Removing Barriers to Quality Physical Therapy Care with Kins CEO Dan Smith
As part of our series highlighting the leaders of Operating Companies built at Redesign Health, we welcome Dan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Kins, a company that’s modernizing physical therapy by combining the best of in-person care with the power of digital. Learn more about Kins and other Redesign Health Operating Companies here.
Kins is changing the way that people deal with physical injury and empowering patients to play an active role in their own care. By offering both virtual and in-home appointments, Kins gives individuals one-on-one time with a physical therapist, making it possible for every patient to better meet their personal goals.
"The most important thing is to simply be authentic."
1. What does redesigning health mean to you?
It’s rare to build anything perfectly the first time around, and the US healthcare system is no exception. A key part of the building process is to look back, determine what can be done better, and iterate. At Kins specifically, redesigning health means challenging the status quo and putting the patient right at the center from the start. This patient-centered approach has been missing from our healthcare system for so long. We’re delivering amazing patient experiences and outcomes by removing barriers to access, and enabling quality one-on-one clinical care designed around the needs and preferences of our patients.
2. What is the most crucial decision you made in the first 100 days of launching Kins?
Startups can be very chaotic in the early days. We knew as a team that it was important to pick our focus — our north star. We decided patient experience was the number one thing we would prioritize and that helped us make decisions on a daily basis. It helped us set our priorities, create our roadmap and led us to achieve great results (and a patient NPS over 90). In healthcare especially, it’s so important that we continuously strive for improvement. Now that we’re confident in our five-star patient experience, we’re putting that same level of focus into supporting our therapists. Digital technology has the potential to augment and supercharge clinicians. We’re working hard to unlock that potential.
3. What’s the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned through your journey as a founder?
While Kins isn’t the first startup I’ve founded, it’s the first time I’ve launched a company in a global pandemic. COVID-19 shed light on the extent to which relationships really do matter. When a company is created under such uncommon circumstances, it’s crucial to find ways to build the social connections and relationships that bond and fuel a startup team. It’s hard work. While building Kins, we spent a lot of time and energy figuring out how to foster vibrant, meaningful social connections in a remote world, and we can always do more. It’s these connections and relationships that make our work all the more fulfilling.
4. What’s the key to building trust with your employees and customers?
Whether you’re creating trust as a person or a brand, the most important thing is to simply be authentic. It’s vital to accept and answer hard questions, and to admit if you don’t know the answer. People and businesses inevitably make mistakes. When that happens, you acknowledge it — fix it if you can — and move forward. You make the effort to transform what has the potential to be a negative experience into a very positive one.
As a leader, I’ve found it’s critical to open yourself up to your team and customers and honestly answer questions. There are times in a startup journey, and in any business, when this feels like the last thing you want to do — and those are the times when it’s most important. Trust is most often earned in how you deal with adversity.
5. What’s most important to you when thinking about the work environment you want to create?
I’ve been with a handful of companies over my career, both big and small. When you look back at your time with a company years later, you don’t reminisce about business metrics. You remember the culture, the team, the friendships, and what you took from that experience. It’s so important to take the time to build collaborative cultures and teams. If you create a culture that pulls everyone together and draws on each person’s strengths, that’s what people will remember years later. It’s also what will give you the greatest chance of success.
6. What’s a fact others may not know about you?
I had a short-lived recent career as a lobster fisherman. As a native New Englander, I figured it would be fun to catch lobsters with my kids. Sadly we caught everything imaginable, except lobsters. Spider crabs, skate, flounder, beer cans, you name it. Those traps now serve as lawn decorations — we’ve moved on to fishing mackerel and stripers with a bit more success.
Degrees from Merrimack College and MIT formed the foundation of Dan Smith’s career as a digital executive operating for over fifteen years at the vibrant crossroads of consumer health, commerce and digital technology. He has held CEO, COO, and technology leadership roles at multiple commerce, media and fitness companies, including Runkeeper, and most recently ASICS where he launched its global digital fitness division — building a team of more than 200 people serving millions of runners and athletes worldwide.
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