!
The patient and her baby did well, but the case highlighted for me the reality that physicians are making life-changing decisions on a daily basis with a complete vacuum of tools to assist them.
We created EvidenceCare with the vision of creating software that accelerate physicians workflows in their EHR, while helping them with recommendations, evidence, and nudges at the time that they are making these important decisions.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Our healthcare system is 20 years behind every other industry in regard to innovation and digital advancement. There are multiple reasons for this (regulatory, liability, compliance, security, etc.) that entire books have been written about.
True innovation in healthcare is still on the horizon. It’s going to require payers, health systems, physicians, patients, and vendors to “think different” (to steal an old slogan from Apple) on how they approach problems and untether themselves from the way things have been done traditionally.
What does the future hold for EvidenceCare?
The future is bright! We are coming out of the pandemic, and healthcare operators are now able to devote energy, attention, and resources towards digital innovation.
Our products are evolving rapidly and being deployed in multiple EHRs. Our roster of clients and success stories is growing, which starts to catalyze more and more opportunities.
Our team is growing and it’s exciting to be collaborating and learning from folks with new approaches and insights on how to attack traditional healthcare challenges.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Brentwood?
We’ve really been blessed to start EvidenceCare in Nashville with so much focus on healthcare. You can’t go to a coffee shop in Nashville or Brentwood without running into a handful of executives and operators of national health systems and healthcare tech companies.
From the perspective of being an innovative/early-stage company, it was a bit challenging for us. We were involved in the Nashville Entrepreneur Center early on, which is amazing, and helped us build our network of supporters and champions.
But there is a gap in Nashville in early-stage investment funds, compared with other cities. Thus, much of our energy the first few years was on raising capital and staying alive, as opposed to being able to invest in the product and growth.
We’re so fortunate now to have found the right investment partners and strategic health systems who understand the challenges that they and their physicians face.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
You have to love it. No, actually, you have to be obsessed with it.
There will be days when you will hate it, when you’ll question why you did this and whether it would have been better if you never took the risk. Because of this, being an entrepreneur is not for everyone – it’s early mornings, late nights, delayed flights, pandemics, 2 weeks of payroll in the bank account, missing parts of your kids’ childhood. You have to have persistence to see it through using the passion you have for creating change in an industry you care about.