RN Professions

Ep. 12: Founder & CEO, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker, Strategist

February 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
RN Professions
Ep. 12: Founder & CEO, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker, Strategist
Chapters
RN Professions
Ep. 12: Founder & CEO, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker, Strategist
Feb 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
Alli Merrell, Aliya Aaron

In this episode I have the privilege of speaking with Aliya R. Aaron, nurse Founder and CEO of AMR Healthcare Consulting a technology firm developing custom healthcare software and delivering innovative solutions for the healthcare industry. 

Aliya is also the Founder and Chief Innovation Strategist of Nursing Innovation Hub, a technology community platform cultivating an ecosystem of collaborators who contribute to—and drive—innovation in healthcare with the use of technology.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I have the privilege of speaking with Aliya R. Aaron, nurse Founder and CEO of AMR Healthcare Consulting a technology firm developing custom healthcare software and delivering innovative solutions for the healthcare industry. 

Aliya is also the Founder and Chief Innovation Strategist of Nursing Innovation Hub, a technology community platform cultivating an ecosystem of collaborators who contribute to—and drive—innovation in healthcare with the use of technology.



Instacart - Groceries delivered in as little as 1 hour.
Free delivery on your first order over $35.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Alli:
00:03
Alli:
01:09
I'm so glad that you are available for me to ask you questions because it looks like you're just doing some phenomenal things. So I'm really excited to learn more. Oh, yeah. I'm glad to connect. To love the share. Oh, cool. Yeah. Can you just, like, start by telling us maybe, um, like what you do now as a nurse?  
Aliya Aaron:
01:29
Um, well, so I am an ICU  trauma nurse, and but I spend 99.5% of my time managing my businesses, and I'll tell you about that. So in 2010 I started am our healthcare consulting business. I jumped out into entrepreneurship. I'm specifically trying to close the gap between clinical care and technology implementations. And so by that I mean, I was working for larger HR vendors and in the implementation role, we are designing developments, applications and solutions for large health care facilities. So I realized that at the time there was a huge got a knowledge gap in, you know, the clinicians who actually are going to be working on Solutions day today in their practices and at the bedside, and then also the technical experts who were actually building a solution. So I, um, I decided to open a my health care consulting as a resource home where we could actually provide expert knowledge, expertise, skill to those health care facilities that have purchased, um applications and needed to design them to really fit within the workflow practices. And over time, our model really developed to start working with the facilities and practices to develop custom software. And by that I mean working with them to design mobile  patient portals, customized HR systems in other technologies that they used a today in acute in ambulatory practices as well as other start ups that are looking to bridge in the health care and really and bring in you know some of the emerging technologies like a Iot of robotics. So we work with those those particular startups as well on the consultant.  
Alli:
03:33
That's so interesting. So you started  AMR health care consulting in 2010. So then working. You know, it's been 10 years now and then. Now you've got the nursing innovation hub. So can you tell us that? Yes. So tell us a little bit about that.  
Aliya Aaron:
03:48
So nurse innovation hub. So in keeping up with the times and understanding that healthcare evolves,Technology evolves. AMR healthcare consulting wants to continue to bring innovative solutions to the forefront of health care to really help deliver outcomes. Positive outcomes financially, clinically at the forefront. And so I developed Nursing Innovation Hub as a startup arm of AMR healthcare specifically to address that need in which is to bring nurses in the development in the development space of technology innovation. But as leaders in the space. So Nurse Innovation Hub started off at a role on platform a gold platform where we're able to bring visibility to the nursing profession, were able to work with nurses from ideation stage where they just have an idea that they want to explore. And so we are implementing are incubated interface for that where we could work with one taking a look at these ideas, embedding them about and welcome them through the process. And then also for those companies, those nurse led technology companies that have already had a product. But they want to accelerate the growth of the product. So nurse innovation helps to, um, support and accelerate those companies. We also provide resource is tools, advisors and mentors for these competencies and for the individuals that are seeking this information. So you know what it was like. You know, I'm looking on the Internet. I'm just trying to really understand what the market is. I'm doing research, and I'm like, if I really wanted to know, you know where to go and how to start, I don't really see a place to my knowledge where there's, um, an abundance of information for nurse the service start, you know, driving down this path. There are a lot of hospitals out here who have already implemented nursing or healthcare innovation. Um, there are a lot of organizations that are really spotlighting nursing innovation and doing a really good job about, you know, bringing this to the forefront. And so I wanted to contribute to, um, the space. And by that I mean developing Nursing Innovation Hub to Incorporate those aspects I mention about and we started, you know,  I started ideating this, like earlier in 2019 and then we get a oft launch and, like October 2019, went maybe and then we gain a little bit of attention. We may have, like 25 user, 25 Register remembers to sign up and then in like, I think was December. We had, like, 10,000 registered. And now Oh, here we are was January 28 2020. We haveover 22,000 Register members. Register members were different from subscription members, but we're working on making our platform or engaging so that our members will want to contribute and subscriscribe or on a monthly basis. To be able to have access to additional service is, and the money be gained from that subscription service would allow us to put back into our funding to help fund those products and services and start ups for nurses. And so we're really excited about it. I mean, even think about, you know, where. We just started with an idea. And now we're over 22,000 members. That's crazy.  
Alli:
07:34
I mean, that's so exciting. It's such a cool thing to because I feel like, you know, the more nurses that I've been talking to with this podcast and just the networking this has allowed me... there's more and more nurses seeing the gaps, right? Like we're the people seeing these problems and, you know, kind of like, man somebody. We should really do something about this. You know, we need something. And so you've created this place where nurses can bring their ideas, and so I would love to learn more about. So let's say there's some nurses out there that say, You know what? If we had, you know, this widget or this whatever this could really help me with my job, this could really help patient outcomes. What is the process look like for a nurse who has an idea who is just now learning that this is this is a thing.  
Aliya Aaron:
08:20
Yeah, you just go to InnovateNurseHub.com That's our platform. And you would, um, join as a member and it's free to join. You get a user name and password, and if you choose to join as, ah, premium member what we call there are various areas that we have nursing membership, we have "Developer" and so on and so forth. And with a premium membership there, some service is that you have access to that nose free membership so not. And so we wanted to make it where we're actually able to bring value, right, and we're continuing to evolve. We're continuing to build out based on information that we're getting back from nurses like, Hey, why don't you have this? Hey, you know, maybe we want more information about this, and so with that, you know, it's kind of like our feasibility. You know, our focus groups- We're able to get information from our memberships to help us build community out. So ourphase one was to really just get some visibility and get people interested. And then once you're able to join, you're able to go into the community. In the community. We have our community forums where you're able to suggest the topic and elaborate on those topics as well as see conversation that others in the Forum have posted. And we're really working on engaging more of our users so that, you know, we have, um, continue conversation. Now, we're not saying that if you have an idea that you think is absolutely golden and you go in community and say, "Hey, this is my idea!" And then the next person takes and steals it, right? That's not what we're saying. Important clarification. What we're saying is you want to make sure that when you approach a situation that you have knowledge and you've done your research where before you know, you speak about the idea that you think is very viable, that you have those trademarks and patents and things like that in place. And in addition, if you have an idea that you really want to validate that you really don't want to put it out there and just kind of have everybody know what this Then This is where we have our consultations with our advisors who can help you drive you down that road map and with the consultation with our expert advisers before we get started, we have our non disclosure agreements that we will make sure those are signed to help protect your information right and those of mutual nondisclosure agreements. And we also have to help our, um our members we have webinars were actually kicking off one of our first webinars at the end of February about driving innovation at the bedside . So we have webinars. You can see in the community on our upcoming events list will be posted more as we begin to roll more out. We also have, like, a set in the community forum and then we're also implementing and this is exciting a true like community hub space where you can see all the members profiles, you can see their statuses and We're also gamifying it so that those that contribute more to the forms and engagement you could begin to rack up points which could help you toward certain aspects of the hub in relation to. Maybe you're learning journey, right? And where we're able to we are actually excited about this. We're implement course offerings that are members are able to take for free, Uh, Those that have premium access will be able to take those those learning, um, innovation journey courses for free and those that have joint for free. We just paid a minimum fee to be able to access them. And again, the money that we're that we're gaining from nurse innovation is then turn around to be able to add to our, you know, our bucket for helping to provide seed funding to nurses in the sense of our Virtual Pitch Fest that we're kicking off.  
Alli:
13:00
Tell me about the Virtual Pitch Fest. That is what one thing of the underlying on me notes that I really want about. Yeah.   
Aliya Aaron:
13:07
Yeah. Super fun. So the virtual pitch this vest is where we have members of our community to submit applications about their products or start ups, ideas, and they could be chosen to participate in our Virtual Pitch Fest. And this is global, So you could be in Australia, you could be in Nigeria, you know, you can be wherever and if you're selected to participate our panel of judges would then listen to your your pitch. You have a specific time frame, a 3-5 minute time frame, be able to pitch us your idea and really bring us into your vision, your product, your solution. And then we will select a winner from the Virtual Pitch Fest which will then be able to gain monetary, to gain funds and then also be able to be paired up with one of our advisors and mentors throughout the year to really help speed them along. And we are hoping to get  more sponsors. So they're out there listening and you want to really become a sponsor of nurse innovation. You can contact us.  
Alli:
14:14
Absolutely. That's so exciting. So not only are they getting funds to help, maybe create missing product, but they're getting the mentorship and the know how exactly but that process even looks like that is so cool.
Aliya Aaron:
14:28
Yeah, and it's something needed. You know, I was just on a conversation with one of our guys is that we were just talking about how he started a company and, you know, he worked with the bedside and he was like, how he wish at the time when he started he really had something like Nursing Innovation Hub to really go to and be paired up with eyes or mental in the different areas, like sell-to-market, you know, in the legal aspect where you learn more about the trademarking and the idea and so forth even we even have resources that are focus on government contracting because we've had members said, "Hey, you know, I think my product went really sell to the government!" so the government space is quite different. We actually have a company that we partner with to be able to work with our members and provide that guidance and resource on the government side if they want, really learn how to navigate and get into government solicitation space. Yeah,  
Alli:
15:37
That's so important because I think you know, like we're talking about you could have a great idea. But unless you know where to take it, nothing happened. So to give nurses, you know, which that's what we do, We're creative. We're always trying to look for solutions. So have a place to go where you can know that your idea is gonna be safe and nurtured and in given life like that is so exciting. And just to be able to brainstorm, um, with like minded people, I think is it's so fascinating. And it's so true because, you know, I used to work in the hospital or in certain institutions. It's so difficult to take one idea and, you know, it usually becomes okay, Well, you're seeing a problem here. Go solve it like so you're given, you know, sometimes, right? Exactly. Which is kind of cool. You're given some a little bit of the authority to work on a project which is great, but at the same time, just to watch, you know, the amount of time it takes for one person to figure out how to change something huge. It's it's crazy. So I what I really see, as I could see as nurses, more and more nurses or finding out about this, Um, you know, taking it to the like organization, like the committee's, you know, like, let's start already. And then, you know, you've got this whole hub behind you of people were like that all over the world. That is so cool.  
Aliya Aaron:
16:53
It's a community of support. You know, you can't create in a silo, you have to, you know, a lot of people like, "Oh, I have an idea. I don't wanna tell anybody." Okay, well, fine don't. But, you know, if you really want to validate your idea and you really want to know if it's gonna fly or not you need to test it out somewhere somehow. You know, if you're selling shoes and you you go out and you, um, create a 1,000,000 pairs of shoes and then you decide you want to sell them and nobody likes to shoes, you've completely like you didn't do any validation that you doing a feasibility. No focus groups. You have to understand what your user for, right? And so, um, it's just really important that you need to build a community, build a tribe up around you to help inspire you and to, you know, keep the momentum going on the days that you're feeling down and that one Innovation Hub is about and not just really, like there's other areas that we're focusing on. So we have the nurse, the end user at the best side. So we're innovating at the bedside, right? But then we also have, um, universities that we're working with. And we also have organizations that were working with, you know, a consortium of care that is really focusing on decrease in infant mortality. And you know how this nurse innovation help them when we are a hub of knowledge, we have experts from not only nursing but from engineering, you know, right from software development and also collaborators in in other Health IT areas that are interested in moving this bullet. So we're not just talking you were doing.
Alli:
18:37
Yeah, that's so exciting. And like everyone coming from their own specialty with their own strengths, trying to, you know, that's so cool. It's cool to know because I know that validation process, you know, that's kind of the hardest part. I think is you have this. It's kind of this idea baby like it's your you know, like you said you wanted protective, but at the same time, like you got to make sure it's not just you, right? It's not just in your brain. It's valid. And to take it to a safe place where you know that it'll be nurtured and, you know, refined by people that are actually trying to be helpful and not, you know, just devastate you, and you know it. It's really exciting. I'm really excited. So But I do want to know. Yeah, like, where did all this come from? So I want to know, like, from graduating from nursing school. Uh, what was your journey that led you into this space?  
Aliya Aaron:
19:30
Well, you know, I will take you back before graduating from nursing school. Yeah, I was actually, I had no intention of being a nurse. I was gonna be a cosmetologist. I wanted to own a beauty salon or something like that, which I love. You know, I love to be creative, and so that was one of my dreams. Had a couple of them, But I went to college , majored in nursing and received my bachelors. And then I graduated out. Worked as ICU nurse full time, decided I wanted to travel, became a traveler, did that for a couple of years. I was ready to kind of settle down. So I went back to the school graduate school and I mastered in health systems management is where I really started my introduction into the technologies that healthcare and, um, the administrator administrative inside of health care. So while I was in graduate school, I worked as a nurse researcher because I love data and Analytics. And, um, after I graduated, I started working as a nurse consultant forVHA. I was working on their open source platform, which was Vista at the time that was their EHR. and then I really started getting interesting, too. Okay, What does all this mean? Where are we going with this wholeEHR and technology side of health care. So I was actually hired by one of the larger EHR vendors back in 2008 and I started working for them as a quality and outcomes consultant and moving into implementation. And then, um, that journey continued on. And then in 2010 inside it Well, you know why not. I think I want to go ahead and just try my hand entrepreneurship because I had an idea in mind. I felt that I knew what the gap was in service delivery as related to technology and health care. And I decided to start AMR Healthcare consulting and was successful from the start and. you know, we've continued to work with our clients and customers and we've learned a long journey. It's been rewarding, but it's been challenging at the same time. And, um, yeah, so along that journey of being a nurse being entrepreneur also went back to school to study software development because I wanted to not only the front end, the user interface design, but I also wanted to know the jargon on the back end which is programming. So so I could be very versatile as I worked with my developers and learn to develop myself. Now, I knew I wasn't gonna really focus specifically on the development aspect because I wanted to be able to manage my business and grow my business first hand, but also being very knowledgeable. It's, you know, uh, the programming languages. And so I went back to school for that. And, um, yes, so my journey, really just has evolved over time, and I really enjoy being creative and being able to really help other people bring their ideas to life.  I took the idea to one of the gentlemen at Microsoft who I met through a professional organization, and he loved the idea because Microsoft is really focused on working with minorities, right to really bring minorities into the forefront, because in technology, in  health care. And so I, myself am an advocate forwomen and minorities of STEM and so we thought it was really it would be a good partnership for nursing impatient, huh? To not only work with Microsoft but to leverage their technologies to help our sulfur developers build one their platform. You know, through the use of their A i in there, machine learning other sophisticated technologies that they have. And so that's been excited. And this all happened, like we just launched in October.  
Alli:
23:36
Wow, that's so amazing to me. So you're I mean, like, tell me what this year means for you.  Did you know it was gonna be Year of The Nurse or was that part of the plan? Or is it What? What are you excited about for this year?  
Aliya Aaron:
23:51
Well, you know what? This is quoted The Yearof The Nurse, which I completely appreciate, but, I mean, I've been a nurse for over 20 years. It's always been Year of the Nurse. But, you know, to put a spotlight on it, you know, that's great, too. Yeah. Awesome. I like it. So for me, you know, I, um what I see for this year, I see a lot of good things happening. Nurse Innovation Hub is completely going to another level. And by that I mean, we're really kicking off a lot of initiatives because we did just launch October, so we really had to catch up with the amount of members that join Nurse Innovation Hub that we were not anticipating! So we just finalized our advisory boards. We just really started bringing all of our mentors together, were working out our calendar for 2020 you know, include more initiatives that we want. Um, and then we're also really gotta ramp up with making sure that we can engage our members because we don't just want them to register and join. We want them to be engaged and we want them to find value in Nurse Innovation Hub. And we know that's something that we are lacking, which is why we're working on it. So we're on ramp up the engagement efforts on we really gotta ramp up our funding efforts and be able to. Our goal is to get 100 portfolio companies under Nurse Innovation Hub that we can help watch and my launch. I mean, we can help them if they're already established companies to help accelerate them. Or if they're just kind of in the ideation phase, we can help kind of incubate that. And in addition to that, we really want to ramp up our partnerships with the universities, uh, the HBCUs, which are historically black universities, where we want to make sure we bring the tools and knowledge into those underserved communities. And then also, um, the other arm is women, so we want to make sure that we can serve and help support women in technology because we know that that there's a small percentage of women led technology. Sorry, but we have a lot of this really excited up.  
Alli:
26:10
That is a lot, man. And you guys were just taken it and running with it. And I love that it wasn't just an idea. It was a well planned, you know, well thought out idea with a lot of great minds behind it. And that's so cool. Um, so so for the nurses that are listening that are really excited to learn more and take this to maybe their institutions, and spread the word. So is it Just go to the website or contact your what would be the best place for them?
Aliya Aaron:
26:35
So you will go to Innovate Nurse Hub.com. You could go there, and it has all of the links to all of our other social media platforms. But we also have our instagram, which is @NursingInnovationHub on IG, and were also on Twitter at @NursingInnovationHub . We're always open to receiving comments, Feedback, suggestions. Because we want to make this better. And my direct, um, point of contact. You can go to my website, which is AliyaAaron.com which has links to all of my social and all of my businesses on there.  
Alli:
27:31
OK, so, Aliya, who do you look to like, Who is impressing you? Who do you look to as mentors? Who who do you look to toe learn in advance in your in your own personal growth? Who's ahead of you? That you're that you've got your eyes on is kind of maybe a mentor?
Aliya Aaron:
27:48
Well, you know, there's I can't just play out one person because I learned I like to read books and I like to research many different people. Um, obviously Oprah is always at the top. Love all the work that she has done and I follow Damon John. I love the work issues that that he did with FUBU. I follow them a lot because I feel like I learned a lot from their foot steps. I learned a lot of information by research and kind of how they got started. Even though we're in different veins, you know? Yeah. Yeah.   
Alli:
28:34
They're inspiring, They've obviously done very well for themselves, and it wasn't handed to them. So it's Yeah, it's important to look and watch their steps. Yeah. So you like books? Are you reading any books right now that, um, that you want to share?
Aliya Aaron:
28:51
Its funny because I read this book like all the time. It's so good. But I'm reading Damon John's book and it's called "The Power of Broke" It's very inspirational on. And I read that book about a thousand times. It tells the story of how he started for FUBU, and it tells you his journey. He gives you advice, and he also shares the good and the bed. And so it's a really good book. I was you know, Damon, John is one of the sharks on Shark Tank. Um Mark Cuban. Some of them, yes, some of them. Right.  
Alli:
29:29
That's what I was envisioning with the Virtual Pitch Fest. I mean, it's a nurse Shark tank. It's so exciting. Yeah, it's gonna be Oh, my gosh. It's gonna be so fun. So great. So I just have one more question for you. I want to know if you could go back in time to the nursing student version of yourself, knowing what you know now, what is something that you know that you would tell yourself?  
Aliya Aaron:
29:54
Okay. Well, if I was a nursing school male, I would tell myself that I need to talk to my university and make sure that they include a business class in the nursing curriculum. And that is not taught within undergraduate nursing. When I was in school it was all clinical. Well, in order to really, um, you know, fully develop in the world of healthcare, you have to forever evolve. You have to know more than just bedside care. And that, right? And so there needs to be. When I was a school, I would say You know what, We need to add a business class to nursing school. We also need to add a technology class to nursing school because those are two aspects of health care and nurses should really understand those before you graduate and get out into the working world.  
Alli:
30:45
Oh, that's so good. That's so true. And that's, you know, that's so important for nursing students to understand, too. So that message is gonna ring true with them. Because I know that, you know, nursing programs haven't changed in quite a while, So, uh, you know, if they can do what they can I mean, we've got you know, all of the What is it, Mastery. All of the new learning platforms now, So absolutely take total advantage of what you can. Maybe wait till you graduate. And then when you have time that you're not studying nursing school stuff, I would definitely suggest you do what Aliya is saying, because it's so true.  
Aliya Aaron:
31:20
Um, it's still true. And so what that understanding and being an educator myself, Um, again, this is one of this is the conversation we've had with Microsoft, that we want to be able to bring this this innovation right to those particularly, you know, those underserved communities, those minority institutions but not just them, but institutions overall. And bring this spark of innovation into those those colleges. A lot of them already have, You know, these innovations, but they do really well. But for those that don't we want to be able to be a vehicle and bring that to those universities for students. So nurse innovation is not just for those that are out in practice or for those that have been through practice and are working on a leadership level. We also have a student portion. Um, a student membership is well, because we want to start is at the entry level because those students are so bright, they come up all kinds of ideas. You'd be surprised what comes out of that.  
Alli:
32:21
Yeah, I bet. I mean, that's so awesome. And it's so exciting. And I'm I'm definitely going to be sharing this with all of the nurses that I talked to because, like you said, you liked the data, right? And how how much better could it get them to get all the valuable data from these nurses that are living in and breathing it and thinking about it and dreaming about it every single day.  
Aliya Aaron:
32:40
It's so exciting. And you know what better place you know? We have nurse-developed, nurse-driven, nurse-approved, nursing innovation hub, particularly for nurses in collaboration with the other disciplines that we need to be successful. And, you know, we wanna have a safe place for nurses to be able to gather their ideas and to see the ideas, you know, who knows, become marketable Commercialized solutions and again the industry is doing really the job with promoting the year of the nervous and promoting, um, you know, nurses and leadership. And so we want to also be able to contribute to this ecosystem and on a global, though right, and we also want to We want nurses to be able to own their intellectual property. We want them to be knowledgeable of what it means to have a trademark what it means to have a patent and what it means to go through seed funding all of this information, if that's the way you want to go, um, and then we also want them to feel comfortable in delivery because there's a lot that has to do with feeling empowered and feeling as if you can do this, you know. So we're not only just talking about technology, but we're also focusing on Business Ethics 101, right?  
Alli:
33:57
Uh, yeah, and its opening, the conversation. It's not even you can do this. It's Hey, that's a great idea. Let's help figure it out together. That's so much bigger than you know, individually walking side by side. It's arm in arm, you know?  
Aliya Aaron:
34:14
Were arm in arm. It's 2020. You know, a lot of people like, Oh, I don't want nurses, too um, give their ideas out to the commercial world and it's like, Well, you know, nurses are smart enough to really understand that when, um, there's a process that you should follow. You know, when you start talking to people about your ideas and you start, you know, giving away that intellectual property. And that's why nurse innovation how this year, because we can help you through that process. And we are not here to, you know, be a proponent of letting nurses get their idea stolen from the commercial world. That's not what we're here for, So I got to make that clear.  Yeah. No, I love it. And it's super exciting. And I thank you so much for taking a break just to sit and talk with us. I know you're busy busy busy, so I really do appreciate it. So, um, it is, uh I want to say that the website one more time... Innovate Nurse Hub.com hank you so much. I really appreciate your time.
Alli:
39:58
×

Listen to this podcast on