Jeff Harper: Technology is Changing Healthcare Delivery
By Terreece Clarke, November 29th, 2011

Several years ago, Jeff Harper picked up an iPhone and thought, "Hmm, this is an interesting gadget, it's going to change the world." He worked in the financial sector and when he left the industry, the iPhone inspired what he calls, "the brainfart that changed my life."

Three years ago this December, eProximiti was born.

eProximiti is a mobile software products company with solutions in health care, metropolitan area, and mobile-mobile connectivity started by Harper and his father Ivan. Conventional wisdom indicates people should never mix business with family, but the Harpers are an exception.

"We worked together for three years prior on two other successful businesses, so we were comfortable dealing with each other as business partners instead of as father and son," Harper said.

"I come from a very passionate family."

Harper is used to sitting around the family table with everyone expressing their ideas, thoughts and business issues. That passion extends to eProximiti which he describes as being more than an app company.

Harper pointed to one of the company's biggest clients - OhioHealth. The DuetHealth program eProximiti created for OhioHealth is a doctor/patient education system designed to help patients through their course of treatment.

"Eighty percent of people leave the doctor's office unsure about what they just heard. If you look at healthcare in the past, it tells you what's wrong with you and how you got there," Harper said. "This is telling you the steps to get better. We are changing healthcare and how it is delivered to patients."

The program is created with patients' doctors, so the information is in line with the instructions received from their doctors. The first course involved pregnant women. Using smartphones, it helped women track important doctor appointments, provided information about each month of pregnancy and was customized for each patient.

Buying Local

A growing company with 16 employees, eProximiti strives keep much of its purchasing power local.

"Columbus is trying hard to create an infrastructure of tech - that means buying things here," he said. "There's a big 'Buy Local' movement in farming here, but not tech."

He credits OhioHealth with taking a chance on eProximiti when other local companies wouldn't. "It seems like it sounds better to say you got something from a company in California or New York. We've done business with Harvard and they don't have a problem with us being from Ohio, but local companies do."

Harper is not convinced that Columbus should be the next Silicon Valley. "We've got a long way to go - we don't have to be the next, we're not cracking the top 10 and I don't think that's a problem. I think we need to define what we [as a city] bring and be comfortable with that."

Advice

"Everyday I talk to people using our product, clients paying for our products and people building our products. If you ever fall too far away from those people, you've gone too far and you're losing out," Harper said.

Harper's biggest piece of advice for entrepreneurs? Start.

"You can't be Whitney Houston unless you start singing," Harper said. "Dream. Disrupt. Do. Dream about it, but you've got to disrupt the dream. A lot of people talk about what they are going to do - the hardest step is the first step. Just do something. Those are the people I am excited about and want to help. They may have a crappy website up, but at least they've done something."