Health

Amy Brown Creates Authenticx To Transform Healthcare Customer Experience

The analytics segment of the healthcare industry is a large and fast-growing market, expected to reach $129.7 billion by 2028, up from $29.1 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research.

Despite the surge in spending on analytics, few healthcare patients or healthcare insurance customers would describe their healthcare providers or insurance companies as empathetic. Yet few healthcare analytics platforms focus on enabling healthcare providers to develop better customer-client empathy as a tool to improve customer experience. Amy Brown set out to change that.

She is the founder and CEO of Authenticx, the Carmel, Indiana-based company founded in 2018. The company positions itself as a developer of a platform that helps healthcare organizations analyze and activate customer interaction data at scale. Its platform leverages its clients’ existing customer interaction data to dive deeper into who their customers are, what they care about, and how effectively their needs are being met, enabling healthcare organizations to create better revenue strategies and improve profitability.

Brown left her 20-year corporate career in healthcare and insurance to bootstrap the company’s first 18 months. “I was in operations and my colleagues in marketing and sales really thought of my team as the cost center, which irritated me because we had the power to be the insights center with all this data we have. And then the CX (Customer Experience) industry was emerging that was based entirely on solicited feedback through surveys. And it was just a head scratcher for me, because we’re spending millions on our NPS survey. And yet, we have 100,000 calls from last month where customers are just organically telling us what the competition is doing, what they’re frustrated with, what they wish we would do better and what their needs are. So, it was really the culmination of my years of experience in doing operations work in healthcare with this market phenomenon of placing the burden on the customer to give us feedback, when they’ve just told us everything we need if we were only to listen and to listen at scale. And so, I left my corporate gig and started Authenticx,” says Brown.

And while the Authenticx customer listening technology could easily apply to any business, Brown is committed to focusing on healthcare. She feels the market for customer analytics is currently overhyped with many AI unstructured data companies out there. But what’s unique about Authenticx, she points out, is having deep expertise in the healthcare vertical. “Our clients are heavily regulated, so these customer conversations are not like your typical consumer products, 1-800 line, or calls from your utility company. These are conversations that are full of health information with vulnerable and emotional stuff. Our clients seem to really appreciate that we’re focused in the space and so we plan to stay here, at least for the foreseeable future, because it’s giving us a competitive advantage,” says Brown.

After the first year building a small team and recruiting a CTO that could translate Brown’s vision into a scalable, customer listening platform, the company landed its first contract in January of 2019. Today, they are experiencing significant market traction, growing 400% in revenue over the past year. While Brown is prohibited from mentioning client names, she says the company counts some of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and some of the top five insurance companies as customers. “We’ve been able to demonstrate credibility and value to very large healthcare organisations. We’ve analyzed to date 20 million customer voices on our platform, and we are going to grow exponentially because of the demand that we’re getting,” says Brown.

The growth has allowed Authenticx to raise a total of $8.3 million in funding to date. Their latest $7.5 million Series A fund was raised in June 2021 led by Signal Peak Ventures. Other investors include Spores Capital Associates, M25, Allos Ventures, Elevate Ventures, and Innovate Maps Ventures.

While Authenticx is growing and building momentum, its success was never assured. Brown had never started a business before and did not have a technology background.

“Just to make it even more crazy and audacious, my training was as a social worker. I applied that social work degree in my corporate experience. But the at the essence of it was this power of listening. And that really does stem from my social work degree. I grew up the daughter of a physician who told me, ‘Amy, if you ever really want to understand a patient, all you have to do is listen to them.’ It was with that kind of grounding that I was able to really see the problem. I had the good fortune of working in big companies working with tech teams. Being in the C-suite, I knew how to leverage talent around me to help solve a problem,” says Brown.

When she started the company, she used some of her savings to hire a contracted developer to build out a low code platform prototype. She used that to start selling and as soon as she landed her first contracts, she pursued her Chief Technology Officer, Michael Armstrong, to join the team. “Our whole company is built with this blend of people who understand the health care problem and the problem of consumers navigating health care, along with those who are technology experts. It’s a blend of both of us working together to solve this,” says Brown.

Company culture is as important to Brown as the technology. The company name is not only emblematic of the need to gain authentic feedback from consumers, but also Brown’s own journey to become her true authentic self. She describes her decision to leave the safety of corporate life as a process of getting comfortable with failure and realizing what was really important to her in life.

“It wasn’t that I left my corporate gig and was like, ‘I’m so awesome. I’m going to go for this and there’s no way it’s going to fail. It was more of I see what I think my purpose needs to be if I’m living truly authentically to my calling. And it is so important to me that I answer that call that I’m willing to take the risks. Just to put it into perspective. I’m a mother of four young children and my husband, while he’s an architect, left his career to be a stay-at-home dad. And so, for 10 years, I was the sole breadwinner. So when I came home that night and said, ‘I’m ready to make this leap.’ We talked about it together as a couple. It’s common for parents to feel like their role in life is to make their child’s lives comfortable. And I was on that track. And I don’t judge anyone for it for the mission is a good mission. But I got to a point in my life where I was like, if I’m not teaching them what it means to truly follow your dreams and showing them the risk that it takes to do that, and the sacrifices you have to make to sometimes go south to go north, then what am I teaching them? And so that became more important to me than making their lives comfortable. And that’s really what led to my willingness to step forward and into the abyss,” says Brown.

There is no inkling of her future entrepreneurial, risk-taking side from her background. She grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana the daughter of a physician father and special education teacher mother. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, followed by a master’s degree in social work at the same university. After graduating, she worked as Legislative Director for Family and Social Services, followed by a year working as the Health Policy Director for Indiana’s Governor. She entered corporate life when she became Executive Director, Indiana Medicaid Program at Schaller Anderson. What followed was a succession of climbing positions the corporate ladder culminating in her position de ella as Chief Operating Officer for Seven Corners, Inc. prior to leaving ella to start Authenticx.

As for the future? “First is the external change we want to make in the world. The US health system is the most expensive and produces the worst health outcomes of any other country in the world. That’s just unacceptable. One of the visions we have is to help remove the burden that the business of healthcare puts on the health care consumer, and to change how healthcare companies get insights to know how to effectively reduce that burden. We believe that this data source is much more powerful than NPS surveys, or online work. Secondly, we’re working very hard to create a culture of psychological safety and compassion to allow employees to be their authentic selves at work, which leads to a high performing team. Our vision is to disrupt an industry with the most compassionate human beings helping lead the way in that effort,” concludes Brown.

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