In 750 words or less…
Hello, world and Iris Telehealth blog readers. This is my first attempt at blogging and I don’t want my first post to be terrible. So, like most well-socialized humans do when they haven’t a clue about something – I went to Google and asked “How do I write a great blog post”. The two answers that came back were consistent and simple :
- Be yourself, and
- Write about something you’re passionate about.
And with that guidance from Google, I thought that telling the short story of how Iris came into existence would be a fitting place to start.
So without further ado, let’s begin:
I went to medical school at the University of Virginia and stayed on to complete my psychiatric training and fellowship there (GO HOOS!). UVa is a leader in telemedicine and I had the opportunity over many years to see how we could help provide care in many different settings, particularly rural and under-served areas, using live video conferencing.
When I first dabbled with telepsychiatry, I instantly had a passion for it. When I’ve looked back at why I had this immediate interest, I think it comes down to my internal drives and curiosities. My three biggest loves in life are psychiatry, technology, and people. You put those three in a bowl and mix ‘em up real nice and you certainly get something that looks an awful lot like telepsychiatry.
My teachers and mentors at UVa were incredibly encouraging of my interest and allowed me to learn as much as possible about how telepsychiatry works. Of course, all of my colleagues had a lot of direct experience with the clinical side of providing service, but I received individual guidance from many of the thought leaders in our telemedicine department – from the technology side, to the systems side, and even to the financial side of how to build an effective program and partnership.
After graduating from UVa and with that learning under my belt, I spent a LOT of time and energy building the infrastructure of the business. This part probably sounds like the boring part, but it was actually incredibly fun. I am a pretty straight-forward person and I am not afraid to ask people for help or advice. I am also incredibly fortunate to have many brilliant friends that are willing to do all sorts of crazy favors for me! And I can’t tell you how impressed I have been by nearly everyone’s willingness to help me and for the valuable information and guidance (and trust!) that people provided Iris.
One thing that I quickly learned as the business began to take shape is that it truly took on a life of its own. Iris began to have a personality and the beginnings of “culture” began to take root. Each tiny building block we added to the business brought one new dimension to her personality. From choosing a name and logo to finding the perfect ways to describe our values and mission, each choice brought about a clearer picture for what we stood for and what we wanted to accomplish.
Once we had established a vision for the company that captured our desire to give the best mental healthcare possible to those in need, we began to get the word out. Fortunately, I had made many friends and coworkers along the way that were able to vouch for the integrity of what we stood for and our ability to deliver on our promises. First, one underserved area trusted us with their clients, and then another, and we proved our commitment to quality care and building long-lasting relationships with them. From there, people began talking and our business steadily grew, from one state to two, from local to national! We found that the most powerful and effective marketing strategy for Iris is to keep our partners satisfied and happy – because happy people make for a happy business!
So there you have it, the founding story of Iris Telehealth in under 750 words! I am excited to see this blog grow as we open it up to our clinicians, support team, and to mental health advocates that would like a platform to get the word out! Please check our blog regularly for updates and post your thoughts or comments below – I look forward to reading them!