We talked to Maya Said about how Outcomes4Me is the breast cancer app you can trust and this is what she had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Maya Said: We are doing everything we can by following CDC guidelines, staying healthy, and connecting as much as we can virtually. My parents currently live in France, so it has been difficult to be apart from them for so long. However, we are very fortunate to live in an age where technology allows us to talk and see each other from afar. All that matters right now is that we stay healthy, safe, and informed.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Outcomes4Me?
Maya Said: I am an engineer-scientist by training, with a Ph.D. from MIT in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Systems Biology. I spent my entire professional career in the healthcare industry, mostly working with pharmaceuticals such as Sanofi and Novartis. Through my various experiences, I realized that science without innovation is not enough. Without translation, innovation without translation is not helpful, and translation, such as bringing an innovative drug to market without access, is problematic. I had always thought I understood the healthcare system and the space I worked in. Still, it wasn’t until I had my medical scare (that turned out to be short-lived and nothing too serious) that I discovered the fears, lack of empowerment, and lack of information out there for patients’. The idea of Outcomes4Me was born. Patients have zero power when it comes to their health care, they don’t decide what to take, and in most cases, they don’t pay. This leads to a system of misaligned incentives and a lack of accountabilities for patients. Outcomes4Me is on a mission to change that – to empower patients and shift back the balance of powers towards them. After all, there is no healthcare system without patients; they are the real consumers and the ones we should be all accounted for.
How does Outcomes4Me innovate?
Maya Said: We start with a deep understanding of patients, their pain points, and journeys. We use these insights to create evidence-based experiences to help them navigate through their needs as first and foremost people – people that happen to have been diagnosed with a life-altering disease, not just patients. Today, we are the only breast cancer app on the market that has created an all-in-one experience for breast cancer patients, and we are about to roll this out for all cancer patients. Patients can do this through crucial technologies and partnerships we have made with world-class evidence-based institutions such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), allowing patients to get their treatment path and access to the latest treatment options in the palm of their hand. We offer patients the ability to manage and track their symptoms, find clinical trials close to their home, and resources ranging from COVID19 information all the way to free consultations with leading breast reconstruction surgeons worldwide.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Maya Said: When coronavirus hit, we went to work harder and faster than ever before. Many of our users are immunocompromised patients with complex diseases, and we could not allow ourselves not to put them first. We instantly thought of ways to offer them more information and resources to stay safe and informed. We started doing weekly webinars with leading oncologists from top medical institutions such as Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. We also created a COVID19 resource center within our app to ensure that patients had whatever they needed ranging from oncology support to mental health resources. We grew our business and user base exponentially during this pandemic. We saw it as an opportunity to provide users and physicians options, helping them engage patients in a telehealth world. Our team and user base more than tripled during this time.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Maya Said: We had to adapt our thinking, but it helped us focus on what matters most. We had to learn how to work remotely, a brand new concept for us as we were a close-knit team when COVID-19 hit and used to have those in-person interactions. We had to shift around our budgeting and start to think of attending conferences virtually and impacting behind a computer screen and not just in person. We miss meeting our users in person and hugging them and having that human approach, but we know that the efforts and work we are doing now will allow those patients to live healthier longer lives. The goal has always been for better outcomes for patients, and just as they are persevering through this, so are we. They inspire us.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Outcomes4Me in the future?
Maya Said: There is no time to sit and dwell on the world’s anxiety and stress. It is all about perspective for me. I know we are on a mission to support, help, and empower patients who are dealing with just wanting to live a healthier and longer life. That drives me to wake up and push forward every day. I am doing it for them. Their challenges are so much greater than my fears and worries, and knowing that helps me stay focused on our mission. We have big plans for the future, and I stay focused on what we need to do to get there by slowly chipping away at the projects at hand, and so far, it is paying off.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Maya Said: We don’t see anyone as a direct competitor. There are other apps out there that do portions of what we do, such as medical record retrieval, symptom tracking, clinical trial matching, or daily journaling but none that do it all and none that provide personalized evidence-based navigation. That is how we plan to stay in the game – to be the best at what we do and impact patients’ lives. As long as we are helping patients have better outcomes, then, to me, we are winning. We are a product that helps people get information that can help save their life or live longer, and as long as we can keep doing that, I feel fulfilled and know our company will be around.
Your final thoughts?
Maya Said: COVID-19 has humbled me and taught me new ways to think, new ways to work, and pushed me to realize the full potential of my team at Outcomes4Me and the strength of our patient user base. I am proud of our work, and I know that the future looks bright if we can weather this storm.