Insights from Garry Choy

Garry Choy and Mike Simmons started CredSimple two years ago, their idea initially stemming from a Healthcare Hackathon they attended in Boston in 2013. CredSimple provides credentialing services to physicisians, hospitals, and providers. Anyone that needs credentialing and uses this services saves hours and days of paperwork by filing through CredSimple’s automated system. CredSimple currently employs 15 individuals!

I met Garry in May 2013 at my first hackathon for healthcare. At the time Garry was a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Athena Health partnered with MIT’s Hacking Medicine to put on the hackathon, and we were part of team Amplitude, named after the phone app we developed that allows doctors and patients to measure the amplitude of blood flow. Many major medical issues require diagnosis and monitoring of amplitude, among them diabetes, ulcers, cancer, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease.

At the 2013 hackathon, Garry and Mike pitched a problem they were often faced with in regards to credentialing. While their problem wasn’t pursued by a team over the two-day event, the hackathon opened the door to entrepreneurial support which ultimately launched their business. They had noticed a lot of time spent by hospitals, doctors, and other care providers to maintain current and relevant credentials. Updating credentials required reentering a lot of data which often changed little over time or was already publicly available. Through the hackathon, Garry and Mike started hearing ideas on how they could leverage data and information management to streamline a system to ease the time demands on care providers and eliminate compliance risk.

Garry’s advice on making the most of a hackathon:

  1. Go with an open mind. Be open to new ideas and people that could help become the next start-up business. After the initial problem pitches, talk to as many people as possible to find the right team for you. “It might be unexpected who your team will be and what ideas you’ll pursue.”
  2. Talk to as many people as possible. This extends beyond the initial problem pitches. Throughout the event reach out to your mentors, circulate around to other teams, and ask what people are working on. This event is more collaborative than competitive. These conversations allow exposure to the people brought together and the ideas sparked by the event.
  3. Read up on partners and judges. These are often organizations and people interested in new ideas and invested in getting those ideas to the next level – whatever that may be. They may just support the incubation of a good business idea.

All these points helped Garry and Mike make CredSimple into a viable business. Athena Health became a shareholder and currently provides CredSimple with business space. Blueprint Health Incubator, which provided a judge on the panel, was an early investor and provided incubation support. In addition to support, Garry said, “the hackathon was a great place to recruit people interested in my problem.”