Silver Fern Healthcare Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Colleen McGuire spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about bringing an innovative new concept to the digital health market.
NAN PRICE: Tell us about developing the business concept for Silver Fern Healthcare.
COLLEEN MCGUIRE: Silver Fern Healthcare is a mission-oriented social enterprise company. Our Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Garry Welch, PhD, has spent 20+ years developing a methodology whereby we could tackle and conquer the human and financial costs of chronic disease.
When we started Silver Fern Healthcare, there were about 26 million people in the United States with diabetes. Today, there are more than 34 million people with diabetes and about 88 million people with pre-diabetes. As a society, we’ve created more medicines and we do more procedures, yet we’re not improving the health outcomes of people with diabetes. We still have very low rates of people who are meeting all the national guidelines for good health outcomes in diabetes care.
NAN: You have a lot of leadership experience, but this is your first startup. Did you connect with any Connecticut resources while you were starting out?
COLLEEN: One of the things we love about Hartford is that it’s a very manageable city in terms of size and we’ve made some great contacts between all of our networks. We leveraged those networks quite a bit in the area. We talked to a lot of the local stakeholders and visited with local hospitals and several insurance companies and provider groups, as well as partners and intermediaries, like the MetroHartford Alliance, the Connecticut Health Council, reSET, and the Connecticut Technology Council.
NAN: In what ways has COVID-19 impacted your business?
COLLEEN: People with chronic disease are at extra risk of getting sick and potentially dying from COVID-19. So, if anything, we’ve gotten more attention because we’re not only preventing people with chronic disease from getting complications, but we’re also in the pre-disease space now. Although we came to the market with a chronic disease solution, we’re doing a lot in terms of wellness and prevention.