Jeremy Smith, Founder & CEO, Health Connect Life Sciences
“To succeed in the arena, it takes a tenacious person to never give up, and eventually, hopefully, you will succeed. But it definitely doesn’t happen overnight,” asserts Jeremy Smith, the CEO, and Founder of Health Connect Life Sciences.
Carrying the same spirit, persistence, and never-give-up attitude, Jeremy is a passionate, dedicated, and resilient entrepreneur who is creating a difference in the orthopedic, spinal, podiatric, and neurosurgical space with his evolutionary perspective and ventures. Jeremy had an early exposure to entrepreneurship as he grew up watching his parents start and grow an insurance business together. Naturally, he had the entrepreneurial bug which further inspired him to open up a lawn care and pressure washing business in his neighborhood when he was 14. Jeremy also worked as a door-to-door salesman, selling paint and windows, and then in college, he sold advertising for the student newspaper. All these experiences played a critical role in his entrepreneurial journey. But after meeting up with small business owners for the first time in a college town, and learning about their goals, he realized that trust is the key to successful entrepreneurship and business dealings.
“I learned quickly how to establish myself as a trustworthy business partner to my clients, just as anyone would to a good friend. These successes early on allowed me to thrive in these small worlds,” says Jeremy.
The Beginning of Health Connect Life Sciences
Prior to graduation, Jeremy was entrusted by an entrepreneur to work on sales and distribution of a small startup company in orthopedics and this changed his life forever. As a part of this job, when Jeremy arrived into local rural hospitals, and their operating rooms to witness his first knee replacement surgeries, he was instantly hooked. “It was a world hidden from the public, like an underground city. Each worker had defined job duties and tasks, the OR suites ran like a well-oiled machine, one patient after another being wheeled in and out between surgeries. The surgeons were so calm, and confident, there was no panic, contrary to what Hollywood would make you think,” elaborates Jeremy.
He spent the next 10 years exploring this unknown world of healthcare. He worked for some of the largest healthcare companies in the world, and some start-ups that taught him many key lessons. This is when he realized, being hidden from the eyes of the public, the operating room has tremendous scope of innovation. But often, even the smartest ideas of surgeons fall on deaf ears due to the insufficient funding of small companies or lack of entrepreneurial mindset of large enterprises. As Jeremy worked with more and more surgeons along the way, he decided to turn some of their ideas into real designs and eventually partnered with some other companies to build them. This led to the inception of Health Connect Life Sciences which became one of the premier companies in Atlanta for this purpose, teaming with engineers and surgeons to build some innovative devices to help them treat their patients better.
Keeping Customers At Its Core
Today, Health Connect Life Sciences distributes optimal orthopedic devices to surgeons in hospitals. Sometimes, it designs new ones and engages with other companies to develop them. “A lot of the things we do at Health Connect Life Sciences, others try to do. But going back to my experience in high school in college, we are successful because we build very solid trust with our customers, and we do it by example,” opines Jeremy.
The company always strives to listen to its customers and understand their needs. Also, its no-excuses attitude when it comes to serving the customers and unwavering commitment to never let them down make it a reliable name in the orthopedics world. Thinking of it as if it were one of their family members that needed that medical device implanted, they strive hard to prevail at all costs.
Overcoming Challenges and Learning along the Way
Speaking of the major barriers in healthcare, Jeremy affirms, “This may sound surprising, but the hardest part about trying to change healthcare, one device at a time, is healthcare doesn’t like change. I used to be frustrated and tell my colleagues that I could have the cure for cancer in a vial, and try to sell it to a hospital, but I wouldn’t even be able to get a meeting with the buyers to begin with. In order to innovate in healthcare, there is a particular set of norms, rules, and established players you must go through to do things. The hypocrite oath each doctor must attest to is “thou shall do no harm.” And that goes for hospitals, surgery centers, insurance companies, and others too. There’s a hesitancy to change, because change entails risk and a possible violation of patient safety…we must prove without a reasonable doubt that our devices safety profile, cost, and improvements are worth any potentially unforeseen risk that this change brings.”
Drawing key learnings from such challenges, Jeremy advises the emerging entrepreneurs to enjoy the entrepreneurial ride and embrace the process. He also urges them to listen to the ideas of the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff as they provide a ton of care and often have incredible ideas and solutions that fall on deaf ears.
Bequeathing Values of Excellence in Healthcare
According to the ardent entrepreneur, ethics and precision are two critical factors in the orthopedic space. “We are in the business that impacts patients’ lives and we must always deliver the truth to our customers, sometimes when we can’t supply a device needed in time or an instrument is missing in our surgical kit, we cannot sugar coat this,” adds Jeremy.
Driven by this value, the business leader aims to continue reshaping the future of orthopedics through Health Connect Life Sciences. Meanwhile, he also aims to pursue a new path of innovation through robotics as the company is currently focusing on designing advanced devices to further amplify surgeons’ abilities by automating processes in surgery.