The South is synonymous with many things, an unfortunate one being poor health. Except for Florida and North Carolina, all of the states in the South consistently rank as the unhealthiest in the country. Unfortunately, diabetes and obesity are as common in our region as sweet tea and fried chicken. But there’s a Kentucky-based startup that’s trying to do something about it. RocketHealth, founded by a Lexington, Kentucky-based ER doctor, is a health technology company focused on population health improvement and patient engagement.
With an early focus on diabetes, RocketHealth’s proprietary technology is being used every day by nearly 4,000 people with diabetes. When they take their blood glucose readings with connected blood sugar meters, that information is delivered seamlessly to pharmacists and other members of their healthcare team to automate delivery of diabetic testing supplies and enable real-time interventions.
“RocketHealth launched with diabetes as our core aim, primarily due to the fact that diabetes spend is out of control and expected to double over the next decade,” says RocketHealth founder Dr. Jeremy Corbett. “In addition, diabetics don’t surprise us. They’re out to dinner, forget their insulin, and their blood sugar skyrockets before presenting at the ER with diabetes-induced hyperglycemia. Or, they wake up on a empty stomach with a glucose level of 54. They are dizzy, disoriented, and without anyone at home to help. Another ER visit. By democratizing connected medical devices and empowering best-in-class behavior change specialists with real-time biometric data, RocketHealth believes we can predict—and ultimately change—the future.”
This is not Corbett’s first foray into entrepreneurship.
“I always wanted to be a physician because I believed medicine provided an opportunity to change lives in ways other professions can’t. It wasn’t until I began my residency that I realized my reach wasn’t going to be as large as I desired, and I began transitioning out of full-time medicine and into the larger healthcare space,” he says. “Being an entrepreneur enables me to use my gifts to reach thousands more people on a daily basis than I see in the emergency room.”
Clinicians turned entrepreneurs is not all that uncommon. And in fact, they can bring a lot to the table for healthcare innovation. But Corbett says it’s not always easy when clinicians make this kind of leap.
“Doctors like me obviously have a leg-up on the competition in terms of our clinical knowledge, but we also face an incredibly steep learning curve as it relates to running a business, raising capital and networking,” he says. “That said, I find most physicians to be incredibly patient. Their entire lives are predicated on delayed gratification, which I believe is a great foundation for growing a business. Patience and hard work are prerequisites, and these are character traits most doctors have in spades.”
Despite RocketHealth not being his first startup, Corbett says there have still been challenges in launching his latest venture.
“Early on, I failed to appropriately gauge the amount of time required to truly DO what we created RocketHealth to do,” he says. “Accordingly, I failed to bring others on board until we were already falling far behind our product roadmap metrics and were in jeopardy of losing clients. My second hire was the best I’ll ever make and immediately righted the ship.”