Founded in 2011, VitalConnect is a leader in wearable biosensor technology for wireless monitoring in hospital and remote patient populations.
Dr. Nersi Nazari, Executive Chairman & Founder of VitalConnect talks with us about the origin of the brand name, their choice of the domain name, and the process of acquisition, as well as their views for the future of VitalConnect.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how VitalConnect got started?
I had met a pioneer in the medical profession, Dr. William New, in late 2010. Dr. New reached out to me about partnering on the idea that he had for a company. His idea was to develop a band-aid size biosensor that was essentially an “ICU on the chest.” We worked together to expand this idea and develop a platform to change the paradigm of healthcare delivery by changing the way that patients were monitored inside and outside of the hospital. I started the company in 2011 and Dr. New stayed on as our advisor. Unfortunately, my friend Dr. New developed health issues soon after and has since passed away, leaving me to carry on the vision and dream that was manifested in the form of VitalConnect. Never before has the delivery of patient health information been done in such a small—yet powerful—device. In combination with a web-enabled relay device, up to 11 critical vital signs are monitored continuously and in real-time for a variety of purposes. VitalConnect enables a new and advanced way to deliver healthcare to patients who need it, and that’s a wonderful tribute to Dr. New’s legacy.
VitalConnect is also engaged in numerous partnerships with other leading medical device and pharmaceutical companies to provide the healthcare industry with the predictive data analytics it needs to reduce expenses, increase efficiency, provide better care—and most important of all, to enhance and save lives.
What was the process of selecting a brand name like? When did you know this was the one?
The brand name for VitalConnect fell naturally out of the device and what we wanted it to accomplish. It was vital for physicians and patients to be connected in the care of the patients. The “vital” is also a riff on the fact that the patch measures vital signs as part of its function, and makes that connection from the device to the physician doing the monitoring, and back to the patient and the monitoring and assessment of their health. It has the additional merit of being the manifestation of what the device (VitalPatch) and the suite of products actually do. We use the VitalPatch as a lightweight, easy-to-use monitoring device that connects physicians with their patients in real-time through web-enabled devices without the need to mail a device back in. Because it’s based on how our products work, the brand name is easy to find in a search, easy to discuss, and it’s descriptive – from the name patients and physicians can both understand what we’re trying to do as a company.
What was the reason to get the domain name VitalConnect.com for your brand?
Not only is the domain name reflective of our company name, but it also speaks to the core business of what we do – being a vital connection between patients, their health parameters, and their physicians. It was a natural fit.
Dr.Nersi Nazari, Executive Chairman & Founder of VitalConnect
How has owning VitalConnect.com affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?
The VitalConnect brand is one that speaks to patient care. We try to reflect that on our website so that there’s information provided for several audiences. First, we want to give information about how the patch and the accompanying solutions work to enhance care, protect patients, and allow them to be monitored, safely, at home or in the hospital. We also want to provide physicians with information about how our products are better, will save them time and repetition, allow them to see the patient information they want, and have independent monitoring with our IDTF that proactively looks for changes in vitals, arrhythmias, or other parameters set by the physician.
Our website also provides additional information about how we’re actively engaged with our audiences through clinical trials and enrollment of those trials. We also have the standard information about our company, our executive team, and anything else one may want when trying to learn about, or get information about, our company and why we feel it’s the best solution in several different modalities for both physicians and patients. AND we try to do all of that with a look and feel that is informative and engaging while still being educational, interesting, and visually appealing in order to make the user want to see more of the site and learn more about us.
What was the vision and purpose of your company when it first started and how has VitalConnect evolved as a brand since?
The vision and purpose for VitalConnect was to have ICU-level monitoring of patients anytime, anywhere, whether it’s in the hospital, at home, on the go, or wherever their life takes them. We learned that it was important to keep the size of the patch and the sensor small, light, flexible, and comfortable to wear; to provide little or no disruption to normal life. It goes without saying that you can’t monitor someone if they’re not wearing the monitor, so we kept the patient in mind as we developed and continue to improve the product and the technology by adding capabilities so the platform also monitors itself and patients’ compliance. For example, if the biosensor is taken off the patient or the battery is low, the system immediately notifies the patient and caregivers to take corrective measures.
The brand has evolved as we’ve entered more markets and modalities beyond just core patient monitoring, but we’ve never wavered on that initial goal of providing ICU-level monitoring on a small, powerful device. However, we now do more analytics, and more with the data that’s gathered from the patient. Cardiac arrhythmias are a good example, in that we currently monitor for up to 21 different arrhythmias, in addition to the vitals we monitor. The technology has evolved and we’re able to do more than ever before, and we will continue to adapt and change based on the feedback we regularly solicit and receive, from physicians and their patients.
How do you value your brand?
The value of the brand is the value it provides to patients and physicians. Physicians want the ease of monitoring patients from anywhere, and the patient wants as little disruption to their lives as possible. We manage to do this through great technology, with a fully disposable patch (no need to mail it back in) that’s comfortable, flexible and lightweight, with world-class sensor technology.
We also value the feedback and opinions we garner through the physicians we work with and the input their patients give them. We listen and make changes based on what we hear, so we’re constantly evolving our technology to fulfill the clinical needs of the physician and the lifestyle needs of the patient.
Additionally, we value our brand in what it brings to our employees. People at VitalConnect work here because they value the medical profession and want to work somewhere that makes a real difference in the lives of patients. Some do it to work on great technology, others to sell an amazing product, and others still to look at partnering with best-of-breed healthcare facilities. But no matter who they are, our employees value providing great healthcare and making a difference in the lives of people that need what VitalConnect brings to market, so that’s another way in which we value our brand.
Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?
The pandemic has impacted all businesses and people in ways great and small and we were no exception.
Early on, as COVID-19 was being discovered and there was a rush to try to contain the spread, we were able to participate in New York City and surrounding areas to save lives by monitoring people safely at home. That way, patients could quarantine without the risk of potential exposure to themselves, or others if they had COVID. The ability to stay out of a setting like a hospital, where there’s a risk of exposure or exposing others, or to be able to isolate when necessary, made a device like ours essential. Also, our vision of ICU-on the-chest was tested in the field as hospitals had to expand their ICU units and with our technology, they were able to turn any bed into an ICU-type bed in order to monitor patients continuously in real-time.
The pandemic also helped vastly speed the adoption of telehealth, since it became critical for the reasons I mentioned previously when there was nothing gained by having to go into an office or hospital setting. Because of this, patients and physicians are now much more open to remote monitoring, when they weren’t previously. Multiple factors led to this change of mindset, so now it’s extremely easy for patients to get a patch directly at home, at the direction of their physician, but never need the initial office visit.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
From a marketing perspective, VitalConnect emphasizes the ways our solution can make the provider and patients’ lives easier. For example, we have a single platform for multiple tests which drives simplicity in the practice. Unlike other companies, patients never have to send a device back to get a full report for any of our tests. Other cardiac monitoring systems can’t make that claim, even for their MCT devices, and some take more than 20 days to deliver a 14-day report, subjecting critical patient data to the speed of the snail-mail system. Having the unique ability to monitor more vitals can also result in the ability to spot signs of health issues that may require an intervention. We recently had a patient call our monitoring center to thank us for the services we provide.
That patient had a fall recorded, resulting in four broken ribs and an 8-second heart stoppage. Our monitoring team detected the event and notified providers so the patient immediately went to the hospital where it was determined that the patient required a pacemaker as soon as possible. Happy providers and happy patients are the best marketing for any organization.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
My advice to any entrepreneur would be that if you’re interested in starting something, start where there’s a market need, and preferably in an area where no solution provider currently exists. Target somewhere you can differentiate yourself and make a difference in peoples’ lives.
What do’s and dont’s can you share when it comes to branding and naming?
When naming and branding your company, stick to something that’s simple, memorable, and indicative of what you do.
Dr.Nersi Nazari, Executive Chairman & Founder of VitalConnect
What is next for VitalConnect?
VitalConnect will continue to move into new modalities and new technologies. There’s a need for technologies that will help patients with cardiac disease, as it’s our nation’s leading killer, as well as those that extend patient lives and quality of life through providing a quality diagnosis. There’s a need for more analytics, for more diseases and types of patients, and more need for moving patients from hospital to home.
Also, companies need to check their egos at the door and continually solicit feedback from customers in order to make their products better. Nothing substitutes for real-life experience and listening to the customer and the end-user about how to improve your technology.
Last thing, if some of our readers have more questions. Where can they reach you online?
People can reach us through our website, or they can always connect with me, or any member of our team, on LinkedIn.