TechTown

Plum Health at TechTown Detroit

This week, I was invited to speak at TechTown Detroit's Retail Boot Camp, and as a proud alum of the program, of course I said "yes!"

If you're unfamiliar, Retail Boot Camp is about training young entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills to start or grow a small business in Detroit. Some successful graduates of the program include House of Pure VinParamita SoundTribalfare, Mama Coo’s BoutiqueThird Wave Music and 2015 Hatch Detroit winner Live Cycle Delight.

The students had 45 minutes to ask me anything about my business and about what it takes to be a successful business in Detroit. I participate in events like this because small businesses are the backbone of a successful economy. I'm a life long resident of Southeast Michigan and I want to see Detroit and its surrounding communities thrive. Part of having thriving communities and growing economies is having a robust start-up/entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Below are some photos from the session! Thanks for reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

Book Review for Designing Your Life

This week, I read "Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. These two Stanford professors discuss the course that they teach on lifestyle design and guide you through the process that they have used for thousands of their students.

I enjoyed this read and they had some crucial take aways, both for individuals and larger groups. 

In the Chapter 3, the authors write "Work is fun when you're actually leaning into your strengths and you are deeply engaged and energized by what you are doing". I feel this in the core of my being and this sentiment has been a driving force behind my decision to pursue my current career. 

If you don't know about me, I left the high-speed churn of fee-for-service medicine for more meaningful and fulfilling relationship-based medicine. Plum Health is a membership model for healthcare and I routinely spend about 1 hour with each of my patients, especially during their first visit. 

As this is a new business (as of November 2016), I still work at an urgent care two days each week to pay my bills and keep my business finances separate from my personal finances. When I'm working at the urgent care, I feel drained of energy with a mental fog. It's hard for me to "lean in" to this type of work environment where patients are shuffled in and out of the office as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to have 40 - 50 patient interactions each day at the urgent care.

Compared to my work with Plum Health, where my visits last an hour and I have roughly 2 - 5 visits per day, I am able to fully engage with my patients and lean in to the work. I leave this environment energized after learning more about the people that I take care of. I also experience joy from time to time when the care that I deliver is especially meaningful or beneficial for the people in my clinic. 

In Chapter 11, the authors discuss the importance of working and collaborating with others. They state, "We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because 'we' is always stronger than 'I'". They go on to relate the following: "Life design is intrinsically a communal effort. When you are way finding a step or two at a time to build, not solve, your way forward, the process has to rely on the contribution and participation of others."

This passage reminded me of the environment that I experienced while taking the Build Institute's course entitled "Co-Starters". It was awesome working in a collaborative setting, with a group of entrepreneurs working through similar but different problems. I learned a great deal from these classmates and it helped me to clarify several parts of my Life Design.  

Later in Chapter 11, the authors discuss the importance of a community, and they define a community in this way: "community is more than just sharing resources or hanging out now and then, it's showing up and investing in the ongoing creation of one another's lives". It must have kindred purpose, and the best communities have a shared goal or mission. These groups should also meet regularly, so that an ongoing conversation can be held among members.

I see the TechTown, Build Institute, and Bamboo organizations facilitating a healthy community environment for small businesses and entrepreneurship in Detroit. Being a part of these organizations and attending the different programming put on by these groups has definitely added value to my life and the development of my business. 

Thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book or the topics discussed in the book. Again, the book is called "Designing Your Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Direct Primary Care in New Center

Today, Plum Health Direct Primary Care will be up in New Center at TechTown Detroit. This will be a part of "The Shop" at TechTown, where local entrepreneurs are featured on a rotating basis. 

This month's theme is health-related businesses, so we are excited to participate! If you don't know about Plum Health DPC, we deliver affordable accessible healthcare services in Detroit and beyond. This is a great time to learn more about the service and have your questions answered.

If you don't know about TechTown, it is a small business ecosystem that doesn't focus on tech-only, as the name may imply. It is billed as "the most established business accelerator in Detroit. Its work supports industry verticals that are specific to the region's inherent assets". 

Additionally, this is where I took the Retail Boot Camp course, which helped prepare me to start and run my business. 

Thanks for reading and watching,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care

MedHealth Summit at TechTown

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the MedHealth Summit at TechTown. It was a great event that brought together healthcare organizations and innovators. Their aim was to catalyze the development of solutions and adoption of technologies that use health IT, digital platforms, and medical devices to solve key healthcare challenges in SE Michigan and Southwest Ontario.

This was a great event in that it encouraged cross-border collaboration, something that we don't have enough of in the Healthcare industry. The summit also served as a platform for collaboration and facilitated an environment conducive to networking with colleagues working on innovative ideas in this space. 

The event concluded with a pitch competition for those creating scaleable, pre-market platforms and devices. The winner was Rob Zondervan and his company created SteriDev, a pre-market piece of medical equipment that allows doctors and surgeons to take their iPhones into a sterile operating room.

SteriDev won $10,000 in grant money via the pitch competition and they plan on making the product in Michigan. This device would definitely be useful for taking photos of intra-operative findings for orthopedic surgeons and interventional radiologists, and they have a reasonably-sized market to pursue.  

A special thanks to Paul Riser and his team of collaborators for setting everything up and creating a great event!

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Paul Thomas, MD

Plum Health DPC Awarded $7,500 via TechTown Detroit

Over the past 9 weeks, I have participated in a class at TechTown Detroit called Retail Boot Camp. The RBC course is comprehensive in its approach to helping your business grow, from addressing your financial situation, to helping you choose a POS system, to refining your marketing and advertising strategies, and beyond. 

The best part of the RBC course was having a strong group of entrepreneurs to work with and learn from - people like Jay Rayford of Social Sushi, Nicole Mangis of Brut Detroit, Lionez Kimber of Artistic Flesh Tattoo and Supply, and 16 more phenomenal, bright small business people. I learned a lot from their successes and emulated their approaches to doing business in the city. 

The class culminated in the Retail Boot Camp Showcase, a mini pitch competition for the 20 students/small businesses who took part in the class. It was a great night that brought together teachers, mentors, supporters, consultants, family and friends. 

We were able to give our 90 second pitch on Plum Health DPC and then we were selected to give a follow-up 3 minute pitch about our plan to deliver affordable, accessible healthcare services in Detroit. It was well received and we were ultimately awarded a $7,500 grant from TechTown! 

There are a ton of people to thank: Faris Alami, our teacher during the course; Sarah Donnelly, who coordinated all of the RBC-related activities, Regina Ann Campbell who facilitated the course; Niles Heron, an extremely knowledgable consultant who helped our businesses grow/develop and who helped us perfect our pitches; all of the guest speakers that we had throughout the course, the judges from the night of the event (Lana Rodriguez, John Schoeniger, Bryan Waldron, Rachel Lutz, Michael Forsyth), and all of the supportive people in the TechTown ecosystem who are too many in number to name - thank you all!

We will be using this money wisely as we launch Plum Health DPC in Detroit!

- Paul Thomas, MD

Our Pitch at TechTown Detroit

This Tuesday, we are pitching at TechTown Detroit's Retail Boot Camp showcase! This event is at TechTown on 440 Burroughs Street in Detroit's New Center neighborhood. It will take place from 5:30 - 9:00 pm on Tuesday evening. Event details are on Facebook. 

For the past 3 months, I have been participating in TechTown's Retail Boot Camp Program. Taking the course has helped me a great deal in formalizing my ideas and processes related to my business. I'm now at the point where I'm ready to open my brick-and-mortar business, Plum Health DPC.

This video is our 90 Second Pitch that we will be giving live on Tuesday night. You can read more about our services here and sign up for services here. 

Thanks for reading and watching our video, and I hope to see you at the TechTown Retail Boot Camp showcase on Tuesday night!

- Paul Thomas, MD