Dr. Kathleen T. Unroe, associate professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine, is founder of Care Revolution Inc. The company’s model is a rigorously tested RN-based program that fits into any nursing home operation, designed to enhance patient care in place and reduce hospital transfers. The program is a combination of software, training and implementation support that allows nursing homes to integrate the model with fidelity to a system developed and tested through a $30.3 million CMS demonstration project.
Crimson Catalyst: If a person has an idea for a business, what are the first three actions they should take to make it a reality?
Dr. Kathleen T. Unroe: As a researcher, it’s very exciting to have an intervention that works — one that helps improve care for patients. While important, though, it’s not enough. First, you have to think through who will actually pay for it, who will value it — what is your business case? If there is a market, how will you package and deliver what you have/build? Talking with others who have created businesses out of academia about choices they have made is helpful, both in what to do and sometimes what not to do! Identifying advisors with different experience than you have is a key early step, because you don’t know what you don’t know.
CC: What has surprised you during the course of your day-to-day entrepreneurial journey?
KTU: It’s fun! It’s energizing to work with a team to take a project to the next level — to dream about how to have an impact outside of a funded grant, outside of our community.
CC: How do you define success?
KTU: We are grateful for the experience we have had through our large clinical demonstration project, OPTIMISTIC, to collaborate with 40 nursing homes in Indiana. Care Revolution is the opportunity to take what we’ve learned and bring it to the bedside of as many nursing home residents as possible. We are already working in facilities in Ohio and Michigan; success is continued spread and implementation of our care model.
CC: What is dangerous or scary about being an entrepreneur?
KTU: Managing uncertainty on multiple levels is required. As a physician and an academic researcher, this adventure is outside my comfort zone.
CC: What is the best advice you’ve received?
KTU: Have patience with yourself and the process. There will be missteps, and most things take longer than you think, but if you believe in what you have, and the market exists, stay the course.
CC: What is the best advice you can offer?
KTU: Identify key advisors early. As I said earlier, you don’t know what you don’t know.